Stories from Buddhism: Cultivating Blessings Versus Cultivating Wisdom

Guo Zheng

PureInsight | August 21, 2006

[] A long time
ago, many cultivators gathered in a remote mountain far from cities to
cultivate. They came from different cultivation schools and had their
own methods of cultivation. Among them, there were two people who
followed the same master but, because of the difference in their
understandings, they each had a different way of cultivation. They kept
their cultivation to themselves and didn't interfere with the other.
The older disciple concentrated on cultivating blessings and did not
pay much attention to cultivating wisdom, and the younger disciple only
emphasized the cultivation of wisdom while not paying attention to the
cultivation of blessings. Because the older disciple only pursued
cultivation of blessings but not wisdom, he remained muddle-headed and
unable to distinguish the good from bad throughout his whole life. As a
result, he didn't even reach the beginning fruit status of Xu Tuo Heng
Guo and stayed ignorant.

On the other hand, the younger disciple only recognized the importance
of wisdom and thought that wisdom was like a person's eyes; if he lost
them, he would be blind and surely be in danger. Therefore, he
wholeheartedly cultivated for wisdom, yet neglected the importance of
accumulating virtue. Later on, he cultivated diligently and reached the
fruit status of Arhat.

By that time, the older disciple had already passed away due to his old
age. The younger disciple went to the city. He wanted to spread the Fa
to more beings in the city. But because he hadn't accumulated any
blessings in life, not even one person was willing to offer him alms.
Although he told people that he had enlightened at the level of Arhat,
there was still no one who bothered to pay attention to him. Because he
did not pay attention to cultivation of blessings, how could he receive
any offerings and respect from people?

So, he came to the royal palace. In front of its magnificent entrance,
he suddenly saw a white elephant that wore many beautiful pearls, jades
and colorful jewels. It leisurely walked around the palace and looked
proud. Upon entering tranquility and observing, the younger disciple
found that the white elephant was originally the elder disciple who had
cultivated solely for blessings.

The younger disciple became quite moved and sighed, "My fellow disciple
cultivated solely for blessings. He ended up becoming an elephant
covered in jewels. On the other hand, I have cultivated only wisdom and
not blessings, and end up finding it so difficult to survive. It shows
that a cultivator should cultivate both wisdom and blessings."

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