Monday, February 21, 2011

Put ourselves on the line!

It is easy to say "Love thy neighbor as thyself", and it is also easy to say I got Taoist (or Zen) enlightenment, and all my acts will be according to Tao or Zen. The key question is: Do we dare to put ourselves on the line? Or when we are being put one line, how would we fare?

Taoist Grandmaster Lu (呂祖) was put to the test ten times by his master YunFang (云房) [or Zhong Liquan (鈡離權)] after he was being enlightened by a dream induced by his master, and before his master decided to teach him all Taoist practices (including Taoist yoga and other magical practices). This teacher student pair was the founder of modern Taoist yoga, and their practice is called Zhong-Lu Taoist yoga (鈡呂丹道). Once I saw a children book published in Taiwan depicting these ten tests in cartoon-form as educational literature for kids. The first three tests are as follows:

Test one: One day when Lu came back from a trip, he found out that all his family members died from infectious disease. He was shocked but did not not grieve. Knowing that the situation could not be reverted, he immediately went to the market to buy coffins and arranged for funerals matters. When he was back home, he found out that his family members were all well and alive. He didn't feel shock nor complain.

Test two: One day when Lu went to the market to sell some goods, he met a buyer and negotiated a selling price with him. A few moments later, the buyer suddenly said that the price negotiated was half the originally agreed price. Lu didn't argue with him, and in order to avoid other possible arguments, he immediately left the market without taking his goods with him.

Test three: On New Year day, Lu met a beggar in the street asking for alms. Lu immediately gave him some money. But the beggar kept asking for more repeatedly, and even insult Lu when he was slow in giving. Lu was keeping a calm mind all the time. Finally, the beggar took out a knife and tried to rob Lu for more money. Lu apologized several times saying that he had no more money to give, he then opened his clothes indicated that he only had his life to give and he was ready to give it to the beggar too. The beggar laughed and walked away.

Without reading the rest, one can have a good feel as to what is expected from a Taoist. Can we pass our daily tests? Or more importantly, are we ready to put ourselves on the line any moment?

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