A Person Well Grounded in All Virtues
What is a person well grounded in all virtues? There is a distinction between a person well grounded in all virtues and a person with good or bad inborn qualities. A person well grounded in all virtues is very difficult to find, for it will take a considerable long period of history for only such one person to come into the world. Of course, first of all, a person well grounded in all virtues must have great De (virtues), and such a field of white substance is enormous. There is no doubt about it. At the same time, he can also suffer from the hardship of hardships, he must have a mind of great forbearance, and he must be able to give, preserve his De, and possess a good enlightenment quality, etc..
What does it mean to endure the hardship of hardships? In Buddhism, to be a human being is to suffer. If you are a human, you will have to suffer. According to Buddhism, as living beings of all other spaces do not have the bodies of our ordinary people, they do not fall ill, nor do they have the problems of birth, old age, disease and death. Hence, no such sufferings. Beings of other spaces can fly up, for they have no weight. They are splendid. Because of this body, an ordinary person has a problem: he finds it unbearable to be cold, to be hot, to be thirsty, to be hungry or to be tired. And he also has the problems of birth, old age, disease and death. Anyway he is not comfortable.
I have read a report in the newspaper saying, during the Tangshan earthquake, many people died in it, but some were rescued. A special social investigation was made of these people. They were asked how they felt in the state of being dead. Contrary to everybody's expectations, they all mentioned an extraordinary state under which they experienced no sense of scare at the moment of death without exception. On the contrary they suddenly felt a sense of relief and a sense of potential excitement; some felt free from the bondage of the body, flying up lightly and comfortably in the air, they even saw their own bodies; some saw living beings in other spaces and others had been to some places. They all talked about a sense of potential excitement of relief without a feeling of suffering at the moment of death. This means that our having the physical body is suffering. However, since we all come out of mother's womb this way, we do not realize it is suffering.
I should say that the human being has to endure the hardship of hardships. The other day I mentioned that the concept of this human timespace is also different from that of the other even larger timespaces. One Shichen (two-hour period) in our space is two hours, which equals one year in that space. A person is acclaimed as being great because he practises under such hard conditions. He is acclaimed as being extremely remarkable because he has a mind to seek the Tao and intend to cultivate, he has not lost his true nature under such foul conditions, and he still wants to return to the truth. Why should we help cultivators unconditionally? This is why. When a person has meditated throughout the night in the space of ordinary people, looking at him, they say this person is really great, for he has already sat here in meditation for six years, because one shichen in our space is one year in another space. We, human beings, live in an extremely special space.
How should one suffer from the hardship of hardships? For example, somebody went to work one day. As his work unit was not doing well, and this situation can no longer continue, it was going to be reformed. It was going to undertake contracted work and redundant staff had to be laid off. This person was one of them with the rice bowl lost all of a sudden. How did he feel as he would not be paid? How could he make a living? He had not been trained for other work. He went home in low spirits. When he arrived at his home, his parent fell ill, very seriously ill. As he was worried and anxious, he sent his parent to the hospital in a big hurry. It was very difficult for the patient to be hospitalized with some borrowed money. Then he returned home to get some daily necessities for his parent. As soon as he got home, a school teacher called upon him, saying: Your son has beaten up a schoolmate so badly, and you should go and have a look at once. Right after he had settled this matter, as he sat down at home, the telephone rang informing him: Your wife is having an affair with another man. Of course, you may not have such an experience. An ordinary person will not be able to suffer this way, thinking: What on earth am I living for? Why not find a rope to hang myself, and put an end to all. I can not live any longer. I should say that a person should be able to suffer the hardship of hardships, of course, not necessarily in this way. But the intriguing against each other and Xinxing frictions or scrambling for personal interests are no better than this. There are so many people who live a life just out of spite, and will hang themselves when they no longer tolerate. So we must cultivate ourselves in such a complicated environment, and should be able to suffer the hardship of hardships, and at the same time, we must practise great forbearance.
What is great forbearance? As a practitioner, what you should do first of all is not to raise your hand when you are beaten and not to talk back when your name is called. You must be able to tolerate others. Otherwise, what kind of practitioner are you? Somebody says: It is very difficult for me to behave according to forbearance, for I am hot-tempered. If so, why not improve yourself? A practitioner must cultivate Ren (forbearance). Some people often lose their temper even when they educate children. They would raise hell when flaring up. You should not behave this way when disciplining children. You should not get really angry yourselves. You should educate children with reason so that the children can be really educated well. If you can not get over such a trifle and lose temper easily, how can you increase your cultivation energy? Someone says: I can bear being kicked once on the street because nobody can recognize me. I should say this is still not enough. You will be tested if you can restrain yourself and how you should deal with it when you are slapped twice in the face and disgraced in front of those people with whom you are terribly afraid to lose face. If you just manage to control your temper, yet you are not at ease in mind, that still is not enough. It is known that upon attaining the status of Arhat, this person will not care about anything he has come across and always be cheerful as he does not at all care about anything belonging to ordinary people. No matter how much he loses, he is still cheerful, and does not bear it in mind. If you can really do this, you have already completed the elementary achievement status of Arhat.
Someone says: If forbearance has been observed to such an extent, ordinary people would say we are cowards and very easy to be taken advantage of. I should not call this cowardness. Just think about it. Even senior citizens of ordinary people as well as people with higher education still exercise self-control, and do not bother arguing with others. The same is more true of us practitioners. How can that be taken as cowardness? I should say it is the manifestation of great forbearance and an expression of strong will, and only practitioners can have such forbearance. There is a saying: If humiliated, an ordinary person will draw out his sword to fight. If you call my name, I'll do the same to you; if you beat me, I'll beat you in return. This is the usual practice of ordinary people. But can you regard this person as a practitioner if he behaves like that? As a cultivator, if you do not have a strong will and can not control yourself, you certainly can not do this.
It is known that in ancient times there was a man called Han Xin, who is said to have been very capable as he was a great general under Liu Bang and a pillar of the state. Why was he able to make such great achievements? Han Xin is said to have been unusual in his childhood. There is such an allusion about Han Xin, who suffered the humiliation of crawling through under a bully's crutch. In his childhood Han Xin practised marshal arts, and those who practised marshal arts usually wore swords. One day he was walking on the street, and a local bully blocked his way, asking: What are you doing by carrying a sword? Dare you kill people? If you do, cut off my head. While saying so, he stretched out his head. Han Xin thought: Why should I cut off your head? At that time anyone who killed people should be reported to the authority and put to death. How could one kill people at will? Seeing Han Xin's hesitation, the bully said: If you dare not kill me, then crawl through under my crutch. Han Xin indeed crawled through under his crutch. This tells Han Xin had great forbearance, and he was different from ordinary people, and so he was able to do such a great thing. An ordinary person lives for his dignity. But it is a view of ordinary people living just for dignity. Let's think about it. Do you feel tired by doing so? Do you suffer? Is it worthwhile? Han Xin was an ordinary person after all, but we are practitioners. We should be much better than him. Our goal is to attain a level beyond that of ordinary people. We strive for still higher levels. We may not run into such a thing but nevertheless the humiliation or disgrace a practitioner suffers among ordinary people could not necessarily be better than this. Person to person Xinxing conflicts, I should say, would be no better than this and may exceed this. This is quite difficult.
Meanwhile, the practitioner must be able to give, and to give up all kinds of attachments and desires among ordinary people. If unable to achieve this immediately, we may do so gradually. If you could make it today, you would become a Buddha today. Cultivation should be carried on slowly but you should not slack off yourself. You say: The teacher has said that cultivation takes time, so we can do it slowly. That won't do! You must be strict with yourself, and you must make a resolute and valiant effort in the cultivation of Buddha Law.
You should also be able to preserve your De and maintain your Xinxing, but should not take rash actions. You can not do whatever you like casually, and you should be able to maintain your Xinxing. We often hear ordinary people say this: accumulate De and do good. As practitioners, we do not practise building up De but maintaining De. Why do we practise maintaining De? It is because we have seen such a scenario: Accumulating De only applies to ordinary people. If an ordinary person has accumulated De and has done good to others, he will be rewarded in his next life. And there is not such a problem in our situation. If you have made it in cultivation and attained Tao, you will have no problem next life. When we talk about preserving De here, we also have another shade of meaning, that is to say, the two kinds of substances we have brought with us in our bodies are not accumulated during one lifetime, but they have been left over through a very long period of time of the remote past. Even if you should cycle along all over the town, you may not be sure to run into something good for you to do. Even if you keep on doing this everyday, you may not be lucky enough to meet one.
There is another shade of meaning in wanting you to accumulate De. You consider something to be a good deed, however, when you do it, it may turn out to be a bad thing; when you regard something as a bad thing, and if you try to interfere, it may turn out to be a good thing. Why? Because you can not see the causational relationship between them. The laws take care of the ordinary people's business, and there is no doubt about it. But a practitioner is supernormal. As a supernormal person, you should be required to behave according to the supernormal principles, but not according to the principles of ordinary people. If you do not know the causational relationship of a matter, you are apt to make a mistake in dealing with it. This is the reason why we practise non-action (). You cannot do whatever you want to. Somebody says: I just want to discipline bad people. I should say you had better enlist in the police. But we do not want you to stay away when there is a murder or a fire going on. I am going to tell you when a person-to-person conflict arises, one kicks the other or one hits the other with a fist, it is likely that one owed something to the other before, and now they have set their account. If you step in to stop it, they can not settle the account and will have to wait till next time to do it again. That is to say, you can not see the causational relationship, and you are apt to do the wrong thing and so lose your De.
It does not matter for ordinary people to deal with ordinary people's business. They apply the principles of ordinary people as standards. However, you must use supernormal principles to measure yourself. It will be a matter of Xinxing if you do not help stop a murder or a fire when you see it. How will you otherwise demonstrate that you are a good person then? What else would you do if you do not help stop a murder or a fire? However, there is one point to make that such things are not really related to our cultivators. They will not necessarily be arranged for you to run into. We practise preserving De to aim at preventing you from doing bad things. Perhaps if you try to do a little bit of that thing, you will be likely to do bad things. Then you will lose De. If you lose De, how can you raise up your level? How can you reach your final goal? There is such a question in it. Besides, you must have good enlightenment quality, and good inborn qualities can possibly make good enlightenment quality, and the environmental impact also plays a role.
We have also mentioned, if everyone of us goes cultivating inside ourselves, if everyone is examining his Xinxing to pinpoint where he fails, and tries to perform it better next time, if before they do something, they should consider others first, human society will become better, morality will be brought to a rise again, spiritual civilization will also change for the better, and public security will get better, too. As a result there will probably be no need for police. So no one needs to be governed, and everyone takes care of himself, doing soul searching himself. Would you say this is wonderful? It is known that now the laws are being improved and perfected, why are there still people doing bad? And why don't they comply with the laws? It is just because you can not control their minds. Without supervision they still want to do bad things. If everyone goes cultivating inside himself, things would be totally different. There is no need for you to defend somebody against an injustice.
The Law can only be expounded so far and what is higher should depend on you yourself to gain through cultivation. Some of you raise questions more and more specific. If you ask me to answer all your questions from daily life, what is left for you to cultivate there? You must cultivate yourself and try to become enlightened on your own. If I tell you everything, nothing will be left for you to cultivate. Fortunately, the Great Law has already been made public and you can behave according to it.
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I think my lecturing on the Law is basically drawing to an end. Therefore I intend to leave everyone the authentic things so that you will have the Law as your guide in your future cultivation. In the whole course of my teaching the Law, I have been responsible to everyone and to society at the same time. In fact, we have been following such a principle to teach the Law. As for whether I have done it well or not, I am not going to say anything about this as we can leave it to the public opinion. My wish is to bring this Great Law to the public in order to enable more people to benefit from it and enable those who genuinely want to cultivate to make progress in their cultivation according to the Law. At the same time, in the course of teaching the Law, we also have expounded the truth of how to become a good person. We also hope, after you have left this session, you should at least try to become a good person if some of you can not cultivate yourself according to the Great Law. This will benefit our society. In fact, you will be able to become a good person after you leave here as you know how to become a good person.
In the course of the sessions of my expounding the Law, there were also things not going on smoothly and the interference from many quarters were very serious as well. Owing to the full support by the auspices organizations and leaders from various sections as well as the effort by the working staff, our sessions have been a success.
In the course of these sessions, what I have expounded all aims at guiding you up to the high level of cultivation. In the past preaching on the Law, no one mentioned these things. We have made everything quite clear by integrating contemporary science with the contemporary science of the human body, and what we have expounded is at the very high level. This is mainly intended for everyone to be able to attain the Law in earnest and ascend in cultivation for the future. This is my starting point. In the course of my teaching the Law and the Gong (the exercises for practice), many people have realized the Law is really very good but they find it pretty difficult to act according to it. In fact, I think whether it is difficult or not depends on whom you mean. For an ordinary person, as he does not want to cultivate, he will find it simply too difficult to cultivate and inconceivable, and so he does not think he can make it. As an ordinary person, he does not want to cultivate, and therefore he thinks of it as something very difficult. Lao Zi once said, "When a person of good quality for cultivation hears of Tao, he will practise it diligently. When a person of average quality for cultivation hears of it, he will practise it off and on. When a person of poor quality for cultivation hears of it, he will laugh at it loudly. If he did not laugh, it would not be Tao." For a genuine cultivator, I should say cultivation is very easy and is not something too high to reach. In fact, many old students, whether present here or not, have already reached a considerably high level in cultivation. I did not tell you this for fear you might get conceited and develop attachments, which might hinder the growth of your energy potency. As a genuine determined cultivator, he is able to endure, to give up the attachments of all kinds of interests, and to care little about them. As long as he can make it, it is not difficult. Those who say it is difficult because they can not let go of such things. Practising the exercise itself is not difficult, and raising up the level itself is not difficult either. What they say is difficult are just the attachments because it is very difficult to let go of these immediate interests when they are confronted with them. This interest is right here. How would you say they could let go of this attachment? They think cultivation is difficult, and in practice this is where the difficulty lies. If we fail to restrain ourselves when a person-to-person conflict arises, and we even cannot regard ourselves as practitioners, I should say that this will not be allowed. When I cultivated in the past, there were many super masters who told me such words, "One is able to endure what seems hard to endure, and one is able to do what seems impossible to do." As a matter of fact, it is true. You may have a try when you return home. In the course of facing a great catastrophe or passing through a tribulation, you may have a try. Try to endure what is difficult to endure; when it seems impossible to make it and it is said to be difficult to make it, then you may just as well try it to see if you can make it after all. If you can really make it, you will find yourself in dark willows and blooming flowers, indeed, another village ahead!
As I have talked so much, you might find it difficult to remember so many things I have talked about. I would mainly make some requirements: I hope you will all treat yourselves as practitioners in your future cultivation, continue your cultivation in earnest. I hope all the students, new and old, will be able to cultivate yourselves in the Great Law, and attain perfection and reach the consummation! Hope you all will make the best use of your time to cultivate in earnest after you return home.