Clinging to the Mortal World or Attaining the Dao?

Li Jian

PureInsight | October 21, 2006

[] During the
reign of Emperor Yang (560-618 A.D.) during the Sui Dynasty, three
close friends in cultivation Pei Chen, Wang Jingbo, and Li Fang
traveled to Bailu Mountain to seek the Dao.  After more than ten
years of cultivation and unimaginable hardships it seemed that they had
obtained little.  After a while, Li Fang died. Wang Jingbo said to
Pei Chen, "We left our homes and gave up a worldly life of wealth and
power to come here to seek the Dao.  In this remote forest we do
not hear beautiful music and do not eat scrumptious delicacies. We have
treated pleasure as a shameful thing, passing our lonely lives in
poverty all for the sake of obtaining the Dao and becoming an
immortal.  But even today paradise is no nearer in sight. If we
continue our suffering here, death on this mountain is all that awaits
us.  I intend to leave this mountain immediately and live
luxuriously; I intend to seek wealth and status.  Why die in vain
on this lonely mountain?!"

Pei Chen responded, "From the beginning I have known that worldly
wealth and status are temporal, they pass like the clouds.  Having
seen through the illusion, how could I return to such a
dreamland?"  Pei Chen urged Wang Jingbo to remain on the mountain,
but Wang would not listen and departed.  That year was the first
year of Tang Dynasty emperor Taizong's reign (627 A.D).  
Wang Jingbo re-assumed his original official position and before long
became a high ranking army official.  Another high-ranking general
named Zhao gave his daughter in marriage to Wang Jingbo.  Within a
few years he became the head of the imperial guard. Dressed in official
red robes, he was an impressive sight.

On one occasion he was sent as an envoy to the region south of the Huai
river.  He traveled by boat to Gaoyou. His fleet bore an insignia
indicating great distinction.  When other boatmen spotted the
insignia they quickly parted on the water allowing the official fleet
to make passage.  Without notice a small fishing boat appeared in
front of the fleet.  At first Wang Jingbo was upset, but when he
looked closely he saw that the fisherman was the same man who had
sought the Dao with him on the mountain - Pei Chen.  So he sent a
boat to greet Pei Chen and invite him onboard the main ship.

Wang Jingbo greeted Pei Chen by saying, "Old friend, at the time we
parted, you had been diligently cultivating. What do you have to show
for it today?  You are nothing more than a fisherman floating on
the river!  As I see it, cultivation is meaningless.  Life is
harsh and short; we should enjoy its pleasures.  Why should I
waste my life cultivating?   Although I am not yet of great
status, I have far surpassed the mountain dwelling hermit I was,
no?  You are as you were before, still willing to forget yourself
in the mountains, I really can't understand!  If you need
anything, I would gladly provide it for you.

Pei Chen responded, "Though I am only a commoner, I long ago left my
worries in the care of the wind.  How could I be like the sage
Zhuang Zi describes, letting the corrupt and rotting rats interest
me?  Each has his aspirations, why must you flaunt your reputation
and wealth?  I have everything I need, what can you offer
me?  On the east side of the Qingyuan building there is a cherry
orchard. That is my home.  I invite you to be my guest in your
spare time."

About two weeks later, Wang Jingbo recalled Pei Chen's words and headed
to the cherry orchard to find him.  A doorman met him at the door
and led him in.  At first the dwelling seemed bleak, but as they
traveled further in the surroundings grew more and more
beautiful.  They passed through a large gate, inside there were
many buildings and lush greenery. This was not the home of a common
man.  The landscape was of unparalleled beauty, extremely relaxing
as if floating in a cloud.  At this point Wang Jingbo changed his
mind.  Being an official was meaningless; he felt lowly living
amidst ordinary people.  Thinking of his colleagues he felt they
too were as petty and meaningless as ants.

Before long a well-dressed, dignified gentleman stood before him. 
Wang Jingbo hurriedly lowered his head in reverence. As he raised his
head he saw to his surprise that the gentleman was Pei Chen.  Pei
Chen said,  "You have been an official for a long time, your heart
has grown selfish weighing you down, making your path difficult." 
Pei Chen led Wang Jingbo into the living room where all objects were
from beyond the mortal world. Wang Jingbo had never tasted such
delicious food as that which Pei Chen brought before him.

Pei Chen then spoke to his steward saying, "Wang Jingbo is a friend
from the mountain, but because he didn't persist in his determination
to obtain the Dao, he left me on the mountain and returned to the
city.  It has been more than 10 years; in that time he has
achieved military rank. But he has become completely lost in worldly
affairs and it would be unkind not to allow him female
companionship."  Pei Chen directed his steward to use his powers
to bring Wang Jingbo's wife Zhao Shi across thousands of miles to
accompany him.


Shortly before dawn Pei Chen instructed his steward to send Zhao Shi
back. "This hall is of the Ninth Heaven, mortals may not enter. 
But Wang Jingbo and I sought the Dao together, it saddens me that he
lost himself in the pleasures of the mortal world.  He thought he
was being the smart one by leaving. In the end, his so-called smartness
led him astray. From now on, he will go up and down in the bitter sea
that is the human world life after life, and won't ever see the shore.
Therefore I deliberately invited him here today, hopefully to awaken


Pei Chen addressed Wang Jingbo saying, "The path in the mortal world is
long and arduous, one will have many matters to worry about—be sure to
take care of yourself." Wang Jingbo graciously thanked Pei Chen and bid
him farewell.  Five days later Wang Jingbo finished his official
business and was preparing to return to the capital.  Before
departing he stole off to find Pei Chen to say goodbye one last
time.  But upon arriving at the cherry orchard he found only an
untended garden of overgrown weeds.  With a heavy heart he headed

For millions of years man has searched amidst suffering for the meaning
of life.  In truth our lives come originally from heavenly
paradises. The goal and meaning of life is to return to the
origin.  In returning to heaven as immortals, we return to our
true home. Upon entering the human world one easily forgets the
perfection of one's true home.  Just as the mortal world deluded
Wang Jingbo, he mistook this world for his true home.  Struggling
to fulfill one's desires, in the midst of the mortal world, one creates
enormous karma, drifting aimlessly through the suffering of
reincarnation.  Wealth and position are fleeting like the clouds,
a pleasant evening and delicious banquet must end with the parting of
friends.  When one forgets why one has come to this world and
forgets one's true home that is one's greatest sadness and suffering.

Today, Falun Dafa has been taught in our world, compassionately saving
sentient beings, offering a cultivation path to uplift lives and return
to the origin.  Cultivators are most fortunate, admired by even
the immortals.  Ten million years of reincarnation were all for
this event to obtain Dafa.  To live at the time when the
universe's Dafa is taught is most fortunate.  But the opportunity
will pass in a moment. To miss it would be the greatest regret. 
This opportunity is fleeting; I hope you will not miss this one chance
in eternity.

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