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The Ninth Talk
 

Qigong and Athletics

When people are on an average level, they tend to think that qigong and workouts are closely related. Of course, if youíre going to talk about it on a low level, when you look at it in terms of having a healthy body qigong is pretty much identical to workouts. But when you look at the specifics of how it exercises and what approach it takes, then itís very different from a workout. If a person wants to get healthy by working out, he has to exercise more and step up his workouts. But qigong cultivation, it turns out, is just the oppositeóyou donít have to move, and even when there is movement itís relaxed, slow, and smooth, or itís even motionless or still. So thatís quite different from how workouts are done. Now if we want to talk about it on a high level, then qigong isnít just about healing and fitness, it has higher things and profounder meaning. Qigong isnít just about those few little things that are at the level of ordinary people. Itís a higher thing, and it manifests differently at different levels. So it goes far beyond ordinary people.

Now in terms of the fundamentals of their exercises, thereís also a big difference. Athletes have to increase how much energy they expend. And thatís especially true for todayís athletes. They have to ready their bodies for todayís level of competition and meet its standards, so they have to keep their bodies in top shape. And to do that, they have to increase how much energy they expend so that theyíll have enough blood circulation in their bodies, and that will increase their metabolic abilities and ensure that their bodies are always going in the direction of improving. Why do they want to increase their metabolic abilities? Because athletesí bodies always need to be in a state thatís progressing toward the best condition for competition. The human body is made up of countless cells, and those cells go through a process like this: the newly divided cells are full of vitality and theyíre in a state of growth. When they reach their limit, they canít grow anymore, and they can only start to decline. When they decline to the lowest point new cells replace them. Letís use 12 hours of the day as an analogy. From 6 oíclock in the morning on, when a new cell divides it keeps growing and growing; 8 or 9 oíclock, or even past 10 oíclock are really good periods of time for it. When 12 oíclock rolls around, it canít go up anymore, and it can only slide down. In the time that remains that cell still has half of its vitality left, but that half of its vitality isnít suitable now for the competitive form an athlete needs to be in.

So what do they do? They step up their training and increase their bloodís circulation so that theyíll generate new cells and replace the old ones. Thatís the approach they take. So in other words, before the cells finish the full course of their life, when theyíre halfway through it, they are excreted out. Thatís why their bodies are always strong and improving. But a human beingís cells canít keep on dividing like that forever. Thereís a limit to how many times a cell can divide. Suppose during a personís lifetime his cells can each divide 100 times (actually, they can divide more than even a million times), and letís suppose that when a normal personís cells divide 100 times he can live 100 years. But now his cells have only lived half their lives, and so he can only live 50 years. We havenít seen athletes having too big a problem, though, and thatís because nowadays athletes are weeded out from competition before they hit 30. Thatís especially true nowadays when the competition level is high and a large number of athletes get weeded out, and they just go back to a normal life and they donít look like theyíve been affected that much. At least in theory thatís basically what happensóit keeps them in good physical shape but shortens their lives. On the outside athletes who are in their teens look like theyíre in their twenties, and the ones in their twenties look like theyíre in their thirties. Athletes often give people the impression that they grow up faster and age quicker than other people. So thereís both pros and cons. We should look at both sides of the coin, right? So what I described is in fact the approach they take.

Qigong cultivation is exactly the opposite of working out. The movements donít have to be vigorous, and when there are movements theyíre relaxed, slow, and smooth. Theyíre really slow, and people are even motionless or become still sometimes. You know, in the cultivation method of sitting in deep meditation, a person stays still, even his heart rate slows down, and everything else, like his circulation, even slows down. There are a lot of yoga masters in India who can sit submerged in water for days or be buried underground for days, they can make themselves completely still, and they can even control their heartbeats. Letís say peopleís cells divide once a day. Then, if a cultivator makes the cells in his body divide once every two days, once a week, once a half month, or even longer, then heís extended his life. And what weíre talking about here, are just those practices that cultivate only a personís nature, and not longevity. They too can achieve thisóthey can extend their lives. Now maybe some people are thinking, "Isnít your life pre-set? What makes you think somebody who doesnít cultivate longevity could live longer?" Thatís true, but, itís because that kind of cultivatorís life can be extended when his level breaks through the Three Realms, although heíll look really old.

Practices that truly cultivate longevity constantly store up the collected high-energy matter in the cells of the human body, and as its density constantly grows, it is gradually able to suppress the cells of an ordinary person and slowly replace those ordinary human cells. When that happens there are fundamental changes and you will stay young forever. Of course, itís a very slow process that happens over the course of cultivating, and you really have to give a lot of yourself to it. Youíre working the body, tempering the will, and itís really not easy. When youíre in the middle of tensions that test your character, can you stay calm inside? Or when things that directly impact you come up, can you stay calm inside? Thatís really hard to do. So itís not like when you want to do that you just can. You can only do that when your character and your virtue have improved by cultivating.

There have always been a lot of people who lump qigong in with ordinary workouts, when the truth is, theyíre incredibly different. They arenít the same at all. The only thing in common is that at the lowest level, when somebody is working on qi at the lowest level and trying to heal himself and get fit so that he can have a healthy body, there it has the same goal as working out. But when it gets to a high level, thatís not what itís like at all. Thereís a purpose behind purifying the body in qigong. And whatís more, qigong practitioners have to follow higher truthsóthey canít just follow the truths of ordinary people. Now working out, on the other hand, thatís just an ordinary peopleís thing.

Thoughts

To talk about thoughts is to talk about the activity in a personís mind. How does the cultivation world look at the thoughts that go with the activity in a personís brain? What do they make of the different forms peopleís thinking (thoughts) takes? And how does it come to be? There are still a lot of questions modern medical science hasnít answered in its study of the human brain, and thatís because thoughts arenít as easy to grasp as whatís on the surface of our bodies. On deeper planes and in different dimensions they have different forms. But they arenít like what some qigong masters have said either. Some qigong masters really donít know whatís going on, so they canít explain them well. They think that when their brain makes a move, or when a thought is produced, that theyíre able to do something, and so they go and say that they used their mind to do that, that their thoughts did that. But in reality it wasnít done by their thoughts at all.

Letís first talk a little about where a personís thinking comes from. There was a saying back in ancient China, "the heart is thinking." Why did they say the heart was thinking? The science in ancient China was really developed, since it directly studied things like the human body, life, and the universe. Some people really do, beyond a doubt, sense that their heart is thinking, while other people really do sense their brain thinking. And why does that happen? Thereís something to this "heart is thinking" that they talked about. The reason is, we can see that an ordinary personís master soul is very small, and that the real message sent by a personís brain doesnít come from the brain itself. Itís not sent by the brain, but by the personís master soul. A personís master soul doesnít just stay at the Niwan Palace (the Niwan Palace that Daoists talk about is what our modern medical sciences call the pineal gland), if our master soul is at the Niwan Palace weíll really, truly sense that the brain is doing the thinking and sending out messages, and if itís at the heart weíll really, truly sense that itís the heart doing the thinking.

The human body is a small universe. The many, many beings a practitioner has can switch positions. If his master soul shifts its place, say, if it goes over to the belly, then heíll sense that itís really his belly thatís doing the thinking, or if his master soul goes over to his calf or his heel, heíll sense that itís his calf or heel thatís thinking. Guaranteed. I know it sounds pretty hard to believe. Even when your cultivation hasnít reached that high a level you can sense it happening. If a personís body doesnít have a master soul, if he doesnít have his temperament, disposition, or characteristics, if he doesnít have these kinds of things, itís just a hunk of flesh, and heís not a complete human being with his own distinctive traits. Then what function does the human brain serve? If you ask me, in the form of this material dimension of ours the human brain is just a processing plant. The real message is sent out by the master soul, but what he sends out isnít language. What he sends out is a type of cosmic information, and it conveys certain meanings. After our brain receives that command it processes it into todayís language, into this form of expression, and we express it through gestures, or the expressions in our eyes, and with all our body language. Thatís what the brain does. The true commands and the true thinking are issued by the master soul. People often think that itís directly due to what the brain does on its own, when in fact, sometimes the master soul is at the heart, and some people really do feel that their hearts are thinking.

Today people who research the human body think that what a personís brain sends out is something like an electrical wave. For now we wonít talk about what it actually sends out, but we can say theyíve acknowledged that itís material. So thatís not blind belief. And what does the thing thatís sent out do? Some qigong masters say, "I can move things with my thoughts," or "I can use my thoughts to open your Third Eye," or "I can use my thoughts to heal you," and so on. But in fact, some qigong masters are clueless about what abilities they have, and theyíre all confused. They only know that when they want to do something they just need to think about it and it works. What actually happens is that when their thoughts are at work, their abilities are being directed by their brainís thoughts, and they do specific things under the command of their thoughts. His thoughts canít actually do anything by themselves. When a qigong practitioner does certain things itís his abilities that do the work.

Abilities are innate to the human body. But as our society develops, the thoughts in peopleís minds become more and more complicated, people take practical things more and more seriously, and they come to rely more and more on so-called modern tools. And so peopleís innate abilities have been atrophying more and more. Daoists talk about returning to oneís original, true self, and in the process of cultivating you have to strive to be true, eventually return to your original, true self, and go back to your original nature. Thatís when these innate abilities of yours display themselves. Today we call them supernatural abilities, but theyíre actually all just a personís innate abilities. Our society seems to have been moving forward, when in fact itís been going backward, and itís moving further and further away from the nature of the universe. The other day I mentioned that Master Zhang Guo rode his donkey backward. Maybe people donít know why he did that. He realized that going forward was actually going backward, that people are going further and further away from the nature of the universe. Over the course of the universe evolving, and what Iím about to say is especially true now that people have been forced to ride the wave of commercialism, a lot of peopleís morals are a wreck, and theyíre moving further and further from the nature of the universeóto be True, Good, and Endure. The folks whoíve been pulled under by the wave in the ordinary world canít sense just how bad mankindís morals are now. And thatís why some people even think itís a good thing. People can only realize how horrible mankindís morals have gotten by taking a look back after theyíve improved through character cultivation.

Some qigong masters say things like, "Iíll develop your abilities for you." Develop what abilities?! A personís abilities donít work without energy, and when they havenít emerged yet how could you develop them? When his abilities havenít been strengthened and shaped by his energy, you think you could develop them? Forget it. That "developing abilities" stuff heís talking about just has to do with connecting the abilities that have already formed with your brain so that theyíll act at the command of your brainís thoughts. And he thinks that it counts as developing your abilities. But the truth is, he hasnít developed any abilities for you. Heís just done that little thing.

With a practitioner, his thoughts direct his abilities to do things. But with an ordinary person, his thoughts just direct his four limbs and his sensory organs to do things. Itís like a factory whose production office or general managerís office sends out instructions, and the different, specific operational departments carry out the task. Or itís like the headquarters of an army, where the command center gives orders and directs all the troops to carry out a mission. When I was giving classes in other regions I often talked about this with the officials of local qigong research societies. They were stunnedó"Weíve always been studying how much potential energy and latent consciousness the human mind has..." But thatís wrong in fact, and theyíve been off track from the get-go. Iíve said that to do human-body science a personís thinking really has to change, and you canít try to look at higher things with ordinary peopleís ways of reasoning or understanding things.

So now that weíre talking about thoughts, I can tell you that there are some other forms of them. For example, some people talk about latent consciousness, the subconscious, inspiration, dreams, and so on. Now about dreaming, there isnít any qigong master who wants to explain it. When you were born, a "you" was born at the same time in many dimensions of the universe, and theyíre part of the complete you, theyíre interrelated, and their thoughts are interconnected. And you also have your master soul, subordinate souls, and other beings, all kinds of them, and they have their images and exist in your body, and every cell and each of your organs assume the forms in which your image and messages exist in other dimensions. So itís just extremely complex. In your dreams things are one way one moment and then different the next. Where on earth do they come from, anyway? In the medical sciences they say that this is due to changes taking place in your cerebral cortex. Thatís how it is in this material form, but in reality, itís the result of your being affected by messages from other dimensions. Thatís why you feel all foggy-headed when youíre in a dream. But none of those things have anything to do with you, and you donít need to pay attention to them. There is one kind of dream that does directly have to do with you, though, and we canít really refer to these dreams as dreams: itís where your master consciousness, meaning, your master soul, sees your family approach you in your dream, or you have a real-to-life experience, or you see or do something. If thatís the case, your master soul really did do something or see something in another dimension, itís you who did it, and you were clearheaded and you had a real experience. Those things really do exist. Itís just that they exist in other dimensions and they were done in other space-times. So can you say theyíre dreams? You canít. Your physical body on this side was definitely sleeping, so for you itís just a dream. Only those dreams have a direct bearing on you.

As for peopleís inspiration, the subconscious, latent consciousness, and all that, Iíd say those terms werenít coined by scientists. They were made by wordsmiths and theyíre based on the states of mind that ordinary people know. They arenít scientific. So just what exactly is the latent consciousness people talk about? Itís hard to explain, and itís pretty vague. All the different types of messages in a person are really complex, and they look like some on-and-off vague memory or something. Now as for the subconscious that people talk about, thatís pretty easy for us to explain. If you go by how a subconscious state is defined, itís usually about a person doing something while being foggy-headed. People will often say that he did that thing unconsciously, or not intentionally. The subconscious is exactly the same as the subordinate consciousness that we talk about. So when a personís master consciousness relaxes and stops controlling the brain and heís in a foggy state, almost like heís fallen asleep, or when he actually is asleep, while heís in that unconscious state thereís a good chance heíll be controlled by his subordinate consciousness, or his subordinate soul. At that time the subordinate consciousness can do certain things. So to put it another way, those things are done when youíre foggy-headed. But usually those things wonít be done wrong, and thatís because the subordinate consciousness can see the essence of things in another dimension and he isnít deluded by the ordinary world. Thatís why when you come back to your senses and look at what you did, youíll say, "Howíd I do that so badly? I wouldnít have done it like that if I was clearheaded." But, even though right now you say itís bad, when you look back at it again a little later, maybe in ten days or half a month, youíll say, "Wow, I did a great job! Now how did I do that back then?" That happens a lot. The reason is, the subordinate consciousness doesnít care about the immediate result, but what it does will have a good result later on. And then there are things that donít have any impact later on and that just have an effect right then and there. Then when the subordinate consciousness does that kind of thing heíll probably do it really well right then.

Then thereís another form of thought, and it has to do with those of us who have great bases. Often those people are more likely to be controlled by higher beings and made to do some things. Of course, thatís something different and we wonít say more about it here. Weíre mainly talking about the states of consciousness that come from us human beings ourselves.

So now about inspiration, this is again a term that wordsmiths came up with. In general people think that inspiration has to do with all the knowledge somebodyís gained over the course of his life shooting out like a spark in the flash of an instant. Iíd say that if you look at it in terms of the theory of materialism, as a person gains knowledge over time, the more knowledge he gains and the more he uses the brain, the sharper his brain should get. And when he needs an idea it should just flow right out, and there shouldnít be a question of inspiration, right? Whenever people call something "inspiration," or when inspiration comes, thatís not how it happens, though. It often comes when somebody is thinking hard, he thinks and thinks, and finally he feels like heís run out of knowledge and it seems like he canít come up with anything, or it comes when he just canít go on writing an article, or when heís all out of ideas composing a song, or when he just canít get anywhere on a scientific research project. Usually at that point heís so tired his veins are throbbing, heís covered the floor with cigarette butts, and his brain aches from all the effort, but he still hasnít come up with anything. So then what state is he in when inspiration finally comes? Letís say he gets tired and thinks, "Forget it, time for a break." Now the more his master consciousness controls the brain, the less chance there is for another being to step in. So once he takes a break, he relaxes his mind a little, stops thinking about it, and in that state thatís free of intention he suddenly thinks of something, or an idea comes up from his brain. Thatís how inspiration usually comes.

So why does inspiration come at that instant? The reason is, when a personís master consciousness controls his brain, the more he uses his brain the tighter he controls it, and the harder it is for his subordinate consciousness to come in. When he thinks so hard that his head aches, and when heís so frustrated about not coming up with any ideas, his subordinate consciousness, whoís also part of his body, who was born at the same time from his motherís womb, and who controls part of his body, he suffers along with the person and he too gets a headache, and it aches pretty bad. And when the person relaxes his master consciousness, his subordinate consciousness will project what he knows into his brain, and thatís because a subordinate consciousness can see the essence of things in other dimensions. Then heís able to get results in his work, complete his paper, or finish composing that song.

Maybe some people are going to say, "Then letís tap into our subordinate consciousnesses!" Itís just like the note somebody passed up to me a moment ago asking, "How do we connect with our subordinate consciousnesses?" You canít connect with him, because you just took up cultivation and you donít have any skills. Youíd better not make any contact. Your motive is definitely an attachment. Maybe some of you are thinking, "Canít we utilize our subordinate consciousness to generate more wealth and push society forward faster?" No! And why not? Because what your subordinate consciousness knows is still really limited. Dimensions are so complex and the number of levels is just huge, and the structure of the universe is awfully complex, so he only knows about whatís in his dimension and he doesnít know about anything beyond his dimension. And on top of that there are so, so many different-level vertical dimensions. Only higher beings at really high levels can control mankindís progress, and it moves forward according to the laws that govern development.

The ordinary world progresses according to the laws that govern history. Maybe you want it to develop in such-and-such way or to achieve certain things, but those higher beings donít think that way. Couldnít the folks in ancient times think of the airplanes and trains and bikes weíve got today? Iíd say thereís no guarantee they didnít think of them. They couldnít create them because history hadnít progressed that far yet. On the surface, when you look at it with the theoretical understanding that ordinary people are used to, or from the knowledge mankind has today, youíd think that they couldnít create those things because peopleís science hadnít reached that stage yet. But the truth is, how peopleís science develops also follows historyís arrangement. Itís wishful thinking when you try to achieve certain goals just because you want to. Of course, itís easier for some peopleís subordinate consciousnesses to play a role. There was a writer who said, "When I write a book, I can write dozens of pages every day and I donít get the least bit tired. If I want to get it done quickly it just flows right out. And people think itís pretty good when they read it." Why would that happen? Itís the result of his master consciousness and his subordinate consciousness both playing a partóhis subordinate consciousness could play half the role. But that isnít the case for everybody. Most subordinate consciousnesses donít bother to get involved, and if you want them to do things for you it wonít turn out well, and youíll end up with the opposite result.

A Calm Mind

When a lot of people do the exercises their minds canít become still, and so they go all over the place to ask qigong masters, "TeacherÖ what can I do? Why canít my mind become still when Iím doing the exercises? As soon as I become still I start thinking of all kinds of things all over again, I daydream about everything." Itís really wild, like a raging river, and everything comes up, and youíre just not able to still your mind. And why canít you? Some people donít understand it, and they think thereís got to be some secret of success, so they seek out famous masters, "Please let me in on your special tips, and then my mind can become still." But the way I see it, thatís still looking outward. If you want to improve yourself, you need to look inward and work hard on your mind. Thatís the only way you can truly improve, and thatís the only way you can become still inside in meditation. Being able to still your mind indicates your mastery. Your power of concentration is a reflection of your level.

Now, can an ordinary person just still his mind at the thought of it? Not at all, unless maybe heís somebody with a great base. So what this means, then, is that the real reason somebody canít become still inside doesnít have to do with technique, and itís not because thereís some kind of signature move. Instead, itís because your thinking, or your mind, isnít pure. When youíre in the ordinary world, there are clashes between people, you fight tooth and nail with other people to benefit yourself, or over your emotions and desires, and over all those passions youíre attached to, you canít seem to let go of those things, and you canít seem to take them lightlyóthen if you want to become still, good luck! Some people who do qigong will come right back, "I donít buy that. Watch, Iíll just still my mind, and I wonít have wild thoughts." But just moments after they finish saying that those thoughts pop right back up again. Itís your mind thatís not pure, and thatís why you canít become still.

Maybe some people donít agree with my view. "Donít some qigong masters teach people to use certain techniques? You can concentrate on one thing, visualize, focus on the elixir field, look in at your elixir field, or chant Buddhaís name, and so on." Those are methods, but theyíre not just methods, they reflect somebodyís degree of mastery. So then what degree of mastery somebody has, thatís in fact related to the cultivation of character we talk about and the improvement of levelsóhe canít still his mind just by using those methods. Donít believe me? Give it a try. All those desires and attachments of yours are so strong and dominant, and you canít let anything goósee for yourself if you can become still. Some people say, "Chanting Buddhaís name works." Can you still your mind just by chanting Buddhaís name? And then there are folks who say, "Buddha Amitabhaís discipline is easy to practice, you just need to chant Buddhaís name." Have you tried? Iíd say thatís an indication of your mastery. Sure, you say itís easy. But I say itís not. No discipline is easy.

We know that Shakyamuni taught "Concentration." But what did he teach before Concentration? He taught "Precept." You can only achieve Concentration when youíve given up all your desires and passions, when nothingís left. Isnít that how it works? But Concentration is a kind of mastery, and you wonít be able to completely fulfill Precept in one shot. As you slowly give up all those bad things of yours your ability to concentrate will improve step by step. When somebody chants Buddhaís name he has to chant without any distracting thoughts, he canít have anything on his mind, and heíll chant until all the other parts of his brain go numb and he loses awareness of everything, one thought replaces tens of thousands of others, and each word of "Buddha Amitabha" appears before his eyes. Isnít that about mastery? Can you pull that off right on day one? You canít. And if you canít, you definitely wonít have a still mind. Donít believe it? Give it a try. While your mouthís chanting over and over, your mind is thinking about everything. "How come my supervisor at work doesnít think highly of me? And whyíd he give me such a small bonus this month?" The more he thinks about it the angrier he gets, he gets furious, but his mouth is still chanting the Buddhaís name. Would you say he can practice like that? Isnít that about mastery? Isnít that about your mind not being pure? For some people the Third Eye is open and they can look inside their bodies and see the elixir field. And as elixir builds up at a personís lower abdomen, the purer that energy matter is, the brighter it is, and the less pure it is, the darker and more blackened it is. So can you become still just by looking in at the elixir field and viewing the elixir? No, you canít. Itís not the method that countsóthe key is that the personís mind, his thoughts, arenít quiet and pure. When you look in at the elixir field, that sparkling elixir looks pretty nice, but a moment later that elixir turns into something else, like a dream home. "That room is for my son when he gets married. That room is for my daughter. My wife and I will have this room. In the middle is the living room. Itís great! Am I going to get this house? I have to figure out how to get it. Now, what should I doÖ" People are just attached to those things. So do you think your mind could become still? But then there are others who say, "My coming here to the ordinary world is just like staying at a hotel. Iím only going to stay here a few days and then leave in a hurry." Some people just dread leaving this place, and theyíve forgotten their own homes.

In true cultivation you have to cultivate your mind, you have to cultivate inward, to look inwardóyou canít look outward. In some disciplines they say Buddha is in your mind, and thereís some truth to that. But some people have misinterpreted the saying, and they say Buddha is in their minds, as if they are actually Buddhas, like there are Buddhas in their minds. Thatís how they understand it, but isnít that wrong? How could you understand it that way? The idea is that you have to cultivate your mind, and thatís the only road to success in cultivation. Thatís how it works. Whereís there a Buddha in your body? If youíre going to become one you have to cultivate.

The reason you canít still your mind is that your mind isnít empty, and that your level isnít that high. It progresses from shallow to deep, and itís intertwined with your level being raised. When you let go of your attachments your level rises and your ability to stay in concentration grows. If you want to use some tricks or methods to achieve stillness, Iíd say youíre looking outward for help. And it means that youíve gone wrong in your practice, or youíve taken a crooked path, which is the same as looking outward for help. And thatís especially true in Buddhism, where if you look outward theyíll say youíve gone down a demonic path. In true cultivation you have to cultivate your mind, and only when youíve improved your character can your mind achieve a state thatís quiet, pure, and one of nonaction. Only when youíve improved your character can you assimilate to the nature of the universe, get rid of all the different human desires, attachments, and bad things, pour out the bad stuff in your body, and rise all the way up. You wonít be restrained by the nature of the universe, and that matter of yours, virtue, can transform into gong. Arenít they intertwined? Thatís how it works!

This is the reason on your part why you canít become still, and itís because you arenít able to meet the standard for a cultivator. Nowadays, in terms of the environment around us, thereís another thing that interferes with you pretty seriously, and it stops you from cultivating up to higher levels. Itís having a really bad effect on practitioners. We all know that with the economic reforms and the open-door policy, the economy has been rejuvenated and government regulations have become less restrictive. A lot of new technologies have come in, and the standard of living is going up. Ordinary people all think this is a good thing. But if you look at both sides of the coin, if you put it in perspective, then youíll see that bad things have also come in with the reforms and opening up to the outside. And there are all kinds of them. It seems like a book or magazine wouldnít sell if there wasnít something pornographic in it, and then theyíd have to worry about sales. It seems like nobody would watch a movie or a TV show if it didnít have some bedroom scenes, and then theyíd have to worry about box-office sales and ratings. As for art, who knows whether itís real art or something people just threw together. The ancient art of the Chinese people didnít have that stuff. And the cultural heritage of our Chinese people wasnít invented or created by some person. When I talked about prehistoric culture I mentioned that everything has an origin. But now even peopleís moral standards have been perverted, theyíve gone through a change, and even the standards for determining what is good and bad have changed. Thatís how things are with ordinary people, at least. But the standard that is this universeís nature, to be True, Good, and Endure, thatís the only standard for measuring whether somebody is good or bad, and it doesnít change. Youíre a practitioner, so if you want to break out of all that you have to use this standard to evaluate thingsóyou canít use ordinary peopleís standards. So in terms of the environment, thereís this type of interference. And itís not limited to just these things, all kinds of other messed-up things have come about, like homosexuality, free love, taking drugs, and all that.

The world has gotten into the shape itís in today, so think about it, whatís it going to be like if it goes further? Will it be allowed for it to stay like this forever? If human beings donít do something about it, Heaven will. When mankind has met with catastrophe itís always been under this kind of circumstance. In all my classes Iíve never talked about mankindís great catastrophe. Religions are talking about it, and a lot of other people are talking about this hot topic. I want to bring this issue up, and letís all think about it. In our ordinary world peopleís moral standards have gone through this kind of change! And the tensions between people have gotten this serious! Then think about it, hasnít the situation already gotten extremely dangerous? So this environment we live in is also seriously interfering with us practitioners as we cultivate up to high levels. Nude pictures are just hung up right there, or theyíre strung up right in the middle of the street. Lift your head and itís right in your face.

Lao-zi said this before, "When the highest type of men hear the Dao, with diligence they will practice it." When the highest men hear the Dao, they think, "Iíve finally obtained a true teaching, so if I donít cultivate now, when would I?" A complicated environment, I think, is actually good. It takes a complicated environment, you know, to produce superior people. If in this setting somebody can come out on top then his cultivation is the most solid of all.

If you are somebody whoís really determined to cultivate, then Iíd say it turns out itís a good thing. If there werenít any disagreements, or if there wasnít a chance to improve your character, you wouldnít be able to go up, actuallyóyouíre nice, Iím nice, and allís well... how are you going to cultivate? The average cultivators belong to the group, "When the average men hear the DaoÖ"ótheyíre okay with cultivating, and not cultivating is just fine, too, and fat chance that kind of person will get anywhere. Some people sitting here think that what the teacherís saying makes sense, but when theyíre back out in the ordinary world theyíll still be wrapped up in those practical things that are at stake. Sure, theyíre up for grabs, but so what? Okay, letís not talk about you. Just think about all those really wealthy men and big tycoons in the West, when theyíre on their deathbeds theyíve realized that they have nothing, and that you canít bring material wealth with you at birth or take it away with you after death, and theyíve felt empty inside. Now why is gong so precious? Because itís carried directly on your master soul, it comes with you when youíre born and it goes with you when you die. We say that the master soul doesnít perish, and thatís not some kind of blind belief. After the cells of this physical body we have slough off, the smaller elements of molecules that exist in other material dimensions donít perish. Itís only a shell thatís sloughed off.

What I was just talking about all has to do with character. Shakyamuni said something like this, and so did Bodhidharmaó"The Oriental land of China is a place where men of great virtue are made." A lot of monks and a lot of people in China over the years have been proud about that. Theyíve thought it means that they can cultivate to high levels. So a lot of folks are pleased about this, and theyíre happy for themselves. "Yeah, thatís us Chinese alright! China is the place that makes people whoíve got a strong spiritual inclination and people with great virtue." Actually, a lot of folks donít quite catch the meaning of it. Why is China the place that can produce people of great virtue? And why can people cultivate to high levels there? Many people donít know the true meaning of whatís said by people at higher levels, and they donít understand the realms of people who are at higher levels and in higher realms, or their states of mind. Well, letís not talk about what it means, instead, letís just think about it: only in the most complicated crowd of people, or in the most complicated environment, can you cultivate to high levels. Thatís the idea.

A Personís Base

A personís base is determined by how much of the matter virtue he has on his body in another dimension. If he has little virtue and he has a lot of the black matter, then his karma field is large and his base is considered poor. If he has a lot of virtue and a lot of the white matter, then his karma field is small and his base is considered good. A personís white matter and black matter can be transformed into each other. How are they transformed? Doing good things for people generates the white matter. You get white matter when youíve endured hardships, suffered, or done good things. And you generate the black matter when you do bad things, or things that arenít good, and thatís karma. So thereís a transformation process. And it can also be inherited. Theyíre carried along directly with your master soul, so they arenít just related to one lifetime of yours, but are accumulated over the ages. Thatís why people talk about accumulating karma and accumulating virtue. And they can be passed down from a personís ancestors. Sometimes I think of what ancient Chinese people said or what older people say: they say that somebodyís ancestors "accumulated virtue," or that a person has "accumulated virtue" or "lacks virtue." How true their words are. They really are right on.

A personís base can determine his comprehension. And a poor base can make someoneís comprehension poor. So why is that? Because people with a good base have a lot of the white matter, the white matter is in perfect harmony with our universe, itís in harmony with the True, Good, Endure nature, and thereís no gap. And that way the nature of the universe is directly displayed through his body and directly communicates with his body. But the black matter, on the other hand, itís just the opposite: you get it by doing bad things, and it violates the nature of our universe, so thereís a gap between the black matter and the nature of our universe. When thereís a large amount of the black matter it forms a field around the personís body and envelops him. The larger the field is, the greater its density and thickness, and that makes his comprehension worse since he canít receive True, Good, Endure, the nature of the universe. Meanwhile, itís because he has done bad things that heís generated the black matter, and most times those people donít believe in cultivation as much, their comprehension is poorer, and theyíre more blocked by their karma. The more hardships they suffer, the less faith they have in it, and when they cultivate itís tough.

Itís easy for somebody with a lot of the white matter to cultivate, because in the process of cultivating, as long as he assimilates to the nature of the universe and he can improve his character, his virtue is transformed directly into gong. But for somebody with a lot of the black matter, itís like something made in a factory that needs to undergo one more process: while others are given material thatís ready for use, heís made with crude material, and it needs to first be completely refined. So it takes an extra processing step to get it there. Thatís why somebody like that has to go through some hardships first and reduce his karma, to transform it into the white matter, and only after it turns into virtue can he develop high-level gong. But since that kind of personís comprehension is usually poor to begin with, if you have him bear a lot of hardship heíll have even less faith in it, and itíll be harder for him to take it. Thatís why people with a lot of black matter have a hard time cultivating. Back in the old days Daoist disciplines and those disciplines that passed things down to a single disciple both talked about masters seeking out disciples, instead of disciples seeking out masters. They selected people based on the amount of these things peopleís bodies had.

A personís base determines his comprehension, but itís not as if there are no exceptions to this. Some peopleís bases really arenít good, but their family environment is good, with a lot of family members practicing qigong, or maybe some of them are religious and believe deeply in cultivation things. So living in that environment can motivate them to believe in such things and improve their comprehension. So itís not absolute. And then there are folks whose bases are good, but, often because theyíve received an education thatís based on the practical knowledge in society, which is so limited (and this especially goes for the regimented educational methods that were in a few years back, which have made people really narrow-minded), they donít believe in anything beyond what they know. And that can seriously hinder their comprehension.

Iíll give you an example. One time when I was holding a class and I talked about opening the Third Eye on the second day, there was a person whose base was good, and his Third Eye opened to a very high level right away. He saw lots and lots of scenes that other people couldnít see. He told people, "Wow, I saw Law Wheels falling like snowflakes on peopleís bodies all throughout the auditorium where the Law was being spread. I saw what Teacher Liís True Body looks like. I saw Teacher Liís halo, what the Law Wheel looks like, and how many Law Bodies there were. I saw that Teacher Li was teaching the Law at all different levels, and I saw how Law Wheels were adjusting the studentsí bodies. I also saw that when Teacher was talking, Teacherís Gong Body was teaching at each of the different layers upon layers of levels. And I saw heavenly maidens scattering flowers, andÖ" He saw things that wonderful, which means his base was quite good. But after he talked about all that, in the end he said, "I donít believe in those things." Some of those things have already been proven by modern science, and a lot of the other things can be explained with modern science, and weíve explained some of the things. We can do that because what qigong has been able to understand does go beyond what modern science has understood. Definitely. So in light of this, you can see that a personís comprehension isnít just determined by his base.

Enlightenment

Whatís "enlightenment"? "Enlightenment" started out as a religious term. In Buddhism it refers to a cultivatorís understanding of Buddha Law, to his enlightening to different truths, and to his final Enlightenment, and it means Wisdom-Enlightenment. But nowadays itís being used by ordinary people to refer to somebody whoís clever, or who knows whatís on his bossís mind and can pick up on it right away, somebody whoís good at pleasing his boss. People say that thatís somebody whoís good at enlightening to things. People often understand it that way. But if you jump out of this level of ordinary people and get to a level slightly higher, youíll find that what ordinary people see as the truth is usually wrong. But for us, "enlightening" is totally different from that kind of enlightening. A crafty, slick personís ability to enlighten is actually pretty poor, and thatís because somebody whoís overly clever will tend to just do superficial work to get on the good side of his boss and superiors. Then wonít other people have to do the real work? Well, then youíll have to pay them back. Heís crafty and heís good at doing things that make him look good, so he makes out better, and then other people have to fill in for him. With his cleverness he wonít let himself lose out on anything, and chances are he wonít lose out, so other people will then have to lose out. As those trivial, immediate benefits become more and more important to him, he gets more and more calculating and petty, and he thinks more and more that ordinary peopleís material gains are something he shouldnít let go of. And heíll think heís practical, and that he doesnít get short-changed.

And you know what, some people admire that kind of guy! But look, Iím going to tell you: donít admire him. You have no idea how exhausting his life isóhe canít enjoy his food, he canít sleep well, and even in his dreams heís worrying about losing out. And when it comes to his own gain, heíll dig his heels in over even the most trivial things. Wouldnít you say his life is exhausting? He goes through his whole life just living for that. We say that when youíre handling a disagreement, if you can take a step back youíll see things in a whole new light. I guarantee things will look different. But people like that guy wonít give ground. His life is just the most exhausting, so donít go learn from him. In the cultivation world they say that people like him are the most lost. Heís gotten completely lost among ordinary people over his own gain. If you suggest to him that he guard his virtue, good luck! Suggest to him that he cultivate and heíll come right back at you, "Cultivate? You practitioners donít even hit back when youíre attacked, or talk back when people insult you. People treat you like dirt, and you arenít supposed to hold a grudge like other people would. Instead, you have to turn around and thank them. Youíre all like that pathetic guy Ah-Q! Thereís something wrong with your heads!" Somebody like that canít understand cultivation. Heíd say youíre the one whoís unbelievable. Heíd say youíre dumb. Wouldnít you agree heís hard to save?

What we mean by "enlightened" isnít that. Turns out, what we mean by enlightened is actually what that guy calls dumb when it comes to making out well. Thatís the "enlightened" weíre talking about. Of course itís not really being dumb. Itís only that we take lightly those things that have to do with self-interest, when it comes to other things weíre plenty smart. When we work on a scientific research project, or, say, when our supervisor gives us an assignment, or when weíre completing our tasks, we do a great job with crystal-clear thinking. But when it comes to that petty personal gain, or when itís about tensions and disagreements with other people, itís just then that we take things lightly. Whoíd call you dumb for that? Nobody will. I guarantee it.

Now letís talk about somebody whoís a bit mentally slow. The truth about this matter is totally reversed at higher levels. Someone whoís slow probably wonít do any seriously bad ordinary things. Thereís no way for him to fight and compete to benefit himself. Heís not out to build a name for himself, and he doesnít lose virtue. But other people give him virtue. They hit him and insult him, they all give him virtue, and that material is really precious. Thereís a law in this universe of ours: someone who doesnít lose doesnít gain, and to gain you have to lose. When people see that retarded guy theyíll put him down, "You big retard!" And when they open their mouths to insult him, a piece of virtue is flung over. When youíve abused somebody youíre the party thatís gotten something out of it, and so youíll have to lose something. Maybe somebody will walk over and kick that guy, "You big retard!" Well, then another hefty chunk of virtue is flung over. When somebody bullies him or kicks him, he isnít bothered and just takes it with a grin, "Go ahead, what matters is youíre giving me your virtue. I wonít push any of it back!" So if we go by higher truths, then letís think about it, whoís clever? Isnít he the clever one? Heís the cleverest. He doesnít lose any virtue. When you fling virtue over to him he doesnít push any of it back and he accepts it all, he takes it all with a grin. Maybe heís retarded in this life, but he wonít be in his next life, his master soul isnít retarded. In some religions they say that if a person has a lot of virtue then in his next life heíll be a high-ranking official or make a big fortune. His virtue is exchanged for them.

We believe that virtue can be evolved directly into gong. Isnít how high you cultivate to evolved from your virtue? It can be evolved right into gong. Isnít the gong that decides how high your level is, or how strong your potency is, isnít it evolved from that material? Wouldnít you say itís precious? You should know that it can be brought along at birth and taken along at death. In Buddhism itís said that whatever height youíve achieved in cultivating, thatís your Fruition. However much you put in, thatís how much you get out. Thatís how it works. In some religions they say that a virtuous person will be a high-ranking official or make a big fortune in his next life, while somebody without much virtue canít even get anything begging for food, and thatís because he doesnít have any virtue to swapóno loss, no gain, right?! And when somebody doesnít have an ounce of virtue left, both his body and spirit will perish, heíll truly die.

There was a qigong master whose level was pretty high when he first went public with his practice. Later on that qigong master got all caught up in fame and money, so his master left with the guyís subordinate soul, since he was one of those people whose subordinate souls cultivates. When his subordinate soul was still around it was his subordinate soul that called the shots. Iíll give you an example. One day his company was assigning an apartment to one chosen employee. Management said, "Whoever needs housing come on over, tell me why you think you deserve it and why you each need an apartment." Everyone got riled up about making a case for himself, but that guy was mute. In the end management decided that he was in a tougher situation than everybody else, and that the apartment should go to him. The other people said, "No way, you canít give him the apartment. You should give it to me. Let me tell you how badly I need it." Then the guy said, "Okay, then you can take it." In ordinary peopleís eyes that guy was dumb. Some people knew he was a cultivator, so they asked him, "You cultivators donít want anything. So just what do you want?" He told them, "Whatever other folks donít want, thatís what I want." The truth is, he wasnít at all dumb. He was pretty sharp. It was just when something of his was at stake that he handled it that wayóhe let things happen naturally. Then the others followed up, "What donít people want nowadays?" He said, "The stones on the ground are kicked around and nobody wants them. So Iíll take the stones." Ordinary people think thatís just unbelievable. Ordinary people canít understand cultivators. Thereís no way they can, their level of awareness is just too far behind, thereís just too huge a gap in levels. Of course, heís not really about to go pick up stones. But he told a truth that ordinary people just canít graspó"Iím not after ordinary things." Letís just talk about stones as an example. You know how the Buddhist scriptures say that in the Western Paradise the trees are gold, the ground is gold, birds are gold, flowers are gold, houses are also gold, and even Buddhaís body is golden and shining, right? Well, you canít find even one piece of stone there, and word has it they use stones as money. Now that guy wouldnít haul a chunk of rock over there, but he did reveal a truth, and ordinary people canít get it. Beyond a doubt, a cultivator believes, "Ordinary people have those ordinary pursuits of theirs, but we donít go after that. And we donít care for what ordinary people have. But what we have, thatís something ordinary people couldnít get even if they wanted to."

So in fact, the "enlightening" that we just talked about is still just the type of enlightening that is during the process of cultivating. And itís just the opposite of ordinary peopleís "enlightening." When we talk about real enlightening it has to do with whether we can, while weíre cultivating, come to understand that weíre cultivators when we run into difficulty; with whether we can understand and accept the Law that the master teaches, or the Dao that a Daoist master teaches; and with whether we can, in the process of cultivating, do things in line with that Law. Some people wonít believe in these things no matter how you explain it to them, and ordinary things are still more real to them. They hold on to their rigid ways of thinking and donít let go, and so they canít believe in it. And then some people are just thinking about healing. The second I said qigong really isnít for healing they got turned off, and now they wonít believe anything thatís said.

Some peopleís comprehension just doesnít improve. Some folks just go and start marking up this book of mine. Now, those of us with open Third Eyes can see that this book is full of dazzling colors, and sparkling with golden light, and every word is in my Law Bodyís image. If I lied Iíd be cheating you, so Iíll tell you: the marks you make are so dark, and you dare to just mark it up like that? Do you know what weíre doing here? Arenít we guiding you upward in cultivation? You should stop and give a little thought to some things. This book can guide your cultivationónow think, isnít it precious? You worship Buddha, but can that help you do true cultivation? Youíre very pious and you handle that Buddhaís statue like fragile glass, and you burn incense for it every day, yet you dare to tamper with the Great Law that can truly guide your cultivation.

When we talk about a personís comprehension, itís about how much you understand, while youíre in the process of cultivating, the certain things that come up when you arrive at different levels, or the certain things or certain Laws that your master teaches you. But thatís not what we mean by fundamental enlightenment. When we talk about fundamental enlightenment, itís about how during his life a person, from the time he takes up cultivation on, keeps rising to higher levels and keeps getting rid of his human attachments and all those desires, and his gong keeps growing, until at some point he reaches the last step of his cultivation. His virtue, that matter, will all have been evolved into gong, heíll arrive at the end of the cultivation path his master arranged, and at that split second, "Boom!" all the locks will be blasted open. His Third Eye will reach the highest point of the level heís at, and heíll see the reality of the various dimensions at his level, the forms of existence of the various beings in different space-times, the forms of existence of matter in each space-time, and heíll see the Truth of our universe. His divine powers will be displayed in all their grandeur, and heíll be able to communicate with all kinds of beings. At that point, isnít he a Great Enlightened Being? Isnít he a person whoís become Enlightened by cultivating? In the language of ancient India, thatís a "Buddha."

That type of enlightenment we talk about, a type of fundamental enlightenment, is in the form of "sudden enlightenment." With sudden enlightenment a person is locked for all the years that he cultivates. He doesnít know how high his gong is, and he doesnít know the forms of the gong heís cultivated, he canít feel anything, and even the cells in his body are locked, all the gong heís cultivated is locked, and it stays that way until he cultivates to the very final step, and then itís unlocked. Only somebody with a great spiritual inclination can handle this, and the cultivation process is awfully tough. He starts as a good person, he perseveres in improving his character standard, perseveres in bearing hardships, perseveres in cultivating upward, and he perseveres in demanding of himself that he improve his character, but he canít see his gong. That kind of personís cultivation is the hardest, and he has to be somebody with great spiritual inclination. Heíll cultivate for a lot of years without any awareness of whatís going on.

Thereís another type of enlightenment, called "gradual enlightenment." A lot of people can feel the Law Wheel rotating right from the get-go, and I also open your Third Eye for you. For different reasons some people will go from not being able to see things to at some point being able to see them, and theyíll go from not seeing things well to seeing them well, or from not knowing how to use it to knowing how to use it, and their levels are constantly going up. As you improve your character and give up all those attachments of yours, all kinds of abilities are coming toward the surface. And all the changes during the progress of your cultivation, and the process of transforming your body, these all take place in such a way that you can see them or feel them. You go on like that until you reach the final stage, at which point youíve completely understood the Truth of the universe, and your level will have reached the highest point that youíre supposed to reach in cultivation. The evolving of your innate body and the strengthening of your abilities will have reached a certain point. You gradually achieve all this. That is "gradual enlightenment." Cultivating by gradual enlightenment isnít easy, either. Once some people get abilities they just canít give up their attachments, and they tend to show off or do bad things. And that way your gong drops, you cultivate for nothing, and in the end youíre ruined. Some people will be able to see things, and theyíll be able to see all kinds of beings displayed at different levels. Maybe those beings will try to get you to do something or other, or theyíll try to get you to cultivate their things or try to take you in as a disciple. But they canít help you achieve a True Fruition since they havenít even achieved a True Fruition.

Also, the people in higher dimensions will be divine beings who can become enormous and who can grandly display their divine powers. If your thoughts arenít proper, wonít you follow them? As soon as you follow them your cultivation will be ruined. Even if they are real Buddhas or real Daos, youíll still have to cultivate again from scratch. Arenít the beings at different levels of Heaven all Celestial Beings? Only when somebody has cultivated up to an extremely high level and achieved his goal can he completely break out. But when these divine beings are in front of ordinary peopleís eyes they look tall and huge, and endowed with great powers. Yet maybe they havenít achieved True Fruitions. When youíre being interfered with by all kinds of messages, and when youíre being tempted by all kinds of scenes, will you be able to stay unaffected inside? Thatís why we say cultivating with the Third Eye open is hard too. Itís even harder to guard your character. But donít worry too much, because for some of our practitioners their abilities will be unlocked at the halfway point, and then theyíll enter the state of gradual enlightenment. We open the Third Eye for all of you, but a lot of peopleís abilities arenít allowed to come out. But when your character improves bit by bit to a certain level, your state of mind is steady, and you can handle yourself well, so then weíll blast them all completely open for you. So, when you get to a certain level youíre allowed to experience a gradual enlightenment state, since at that time itís a bit easier to handle yourself, and all kinds of abilities will come out, and you will keep cultivating upward until eventually everything is unlocked. Youíre allowed to have that happen halfway through your cultivation. Thatís the case for a lot of us, so donít be anxious to see things.

Maybe youíve heard about the Zen sect making a distinction between sudden and gradual enlightenment. The Zen sectís sixth patriarch, Hui Neng, believed in sudden enlightenment, while Shen Xiu from the Northern School of Zen believed in gradual enlightenment. The debate between the two carried on in Buddhist philosophy for a long time, with people arguing on and on. But Iíd say itís meaningless. And why is that? Because what they were talking about was really just the understanding of a truth in the process of cultivating. And as for that truth, some people will grasp it instantly, while others will come to enlighten to it, or grasp it, a bit slowly. So then whatís the difference? Itís better to grasp it instantly, but itís fine to gradually enlighten to it, tooóin both cases he enlightens to it, right? Both ways of enlightening work, so either way is good.

A Person With Great Spiritual Inclination

Now, whatís "a person with great spiritual inclination"? A person with "great spiritual inclination" is different from somebody with "a good base." People with great spiritual inclination are hard to find. Itís only once in a great while that somebody like that is born. Of course, for starters, someone with great spiritual inclination has to have a lot of virtue. That field of his white matter has to be pretty big. You can be sure of that. And at the same time, he has to be able to bear the hardship of hardships, he has to have great endurance, he has to be able to make sacrifices, he has to be able to guard his virtue, and heís got to have good comprehension, just to give you an idea.

And whatís the hardship of hardships? In Buddhism itís believed that being human is suffering hardshipóas long as youíre a human being you have to suffer. They say that none of the beings in other dimensions have this kind of body that ordinary people do, so they donít get sick, and they donít have the problems of birth, aging, sickness, or death. They just donít have that kind of suffering. The people in other dimensions can float in the air and theyíre weightless, and itís just so wonderful. But ordinary people, exactly because they have this body, they have these problems: if itís cold they canít stand it, if itís hot they canít stand it, if theyíre thirsty they canít stand it, if theyíre hungry they canít stand it, and if theyíre tired they canít stand it, and then they have to deal with birth, aging, sickness, and death. You get the idea, it doesnít feel good.

I read in the paper that when the Tangshan City earthquake hit, a lot of people died, but some folks were resuscitated. A special investigation was done with that group of people, and they were asked what it felt like to die. But, to peopleís surprise, they all talked about one unique situationóand they were all consistent on thisóand that is, at the very moment they were dying they didnít have any fear, and just the opposite, they suddenly felt a sense of relief and could feel an excitement brewing. Some of them felt like theyíd been suddenly freed of the restraints of their bodies, as if theyíd floated up like something buoyant and wonderful, and they saw their own bodies, some of them saw beings in other dimensions, and some even went off to various places. They all said that they experienced at that instant a sense of relief and a brewing excitement, and there wasnít any feeling of pain. So this tells us that when we have a mortal human body weíre suffering. But since we all came to this world the same way we donít realize that weíre suffering.

Iíve said that a person has to bear the hardship of hardships. The other day I mentioned that mankindís concept of space-time is different from that of other, larger space-times. Whatís for us over here a traditional block of time, like two hours, is actually a year for beings in another dimension. Letís say somebody is here cultivating in this tough environmentóto them itís just incredible. He wants to find the Dao, and he wants to cultivate, so this guyís just amazing to them. He suffers so much, but he hasnít ruined his original nature and he still wants to cultivate and return. Why can a cultivator be helped with no conditions attached? Thatís why. Say somebody meditates for a whole night in the ordinary peopleís dimension, when they see it, they canít help but say heís just amazing. "Heís already been sitting there six years"óand thatís because a couple hours for us is a year over there. The human dimension is just extremely special.

So what is "bearing the hardship of hardships"? Iíll give you an illustration. Thereís this guy who goes to work one day. His company is in a slump, and itís got to do something about its lack of productivity, so his company has to be restructured to increase individual accountability, and extra employees have to be laid off. Heís one of them, so he loses his job all of a sudden. Now howís that feel? He has no source of income nowóhowís he going to support his family? He doesnít have any other skills. So he goes home depressed. When he gets home he finds out his elderly parent who lives at his house is sick, really sick, so he gets worked into a frenzy and quickly sends his parent to the hospital. He goes through a ton of trouble to borrow some money so he can secure a bed at the hospital for his parent, and heads back home to get some things for him or her. No sooner does he get home than a teacher comes and tells him, "Your son hurt somebody in a fight, youíd better hurry over and patch things up." He takes care of it, goes back home, sits down, and just moments later a phone call comes, "Your wife is having an affair." Now of course you wonít run into that. The average person couldnít take the hardship, and heíd think, "Why go on? Iím gonna find a rope and hang myselfóIíve had enough! Time to put an end to it all!" Iím saying that you have to be able to bear the hardship of hardships. And of course it doesnít have to take that form. You get caught in the middle of people scheming against each other, tensions wear on your character, and thereís all that fighting for personal gainóthatís not much easier. A lot of people just live to prove their worth, and theyíll hang themselves when itís too much. So if we want to cultivate in an environment this complicated, weíve got to be able to bear the hardship of hardships, and weíve also got to have great endurance.

So whatís "great endurance"? To be a practitioner you should, for starters, be able to "not hit back when attacked, not talk back when insulted." You have to endure. If you donít, what are you calling yourself a practitioner for? Some people have said, "This endurance thing is hard to do. Iíve got a bad temper." If you have a bad temper then just change it. Practitioners have to endure. Some people blow up even when theyíre disciplining their kids, theyíll yell and make a big scene. You donít have to be like that when youíre disciplining your kids. You shouldnít really get angry. You should teach your kids with reason and good sense, and thatís the only way you can really teach them well. If you canít even get over little things, and you lose your temper, then forget about gong. There are people who say, "If Iím walking down the street and somebody kicks me, I can endure it, since nobody knows me." Iíd say thatís not good enough. Maybe later on youíll be slapped in the face a couple times in front of the very person you least want to lose face around, and thatís to humiliate you, to see how you handle it, and to see whether you can endure it. Maybe you can endure it but you canít get it off your mind. Thatís not good enough. You know, when a person reaches the Arhat level heís not fazed by anything he comes across. Heís not the least bit concerned about any human things and heís always upbeat. It doesnít matter how much he loses out, heís upbeat and doesnít mind. When you can really do that, then youíve achieved the initial Arhat Fruition.

Some people have said, "If we endure that much, ordinary people will say weíre so weak and so easy to take advantage of." Iíd say thatís not being weak. Letís think about it. Even among ordinary people you find older folks and people with better education who always exercise polite restraint and donít stoop to the other personís level. Then that should be doubly so for us practitioners. How is that weak? Iíd say it reflects your great endurance, itís a reflection of your strong willpower. Only practitioners have that kind of great endurance. Thereís a saying, "When the common man is humiliated, he draws his sword to fight back." Heís an ordinary person, so of courseó"You insult me, Iíll insult you. You hit me, Iíll hit you right back." Thatís an ordinary person for you. Could you call him a practitioner? If you donít have a will of steel, or if you arenít able to control yourself, you wonít be able to handle it right.

You know about General Han Xin who lived in ancient times, and how they said Han Xin was talented. He was Emperor Liu Bangís chief general, he was the pillar of the state. And why was he able to do such big things? They say that from a young age Han Xin was no average person. Thereís a classic story about Han Xin being "humiliated under somebodyís legs." Han Xin was already practicing martial arts even in his youth, and a martial artist would always carry a sword on him. One day Han Xin was walking down the street when a thug blocked his path, with his hands on his hips, "What do you have that sword slung over your shoulder for? Would you dare kill a man? If so, I dare you to cut off my head." And he stuck out his head as he was saying that. Han Xin thought, "Why would I want to cut your head off?" Back then, too, youíd be reported to the authorities for cutting off somebodyís head, and youíd have to pay for it with your own life. Could you just kill somebody on a whim? When he saw that Han Xin didnít dare kill him, he said, "Since you donít dare to kill me, crawl through between my legs." And Han Xin really did crawl under his legs. That showed that Han Xin had amazing endurance, and that he wasnít like your average guy, and thatís why he could do such big things. "A man has to struggle to prove his worth"óthose are ordinary peopleís words. Think about it, everybody, isnít life exhausting then? Isnít that a pain? Is it worth it? And Han Xin was an ordinary person, after allówe cultivators should be a lot better than him. Our goal is to reach a level beyond ordinary people, to forge ahead to even higher levels. We wonít run into anything like he did, but when a cultivator is insulted or humiliated around ordinary people, itís not necessarily any easier. Iíd say that those frictions with people that wear down on your character arenít any easier, theyíre actually worse, and theyíre pretty hard to handle.

Now at the same time, a cultivator has to be able to let goólet go of all kinds of attachments and desires that people have. You canít up and do that in one shot, but we can do it gradually. If you could just do it right off today, then youíd be a Buddha today. Cultivation takes time. But you shouldnít slack off, either. If you say, "Teacher said cultivation takes time, so letís take our time," thatís not the idea! You have to really be strict with yourself. In Buddha Law cultivation you have to boldly and vigorously forge ahead.

You also have to be able to guard your virtue, you have to guard your character, and you canít act rashly. You canít just do whatever you wantóyou have to guard your character. Thereís a saying you probably hear all the time when youíre around ordinary people, "Accumulate virtue by doing good things." Practitioners donít think about accumulating virtue, though. What we do is guard our virtue. And why do we make a point of guarding virtue? Because hereís what weíve seen. Ordinary people make a practice of accumulating virtue, and when theyíve accumulated virtue and done good things theyíll get good things in their next life. But that doesnít apply to us hereóif your cultivationís a success youíll attain the Dao, and there wonít be any question of the next life. But thereís another layer of meaning to this "guarding virtue" weíre talking about here. Itís that these two kinds of matter we carry with us on our bodies arenít accumulated in just one lifetime, theyíve been passed down for ages. You can scour the city but thereís a chance you wonít run into any good deeds to do. And you could even do that every day and maybe you still wouldnít come across anything.

But thereís yet another layer of meaning, and a person needs to know about it if heís going to accumulate virtue. Maybe you see something that looks like a good thing to do, and you go and do it, but maybe it turns out to be a bad thing. Or maybe you see something that looks like itís a bad thing, and you step in to stop it, but maybe it turns out it was a good thing. And why is that? Itís because you canít see the underlying causes. Judicial laws govern ordinary peopleís affairs, and thereís nothing wrong with that. But being a practitioner is a higher thing. So as a higher person you have to hold yourself to higher laws and higher logic. You canít evaluate things with the reasoning of ordinary people or with ordinary laws. When you donít know the underlying causes of something youíll probably handle it wrong. Thatís why we talk about nonactionóyou canít just do whatever you want. Some people say, "But I just want to make sure justice is served." Then Iíd say great, we should all just enroll in police academy then? But weíre not telling you to do nothing when you come across terrible things like murder and arson. Iím just explaining that when people are fighting with each other, and maybe one person even kicks the other, or one of them slugs the other one, maybe that guy owed the other person something, and now theyíre settling the debt. So if you step in they canít settle it, and theyíll have to do it again the next time around. What this means, then, is that youíd probably do the wrong thing and lose virtue since you canít see the underlying causes.

Itís fine for an ordinary person to do something about some ordinary peopleís thing. He sizes it up with the reasoning of ordinary people. But you, on the other hand, you have to use higher reasoning to size things up. And thereís a problem with your character if you donít do anything when you see something awful like murder or arson. How could you then demonstrate that youíre a good person? If you donít even do anything about things like murder and arson, then what would you do something about? But one thing is, these things donít have a lot to do with us cultivators, so chances are that wasnít planned for you, and chances are you wonít be made to encounter them. When we talk about guarding virtue, itís to have you avoid doing bad things. Maybe you do that thing ever so slightly, but it could still be doing a bad thing, and then youíll lose virtue. And once you lose virtue, how are you going to raise your level? How will you achieve your final goal? So these kinds of questions are part of it. And also, your comprehension has to be good. If youíve got a good base, maybe itíll make your comprehension good, and influences from your environment can play a role, too.

And weíve said, too, that if every one of us cultivates inward, if every one of us examines his own character for causes, if when we donít do well we look inside ourselves for the cause, and we try to do better next time, and if we think about other people first any time we do something, then the world will change for the better, morals will go back up, peopleís civility will improve, and crime will go down. Maybe we wonít even need policemen. There will be no need for things like neighborhood watch, and everyone will watch over himself, and theyíll look inside their own minds to fix things. Wouldnít you say thatíd be great? We know how laws and regulations are now getting more and more complete and tight over time. Then why do people still do bad things? Why donít they follow the law? Itís because you canít police their minds, and when nobody is watching theyíll still do bad things. But if everyone were to cultivate inward things would be totally different, and you wouldnít need to be a whistleblower all the time.

We can only teach the Law up to this level. You have to cultivate to get whatís higher. The questions some people are asking are getting more and more specific. Now if I were to answer every question in your life, whatíd be left for you to cultivate with! You have to cultivate for yourself, and you have to come to your own realizations. If I spelled everything out you wouldnít have anything left to cultivate with. But you donít have to worry, because the Great Law is now being spread, and you can base your actions on the Great Law.

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I think the time for my transmitting the Law is pretty much coming to a close, so I want to leave you with the true things, and this way youíll have the Law to guide you from here on out as you cultivate. The whole time Iíve been transmitting the Law, Iíve made a point of being responsible to you and to society, and weíve really been able to follow through on this. I wonít comment on whether weíve done it well or notópublic opinion will tell. My wish was to spread the Great Law to the public and have more people benefit from it, and to make it possible for those people who truly want to cultivate to follow the Law and cultivate up to high levels. And while weíve been spreading the Law, weíve spelled out how to act like a good human being, and I hope that after you finish this class, at the very least you can be a good person even if you canít be somebody who cultivates by the Great Law, and that will benefit our world. Actually, now you know how to be a good person, and after this class you can be a good person.

There have been some things that havenít gone smoothly while Iíve been transmitting the Law, and big-time interference has come at us from all sides. But thanks to all the enthusiastic support from the organizers and community leaders, and also all the efforts of our staff members, our classes have gone pretty well.

All the things Iíve taught you during the classes are to guide you in cultivating to high levels, and nobody has ever taught these things before when they preached the Law. What weíve taught is really clear-cut, and weíve incorporated things that have been put forth by modern science and todayís human-body sciences, and whatís more, the level weíve explained it at is quite high. Weíve done that mainly for you all, to help you truly obtain the Law in the time ahead, to cultivate upóthatís my starting point. While weíre transmitting the teachings and the exercises, a lot of folks feel that the Law is pretty good, but hard to put into action. But actually, I think that whether itís hard depends on the person. A really average, ordinary person doesnít want to cultivate, and heíll feel that cultivation is just way too hard, that itís unthinkable, and heíll think itís a waste of time. Heís an ordinary person and he doesnít want to cultivate, so heíll think itís really hard. Lao-zi said, "When the highest type of men hear the Dao, with diligence they will practice it. When average men hear the Dao, it seems some is kept and some is lost. When the lowest type of men hear the Dao, they laugh at it heartily. If they didnít laugh at it, it wouldnít be the Dao." For a true cultivator, Iíd say itís easyóitís not some impossible mission. And in fact, a lot of our veteran students here in the audience, and a lot of them who arenít here, have already cultivated to levels that are quite high. I didnít tell you this before because I was afraid youíd form attachments, that youíd be pleased with yourselves, and so on, and that would affect how your potency grows. For every one of you who makes up his mind to cultivate, you will be able to endure things, and when your personal welfare is on the line, you will be able to let go of your attachments, and you will be able to take those things lightly. As long as you can do that itís not hard, in fact. Now those people who say itís hard, it turns out, they just canít let go of those things. Doing the exercises isnít hard in its own right, and thereís nothing hard about raising your level in and of itself. They only say itís hard because they canít let go of their human thoughts. The reason is, itís hard to let those things go when your personal welfare is on the lineóthat benefit is right there, in front of you, how can you let it go? When they think itís hard, we should know that thatís the reason why itís hard. When we get into conflicts with people, if you canít swallow that anger, or you arenít able to handle it as a practitioner, Iíd say that just doesnít work. Back when I was cultivating, a lot of men of great character told me this: "Itís hard to endure, but you can endure it. Itís hard to do, but you can do it." And thatís really how it is. When you go back you might want to give it a try. When youíre going through an awful tribulation, or maybe a critical juncture, give it a try. When itís hard to endure, try to endure it. When it seems impossible to do, or just hard to do, give it a try and see just what you can do. And when you can really do it, just like that worn and weary traveler, youíll see, "the shade of willows, the blooms of flowers, a place to rest my head"!

We should probably stop here, because if I say too much itíll be hard for you to remember it all. So Iíll just say a few things in parting. I hope that in your cultivation that lies ahead youíll go about things as a practitioner and truly keep cultivating. I hope that both our new students and veteran students are able to cultivate in Dafa, and have complete success! I hope that after you go back home youíll seize the day to really cultivate.