Images of Buddha made in factories are but works of art. Light-opening means inviting a Buddha's Law body into the image of Buddha, which, then, will be enshrined and worshipped as a visible Buddha body among ordinary people. As the practitioner has a heart of reverence, the Law body of the image of Buddha will guard the Law for him, look after him and protect him during his practice. This is the real purpose of light-opening. Only the right thinking given out at a formal light-opening ceremony, or a great enlightened one in the very high dimension or a person who is cultivating himself in the very high dimension and has such power can perform such a task.
The temples teach that images of Buddha require light-opening and say that the images will not make their powers felt without light-opening. Nowadays, those genuine great masters among the monks in temples have all passed away. After the "Great Cultural Revolution", some former junior monks who had not received any true teachings have now taken charge in temples, and much has not been handed down from past generations. If you ask him what the purpose of light-opening is, he will say that the image of Buddha will make its powers felt when it has light-opened. He cannot tell the reason why it will make its powers felt. In this way he merely holds a ceremony, at which time he puts a small Buddhist sutra into the image of Buddha, seals it with paper, and then chants scriptures towards it. He calls this light-opening. But can this result in light-opening? That depends upon how he is chanting the scriptures. Sakyamuni taught the right mindfulness, chanting scriptures with full concentration in order to really be able to shake the paradise one's cultivation school belongs to, and invite the enlightened one. Only when one of the enlightened one's Law bodies gets into the image of Buddha can the purpose of light opening be reached.
While chanting scriptures some monks are thinking about: How much money will they pay me after I have finished the light-opening? Or while chanting scriptures, he is turning over in his mind: so and so is so bad to me. There is also intrigue practised even in a temple. Such a phenomenon has to be accepted as a fact as we are now in the Period of Decline. We are not here criticizing Buddhism. However, in the Period of Decline there is no peace and seclusion at all in some temples. How can the enlightened one come when such things turn up in the mind of the monk, and such evil ideas come into his mind? As a result, light-opening is out of the question. But this is not always the case. There are still exceptionally good temples and Taoist temples.
I saw in x city a monk whose hands were pitch-black. He put a sutra into the image of Buddha and managed to seal it. After murmuring a few words, the light-opening was over. Then he picked up another image of Buddha and murmured a few words again. He charged 40 yuan for the light-opening of one image of Buddha. Monks nowadays have commercialized the light-opening and they make a fortune out of it. When I looked at it, I found it had not been light-opened yet because he would not be able to do so at all. Monks now go so far as to do such a thing! And what else did I see? There was a person who seemed to be a lay Buddhist, in a temple, and it was said that he was going to do the light-opening for the image of Buddha. He held a mirror in the sun to reflect the sunlight up on the image of Buddha, and then he said that he had light-opened it. It became so ridiculous. Today Buddhism has gone to such a stage that this has become quite a common phenomenon.
A huge bronze image of Buddha was made in Nanjing and it was put up on Lantau Island, Hong Kong. It is indeed a huge image of Buddha. A great many monks came from all parts of the world to do light-opening for it. One of the monks held a mirror in the sun to reflect the sunlight on the face of the image of Buddha, saying this was light-opening. They went so far as to do such a thing at such a grand gathering and on such a solemn occasion! I felt very sad about this. No wonder Sakyamuni said the monks have great difficulty saving themselves, let alone offering salvation to other sentient beings during the Period of Decline. Moreover, quite a good many monks interpret Buddhist scriptures from their own perspective, and even the scripture of the Lady Queen Mother has found its way into the temples. What does not belong to Buddhist classics has all gone to the temples, causing chaos and confusion now. Of course there are still monks who are truly cultivating themselves and credit-worthy. Actually, light-opening means inviting an enlightened being's Law body to stay on the image of Buddha. This is what we mean by light-opening.
For this reason, an image of Buddha can not be worshipped if it has not been light-opened. Worshipping such an image will bring about serious consequences. What consequences, then? People who study the science of the human body now have discovered that our human intention and the thinking of a human brain can generate a substance. And as we look at it from a very high dimension, we can see it is indeed a substance. Yet it does not seem to be the same form of brain wave we have discovered in our studies. Instead, it exists in the form of a complete human brain. Since the substance of a brain form produced when an ordinary person is thinking has no energy, it scatters shortly after it is given out. However, a practitioner's energy will remain much longer. It does not mean that this image of Buddha has got its mind the moment it is turned out from the factory. Not yet. Some of the images of Buddha have not been light-opened, nor have they attained the purpose of being light-opened when they are taken into the temple. If light-opening is done by a sham qigong master or a person of dishonest practices, there will be all the greater danger: foxes and weasels will get into the image of Buddha.
Therefore it would be extremely dangerous for you to worship an image of Buddha, which has not yet been light-opened. How dangerous could it be? As I have pointed out, so far as mankind has developed up till today, everything is deteriorating; the whole society, everything in the whole universe is deteriorating in succession. Everything that happens to ordinary people is caused by themselves. It is very difficult to pursue the Orthodox Law and to follow the right course because interference could come from many aspects. You wish to follow Buddha, but who is Buddha? It is very difficult even to wish to do so. If you don't believe, let me tell you: There would be serious consequence if the first person prostrates himself to worship the image of Buddha that has not been light-opened yet. How many of the people who are worshipping Buddhas are thinking about asking the Buddhas to help them complete the true achievement nowadays? There are very few such people. What are the purposes of worshipping Buddhas for most people? They seek to eliminate disasters, dispel misfortunes and make fortunes. These are what they pursue. But can all this be found in the classics of Buddhism? There are definitely no things of this level at all.
If the Buddha-worshipper seeks after money and he prostrates himself to the image of Buddha or the image of Bodhisattva Guanyin (Avalokitesvara) or the image of Tathagata, asking: Could you help me make some money, please? Well, a complete intention of the mind is then formed. Since such an intention of his is given out directly to the image of Buddha, it will immediately get into it. The formation of the image in another space can become big or small. When the intention of the mind rests upon the formation, the image of Buddha will then have a brain, and thus can think, but it has no body. Others also come to worship it, and more and more such worshipping will provide it with a certain amount of energy. It is especially more dangerous for a practitioner to worship it, for the worshipping will gradually give it energy, which will form a tangible body. But such a tangible body is formed in another space. It stays in another space after it comes into being, and it is able to know a little truth of the universe, therefore it can do something for people, and in this way it can also increase energy a little. But it helps people with preconditions and requirements. In another space it moves all freely and it can control ordinary people easily and freely. This tangible body looks exactly the same as the image of the Buddha. It is people's worshipping that gives birth to the sham Bodhisattva Guangyin, the sham Tathagata, which looks just like the image of Buddha and has the appearance of the Buddha, but which results from people's worshipping. Yet the mind of the phony Buddha or the phony Budhisattva is extremely bad. It is after money. It was born in another space, and has a mind. As it knows a little about the truth it dares not commit major wrongdoings, but it dares to commit minor ones. Sometimes, it also helps people, otherwise it will become out-and-out evil, and will be killed. How does it help people? Someone says: I pray to the Buddha for help. Please help x in my family. He is ill. Well, it will help you. It causes you to throw money into the Donation Box as its mind is after money. The more money you throw into the Donation Box, the sooner the illness will be gone. It can manipulate an ordinary person in another space because it possesses a certain amount of energy. It is especially more dangerous for a practitioner to worship it. What is the practitioner seeking after? Money. Let's think about it: What does a practitioner seek money for? It is an attachment to affection and intimacy for a practitioner even to seek to eliminate disasters or illnesses for his family or friends, for everybody has his own fate! How could he manipulate others' destiny? If you want to worship it, praying: Please help me make some money. Well, it will help you. It wants you to seek for more money very much indeed. The more money you seek for, the more it can take from you. That is an equal exchange. Other worshippers have thrown a lot of money into the Box, but it causes you to get the money. How will this be done? You may pick up a wallet when you go out, or your work unit will give you some bonus. Anyhow, it will help you gain money in one way or another. But how could it help you without any conditions? No loss, no gain. You will have to give it some of your cultivation energy because it is in need of it, or it will take away the elixir that you have refined in your cultivation. This is what it wants.
These sham Buddhas are extremely dangerous sometimes. Many of our practitioners who have opened their Celestial Eyes think that they have seen Buddhas. One may say that a group of Buddhas have come to the temple today, what name this Buddha is, and that he is leading a group of other Buddhas to the temple. He may describe what the group who came yesterday looked like, and what the group who came today looked like. They left after a short while, and then another group came. What are they? They just belong to such a category. They are not genuine Buddhas. They are sham ones. And a considerable number of them belong to such a category.
It will be more dangerous if such a thing occurs in a temple. If the monks worship it, it will take charge of them: Aren't you worshipping me? And you are fully aware of doing so. Well, don't you want to cultivate? I shall keep you under my control, and tell you how to cultivate. It will make arrangements for you. Where will you go then when you have completed your cultivation? Now that it has arranged for your cultivation, no school of cultivation of the high dimension will accept you. You will listen to it in the future since it has arranged for your cultivation. This being the case, don't you think your cultivation will end up in vain? As I have said, it is rather difficult today for people to complete the true achievement in cultivation. This phenomenon is quite common. Many of us have seen in famous mountains and at big rivers the Buddha light, most of which belongs to this type. It has energy and therefore can manifest itself. But a genuine great enlightened being will not readily reveal himself.
In the past there were relatively few of what was called Earth Buddhas or Earth Tao. But nowadays there are a great number of them. When one does evil, the high dimension will also want to kill it. When this happens, it will get into the image of Buddha. The ordinary enlightened being will not interfere in the principles of ordinary people for no good reason. The higher the dimension the enlightened being belongs to, the harder he will try to avoid interrupting the principles of ordinary people. Not in the least. He will be unlikely to do such a thing as smashes the image of Buddha into pieces by a thunderbolt. So, it will be left alone when it gets into the image of Buddha. It knows when it is in danger of being killed, and therefore it will try to run away. So, is the Budhisattva Guanyin you have seen Bodhisattva Guanyin? Is the Buddha you have seen the Buddha? It is very hard to say.
Many of us associate ourselves with an issue: What shall we do about the image of Buddha at home? Maybe many people have thought of me. In order to help my students with their cultivation, I'd like to tell you to do the following: Hold my book (because there are my photos in the book) or my photo while holding with both hands the image of Buddha, making the Big Lotus Hand gesture. Then you ask the teacher to do the light-opening for the image of Buddha. And it will be done within half a minute. However, let me tell everybody that this can only be done for our cultivators. Such light-opening does not apply to your relatives or friends because we only take care of the cultivators. Some people say that they take the teacher's photo to the homes of their relatives or friends to drive out evil. I am not meant to exorcize evil for ordinary people. This is the worst disrespect to the teacher.
Speaking of earth Buddha and earth Tao, there is one more situation to relate. In ancient times in China there were a lot of people cultivating in remote mountains and deep forests. How come they all have disappeared now? Actually they have not disappeared, but they do not want to be recognized by ordinary people. The number of these people has not at all decreased. They all possess supernormal capabilities. It is not true that these people have disappeared over the years. They are all there. In the world today there are still several thousand. There are relatively more such people here in our country. They can be found especially in those famous mountains and at big rivers and also in some high mountains. Since they have used their cultivation energy to block their caves, you cannot see their existence. Their cultivation is relatively slow in progress, and the methods used are comparatively clumsy, because they cannot grasp the essence of cultivation. On the other hand, we aim directly at human nature, cultivating in accordance with the supreme characteristics of our universe, with the way the universe is, and as a matter of course our cultivation energy grows very rapidly, for the cultivation way takes the shape of a pyramid with the middle as the thoroughfare. Those sideways cultivate without necessarily high Xinxing. They may possibly open their cultivation energy without attaining the high dimensional cultivation, and thus remain too far from the thoroughfare of genuine cultivation.
The master of such a sideway cultivation also takes on disciples. As his cultivation way can only attain a level which corresponds to its level of Xinxing, the disciples he teaches all cultivate toward this level. The smaller the worldly sideways are, the more ways they have of saying and the more complex the methods they use, because they are incapable of grasping the essence of cultivation. One's cultivation should mainly cultivate Xinxing but the master of the sideway cultivation does not understand this and believes that they can cultivate through suffering. So they increase their cultivation energy a little after going through a long period of time and cultivating for several hundred years, almost a thousand years. It is actually not by suffering that they have developed cultivation energy, but by what? Just like a person, they had lots of attachments when they were young. As they are getting old, with the days and years passing, they have lost hope for the future. Gradually, they have let go of their attachments, which have been worn out. This method is also true of such small cultivation ways. While such a person is going up in cultivation by sitting in meditation, concentration and suffering, he finds his cultivation energy can also grow this way. But he is not yet aware that his mind of attachments like ordinary people's has been slowly worn out over a long period of time of painstaking work, and that his cultivation energy grows by giving up his attachments.
Ours has a purpose of genuinely pointing at the heart, giving it up, and in this way we make rapid progress in cultivation. I have been to some places and often met these people, who have been cultivating for a good many years. They also say: Nobody can know we are here and we don't want to interfere in your business; nor shall we make trouble with it. They belong to those comparatively good people.
There are also some bad ones that we have to deal with. For example, when I first went to Guizhou to teach the Gong, while I was holding a Law lecturing session, a man came to see me, saying that his grandmaster would like to see me. His grandmaster was x x who had been cultivating himself for a good many years. I found that the man had a waxen yellowish face, full of yin qi all over. He was very bad indeed. I said I was not going to see him because I had no time, and refused. As a result, his old master became annoyed and began to make trouble against me. And he kept making trouble every day. So far as I am concerned, I do not like opposing others, or rather I do not want to bother to deal with them. Whenever he brought about anything evil against me, I would just wipe it out. Having done this, I would continue with my lecture.
Long ago in the Ming Dynasty there was a man who cultivated the Tao. During his cultivation, he was possessed by a snake. Later, the practitioner died without success in his cultivation. The snake then took possession of the practitioner's body and has evolved into a human shape in cultivation. That man's grandmaster was none other than the snake in the human form that he had cultivated. As his nature had not changed, he turned into a big snake to make trouble against me. I thought that he had gone too far, I caught him in my hand and used a very powerful energy, called dissolving energy, and dissolved his lower body, reducing it to water. But his upper body ran back home.
One day, the head of our assistant center in Guizhou province was asked to see his granddisciple, who said that his grandmaster wanted to see her. The head went there. Entering the cave, she found it too dark to be able to see anything at all, but a shadow sitting over there with eyes beaming in green light. When he opened his eyes, the cave became light; when he closed his eyes, it turned dark. He said in a local dialect: Li Hongzhi is coming again. This time, none of us will do that thing again. I was wrong. Li Hongzhi has come for the salvation of people. His granddisciple asked him: Grandmaster, please stand up. What's the matter with your legs? He said: I can't stand up any more now. I have injured my legs. When asked how he had injured his legs, he began to tell the story of his trouble-making. At the Beijing '93 Oriental Health Expo, he resumed his trouble making against me. Because he had never stopped doing bad and also because he interfered with my teaching of the Great Law, I reduced him to annihilation. After his annihilation, his senior fellow disciple sisters and brothers as well as his junior fellow disciple sisters and brothers all wanted to take action. I then said a few words which shocked them all. They became so scared that none of them dared to move. Meanwhile they also came to understand what had happened. Some of them were still out-and-out ordinary people, who had been cultivators for a long time. These are a few examples I have given when presenting the topic of light-opening.