Destroying “Forest of Merits and Virtues” with Fire

Gu Guang

PureInsight | June 27, 2010

[] Since ancient times, cultivators have always considered that getting angry is impermissible for a cultivator. From the perspective of an ordinary person, people who do good deeds are accumulating virtue. For Dafa practitioners during the Fa-Rectification Period, extensively saving sentient beings and doing the three things that Teacher requires of us is not limited to just accumulating merits and virtues; instead, these requirements aim at establishing greater virtue. If a cultivator does not allow others to criticize him or her and gets angry, he or she will lose merits and virtues; it is thus called: destroying forest of merits and virtues with fire.

There was once a cultivator by the name of Zhao Tong. He cultivated very well, with the exception that he got angry sometimes when he encountered problems. In order to remind himself not to get angry, he changed his name to “Cold Ash.” Cold Ash lived in a mountainous region. There was a big river in front of his house without any bridge across it. Some elderly people and young children had great difficulties crossing the river. In order to help them, Cold Ash carried them on his back across the river.

One day, a lame person wanted to cross the river, so Cold Ash carried him on his back to cross the river. Upon crossing the river, the lame person said to him, “It is difficult for me to walk. Could you carry me further?” Cold Ash agreed. When they were on the hillside, the lame person said to him, “I have heard that you couldn't control your temper, so you renamed yourself. What is your new name?” Zhao Tong told him that it was Cold Ash. After a few more steps, the lame person scratched his head and asked: “What is your name again?” Zhao Tong replied, “Cold Ash!” The lame person continued to scratch his head and asked the same question three times. Cold Ash got angry and shouted, “Cold Ash! Cold Ash! Cold Ash!” Before his voice had barely faded away, he suddenly felt the person disappear from his back and heard voices from the sky: “Cold Ash is not cold. The pile of cold ash is still sparking. I am Tieguai Li, here to save you. It looks as though your temper is still hot. With your temper like this, it will be difficult for you to obtain the Right Fruit. Continue in your cultivation!” The voice faded away. (Tieguai Li is one of the Eight Immortals mentioned in Daoism who limped about with an iron walking stick.)

A few years later, Cold Ash saw a person lying on the riverside near his house and asked him, “Do you want to cross the river?” The person said, “I don't want to cross the river. I just want to see the landscape before I leave this miserable world.” Cold Ash asked, “Why do you say such a thing?” The person replied, “I have a malignant skin ulcer and I have no money to have it treated.” Cold Ash asked, “Can you use a folk remedy?” He replied, “I have a remedy, but I need to have someone suck the pus and blood out before I can use the medicine. However, I don't have a wife or child to help me suck the pus out.” Cold Ash didn't say anything. The man continued, “I do not have any regrets about dying; people will die anyway. But I have an eighty year-old mother to take care of and I can't do my filial duty if I die.” Cold Ash thus said to the man, “I will suck the pus out.” The man replied “No, you have already helped me so much and I am unable to repay your kindness. How can I be at peace with myself?” Cold Ash thought this person was so filial and thought that if he saved him, it would be saving two people. The man replied, “Good!” When Cold Ash's mouth approached the opening of the sore, some liquid flew into his mouth. He felt vital energy and his whole body became very relaxed. Cold Ash asked, “Are there any more scabies?" The man replied, “Don’t be too greedy! The elixir of life stops here. You have gotten it today to help you acquire the Dao. I am Tieguai Li.”

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