Thoughts about Life: Characteristics and Style of Enlightened Beings

Guan Ming

PureInsight | December 6, 2004

[] When I was young and read the book "Biography of Yue Fei," I frequently pondered a couple of questions: He was a brave and powerful general. Why didn't he just kill the traitor Qin Hui? Even if he chose not to kill Qin Hui, why didn't he simply escape? Why did he simply allow Qin Hui to execute him as well as his son? (For a more detailed story about Yue Fei, see

In the Chinese classic work The Romance of the Three Kingdoms, the "yi" [loyalty, propriety, valor, virtue, honesty, trustworthiness] demonstrated by General Guan Yu is well known to every Chinese person. During the Three Kingdoms Period, Liu Bei, Cao Cao and another leader each had their own kingdom and were fighting for the control of the country. Guan Yu was a sworn brother to Liu Bei. In a major battle, Cao Cao's army destroyed Liu Bei's army and Guan Yu was captured by Cao Cao. Cao Cao tried to persuade Guan Yu to serve him by treating him as an honored guest instead of a prisoner. He gave Guan Yu a big house and many expensive gifts. But no matter what kind of temptation he faced, Guan Yu always said, "If I knew where Liu Bei is, I would be by his side." He eventually broke through five major blockades that Cao Cao put up, and went back to Liu Bei, even though Cao Cao was clearly more powerful than Liu Bei and Liu Bei's army had been destroyed.

In today's China, there are also many noble people who are firmly committed to yi. They uphold their noble beliefs at the risk of prison, torture, and even death. The reason that they never fight back is not because they are physically unable to do that. It is because of their belief in "Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance." They live by the motto "one should not fight back when being punched or insulted." They don't even harbor resentment toward the very people who have hurt them and committed crimes against them. They have truly demonstrated immense compassion and forbearance, characteristics possessed by enlightened beings.

The mighty virtue and incomparable auras of enlightened beings will not fade with the passage of time. They are respected by people to the end of time. Enlightened beings aren't only judged by the good deeds that they do but also by how they respond to adversity. When Jesus came to the human world to save people, he performed many miracles. It wouldn't have been difficult for him to stop himself from being crucified. But in order to pay back the sins that people had committed, he was willing to give himself up to absolve their trespasses and accept punishment in their stead. He did not harbor resentment toward the people who crucified him, not even the traitor Judas. Instead of using evil to defeat evil, he used virtue to confront wicked action and compassion to touch people. That is the action of a truly enlightened person.

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