«Guide to Tao Cultivation Table of Contents Foreword Lecture One The Meaning of Life Happiness Goals Lecture Two Differences between Saints and Human ...»
Guide to Tao Cultivation
Table of Contents
The Meaning of Life
Differences between Saints and Human Beings
The Steps in Cultivating Tao
Karma determines a person's life
Purifying the mouth
To ferry or guide people to the way of Heaven
Become a preacher of Tao
Set up a Holy Altar
Be a Pioneer for Tao
Serve in the Holy Altar
To Give the Three kinds of Contribution
Five Creeds of Cultivating According to Tao
1) Is your belief in the Way of Heaven very deep, or do you ever doubt it?............. 18
2) Are you always forgiving and gracious to all sentient beings?
3) Do you speak and act righteously and uprightly?
4) Are you peaceful and non-argumentative with your cultivating companions?... 20
5) Do you perform your work without complaint despite of its hardships?
Do you devote your full energy to the task you are performing?
The Work of Tao Cultivation
The purpose of Tao cultivation
To cultivate the body
To cultivate our mind
To cultivate our soul
The Ideas of the Mind
Evil thoughts in our mind
Good thoughts in our mind
Guide to Tao Cultivation
Righteous Desires and Virtuous Deeds
The Inner Work of Cultivation and the External Work of Guiding and Helping Others to Cultivate Tao
The work of pacifying one's mind
The way to perform virtuous deeds
The cultivation of good karma and soul
The Teachings of Ji Gong - the Living Buddha
Foreword This book is a transcript of a seminar given by our Enlightened Teacher Buddha Ji-Gong in October 1983 in Fong Shan city, Taiwan.
This seminar was presented in the form of ten lectures and was intended for the 'most sincere and advanced cultivators.' During the seminar, Buddha Ji-Gong pointed out to the students the direction and method of cultivation in accordance with the Tao and how to find the way back to Heaven.
Today, this book is translated with the hope that it can help English readers to see more clearly the way of cultivation. Through the merciful guidance of Buddha Ji-Gong to the True Way, it is hoped that after receiving Tao, everyone can diligently make progress in his or her cultivation.
Since few books are available in English on Tao Cultivation it is hoped that this particular one will help to disseminate “The Good News” to every corner of the world.
With Buddha Ji-Gong's grace, may your wisdom be enhanced and enlightenment be within your easy grasp!
Lecture One The Meaning of Life A person's life always includes bitterness and happiness. Such emotions intermingle and manifest their presence throughout one's lifetime. Let us now discuss just how bitter or happy a person's life can be.
Bitterness - some of life's most bitter and painful encounters:
The greatest sadness in a person's life is to have a spiteful spouse and an un-filial child.
The most detested is to have someone repay one's kindness with injury.
The greatest misery is to be in an extremely distressed state.
The most disheartening thing is to be abandoned by one's friends and family.
The greatest frustration is to have success snatched from our grasp.
The most regrettable occurrence is to let our words or actions stray into the wrong.
The most exhausting thing is to be under tremendous mental pressure.
Now consider some of life's most tragic fates:
A person's fate can be destroyed by just one vice: all his accumulated virtues can be removed by merely being greedy. It is like a person who may be so involved in his pursuit of wealth that he forgets what is really important. Or, a bird in its earnest search for food is suddenly and unexpectedly seized by a predator.
To bully others or to act as if the law does not exist also causes one to face tragic fate. To be killed by unnatural means or to get caught up in natural and human made disasters, war, and ruthless destruction are also forms of life's most tragic fates.
Let's look at some of life's unavoidable painful circumstances:
The pain of not having what we want.
The pain of being separated from the ones we love.
The pain of feeling bitterness toward others.
The pain of illness and hunger.
The pain of struggling for food, fame and profit or gains.
The pain of having anxiety about family.
Are you familiar with these pains? These are the usual experiences of this human world.
Guide to Tao Cultivation
Happiness From the above examples, we may begin to sense the warmth and coldness between people. Since we are cultivating Tao we must act in the following way: be content, even under a very difficult environment and accept undesirable conditions. We must also turn our knowledge into wisdom, remove confusion, learn the ways of the Buddhas, dissolve karma, and perform virtuous deeds. From the midst of the ever-changing world; seek for the unchanging truth. From the 'false self (physical self) seek for the 'true-self: reach toward the goal of selfenlightenment, the enlightenment of others, and for that which will benefit others as well as ourselves.
Furthermore, we should be committed to the following: it seems that although the sentient beings of this world are many, we should still vow to help them transcend the cycle of birth and death so that the door of Heaven is made open for them; vow to stop the endless suffering from worries and vexations; vow to cultivate, though there may be no end to such a road; and vow to achieve what the Buddhas have attained, though the goal may seem great and distant.
We should have an awareness and knowledge of the impermanent and phenomenal world and yet, not be fussed about our material life; be eager in our pursuit of Truth; be willing to sacrifice in order to serve others; have a strict discipline toward our own cultivation, and view our fellow cultivators as equal to us. Hence we may reach for the perfection of our personality and become a virtuous character without faults or vices. In this way our lives will not pass by in vain.
When we cultivate, if we have the ability to help others we should do so eagerly. If we have wealth we should make donations and help people generously. If we understand Tao we should show others diligently. Furthermore, if we are endowed with high morals we should influence and reform others. Happiness in the world is about doing virtuous deeds, helping others and establishing a contented mind.
Guide to Tao Cultivation
Mencius said,’ The one of perfect virtue has three sources of, happiness: that one’s parents and siblings are still living;; one feels righteous even before God; and one surrounds oneself with talented people and is able to educate them.” These are the delights that the virtuous person desires. Loyalty, the fulfillment of one's filial duties, the achievement of one's own mission in life and the making of worthwhile sacrifices: all these accomplishments bring us the deepest consolation.
Goals From this moment onward, you must prevent evil from entering your mind, do not refuse Truth and make the devil your enemy, not the people.
Holy Teacher Living Buddha Ji-Gong wishes you to sincerely cultivate Tao, and genuinely work to contribute to the sacred cause of Tao propagation so that God's mercy and Holy Teacher Living Buddha Ji Gong efforts are not in vain.
Lecture Two Differences between Saints and Human Beings You have cultivated Tao for quite some time now, so do you know what is the difference is between mortals and saints? This lecture will allow you to have a better understanding of this subject.
The Differences between mortals and saints I. Mortals do things for themselves, but saints do things for mortals. Everyone sees and responds differently to the things that happen. Everyone is given an ability to make decisions about whether something should be done or not, and whether something is right or wrong. One can silently make evaluation or loudly demonstrate one's thoughts.
II. Some people are greedy for the short-term gains, while some plan for long-term goals. For mortals, it is common that they are attracted to the things that will bring them benefits, and avoid the things which are not beneficial to them: just as rain is loved by farmers as it nourishes their crops, it can be hazardous for motorists and pedestrians if it makes the roads slippery. Or, if there is a full moon in the clear night sky, happy people would find it beautiful while it could be an annoyance for the night thieves. There are some who have power but are unwilling to pass it on to others. This shows their selfishness which in effect, creates competition for power. There are also some who have abundance or gains but are only thinking about their enjoyment. This shows their material desire, leading to competition for gains. If we practice empathy toward others at all times, all the undesirable outcomes will not occur and all anger will be dissolved. If in all circumstances we could think about other people, then our motive for self profit will be dispelled, and our sympathy for others will grow.
III. All ordinary human beings are surrounded by blessings, yet they are not aware of it and hence, feel discontented in their temporary condition. If one never experiences danger and has not encountered a tough environment, then one will not yet know the blessings of a peaceful life. If one never experiences freezing cold and starvation, then will not feel the blessings of being warm and sound. If one never
Guide to Tao Cultivation
experiences sickness and pain, then one will not yet appreciate the blessings of being healthy. If a person never experiences extreme bitterness, and does not know what it is like to be homeless and wandering, then one will not yet realize the blessings of security and peace. Being appreciative of the blessings one has will bring contentment. Being tolerant one will naturally bring peace and security to one’s life.
IV. When a virtuous person is being confined to a tough environment he will not lose his virtues. And when he is successful he will not be far from Tao. You should see that fame and fortune are the source of worries. Hence, to lead a tranquil life without desires is the source of a blessed life.
V. By renouncing fame and fortune, we can set ourselves free from the worldly ways. By removing the concept of life and death, we can become a saint. If our ambition is not obstructed by glory then we may be called a saint. If we are resistant to the temptations of wealth and high status we may then be called a sage.
Hence in cultivating Tao we should:
avoid complaints broaden our mind renounce our physical nature and nurture our true nature practice equality remove greed maintain a contented mind abandon a violent mind nurture an easy-going nature remove stinginess initiate our generous heart renounce our evil ways expand our virtuous heart These are the ways of saints, the features that distinguish them from mortals.
Goals In our lives, faith is our closest companion; it is the greatest possession we have. With faith, we can endure the heaviest burden and be guided to the righteous and enlightening way. It allows us to confront the toughest of all difficulties. It also gives us the power to challenge and resist temptation and thus, strengthen our capability to triumph over long-term trials.
When confronting difficulty we should feel appreciative of it rather than complaining about the hardship, as it is an element of success.
If there exists something which obstructs our progress, we should find ways to overcome it. It is hoped that you can find the faith and perseverance to accomplish your great responsibility.
Lecture Three The Steps in Cultivating Tao Do you realize what the difference is; before and after received Tao? You could all understand the following: before receiving, it is true to say that karma determines a person's life. After receiving Tao, however, it can be said that a person's determination dominates over a person's karma.
Karma determines a person's life Before you cultivate Tao, you have been flowing along with and influenced by the changing trends of the physical world. Hence, your actions were within the sphere of good and evil and thus, you were trapped within the cycle of karma. Due to this therefore, it is considered that "karma conquers mankind." As a result of this, we were faced with living according to the arrangement of karma.
Now that we have received Tao and are cultivating Tao, we have
inherited the ability to:
recognise what is right and wrong;
distinguish the difference between good and evil;
see our errors and transgressions and then make commitment to prevent them from repeating;
understand what is good for humanity and to practice it courageously;
avoid sufferings and veer toward blessings; and abandon all evil habits so that our good nature can be recovered and revealed. By practising these qualities we are directly influencing and changing the environment in which we live.
Furthermore, it allows us to reach the highest level of spiritual evolution. As a consequence, the natural results of these changes will allow us to conquer karma.
Everything that occurs around us has its cause and effect. So what are cause and effect? Cause is the sowing of seeds of blessing or of disaster. Effect is the harvest of that which we have sown. The harvest, either the rewards for good deeds, or retribution for bad
deeds, can be divided into two kinds: