Remembering That Buddha Once Begged for Food to Save Us

Wen Hua

PureInsight | March 15, 2004

[] Upon hearing that we were going to perform a traditional Chinese fan dance on a busy street corner, my husband, who is not yet a Falun Dafa practitioner, complained, "Why do you have to perform in the streets and dance and sing for passersby in such cold weather?"

Rather than being annoyed, I remembered Teacher's words: "Did you know that in order to save you the Buddha once begged for food among everyday people?" (From "True Cultivation" in Essentials for Further Advancement)

My understanding is that the Buddha to whom Teacher referred with this remark is Buddha Sakyamuni. Therefore my searching mind pondered, "why did Sakyamuni Buddha beg for food in order to save human beings?" I came up with the following thoughts: First, Sakyamuni, as a cultivator, diligently wanted to let go of all human attachments and at the same time set a precedent for his disciples, and secondly, begging for food among everyday people provides an opportunity for an everyday person. When an everyday person offers food to a cultivator out of respect for the cultivator, he is tangibly assisting the cultivator to sustain his cultivation path. With his benevolent and respectful act, the everyday person has established a benevolent relationship with the Buddha Fa. No wonder that Sakyamuni Buddha once said, " food to monks was something that would bring boundless virtue because his disciples needed to beg for alms." (From "Lecture at the US East Coast Conference")

There is a story that tells of an incident that occurred one time when Sakyamuni begged for food. One day, Sakyamuni traveled to a seaside village to beg for food, a little girl suddenly ran towards him and mischievously put a handful of sand into Sakyamuni's begging bowl. His disciples were very angry at the little mischievous girl, but Sakyamuni accepted the sand in a very pleasant manner. Later, Sakyamuni explained to them that the girl would be reincarnated as a Chinese and become a Chinese Empress. If Sakyamuni did not accept her offering of sand, she would destroy Buddhism in China when she became the empress. By accepting her offering, Sakyamuni has allowed her to establish a benevolent relationship with the Buddha Fa, and she would propagate Buddhism in China when she became the empress of China. The girl became the Empress Wu Zetian of the Tang Dynasty in her next life. Under her reign, Buddhism continued to flourish during the Tang Dynasty and was adopted by the imperial family, becoming a permanent part of traditional Chinese culture.

The above story helped me further understand Teacher's Fa. Teacher requires us to do the following:

Also, with those people that you run into by chance, who you run into in daily life, and the people you run into at work, you should all clarify the truth to them. Even when in your daily life you pass by someone so quickly that you don't have a chance to talk to them, you should still leave them with your compassion and kindness. Don't lose those who should be saved, especially those with predestined connections.

(From "Teaching the Fa at the 2003 Atlanta Fa Conference")

Dafa has created each day a rare opportunity for us to offer salvation to sentient beings, and to give them the opportunity to create a benevolent relationship with Falun Dafa through us.

Let me go back to the topic of our art performance in the street. No matter how everyday people view our social station in life and family lineage when they see us performing in the streets, as long as they enjoy our songs, dances and other performances, or as long as our speech and action can inspire them with a kind thought, they are starting to establish a benevolent relationship with Falun Dafa. Thus we may have partially fulfilled our prehistoric pledge.

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