Master Li's Teachings and Comprehension of the Fa are the Most Important Things in our Cultivation; Our Human Notions of such Things as Concern for Others Could Be Impediments to Reaching Consummation

Wen Hua

PureInsight | August 12, 2002

On July 15, 2002, PureInsight posted an article entitled "Cultivation Stories of Taoists - Purifying Every Single Thought during Cultivation." The story dealt with ways in which fellow cultivators encouraged each other. After reading it I was deeply inspired. When I compared the story with my way of dealing with relationships with fellow practitioners, I had more to share with our practitioners.

It seems that Ma Danyang had better enlightenment quality than his junior fellow apprentice, Qiu Changchun, so he made more progress. When Ma found that Qiu understood something the wrong way, he immediately pointed it out without mercy, saying, "Not only do you need to look inward to cultivate your mind/nature, but also cultivate outward by elevating your virtue. Master said that we could only reach a profound realm by both internal and external cultivation. Do you think that what you said a moment ago really makes sense?" Because Qiu Changchun was a cultivator, when he heard his criticisms and comments, he thanked Ma immediately. He sincerely looked inward and upgraded himself, unlike some veteran practitioners who are sometimes attached to their own reputation. They only accepted comments on the surface, but did not want to change in their hearts.

Then Qiu Changchun told Ma Danyang of his private talk with Master Wang Chonyang who was believed to "pass along," just like some of our disciples pass along Master Li's words. He thought he was providing some information for Ma's reference. Ma Danyang, though, sighed and said: "Master once said you could not cultivate quietly. Instead, you like to show off. Therefore, among our seven disciples, you will be last one to achieve enlightenment. From now on, you really need to abstain from that." He is right. If we always pretend to be well-informed persons and do not give up human sentiments, how can we meet Master's requirement for cultivation of speech?

When Ma Danyang saw that his junior fellow apprentice fell behind he not only criticized him, but also sincerely offered help. He said: "If you could look inside yourself, hide your capacities and bide your time, I will teach you the 'Tao' I learned from Master." Being an enlightened person, he was very merciful and frank.

The story became more interesting. One day, a snowstorm trapped them. They did not eat or drink for three days. Qiu Changchun could tolerate hunger, but our of respect for the elderly and wanting to repay Ma Danyang's teaching, he was afraid that Ma Danyang could not endure such coldness and hunger since he was from a privileged background. When he did the sitting meditation, he thought of finding some food for Ma Danyang. He did not know the thoughts of a practitioner had energy and his thought disturbed a local spirit. In a dream the gnome appeared as part of a family that believed in gods. The next day the family brought food to them. Ordinary people may think that Ma Danyang should thank Qiu Changchun, but he said: "The thoughts of a man of honor are about the 'Tao;' instead, you thought of food. You did not think how to improve your cultivation, but how to get food. You cannot reach enlightenment with even one impure thought. From now on, I will not travel with you any longer. I will separate from you right now!"

After reading this story, at the beginning I thought Qiu Changchun was right. Undoubtedly he wanted to do something good. He tolerated hunger, but Ma Danyang still blamed him and said he was attached to food. He did nothing wrong. After thinking about this carefully, I realized that Qiu Changchun was wrong. He treated a cultivator with an everyday person's mindset, which itself was wrong.

This story reminded me of when we had sent forth righteous thoughts 24 hours around the clock in front of the Chinese embassy over 49 days. We were short of people and it was not easy for us to persist for so many days. Several times I did not feel like waking up other practitioners. I managed to keep myself alert and sat there by myself at the time of globally sending forth righteous thoughts. At that time I thought my heart was kind enough and better than some of the practitioners (men) who were harsh, but now I realize that I was attached to human sentiment at that time and I used ordinary people's standards to measure practitioners. In fact, it was an insult to practitioners not to awaken them. I let other practitioners miss the opportunities to "cultivate a golden body in tribulation," something that was not merciful to them, but perhaps did harm to them. (On the other hand, Master Li also tells us that each practitioner has his/her own path).

This story made it clear to me that we cannot always rely on help from others and also cannot always think about helping others. We are all practitioners and Master's fashen is taking care of each disciple. Sometimes we have desires to help others upgrade themselves. We are afraid that they will fall behind because they cannot do well in cultivation. Worry like this seems selfless and on the surface it looks good for upgrading ourselves as one body. If this concern develops into anxiety, that is wrong and it is a reflection of a superficial understanding of the Fa. In the past we feared that we ourselves were not doing well in cultivation, and now we are afraid that our fellow practitioners cannot achieve enlightenment. In fact, both of these thoughts are due to a shallow understanding of the Fa and they are ordinary people's attachments and wrong notions. We should calm down and steadfastly do what we should. When we deal with contradictions among fellow practitioners, if we seriously and conscientiously follow the Fa we will become an indestructible, united body.

Translated from:

Add new comment