Exploring the Journey to the West* (13)

Chuan Jiang

PureInsight | October 14, 2007

Four Sages Test Their Righteous Hearts

Cultivators must eliminate their attachments to fame, wealth, and sentimentality. And the four sages tested them for that.

In the community of cultivators, the saying goes, "Life in this world
is like staying in a hotel and, in a few days, you will leave."
Everyone goes to a different destination and there is nothing
worthwhile to hold you back. After you think about it carefully, you
will notice that how true that is. Buddhism talks about reincarnation
and that no one can take fame and wealth with him. Your relatives and
enemies in this lifetime are here to fulfill a predestined relationship
with you. No one can replace the other. Once you understand the real
rules for life, know how to obtain true happiness and live forever,
know the truth of the universe, you will take all troubles from living
lightly. What is there to fight about? Human life is so short and so
insignificant in this vast cosmos.

The tests from the four sages also reflect certain manifestations
during the course of cultivation. At times, some tests are not demonic
interference, but purposely arranged by the gods. Therefore, nothing is
coincidental and, as cultivators, we should always remember who we are
and move forward diligently.

It would have been a huge mistake to eliminate anyone from the
entourage. The purpose of the pilgrimage to India was not only to bring
back the scriptures but also to facilitate the consummations of Tang
Xuanzang, Sun Wukong, Zhu Baijie, Sha Wujing and the little white
dragon. Bringing back the scriptures was needed for the novel's plot
but cultivating to the right fruit is the real purpose.

* "Journey to the West" is a
classic novel of Chinese mythology. The Buddhist monk Tang Xuanzang and
his three disciples went to India to obtain the Buddhist Scriptures. On
the surface, it is a novel about the adventures of a monkey with
unsurpassed supernormal capabilities battling demons of all sorts.
Underneath, it is a story about cultivation and tells the attachments
that cultivators have to overcome one by one.

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