Inspirations from Chapter 87 of The Journey to the West

Tai Ping

PureInsight | March 15, 2004

[] Recently, I read The Journey to the West (also known as Monkey King).
I deeply admired the characters of the story. Tripitaka was pious,
Monkey King was courageous, and Pigsy was honest. The story made me
realize how difficult it is to obtain the genuine Buddhist scriptures.
I felt that Chapter 87, "Head of Phoenix County Offends the Jade
Emperor and Results in Drought; Monkey King Help Bring Back Rain by
Restoring People's Respect for Buddha," was most inspiring.

[See notes for previous article, PureInsight Net-Inspirations from Reading Journey to the West for background information on the book and the characters.]

87 is the most relevant chapter for people in China today. In this
chapter, Tripitaka and his three disciples arrived at Phoenix County,
and learned that it had been plagued with drought for three years and
the local residents had been destitute of crops, thus living in misery.
So Tripitaka asked Monkey King to bring rain to save the local
residents. Monkey King asked the Dragon King for rain, but the Dragon
King could not do it on his own without an order from the Jade Emperor.
Monkey King went to ask the Jade Emperor's permission for rain and then
he learned the root cause of the drought. The Head of Phoenix County
had offended the Jade Emperor on the annual day when the Jade Emperor
inspected the Three Realms and passed by Phoenix County three years
ago. On that day, the Head of Phoenix County bickered with his wife and
vented his rage by knocking down the offering table. As a result, the
entire set of vegetarian dishes prepared for the Jade Emperor on the
offering table fell off. He made it even worse when he fed the offering
prepared for the Jade Emperor to a dog and started cursing Heaven. His
disrespectful speech and actions offended the Jade Emperor, who then
denied rain to Phoenix County and made the people of Phoenix County
suffer from drought until the three challenges were met. In a heavenly
palace, the Jade Emperor set up a mountain of rice, a mountain of
flour, and a gold lock hanging on an iron rack. The rice mountain was
twenty feet high, and the flour mountain was forty feet high. A chick
stood at the foot of the rice mountain slowly pecking the rice, and a
golden-furred dog licked the flour. There was a small lamp below the
gold lock measuring more than five feet long and two inches thick
slowly burning the lock. Those were the three challenges. Rain wouldn't
come to Phoenix County until the rice mountain and the flour mountain
were emptied, and the flame melted the lock.

The Kings of the
Four Quarters told Monkey King, "There is no need to worry. You may
settle this issue with a benevolent solution. When one's Buddha nature
emerges, it will shake the world in ten directions. The rice mountain
and the flour mountain will disappear, and the golden lock will melt by
itself. If the people of Phoenix County restore their respect toward
Buddha, they will be blessed with good fortune." The Monkey King went
back to earth and told the solution to the Head of Phoenix County, who
then immediately became a Buddhist and led the entire county to repent
and show gratitude to Heaven [for a second chance]. Everyone in the
Phoenix County began to revere Buddha, and chant the Buddhist
scriptures. The entire county was enveloped with the sound of chanting.
When the Monkey King went back to the heavenly palace, he saw the rice
mountain and the flour mountain had disappeared, and the golden lock
had melted. The Jade Emperor heard the people in Phoenix County had
restored their respect toward Buddha and was very pleased. He
immediately ordered the gods to relieve the drought with heavy rain. It
is true that if people develop good thoughts and respect the gods,
Heaven will prevent disasters. From then on, the people of Phoenix
County lived happily ever after.

Although Monkey King
is only a novel, it teaches us lots of valuable lessons in the form of
stories! Many places in China have been overwhelmed with sandstorms,
locus plagues, and droughts every year since 1999 [the year that Jiang
Zemin started to persecute Falun Gong]. It snowed in June in some areas
of China, and the sky thundered in many areas of northern China in the
winter of 2003. All of these are extremely rare and abnormal phenomena!
Many people are puzzled. What's happening with the weather in China
these days? Why are there so many natural disasters?

China has
been encountering one strange epidemic after another and has very
limited success in combating them. In 2003, the SARS outbreak in China
filled the whole nation with fear and death. In 2004, China is haunted
not only by the second outbreak of SARS, but also by, possibly, an even
more deadly epidemic, bird flu (or avian flu), which might leap the
"species barrier" from bird to human. The World Health Organization
stated that if bird flu became rife in China, it would claim even more
lives than SARS. [There are fears that the virus could exchange genes
with a human flu virus if a person was simultaneously infected with
both. The more this double infection happens, the higher the chance a
new virus could be created and be passed from person to person.] What
an unusual phenomenon! We should realize by now that these epidemics
and natural disasters occurring in China since 1999 are in fact
benevolent warnings from Heaven!

Dong Zhongshu, a famous scholar
in the Han Dynasty, studied the relationship between natural disasters
and human behavior before the Han Dynasty, and realized that natural
disasters were the gods' censures of a country's immoral actions. If
people still do not repent their actions, additional warnings in the
form of bizarre disasters will follow. If people still refuse to
correct their actions, the real punishment, in the form of terrible
disaster, will befall men. (FromHan Shu or Book of Han.)
In today's China, natural disasters and bizarre epidemics are extremely
and unusually frequent. The outbreaks of deadly SARS and bird flu came
out of nowhere and are very strange. It's high time for the Chinese
people to wake up, and think carefully about the root cause of all
these strange phenomena.

[About Dong Zhongshu: During the time of
Emperor Wudi of the Han Dynasty, the Confucian scholar Dong Zhongshu
urged the ruler to establish an academy to educate the crown prince and
to produce an elite for governmental offices. These officers had to
study and learn the Five Confucian Classics that were mainly holistic
interpretations of the universe with man embedded in a cosmic dynamism
that connected natural phenomena with the deeds of men. While the
original Confucianism only centered on man and his position in society,
Confucianism during the Han Dynasty was highly intertwined with Zou
Yan's (3rd century BC) theory of the Five Elements and the philosophy
of Yin-Yang that assumed everlasting changes and interactions between
all things.]

To give the Chinese people a hint, let's review what
has happened in China since 1999. The founder of Falun Gong, Mr. Li
Hongzhi from Changchun City, Jilin Province started to introduce Falun
Gong to the public in 1992. Falun Gong promotes the principles of
Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance. Falun Gong improves people's
moral standards and their health. Through word of mouth, Falun Gong has
spread to over 60 countries, and has received over 1,000 proclamations.
Sadly, in China, the very origin of Falun Gong, the jealous Jiang Zemin
started to persecute Falun Gong on July 20, 1999 out of his personal
will. He gave such an order to his henchmen to eradicate Falun Gong:
"Defaming Falun Gong practitioners' reputation, bankrupting them
financially, and destroying them physically." Since then he has been
persecuting innocent Falun Gong practitioners. He confiscated and
destroyed Falun Gong books, and continued to deny the Chinese people of
all access to the truth of Falun Gong. [Now that he has made sure that
the Chinese people have no way to find out the truth about Falun Gong,]
Jiang Zemin manipulates the television and newspaper media nationwide
to slander Falun Gong, spread lies, and falsely accuse Falun Gong
practitioners of horrible crimes in an attempt to instigate the Chinese
people's hatred toward Falun Gong and to justify and maintain the
persecution against Falun Gong practitioners. He even gave the
following orders to escalate the persecution against determined
practitioners: "Death of Falun Gong practitioners from beating is
nothing, and shall be counted as suicide. The bodies should be directly
cremated without investigating their identities." He has been
arresting, detaining and illegally incarcerating those Falun Gong
practitioners in the forced labor camps who are determined in
cultivating in Falun Gong and who exercise their rights by reporting
the truth about Falun Gong to the government and appealing for the
immediate end of the persecution. He continues to throw Falun Gong
practitioners in prisons, forced labor camps, and even in psychiatric
hospitals. As of February 23, 2004, according to incomplete statistics,
within the past four years beginning on July 20, 1999, more than 896
Falun Gong practitioners have been verified as having been tortured to
death in over 30 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities.
However, according to the government's official internal statistics,
the actual number of practitioners who died after being arrested had
reached 1,600 by the end of 2001. In addition, there are at least 6,000 Falun Gong practitioners who have been illegally sentenced to prison. Over 100,000 practitioners have been consigned to forced labor camps. Thousands
of practitioners have been forcefully sent to psychiatric hospitals to
be tortured with injections that are damaging to the central nervous
system. Large groups of Falun Gong practitioners have been forcefully
sent to local brainwashing classes, where they have been subjected to
both physical and mental torture. Many more practitioners have been
severely beaten and had large sums of money extorted from them by
so-called "law-enforcement officials." When large numbers of Falun Gong
practitioners are beaten to death, injured, and their families are
broken up, when they have to leave home and go from place to place
because of the persecution, millions of Falun Gong practitioners'
families, relatives, good friends and colleagues are also implicated
and brainwashed to varying degrees.

The principles of
Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance are the corner stones of human
morality. Jiang Zemin is now trying to annihilate the most fundamental
moral values for man with the persecution against Falun Gong. What will
become of the human morality? If people cease to follow the human's
moral standard, society will become chaotic. Although people keep
chanting the slogans daily, "Bring the corrupted officials to justice"
and "Govern China with morality", those are obviously idle slogans.
While Jiang Zemin cannot even tolerate the existence of Truthfulness,
Compassion, and Forbearance, how can he have the nerve to claim that he
runs China with morality? In fact, he is only capable of turning China
into a mess. When people abandon the principles of Truthfulness,
Compassion and Forbearance, everyone will become each other's enemy. It
will be meaningless to be human or to live. Mankind needs Truthfulness,
Compassion and Forbearance.

History has progressed to this era
where people have become corrupt, are lost in desires and
self-interest, and have abandoned morality and justice for wealth. Who
would risk his family and life to speak the truth if he hadn't
experienced the purity and magnificence of Falun Gong? Here's some
sincere advice to the people who have fallen prey to Jiang Zemin's
poisonous lies about Falun Gong: Please distinguish right and wrong,
recognize the good and the evil, and read Falun Gong practitioners'
truth-clarification flyers or pamphlets with a clear mind. Countless
Falun Gong practitioners have risked their own lives to produce and
deliver the truth-clarification materials to you.

Jiang Zemin
has enraged Heaven and brought punishments upon China. It is the very
root cause of the natural disasters and strange epidemics in the last
four years. These disasters, including the sandstorms that eclipsed the
sky in 2002, the locust plagues, draughts, the SARS epidemic, and the
avian flu outbreak, reveal this principle of Heaven [similar to that in
Chapter 87 of Monkey King.] Many people may argue it was
Jiang Zemin who started the persecution against Falun Gong, so the
Chinese civilians should not suffer the consequences of his crime. Have
you thought about how many of these "Chinese civilians" have been
indifferent to or assisting in the persecution against the innocent
Falun Gong practitioners? Some of them even applauded or were delighted
by the plight of Falun Gong practitioners. How can such people not face

Actually, Jiang Zemin has already started to suffer
retribution, except that he hides the bad news from the people of
China. In 2002, Falun Gong practitioners in the United States filed a
lawsuit against Jiang for his genocide of millions of practitioners in
China. Subsequently, Falun Gong practitioners in Belgium, Korea,
Germany and several other countries also filed lawsuits against Jiang
under the respective laws of their countries.

Of course, not all
of Jiang Zemin's henchmen have started to suffer tribulations yet.
There is a Chinese saying, "Good will be rewarded; evil will be
punished." It is not that retribution will not happen, it is just that
the time has not come yet. No one in his right mind will draw the
conclusion that there is no legal consequence for murder because he
sees a convicted murderer on the death row still alive and kicking in
his prison cell before the scheduled time for his execution and then
start killing people just because he feels like it. There is another
Chinese saying, "The net of the heavens opens widely, and it does not
omit anything." No matter where the evil people are, they will not be
able to escape retribution when the time comes.

What should we
do with these natural disasters? Besides employing all the available
disaster prevention and damage control methods, what is more important
is that we must restore the kindness in our hearts. We need to purge
from our minds all the lies that Jiang has created to justify and
sustain the persecution against Falun Gong. We need to firmly remember
that Falun Dafa is good and righteous. We need to remember that
Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance are good. If possible, we
should keep repeating it to ourselves. This kind thought and these kind
words will keep the natural disasters away from us because the gods
will bless us with good fortune if we restore morality. If you were
deceived by Jiang's lies in the past, and have been incited to
persecute Falun Gong practitioners, then you should try your best to
protect and treat Falun Gong practitioners with kindness. If you
sincerely repent your sins, and do your best to make up for your
mistakes, Heaven will certainly give you a second chance. One kind
thought can touch the hearts of gods and dissolve disasters into
nothing. Gods are just and compassionate. Gods always give people a
second chance; it is man who sometimes shut off their ways out. If a
man is indifferent to the gods' warnings in the form of disasters and
the compassionate advice from Falun Gong practitioners to stop
persecuting Falun Gong, and is still determined to follow Jiang as his
evil henchman to persecute Falun Gong, he is bound to face the
retribution he deserves arranged by Heaven.

Translated from:

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