Why Couldn't the Tang Monk Stay with the Beautiful Queen?

PureInsight | September 17, 2006

[PureInsight.org] This happened
ten years ago. I was a high school teacher. One day in May one of my
students, a very pretty girl who was preparing for her college entrance
examination, stopped me and asked, "Teacher, I watched a good TV show
yesterday.  Do you want to know what it was?" I replied, "Yes,
please tell me about it." She said, "It was an episode from Journey to the West
called 'The Kingdom of Women'" (translator's note: in that episode, on
his way to the Western Paradise to obtain Buddhist scriptures, the Tang
Monk passed through a Kingdom of Women. The Queen fell in love with him
and wanted him to become her consort. The Tang Monk turned down her
offer and continued on his journey).  I told her that I had
already watched it and thought it was a good show. She asked me, "Don't
you think that the Tang Monk was a little stupid for not wanting to
stay by the side of the beautiful Queen?" I realized that the girl was
harboring some thoughts that she shouldn't have at that point in her
life. As a teacher, I felt I was duty bound to give her proper guidance
at this crucial stage in her life.   

So I told her,
"Everyone has his or her own dreams. If the Tang Monk had chosen to
stay, he wouldn't be able to obtain Buddhist scriptures. It is the same
thing with you and your classmates. If you don't put all your efforts
into study at this time, you might not be able to pass the college
entrance examination, which would make your life in the future much
more difficult." The girl said, "The Tang Monk could have asked his
disciples who had supernormal abilities to fetch the Scriptures. 
He was just an ordinary man.  He was less capable than his most
senior disciple, Sun Wukong (the Monkey King), in identifying the
devils. Physically he was a lot weaker than his second most senior
disciple Zhu Bajie.  If he hadn't been on the trip, Sun Wukong
could have ridden on a cloud and flown to their final destination in a
blink of an eye." I didn't know what to tell her. The girl laughed and
said, "Teacher, you won't be able to persuade me.  But I
understand what you mean.  I'll concentrate on preparing for the
examination." She ran off in a mischievous manner.

Back then I
actually secretly agreed with what the girl had said. To me, the Tang
Monk could have asked his disciples to fetch the Scriptures.  Then
he would have been able to stay with the Queen and enjoy a life of
luxury and prestige.  It would be a win-win situation. By making
the journey himself, he was only making life more difficult for himself
and his disciples. What was the point?

Ten years later I read Journey to the West
again. I finally understood the Tang Monk's decision. It is because I
have been cultivating and Dafa has given me wisdom.  I understand
why the Queen was unable to persuade the Tang Monk to stay by her
side.  To understand the profound meaning behind it, we need to
look at the story of Journey to the West in its entirety.

Actually the story of Journey to the West
is the story of cultivation. The form of cultivation that the Tang Monk
took was to fetch the Scriptures. The process of "fetching the
scriptures" was the process of his cultivation.  The sufferings
and hardships that he encountered on his way to fetch the Scriptures
were tribulations that he had to face during his cultivation.  The
Tang Monk and his disciples had experienced a total of 81 tests or
calamities before they finally reached their destination. The
calamities represented the fact that all cultivators must experience
many tests during their cultivation processes. If one tries to take a
detour and run away from a test, another test will be added. Of course,
the actual tests vary based on the individual cultivator. One won't
face exactly 81 tests in cultivation.  The amount of karma that a
cultivator carries from his or her past lives contributes to how
difficult his or her tests are.

Most of the tribulations that
the Tang Monk had to face during his cultivation were due to
interference from evil spirits. But some of his tribulations were
man-made interference.  His encounter with the Queen was not only
a test, it was a major trial. It was a test to see if he was able to
let go of sentimentality, and let go of human desires for love, lust,
fame and self-interest. If he had been unable to pass the test, he
would have cultivated in vain. It was as dangerous as the other
tribulations that were made by the intervention of the evil spirits.

Nobody can take another person's place in cultivation.
Whoever cultivates gains. If one doesn't cultivate, one will never ever
gain.  Of course, if I tell my student these things today, she
still might not understand it. It is because she is not a cultivator
and lives in the human desires of affection, fame and
self-interest.  She might still think that the Tang Monk was
stupid for leaving the Queen. But at least, I have come to understand
the Tang Monk's decision. All cultivators understand it.  

Tang Monk had stayed with the beautiful Queen, he would have gained a
life of luxury, wealth, rank and affection.  But when his life
ended, everything would have vanished. He would then be reincarnated
and enter into his next life. Would he and his Queen continue their
relationship in the next life? There is a Chinese saying, "A husband
and a wife are like two birds in a forest. When a major catastrophe
takes place, they fly off on their separate ways." How many couples in
the human world have truly fulfilled their solemn vows for having
undying and eternal love toward each other? How could an ordinary
person be capable of fulfilling a promise that surpasses time and
space?  Only cultivation can lead to an eternal life. 
Ordinary human beings who indulge themselves in human desires might not
understand the Tang Monk, but cultivators do!

Translated from: http://www.zhengjian.org/zj/articles/2006/8/13/39528.html

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