PureInsight | October 24, 2005
[PureInsight.org] Preface: I would like to share a costly lesson I learned from my cultivation practice in one of my previous lives. By sharing this story, I hope to release myself from my attachment to the Buddhist frescoes in Dunhuang, Gansu Province. Besides my attachment to land, I used to be very attached to the Buddhist frescoes in the caves of Dunhuang. When I first came across them, I felt I had seen them before although I didn't really know what they represented.
It was difficult to describe my desire to find a cultivation school that would help me free myself from reincarnations forever, in the middle of the gusty wind in the desert in Gansu Province. During that lifetime, I looked to cultivation as a way to avoid facing painful reality. Moreover, I failed to eliminate my severe attachment to sentimentality. Therefore, I missed the chance to reach Consummation in that life. I am very grateful to Teacher to arrange the precious predestined opportunity to cultivate in Falun Gong in my present life. I would like to take the opportunity to remind everyone that cultivation is solemn and sacred. If one harbors an ulterior motive or fails to eliminate one's attachments, one will be bound to waste one's predestined opportunity. We have only this last opportunity to cultivate. This is an opportunity that will never come again. Let's cherish this opportunity, because we have waited for this over so many of our lives and for the sake of sentient beings that placed so much hope in us! Let's be diligent in our cultivation practice. We must not waste a moment of this the grand and magnificent time. We must live up to our pledge! We must not let Teacher down after he has repeatedly given us opportunities to cultivate.
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My story tells of the time after the An Lushan Rebellion in 755 A.D., during the final years of Emperor Xuanzong's reign. The rebellion all but destroyed the Tang Dynasty and the prosperity that took years to build. In Jinde Town, Jiangxi Province, there was a teenaged boy named Lin Jiang. He lived in Youcaifang, outside the town's south gate. His father had been teaching him an internal cultivation practice. Therefore, he became known for his accomplishments in literature and martial arts.
Lin Jiang's parents worked in Jiangbei so Lin Jiang lived a rich and comfortable life. The only regrettable thing was that Lin Jiang could not live with his parents, as he lived with his uncle. Lin Jiang and a neighbor girl, Axiu, shared an innocent affection that began when they were little. They were very close to each other. Axiu had a pair of bright, sparkling eyes. They were clear and pure as a lake. Axiu's mother had passed away when she was little. Her father became addicted to gambling and often went gambling at the largest casino, Shunyifang. Axiu's father always lost money gambling and squandered almost all his assets. Sometimes Lin Jiang's family would loan them some money to make ends meet. Axiu often wept because of her father's addiction to gambling.
One day at noon, Lin Jiang and Axiu walked to town holding hands. When they were several feet from the market, they suddenly noticed that a reckless young man from a wealthy family was trying to kidnap a young maiden. While trying to grab her, the young man shouted, "I have married 13 concubines. Today I will take you home and make you my 14th concubine! Guys! Take her to my home!" Then several male servants grabbed the young maiden and threw her into a small blue palanquin. When Lin Jiang saw their kidnapping attempt, he shouted, "Freeze! How dare you kidnap and force someone into marriage in broad daylight? Release her at once or you have to answer to me!"
The young man said, "Where did this xxx come from? Who do you think you are to challenge me? Guys, give this xxx a lesson!"
Lin Jiang threw a punch at the reckless young man, but he missed because he dodged. Several servants jumped on Lin Jiang, but he quickly beat them to the ground. The reckless young man was also beaten.
When Lin Jiang was about to leave, the reckless young man said, "Give me your name if you dare. Don't you leave without leaving your name!"
Lin Jiang told him loudly, "My name is Lin Jiang. I am a local resident here. I live in Youcaifang outside of the south gate. You are welcome to fight me any time!"
Then he took Axiu's hand and left. During their outing, Lin Jiang told Axiu, "I had a lot of fun beating these scoundrels today." They laughed all day and had a lot of fun.
At night, when Lin Jiang returned home, his uncle told him that he had heard about what happened today. He advised Lin Jiang, "You know nothing about the way of life. You think you can afford to offend everyone?"
"Who was the guy I beat today?"
"That reckless young man is the owner of the biggest casino in town, Shunyifang. His uncle is the magistrate of Wuxi City. His family holds power in the royal palace. Do you have any idea about the consequence of offending a man from a powerful family?!" Lin Jiang began to feel a lot of pressure.
Two days later, Lin Jiang received a letter from father, who asked him to go to Jianbei and help him with his business. The night before he took off, Lin Jiang held Axiu in his arms in the beautiful moonlight. They talked all night long. Before he left, Lin Jiang told Axiu, "I will be back in 10 to 15 days at the most. When I get back, we will get married. Then we will be with my father. I will work for him in Jiangbei. How happy we will be!"
Axiu said in tears, "Come back soon! I will be waiting for you!" Thus Lin Jiang left for Jiangbei.
Axiu returned home feeling distressed. Her father told her, "Today I gambled at Shunyifang and borrowed two teals of silver."
Upon hearing her father's gambling debt, Axiu became very anxious. She complained, "Why can't you quit gambling? Besides, why did you have to borrow money from Shunyifang of all places? Lin Jiang beat up its owner a few days ago. He will come looking for trouble sooner or later. Now that you borrowed money from them, I am afraid there is going to be trouble soon!"
A little later the reckless young man who owned Shunyifang and several strong men broke into their home. The young man sneered. "Well, both of you are home. Lin Jiang beat me up and ruined my affairs. Today I will have his fiancée pay back what he owes me! Old man, return the 20 teals of silver you have borrowed from me right away and I will spare your daughter's life. Otherwise…guy! Strip off her clothes!"
Axiu's father begged in tears, "No! Please don't! Please! Leave my daughter alone!" But those thugs ignored the old man's plea. They soon stripped Axiu naked. Next the good-for-nothing young man raped Axiu in front of everyone. This was not the end of her misery. They cut Axiu's face and body with knives and poured salt into the wounds… (Forgive me. I am unable to give you more details for it is unbearably painful to do so.)
It was not until Axiu was dying that the thugs left in laughter. Axiu's father carried the unconscious Axiu to Lin Jiang's home and told Lin Jiang's uncle what had happened. Upon hearing the story, Lin Jiang's uncle burst into tears. He immediately sent a messenger to Lin Jiang and summoned the best doctor in town to resuscitate Axiu. However, no one could save her life. Lin Jiang hurried back home as soon as he heard the news. He ran into the house, held the unconscious Axiu in his arms and burst into tears. He cried out in a broken voice, "It is all my fault! It is all my fault!"
The next three days and nights, Lin Jiang spent every hour with Axiu, holding her in his arms. He cried so much that he had no more tears left. Within just a few days Lin Jiang looked as though he had aged many years.
On the fourth morning at dawn, Axiu suddenly woke up. When she saw that she was in Lin Jiang's arms, she said with tears and in a weak voice, "My dear Lin Jiang, I am afraid I cannot marry you in this life. Will you marry me in the next life? I promise you that we will be together forever in every life. I will always love you!"
Lin Jiang shouted, "I want you to be with me forever starting this life! This life!"
"I am afraid I won't be able to do that. Dear Lin Jiang, I have to leave you!"
"No! No! Don't ever leave me!" Lin Jiang shook Axiu's body anxiously, but Axiu slowly closed her eyes and her body became stiff…
Five days later, Lin Jiang had Axiu buried under a willow tree. It was drizzling during the funeral, but it became clear again after the funeral. Then a beautiful rainbow appeared in the western sky. To commemorate Axiu, Lin Jiang wrote a poem on the paper:
Innocent affection grew between us during the walks under the moonlight.
Axiu and I respected each other.
Now you have died in injustice,
Leaving behind Lin Jiang alone.
You said you would be with me forever.
I hope you will fulfill your promise.
May we hold each other's hands in every lifetime
And walk freely and happily around the world!
After he finished writing it, Lin Jiang wanted to burn it. But before he burned it, the paper soared into the air although there was no wind and burned by itself…
After he returned to town, Lin Jiang went to Shunyifang to seek revenge, but the young man had already fled town. Out of rage, Lin Jiang destroyed Shunyifang casino. Later it was said that the reckless young man died at the age of 35 because of his depraved life style.
Lin Jiang felt heartbroken in Jiangnan, because it constantly reminded him of Axiu. He decided to travel to the desert. He thought, "In the desert there won't be heartbreaking fights and vicious schemes." He bade his uncle and Axiu's father farewell and left for northwest China. Finally he arrived a place near Dunhuang, Gansu Province. There the gusty wind blows all year round. He came across several caves with Buddha statues under construction. As he was looking at those charming Buddhist frescoes and statues, he began to admire Buddha.
When he passed by a Buddhist monastery, he ran into its head monk who was very humble. Lin Jiang asked to become his disciple, but the elderly monk said, "You have great virtue, but you are immersed in sentimentality. Why don't you become my lay disciple?"
"Thank you, Master!" Lin Jiang kowtowed. Thus Lin Jiang became a lay disciple of a head monk in Mogao Cave.
A few days later, Lin Jiang discovered a natural spring while doing some errands. The water was as clear as Axiu's eyes. When he thought of Axiu, Lin Jiang was in agony. He thought, "I have left home in order to part with the pain of being separated from the ones I love. Little did I expect that the pain is so deep and severe!" He comforted himself, "I must cultivate well!" Over the next twenty years, the pain of losing Axiu caused him to become less diligent in his cultivation practice. Shortly before he reached nirvana, he was able to levitate. However, each time he saw the crescent spring, he thought of Axiu's beautiful, clear eyes. As a result, he missed the chance to reach Consummation. He burst into tears, regretting his lack of diligence. At this moment, a very loud and clear voice came from the sky:
You have not eliminated your sentimentality during your cultivation practice.
How can I measure your xinxing?
You must not retain any attachment to reach Consummation.
My child, you must be more diligent in your cultivation!
He suddenly realized why his Master told him that he had great virtue but was too immersed in sentimentality. He has paid a dear price for his attachment to sentimentality! He got on his knees and put his hand together in front of his chest. He pledged, "If I have another opportunity to cultivate in the Buddha Fa again, I will definitely take the opportunity and reach the Right Fruit!" Upon making the pledge, Lin Jiang's Main Spirit left his body and went on to the next incarnation…
After writing this article, I felt I had eliminated many elements of sentimentality. The feeling being overcome with sentimentality disappeared. I now feel I have been released from sentimentality. I feel so free and relaxed!
Translated from: http://www.zhengjian.org/zj/articles/2005/9/29/34023.html