Lecture Eight

Bigu (Abstention from Food)

        Some people have raised the issue of Bigu (abstention from food). The phenomenon of abstention from food exists not only in the world of cultivation, but also among a good number of people throughout our human society. Some people do not eat or drink for several years or over ten years, but they live very well. Some people speak of abstention from food as a manifestation of a certain level while others take it as a sign of the body's purification. It is also said by some to be a cultivation process in the high dimension.

        In fact, it is none of the above. What is it then? Abstention from food in fact refers to a special cultivation method in a specific environment. Under what specific circumstances will it be utilized? In ancient China, particularly prior to the birth of religions, many practitioners employed the forms of secret and solitary cultivation in deep mountains or in mountain caves that were far away from human settlements. Once they chose to do it this way, the source of food supplies became an issue. A practitioner could not cultivate at all if he did not use the method of abstention from food as he would die of hunger and thirst in there. On my way to Wuhan from Chongqing to teach the Law, I took a ship that went eastward down the Yangtze River, and saw that there were some stone caves in the middle sections of the mountains on both sides of the Three Gorges. Many well-known mountains also have such caves. In the past, after climbing into a cave by means of a rope, the practitioner would cut the rope off to cultivate in the cave. If he did not succeed in cultivation, he would die inside it. Without water or food, it was under this extremely special circumstance that he resorted to this particular cultivation method.

        Many cultivation ways include abstention from food as they have gone through such a carrying-on process. A lot of cultivation systems do not include abstention from food. Most of the cultivation systems that have been made public today do not contain it. We teach that practising qigong should be constant in only one cultivation system, and that you should not do whatever you want to do as you please. You may think abstention from food is good and you want to do it as well. What do you want to do it for? Some people think it is good, and become curious, or think that their Gongfu is high enough to show off. There are people with all sorts of mentalities. Even if this method is used to cultivate, one will consume his own energy to make up for the loss to his body. Therefore, it is not worth the effort. It is known that, particularly after the establishment of religions, you would be supplied with tea and food while sitting in meditation and self-confinement in the temple. Abstention from food was not an issue with which to be concerned. In particular, we cultivate in ordinary human society and we shall not have to employ this method at all. In addition, since there is not such a thing in your school, you should not do it at will. However, if you really want to practise abstention from food, you may go ahead. As far as I know, normally when a master teaches a cultivation system to genuinely guide people up to the high dimension, and if there is abstention from food in his school, such a phenomenon may take place. However, he cannot promote it in public, and would oftentimes take his disciples away to do the practice in secret and in isolation.

        Nowadays there are also qigong masters teaching abstention from food. Do they abstain from food? Not really in the end. Who has succeeded in it? I have seen many such people hospitalized, and quite a few people's lives were in danger. Then, why is there such a situation? Does the phenomenon of abstention from food exist? Yes, it does. However, there is one point that the state of our ordinary human society is not allowed to be casually disrupted by anyone, and it will not be allowed to be interrupted. Not to mention how many people in the whole country would not need to eat and drink, I would say that it would make things quite easier if the people in the Changchun region did not eat and drink! We would not have to worry about making meals. Farmers grow crops with such difficulty in the fields, and now nobody needs to eat. That would really make things much easier. They would only work without having to eat. How could that be allowed? Would that be a human society? It is definitely not allowed. Such a large-scale disruption of ordinary society will not be permitted.

        Many people's lives were endangered when some qigong masters taught abstention from food. Some people have simply become attached to abstention from food. Yet, this attachment has not been removed, nor have many ordinary people's desires. Such a person's mouth will be watering upon seeing some delicious food. When his desire is up, he cannot control it, and he will become anxious to eat the food. When he desires to eat the food, he will have to eat, otherwise he will feel hungry. However, he will throw up and spit it out if he eats. Since he can not eat, he will become nervous and scared. Many people have been hospitalized, and many people's lives are indeed in danger. There were also people who found me, and asked me to deal with such messy cases. I was not willing to do it. Some qigong masters simply fool around with what they do. Nobody is willing to look at these messy problems.

        Besides, if you have run into problems with abstention from food, isn't that what you are after? We say such a phenomenon does exist, but it is not something like the state arising from the high dimension, nor a special reflection, but it is no more than a practising method used in a special circumstance. However, it can not be popularized. A number of people seek after abstention from food, and classify it as so-called abstention from food and semi-abstention from food, and rank it into certain levels. Some people claim that they only need to drink water while others say that they only eat fruit. All these are phony abstentions from food. It is certain that they all will fail as time passes by. A genuine cultivator would stay in a mountain cave without drinking and eating. That is called the real abstention from food.

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