慈 喻 与 慈 训
The Wu-ji True Self and Life Map
Dan Shi Zhi Ben Xing That know the True Heart
Jian Zhi Ben Xing See the True Self
Wu dong Wu Jing No motion no stillness
Wu Shen Wu Mie No birth no vanishing
Wu Qu Wu Lai No going no coming
Wu Shi Wu Fei No right no wrong
Wu Zhu Wu Wang No dwelling no drifting
The practice of Tao is Wu-wei,*
Preach for Heaven;
Inform fellow practitioners,
The revelation of Buddhas;
Cease thoughts and overcome desires,
Be pure and tranquil in all senses;
The One Word Sutra
Has four words in each of the seven verses;
Recite in silence faithfully
Deviate not even a moment,
Be tenacious and persistent;
Enlightening the True Heart and seeing the True Self,
The unsurpassed way of sudden realization;
Encountering such a golden opportunity,
Buddhahood and Immortality
Is so attained with fate;
The faithful devotees can attain,
The non-believers will drown.
*Wu-wei is the state of having no desires or thoughts.
Foreword by Lao-Mu
March 24 in the 78th year of Republic of China:
All beings in the world, listen to Lao-Mu Me carefully;
Point to your Right Portal, your two windows can be cleared;
Hold on to your Right Portal, your two eyes will be calmed;
Open the Right Portal, shine the eyes.
All Beings in the world, look at Lao-Mu My light;
Lao-Mu My light is infinitely bright.
Concentrate on your Right Portal, you can rid of the Human Nature, bring out the True Nature, and reveal your divine wisdom.
Unite the True Self and life into one, you’ll realize the mystic nature of the Right Portal.
March 25 in the 78th year of Republic of China:
The aureole of the True Self, affected by desires for materialism in Hou-tien, can not be full and bright;
Therefore, there is the distinction between pure and filthy.
You must hold on firmly to the True Selves and restore it to the original state of purity.
All being are equal, so do not distinguish between one and another.
Lao-Mu I want to rescue everyone, regardless who he is.
If you continue to indulge in the seven emotions, six desires, and the mortal world,
Your heart and body will be contaminated.
You’ll fall into the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth.
All beings who hanker after pleasure will be tragic.
The present world appears rather gay.
But, upon the arrival of the White Yang Period, all beings will suffer in miseries
For the Final Catastrophe has arrived.
Hurriedly save the world, humans and all beings.
Lao-Mu I said when the Final Catastrophe arrives, the entire world will face massive destructions which cannot be redeemed by humans.
People are so lost that they forget about returning Home;
So Lao-Mu My heart is broken.
Lao-Mu I hope all beings will quickly return to My side.
Come back to My side, Lao-Mu I will be very happy.
It is up to all beings to choose either happiness or sadness.
Lao-Mu I am worried as well as grievous
Because the arrival of the Final Catastrophe will bring disasters to this world; all beings will be in anguish.
Lao-Mu I hope the entire world can be saved, but who can save all beings and the whole world?
If you turn to heresies, Lao-Mu I will be very sad.
Therefore, Lao-Mu I descend Tien-Tao to save the souls of all beings.
March 26 in the 78th year of Republic of China:
Be selfless and devote yourself to God.
Many beings will soon be destroyed.
Lao-Mu I come to tell you plainly;
Many people have lost their souls.
When the White-Yang Period arrives, the present world will end.
The sky crumbles, earth cracks, and all beings will be destroyed.
The planet Earth is in dire danger.
Lao-Mu I said do not let the world be filled with the seven emotions and six desires
All beings must rescue the world.
Lao-Mu I repeatedly urge all beings to return to My side.
Clouds of dust darken the sky during the Final Catastrophe.
It will be so dark that nothing is visible.
Lao-Mu My children, quickly return to Heaven of Truth.
Return to Lao-Mu My side, your real Home.
All beings; real Home is in the Heaven of Truth where Lao-Mu I reside.
Hurriedly return to Heaven, do not linger in the mortal world.
Hurriedly return to Lao-Mu My side.
Whoever is attached to this world is destined to drown.
The seven emotions and six desires cause many anxieties.
These anxieties will bring endless sufferings.
Toss away anxieties
behind to follow
Lao-Mu I ask all beings to return to My side.
All beings are in
miseries and need help from
Sigh! Sigh! Sigh!
Lao-Mu I feel very grievous because the entire world will be destroyed by the Final Catastrophe of the Third Period.
Discard everything, including greed, anger, and infatuation.
Otherwise, the entire universe, all matters, and all beings will be annihilated.
Sigh! Sigh! Lao-Mu I hope all beings can awake and rescue this world.
But who can rescue this world now?
For this world will soon be destroyed.
Famines will prevail all over the world and human will be in peril.
All disasters are brought about by emotions and desires.
Hedonism will destroy oneself.
All in the world will seek the Enlightened Teacher for the pointing.
Sigh! Lao-Mu I repeatedly urge children to rid of emotions and desires.
Children, reveal your True Nature and turn sadness into courage.
Save, save, save,
Lao-Mu I hope you will save this world
To avoid all being destroyed.
Lao-Mu I exhort repeatedly that all beings must rid of emotions and desires. Pervade your practice from the beginning to the end to return to the Heaven of Truth.
The Merciful Admonishment of the Enlightened
Teacher, Ji-Gong Buddha
The First of March in the Chinese Lunar Calendar,
Year of the Republic of
The Sixteenth of April,
One Thousand Nine Hundred and Eighty-Eight
To the I-Kuan Wu-wei Arena of Tao:
We practice Tao by cultivating our hearts; we propagate Tao with our best;
We do not compare with others;
We do not compete with others;
We make concessions to accommodate the ten directions;
We are the bridge between the sea of suffering and the World of Bliss;
No matter how people step on us or slander us, we must be humble;
We are fearless for we are just; we are flexible;
Our faith in Tao is firm; we do not sacrifice in vain;
We do not waste this trip; we do not waste time;
Even one person can hinge lives of many, so respect yourself;
Need not hesitate; need not hinder yourself;
Establish a right objective;
Let thousands of people ascend steadily;
Let thousands of people receive the light of mercifulness;
Let thousands of people bathe in the great grace of Heaven;
Let thousands of people transcend from the sea of suffering;
Let thousands of people’s nine generations of descendants and seven generations of ancestors receive all of these together.
This poem was written by an inspired elementary school girl at an Altar seeded by the I-Kuan Wu-wei Arena in south Texas, U.S.A. on the first of March in the Chinese lunar calendar, the Seventy-Seventh year of the Republic of China, as she attained great wisdom soon after she received Tao and vowed to be a vegetarian. She also swore that this poem was written in her own will but the admonishment of our Enlightened Teacher. Ji-Gong Buddha.
The Maxim of the Wu-wei Virtuous
The Wu-wei virtuous have the heart of goodness but without the appearance of superiority. Their virtue is enough to govern the world, yet they are not arrogant. Their words and actions are enough to be passed on to future generations, and none of their words or actions is imperfect. Therefore, the virtuous have great virtues but are humble, lower themselves to accommodate others, and go with the trend but not being influenced by it. Even they are in a low status, people still support them. What great virtues they possess.
Furthermore, the virtuous esteem virtues and exhaust the Truth to the extent of broadness and fineness. They are extremely prudent and cautious, understand the principle of yin and yang, help humans and the whole world, and cover their aureoles to mingle with the common. They wait for the Saint and cultivate commoners. These are the doctrine of the mean, and Tao is complete in this way.
Written in the Jiu-hua Central Altar of the I-Kuan Wu-wei Arena
of Tao, Kowloon, Hong-Kong
The Third of September in the Chinese Lunar Calendar,
The Thirty-Eighth Year of the Republic of China.
The Song of the 1-Kuan Wu-wei Youngsters
The Wu-wei youngsters, hurriedly prepare to have the complete great wisdom, great benevolence, and great courage;
Hold the artery of the new stage; stand in the forefront of the great era;
Do not be infatuated by wealth and high positions; do not be shaken by poverty; do not succumb to power;
We must protect the safety of our Patriarch;
We must maintain the continuity of the Heritage of Tao;
We must realize the Utopia and true Confucianism;
We must fulfill the vow that the world belongs to all;
We must fulfill the responsibility of freeing the livelihoods of the whole world;
We are the guardians of the continuity of the Heritage of Tao;
We are the vanguards of the pillar in the stream for tens of thousands of future generations......
The Wu-wei youngsters, hurriedly prepare to have the complete great wisdom, great benevolence, and great courage.
Jiu-hua Central Altar of the I-Kuan Wu-wei Arena
The Ninth of September in the Chinese Lunar Calendar,
The Thirty –Eighth Year of the Republic of China
Written by the Keeper of the Jiu-Hua Altar
The Merciful Words and Admonishments
Copyright c1991, Tien-Tao Association
Table of Contents
The Wu-ji True Self and Life Map
Foreword by Lao-Mu
The Merciful Admonishments of the Enlightened Teacher, Ji-Gong Buddha
The Maxim of the Wu-wei Virtuous
The Song of the I-Kuan Wu-wei Youngsters
Table of Contents
MERCIFUL WORDS OF MOTHER
Precepts for Self Disciplining
Eighteen Precepts for Self Disciplining
Mother’s Words: The Panacea
The program of repentance
THE EIGHTEEN BUDDHA RULES
The Eighteen Buddha Rules
THE PATH TO ENLIGHTENMENT
The Admonishment from the Enlightened Teacher
THE CODE AND ROLE OF A KEEPER OF ALTAR
The meaning of a Keeper of Altar
The Rules and Standards for the Keeper of an Altar
What a Keeper of Altar must know
Responsibilities of the Keeper of Altar
The March of the Keepers of Altar
MERCIFUL WORDS OF MOTHER
Precepts for Self Disciplining
23rd of February, lectured by Shi-mu
1. Awakening to the True Self
Reflect upon oneself, introspect oneself, reform oneself and learn by oneself. Know the True Self. Set directions. Change the style. Eliminate bad habits. Develop the new origin. Pave a new life.
2. Repentance of the True Self
There are two levels to examine. (1)To mother: As a son one should be filially pious. Is the filial piety true? Is the heart true? Are these being violated? (2) To yourself : Do I treat others according to the Truth (propriety)? In regard to things, am I thrifty and do I maintain integrity? Have I been obeying the disciplines? Have an immediate repentance once a month, 1 an intermediate repentance once a quarter, 2 and a thorough repentance once a year. 3
1. An immediate repentance is to repent before Lao-Mu once a month of all the mistakes one made during that month and have them cleared.
2. An intermediate repentance is to repent before Lao-Mu once a quarter of all the mistakes one made during that quarter and have them cleared.
3. A thorough repentance is to repent before Lao-Mu once a year of all the mistakes one made during that year and have them cleared.
3. The style of the True Self
I must sacrifice myself to help others. Never take advantage of others for my own achievements. He who sacrifices himself to save others is bright. He who takes advantage of others for his achievements is dark. If one has the idea of enticing others to build his own power, or using the merits of others to powder his face, he forever lives in darkness.
4. Disciplines for the True Self
Embrace the ‘plainness’ of Lao-zi. Follow the ‘rules’ of Confucius. Being ‘Plain’ is to endure suffering and labor, and be humble and modest. If one can truly fulfill these, for sure he will be spared of the sufferings in the cycle of birth, death and rebirth, ‘Rules’ means not being arrogant, greedy, fanciful, and sceptical. If one can truly fulfil these, his True Self will naturally be bright. It is only then one can be considered as a perfect human.
5. Livelihood of the True Self
See through all agonies and worries in the mortal world. Do not long for enjoyments and do not accept supports from others. Live daily with gentleness, kindness, respectfulness, thriftiness and courteousness. Wear plain apparels, eat plain meals, speak sparsely, and display as being ignorant.
6. Attitudes of the True Self
The sight should be bright. Know the person. Know the mistakes. Keep a clear mind, be decisive when handling affairs, and be honest about your stance. Do not act unrighteously, do not make friends with unrighteous persons, do not speak unrighteous words, do not spend unrighteous money, and do not visit unrighteous places.
Eighteen Precepts for Self Disciplining
1. Eliminate bad habits. Develop the new origin. Open the Buddha bag. 4 Change your style. Change to the style of the new self. Practice the life of the new self.
4. To open the Buddha bag means to open the bag of souls.
2. Awake to the new self, criticize the new self, try the new self, refine the new self, and learn by the new self. Complete the program of repentance.
3. ‘Practice’, ‘learn’, and ‘preach’ daily. Follow goodness and correct mistakes. Live according to the new disciplines of the livelihood.
4. Treat others with propriety. Perform tasks with righteousness. Handle things with integrity. Discipline oneself by knowing shame. These four are the maintenance of the new self.
5. Be willing to sacrifice oneself to help others. Be unwilling to achieve by taking advantage of others. He who sacrifices himself to help others is glorious, heavenly, a Buddha. He who achieves by taking advantage of others is dark, hellish, a ghost. He who entices others to build his own power, or uses the merits of others to powder his face, is a devil.
6. Practice Tao according to the Truth. Do not use relationships nor connections; do not deploy power nor trickeries; do not incite nor manipulate, to harm Tao and mislead other practitioners.
7. Undertake great missions yet do not be ambitious. Have high aspirations yet keep a humble heart. Be responsible yet have no desire for power. To practice Tao is like building a pagoda: the higher it is, the smaller it is. The top is high yet not in peril. The lower it is, the broader it is. It is full yet not overflowing
8. Do not seek enjoyments. Do not accept supports 5 from others. Wear plain apparels. Live in a humble house. Speak sparsely. Display as being ignorant. Follow the Truth and adhere to the direction. Focus on the matter instead of the people. The Truth is the Truth, the matter is the matter, and the person is the person. One should never act against the Truth because of a matter, harm a person because of a matter or obstruct a matter because of a person.
5. Accept supports here means to accept provisions or money from others as all or part of one’s subsistence.
9. Eliminate all selfishness and do not retain a thing. Discard totally any distinction between oneself and others, and right from wrong, in order not to mislead others, ruin undertakings, nor harm oneself.
10. Embrace ‘plainness’ and follow ‘rules’. Strictly adhere to the new disciplines.
To be humble is to forgive and accept remonstrations.
To be modest is to tolerate being wronged, and bear.
To endure labor is to bear with sufferings
and put up with slanders.
Do not be greedy, arrogant, nor skepitcal
Do not be lazy, fanciful, nor angry
11. Repentance gives rise to wisdom. Knowing shame leads to strength. Diligence makes up for dullness. Thriftiness nurtures integrity.
12. Be willing to practice together with others. Be unwilling to stand above others and to attain alone.
13. The sight in the eye should be bright. Know the person. Know the mistakes. Keep a clear mind, be decisive when handling matters, and be honest about your stance. Do not act unrighteously, do not spend unrighteous money, and do not visit unrighteous places.
14. Terminate relationships with those who betrayed or rebelled against Tao, or those with evil habits. Do not be lenient with them nor bear false witness against them. Do not be close to them nor slander them.
15. Take precaution against the three evils of lust, money and temperaments. Lust should be kept away. Money should be kept clear. Temperaments should be cultivated.
16. Do not speak of prophesies, catastrophes, miracles, politics, nor right or wrong.
17. Fear not a criticisms from others, but dread about one’s own wrong doings. Expect not praises from others, but demand oneself to act righteously.
18. One’ s doing today is tomorrow’s reputation, his merits today are tomorrow’s rewards, his enjoyments today are tomorrow’s true sufferings, and his asceticism today is tomorrow’s true happiness. To reach the new world, I must make myself anew first. To reach the domain of brightness, I must brighten myself first.
1. Treat everyone within the family equally, and do not make the distinction between the self and others. The elders are kind while the juniors are filial pious, and counsel and encourage each other. The elders serve as examples for others, so to move and touch others in the family. Each individual restrains his body and heart. 6 Do not be suspicious or have misunderstandings. The source and spending of money should be clear. Every sibling carries out his own responsibilities and is dedicated. Everyone lives happily and harmoniously. Have sublime aspirations so your relatives and friends would follow suit. This is truly living up to being siblings in the Buddha family. 7 If you do practice as such, you are guaranteed to have a part in purity and quiescence. If you indulge yourselves and do not practice as such, there is no end to your agony and worry. Hope everyone in the family would practice accordingly, and pervade from the beginning to the end.
6. The body is the flesh, and the heart is the nature.
7. Buddha family means the Truth and teachings taught by the Buddha.
2. Faithfulness is the foundation, for without faith, one cannot be established. If one cannot keep his words, others will not approve of him. Thus he impedes himself without a way out, cannot build merits, and ruins his own future.
3. If one has been perfunctory in his way and does not know to admit the mistakes and repent, should he not be regretful that he has wasted all the time passed? If others suggest and explain, he should be elated when he hears about his mistakes. Search for one’s own illness. Eliminate the source of the illness so that it will never occur again, then one can be acclaimed to be a perfect man.
List of illness
Being deceptive and dishonest. Being ambitious and fanciful. Postulating as mother’s words. To exaggerate and being competitive. Dominating everyone and everything. Forming parties and factions. Not keeping your words. Speaking in contrary to the heart. Being lazy and lax for comforts. Being greedy and fanciful. Being irritable and jealous. Being wasteful in money and resources. Having suspicions and misunderstandings. Source not being clear and spending not being accountable. Not differentiating the sacred from the secular. Benefiting oneself through public causes. Opining rights and wrongs negligently. Gripping onto power and dominance. Covering up scandals and wicked deeds. Being a heresiarch. Deploying tricks and rivalling with wits. Neglecting propriety and being wanton. Being eccentric and audacious. Cheating on others’ merits to build one’s reputation. Putting down others to shine oneself. Lying to elders and deceiving the juniors.
Not all the illness in the list above are committed by everyone. Some have not committed any at all. If one has acquired one or two of these illnesses, promptly eliminate them after you have read “The panacea”. If one has these illnesses and does not have them cured, he will harm his body, ruin the rest of his life, and it will be too late to regret. Beware! One must make sure the illnesses he has are cured.
4. When people have illnesses, most of them do not know or are not aware of their illnesses. When one has illnesses, he has to examine to know what kind of illness he has. One must heal oneself first before he can heal others.
5. Help each other and discuss with each other. Discard the shortcomings and keep the merits. As to the merits, everyone can model after. As to the shortcomings, everyone can counsel each other. To those who tell us our shortcomings, we should accept such with gratitude, and never commit the same mistake from then on. Must have tenacity. Have high aspirations. Attain as a sage.
6. Do not remain silent on the difficulties a good and capable man faces. Humans all have pride, and they like to look good. When a good person faces difficulties, we are obligated to extend our help, till his fortune takes a better turn, upon which his potentials can be realized. As such, we can be acclaimed to be righteous sages.
7. Let others know about those whose illness could not be curved, so that others will not contract their diseases, and have their futures impeded. Make attempts to save them, otherwise it will indeed be regrettable.
8. If there are minor misconducts, one should awake to them. Immediately mend the wrongs and repent in the heart, and be conscious of your deportments. Practice diligently to meet the above, and the future will not be impeded.
9. Everything must be clear. Time is short. If one sins first and builds merits later, he still can have achievements. If one accumulates merits first and sins later, all merits are invalidated in one stroke. All his prior efforts have gone wasted. No more time is available for making up and it really is pitiful.
10. Time is precious, for a moment is worth a thousand tales of gold. Those who have taken the vow of purity, the vow to be a vegetarian, and various sublime vows in the past, and have endured all kinds of difficulties, are about to reach the time of fruition in becoming a Buddha. This could be any moment now. Yet fear that you could not thoroughly know the time and opportunity. Heaven will not wait for anyone. You must keep your inside and outside pure and tranquil. Be aware that Immortals and Buddhas are observing.
All my dear disciples, how are you? This moment is the time we have to be patient. Hope you can all bear for a while. After this stage, the good and the evil will be separated. This is the great elimination. Hope you will not take it lightly. Although those good people who practice to fulfill their vows will face catastrophes, God certainly will protect and shield their safety. If one’s heart is inconsistent with his words, be aware that Lao-Mu is monitoring you all.
I have told you earlier that everyone should examine his own body and heart. Those with mistakes should promptly and thoroughly repent, so to spare my worrying for days and nights. If you want to escape catastrophes and disasters, you must touch Heaven with your true heart and there is no other way. The deadline is drawing near. No matter how merciful Heaven is, It cannot undertake for humans. It all depends on whether the deeds and deportments of each person are good or bad during his life. At the end, God will render a judgment. I wish that you have plenty of merits and no sins. You must definitely follow and do as I say. This is my wish.
Who can escape the sufferings in the cycle of birth, death and rebirth, and the disasters of Earth? Can you still remember the admonishments written by Immortals and Buddhas, and lectures in the past? Now all the Immortals and Buddhas have taken sublime vows, and are saving the world without rest. I am constantly worrying about you, and have exhausted ways to save you. You should shape up to prove yourselves, so that I am spared of worries. I have no other ways to help you, yet cannot forget about you. I constantly think of and remember you. Time is short, and I am afraid that you do not recognize this and still waste time.
You should all examine and scrutinize yourself. Examine your body and hearts seriously and thoroughly. Introspect frequently. Mirror yourself. Seek out material facts as targets for penance, do not speak of generality, and generalize things. You should repent promptly, sincerely and thoroughly, so to comfort mother’s heart. Especially after the repentance, you must set definite directions and steps to mend your mistakes in accordance with your current responsibility. It is essential for us to take firm actions as proofs of our dedication.
The program of repentance
1. To Tao: Are you serious and determined? Have you harmed Tao? Acted against Tao? Misrepresented Tao? Obstructed Tao?
2. To mother: Are you truly filially pious, loyal, truthful in your heart, and sincere? Have you taken mother’s hear as your heart? Have you been obedient? Have you been defying? Have you been perfunctory or beguiling?
3. To Immortals and Buddhas: Do you know clearly? Are you dedicated with sincerity? Faithful with awe to them? Or are you suspicious and scornful of them?
4. To vows: Are you serious in practicing according to your vows? Have you violated or denied your vows?
5. To yourself: Do you deny your shortcomings and pride your merits? Are you elated to hear about your shortcomings and accept them gratefully? Have you been ambitious and fanciful? Exhibiting strength and being emulative? Being lazy and lax for comforts? Covering up scandals and wicked deeds? Being eccentric and audacious? And do you have evil or lustful thoughts, and being unrighteous and day dreaming? Have you ever known of your own mistakes, admitted them, repented them, and mended them?
6. To others: Are you being respectful to the Elders? Do you love the juniors? Are you being harmonious with the elders, the juniors, and other siblings? Have you been deceptive and dishonest? Postulating as mother’s words? Dominating everyone and everything? Forming parties and factions? Not keeping your words? Speaking in contrary to the heart? Being irritable and jealous? Having suspicions and misunderstandings? Opining rights and wrongs negligently? Gripping onto power and dominance? Being heresiarch? Deploying tricks and rivalling with wits? Neglecting propriety and being wanton? Lying to elders and deceiving the juniors? Acting to harmonize with others yet differentiated between others in your heart? Have you remonstrated, helped and mediated them?
7. To money and properties: Have you been thrifty and maintained your integrity? Have you been wasteful? Have there been money and properties that are not clear in their sources and not accountable for their expenditures?
8. To tasks: Have you been conscientious about your responsibilities, and exerted your heart and efforts? Have you been deceptive and dishonest? Have you not kept your words? Have your spoken in contrary to your heart? Have you made no distinction between what is sacred and what is secular? Have you profited personally through public causes? Have you been heretical? Have you cheated others’ of their merits and reputation? Have you put others down to shine yourself?
THE EIGHTEEN BUDDHA RULES
Exhausted till the guts wrench and worried till the heart breaks,
At the entrance;
For the sake of all the infatuated and lost, I am exhausted.
Only because time and events have many changes,
It is dreadful,
Worried about disciples who are without directions.
The Golden Thread 8 is so fine and delicate that if it is severed again,
It will be regrettable;
Once lost one will regret forever, it is critical.
You must promptly follow Mother’s admonishments,
Can you not practice diligently to repay the grace of Heaven.
On the twenty fourth day of June, the Xin-chou year – One thousand nine hundred and sixty one,
Recited scriptures and histories,
Read the Annals of the state of Lu,
Held the candle till dawn maintained the integrity of a minister;
Killed Yan-liang 8
Decapitated Wen-chou, 9
Charged against formations and brought victory through tactics;
8. Golden Thread is the invisible road which is glittery like gold and leads to Heaven.
Yan-liang and Wen-chou were two generals
Hung the golden seal,
The determination to leave could not be deterred,
Ran through castles and killed enemy generals with strategies.
By the righteousness,
That thrust into the sky,
The heroic name never fades but is remembered for thousands of years. I am
Justice Guan obeying
Decree to admonish Canons as follows:
1. All those who are Dian-chuan-shi 10 (Messengers of God) should unite as one. Work for the common interest. Eliminate prejudices. Deny access to calumnies. Erect not crags nor walls. Strengthen the foundation to establish the base for ten thousand and eight hundred years.
10. Dian-chuan-shi is one who transmits Tien-Tao to newcomers for the Enlightened Teacher.
2. All those who are Dian-chuan-shi (Messengers of God) should be familiar with rites and canons. If you do not fully understand them, how can you teach others?
3. All those who are Dian-chuan-shi (Messengers of God) your each word and movement, each deportment and demeanour, are noticed by others. Think of this and you should be extra prudent and cautious. Always be wary.
4. Within the perimeter of the Altar, teases, jokes, laughers and chats are prohibited. Continuous chatting usually cause misunderstandings, and generate resentments. Once becoming aware of this, hopefully everyone will refrain from such behaviours.
5. During incense offering, one should pay due respect. One must clean his hands and wash his face prior to the offering. Right the heart when offering. Be centered and straight. Never be perfunctory or casual.
6. During kowtow, one should be sincere. Worshiping Buddha should be conducted as if one sees the Buddha. One must not fancy or day dream, not be lethargic or sleepy.
7. All those who are Three Powers 11 are carrying heavy responsibilities at a young age. Should keep the most sincere and focused heart, and strong and determined will. Be pure, tranquil and Wu-wei. 12 Feel the heart of Heaven. Be able to complete undertakings from the beginning to the end. Waste not the accumulated merits and the predestination.
11. Three Powers are the three persons who perform Fu-luan (Sand writing), whish is a means of communication with God, Immortals, Buddhas, Saints, deities, deceased souls etc.
12. Wu-wei is the state of having neither desires nor thoughts.
8. All those who are Three Powers should have pure and righteous thoughts. Endure suffering and labor. Be obedient to the instructions from Dian-chuan-shi (the Messengers of God). Do not run around, or have an unsettled heart. If there are sacred missions or important matters, then one can be excused.
9. All those who are Keepers of Altar are the governors of the Altar. As to all the detail tasks inside and outside, as well as greeting and hosting siblings, they must take responsibility. They have to set examples to teach newcomers.
10. All those who are Keepers of Altar should understand the Truth and human relationship, and separate clearly between the sacred missions and personal matters. Should be familiarize with the importance of order, and the proper steps that should be followed. So they will not be fooled by others, and can spare themselves of additional wrong doings.
11. Volunteers residing in the Altar should have practiced Tao for many years, and made various commitments and contributions. Or, those who are loyal, benevolent, sincere, honest, humble, respectful, harmonious and amicable, could be allowed to live in the Altar. Those who have recently received Tao, whose background is unknown, or who are egoistic or arrogant, are not allowed to reside in the Altar, to avoid impeding new practitioners.
12. No one should ever take advantage of the Altar to attempt profit. One who profits himself via the sacred missions, has committed a sin that is not slight.
13. The Altar is a place of purity and tranquility. One should be proper, respectful, solemn, and dignified. Loud conversations and laughers, and various other improper conducts are prohibited.
14. Within the Altar, novels and unholy books are allowed to be brought in. Those who are responsible must take full accountability. Do not be careless.
15. The anterior and posterior announcers must be solemn and dignified. They should be in accord and they must not be out of steps, thus avoid blemishing their due respect.
16. During the Offering Ceremony and the Prayer for God’s Presence, all male and female siblings of Tao must stand in file at their respective sides. Do not enter or exit casually, or converse with each other. Everyone should obey the canons.
17. All Introducers or Guarantors, in regard to the persons being initiated, must make sure the person has a clean background and virtuous deportment before introducing the person to receive Tao. It is each individual’s responsibility. If one ferried an unrighteous person, not only that there is no merit, he would have added new sins.
18. All siblings of Tao and volunteers, in regard to the persons ferried, should learn about the background of such persons and report upward so that appropriate measures can be taken and ways can be devised to help them accordingly.
Additional admonishments to alert oneself
These eighteen important points should be studied in detail,
Hope everyone will obey and defy not these words.
If you violate purposely as a contempt,
Be aware that the law is not lenient.
Guan is void of sentiment,
Have always been fair in selecting the heroic and virtuous;
Rewarding the good, afflicting the wanton and punishing the evil,
Later or sooner the cycle warns the obstinate and unrighteous.
In this world the changes are beyond human probe,
Keep your sights far and broad instead of being myopic;
Tien Tao and catastrophes are descended together,
Lock up the wicked, save the kind, in undertaking the amassment of souls.
Siblings of Tao do not understand yet,
How many are there who can really pierce the wonderful mysticism?
If the canons and rites are not enforced,
When would all the tasks be completed?
Hope everyone would follow Guan my words,
Unite the hearts and join your efforts to undertake;
Only with the utmost sincere heart could peerage be attained,
The hypocritical ones eventually will meet their punishments.
Well intended words of gold and granite to counsel everyone,
The acupuncture needle and the leather string are the standards;
Admonished t this paragraph, I say no more,
The meanings within words you should ponder and awake to.
THE PATH TO ENLIGHTENMENT
Tien-yun 13 March of the year of Gui-Wei
The Admonishment from the Enlightened Teacher
1. What is the Tao of Saints Confucius and Mencius, I-Kuan Jin-dan? 14
The heart dharma of Confucius and Mencius was not known in the past,
Yet nowadays in homes ferrying the commoners,
Diligent practitioner must first respect Human Relationships 15 and virtues,
Board the Golden Ferry to escape from drowning.
The great Tao has no form yet It gives rise to Heaven and Earth. The Tao manifests or conceals in accordance with the time, for It flourishes only when the time has arrived. Now morality is corrupt and the Principles 16 have vanished. The ancient moral standards no longer exist. These have offended God above, so the great catastrophe that is unprecedented is sent.
However, God will not abandon mankind in totality, so the Golden Thread was dropped down once again. It takes the Three Principles, the Five Constants, 17 and the Five Bonds as Its principles, and cultivating mankind to return to their Origin as Its aim. Due to the cantankerousness in human hearts, It teaches mankind orders and proprieties. Due to the deviousness in human hearts, It teaches mankind benevolence and kindness. To reach the ancient Tao and make the days of Saint Emperors Yao to reappear, one esteems the truth taught by Confucius and Mencius. Since the human hearts are not as pure, make them mend and repent. Save the world for the Great Harmony. Follow the teachings handed down from the ancient Sages, to calm the tidal waves in the sea of indebtedness, and board the other shore together. Is this not the lifeboat in the sea of suffering?
13. Tien-yun is the predestination ordained by God.
14. Jin-dan is the fruition of the concurrent practice of the True Self and life of the school of Taoism. Buddhism names this Shi-li-zi.
15. Human relationships refer to the Five Bonds-rulers be just to subjects, parents be benevolent to children, husband and wife be differentiated, siblings be orderly, and friends be trustworthy.
16. Principles refer to the Three Principles of a sovereign is the principle of the officials, a father is the principle of the son, and a husband is the principle of the wife.
17. Five Constants are benevolence, justice, propriety, wisdom and faith.
2. Why is Tien Tao descended at this time?
In accordance with the time, the fate and the Last Spring,
The amassment of souls in the Third Period, good and the evil are distinguished,
The Period of Long-Hua has come and the Last Chance is here,
Heaven hurries and Earth rushed, man has no control.
The Tao is the Truth. Before the drawing, 18 Tao gives rise to Heaven and Earth. After the drawing, It encompasses all. It is prosperous yet not known. It is magnificent yet not shown. Now that the fate has shifted to the Third Period, the time is going from Wu Phase 19 to the Wei Phase. The White Yang Period 20 has come, to amass Heaven and Earth.
18. The drawing refers to the drawing of the eight trigrams by Saint Fu-xi.
19. There are twelve Phases in one Cycle of Heaven and Earth. The first six Phases are the birth and growth of Heaven, Earth, mankind and all matters. The last six Phases are the decline and death of matters, mankind, Earth and Heaven. Wu Phase is the seventh Phase while Wei Phase is the eight Phase. Mankind will no longer exist on Earth after the Wei Phase.
20. White Yang Period begins recently and will last for ten thousand and eight hundred years in Wei Phase.
Morality has deteriorated. The yuan-fu-zi 21 have long became lost in the sea of indebtedness, causing the mother with gray hair, to lean on the door or the gate, and to gaze expectantly until the eyes are bored through. Hence, the boundless grace was bestowed, and the true Tao is widely spread to everyone. Souls in three Worlds 22 are ferried together, joining to alleviate the catastrophe, and together celebrate the peaceful and bountiful years that ensure. The uneducated men and women could also hear the true Tao, and with a few years of sincere practice, can attain the Jin-Dan.
21. Yuan-fu-zi means that all humans are children of God.
22. Three Worlds refer to the Spiritual World of deities, the World for the mortals, and the Underworld of the deceased.
Such boundless grace from Heaven and this opportune period are difficult to encounter. A moment is worth a thousand tales of gold, for time elapses rapidly. Only hope all the kind and faithful yuan-fu-zi: Now that you have received, be worried about losing It. Do not enter a treasure mountain yet return empty-handed.
3. The critical points in practicing Tien Tao
The critical points are be respectful to the Enlightened Teachers and esteem Tao,
Through disciplines and canons ponder the mysticism and wonders,
With faithful heart pray to the Heaven, and recognize the goal,
Practice the internal and external concurrently to perfection.
Since ancient there were numerous practitioners of Tao, yet few attained Tao. What was the reason? It was because the time had not arrived, the true opportunity was not easily encountered, the subject was not clear, the faith was not strong, and the determination did not pervade from the beginning to the end.
Now the true Tao is wide spread. Whoever practices could attain. Sincerely know to be respectful to the Enlightened Teachers, esteem Tao, concurrently practice internally and externally, echo the heart of Heaven and accommodate others, strictly adhere to the disciplines, earnestly do the Three Giving’s, endeavour to right oneself and then others, fear not to mend mistakes, punish promptly if sinned, do not bow despite hundreds of setbacks, and have a determined will that pervades from the beginning to the end. These are the critical points in practicing Tao.
4. The heart to be maintained when practicing Tien-Tao
The heart to be maintained should be clearly understood,
To repay the grace, to repent and to fulfill the vows,
Be just, know to be shameful, and have a merciful heart,
Be firm, be determined, be prudent and be courageous to seek out the yuan-fu-zi.
An ancient proverb says “He who receives a drop of water from other should repay with a copious spring”. You all have received the enormous grace from Heaven, the mercifulness of Shi-zun, and the guidance of the Elders; yet do you know to feel guilty? Do you know to be considerate? Do you know to repent the sins committed in the past several thousands of years and the mistakes made in this life? Do you know to fulfill the vows you have taken? With the tremendous responsibilities you are carrying, yet is your heart just? Do you know to be prudent and courageous? Do you have faith in Lao-Mu, immortal and Buddhas? Are you firm about your great aspirations? Do you have pity on yuan-fu-zi suffering in disasters? As to your parents and brothers, do you know to be filially pious and brotherly? So you have come, but if you do not practice firmly, you cannot attain Tao, and fancy not becoming Buddha or Patriarch.
5. What is the Gong-fu of retrieving the lost heart?
The lost heart is difficult to retrieve when materialism and desires infiltrate,
The spiritual character received masks over the original True,
Rid of matters and reach the conscience, being “set and tranquil” can be attained,
Enlightened to the True-Self, make others anew, and adhere to the True-Self.
Mencius said “when one loses a chicken or a dog, he knows to look for it, yet when he loses his heart he does not know to look for it!” How sad it is that within the body, the heart is like a chimpanzee and the mind is like a horse, which runs back and forth. My advise to you all is that you should sincerely practice now that you have received Tao. Keep the Four Doors 23 closed tightly. Awaken to the Buddha of the True-Self. Subdue the heart and mind under the Mountain of the Five Elements 24, then they can no longer be unbridled.
23. Four Doors refer to the eyes, the ears, the nose and the mouth.
24. The Mountain of the Five
Elements refer to the Mountain at the tip of the Heart. The Mountain of the tip
of the Heart is the
The original and natural True-Self originated from Heaven. Yet it becomes masked by forms, images, matters and desires, becomes concerned about fame and fortune, becomes worried about gains and loses, and becomes insatiable with greed and aggressions. Now that you have received Tien-Tao, you should be able to see above wealth, esteem, power and glamour, which are like the spark from a flint-stone or a flash of lightning. Life is just like a dream. Cease thousands of thoughts, echo the heart of Heaven and Earth, and hope to become a saint or a sage. Cleanse the heart and purify the mind, rid of matters and become enlightened, then the heart can be retrieved naturally, and your body will be purified accordingly.
6. What is the meaning of “Difficult to receive, easy to attain. Easy to receive, difficult to attain.”?
What is difficult to receive when obtained will be cherished as a priceless treasure,
Grip and adhere to it constantly with a determined heart.
If it is easy to receive, one will treat it as something common,
“Easy come, easy go” is the ancient saying.
An ancient proverb says “The joy yields from hard work is the real joy”. Those who have been fortunate do not understand what joy is, for they have not suffered through hardships. Ancient practitioners had to seek the Tao in person. They left their homes and abandoned their families, waded water and climbed mountains, and there was no toil they had not experienced. Only upon the fulfillment of merits could they then receive the mystic secret. When they received It, they cherished It as a priceless treasure, and they gripped and adhered to It constantly so that they would not lose It. This is why it was easy for them to attain Tao.
Nowadays the Tao is made available to all, and commoners can receive the Tao through repeated persuasions of the ‘Introducer’. This is the case of Tao seeking after man. Yet those who received Tao treat It as common as grass. Consequently, they do not have determined will to practice and accumulate merits; so how could they restore their True-Selves and be confirmed with peerages?
7. How did the deities in Qi-tien 25 become a deity? How could they receive Tien-Tao?
25. Qi-tien is the Spiritual Heaven.
Loyalty, filial piety, integrity, and martyrdom, the Qi is grand, 26
Animals could practice and accumulate merits to become deities too,
The Last catastrophe of the Gang-feng still cannot be escaped from,
By serving Tao can one then attain the nirvana.
26. The Qi here refers to the Grand Righteous Qi.
The deities in Qi-tien, are those who were loyal, filially pious, had integrity, or a martyr. These Qi are grand, and God will not be oblivious to such. In the past, Quan Zhuang-miu’s righteousness and Yue Wu-mu’s loyalty elevated them to become deities after their death.
Then, there are animals with emotions, which can garner the essence in nature and practice ascetically. They can also become deities. Among those who practice the Dharma of Middle Vehicle, some can become Buddhas, but, most could only live as long as Heaven and Earth, or the sun and the moon.
However, now is the time of the Third Period. Heaven and Earth will disintegrate into ashes. Thus deities in Qi-tien also cannot escape from this Last Catastrophe. In the meantime, Heaven has descended the true Tao to bring salvation to the Three Worlds. The deities in Qi-tien who want to receive Tao are seeking to escape from the Last Catastrophe by transcending from Qi-tien into Li-tien. However, if they do not know to build merits by serving Tao, how could they confirm their Bodhi’s and board the other shore?
The parents have the grace of giving birth to me and working hard to raise me,
Lao-Mu in Xian-tien 27 bestowed us the True Selves,
The lost children disobey the parents and forget about their Origin,
What a pity it is that men do not even measure up to birds.
27. Xian-tien means before Heaven and Earth were created.
A human gets his body and hair from his parents, who bestow the grace of giving birth and labouring to raise him. Yet does he not know to repay? The functions of the body are driven by the True-Self. The True-Self comes from Heaven, so God is the Mother of True-Selves. As a child, man not only disobeys his parents and forgets his Origin. Those who know of the Mother in Xian-tien are few as the morning stars.
Now Tien-Tao is descended to Earth, and Wu-Huang God 28 is bestowing the tremendous grace personally. Even if one sacrifices his body, he still cannot repay a thousandth of the grace. In fulfilling filial piety to one’s parents in Hou-tien, 29 one must establish himself and to carry out Tao, glorify his parents, be renowned, be thoroughgoing in arranging for their funerals, and venerate his ancestors. This is the ultimate of filial piety. Yet to be filially pious to the Mother in Xian-tien, one must pay special attention to echoing Lao-Mu’s heart and following Her will. Spread the great Tao, save your siblings, and together return to the Origin; which barely fulfills the True heart.
28. Wu-Huang God is a title for God with the most exalted reverence.
29. Hou-tien means Heaven and Earth, or the material world with forms and images in general.
9. How to fulfill the principle of filial piety and brotherly love?
Give money and dharma to repay the grace of Heaven,
Spread Tao to new territories and sow seeds, so to seek for the Nine Six, 30
Donate goods and wealth as if to relieve own hunger and drowning,
Bring salvation to ancestors and escape from catastrophes, and then see Mother.
Remember that ever since Yin Phase when the Nine Six came to the world, Mother and children, and brothers were separated from each other till now. The amassment of souls in this Last Chance and the Long-Hua Assembly is near, so is the day of reunion. The principle of filial piety and brotherliness is the great foundation of mankind. The heart of Mother longs to have all sons and daughters to return home together. Yet our siblings are still drowning in water and toasting in fire. So we practitioners of Tao should echo the heart of God, introduce Tao to new territories and sow seeds, and give both money and dharma. Help to share the burden of our Enlightened Teacher and fulfill our own vows; spread the great Tao and save our siblings; and hope that at the Long-Hua Three Assemblies, Mother and children will be reunited, all siblings will gather together to enjoy living in Heaven for thousands of years, and to have descendants and ancestors ascend to Heaven. This is why past saints and sages fulfill the principle of filial piety and brotherliness.
10. Explain ‘Model after the Heaven, follow the Earth.’
Model after the Heaven, follow the Earth, to meet the past and present,
Be just, eliminate selfishness, maintain the True Heart,
Pure and broad is the nature of the True-Self,
Follow the example of Shi-Mu and Shi-Zun.
As a practitioner of Tao, one must first model after the unselfishness of Heaven and Earth and their immense accommodativeness of things and matters, to set examples for future generations. Yet the sunrises and the moonsets never cease in the coming and going, and could they lax off momentarily? Most people in this world now have selfishness and prejudice, desires and evil thoughts. Those practitioners who are being diligent occasionally and being lazy sporadically or start undertakings yet do not finish, or misunderstand Heaven: how could they still have face to stand between Heaven and Earth, and receive the lights from the sun and the moon? Shame! Shame!
11. Since we are all children of Lao-Mu, why some are close and some are distant?
Huang-Mu has no favors and virtues are the only guidance,
The filially pious, the disobedient, the loyal and the unfaithful,
Echo Mother and practice Tao to fulfill one’s vows,
What distinction there is between the kind, the faithful and those with great wills?
Lao-Mu has no favors and virtues are the only guidance. Tao does not distant from men, and it is men who act against Tao and become distant from Tao. Everyone is a child of Lao-Mu so why would there be any favors? The distinction of being close to or distant from is due to whether one is close to or distant from Tao. Echoing Lao-Mu’s heart, practicing Lao-Mu’s way, preaching for God, and cultivating both virtues and filial piety, one will, of course, become close to Lao-Mu. Then he will receive mystic inspirations and his peerage is reserved for him.
With the heart of acting against God, indulging in materialism and desires, disobeying one’s parents, and confronting and slandering the teachings of saints and sages, one of course, becomes distant from Lao-Mu, and will be punished with affliction and disasters. One thought changes the destiny to Heaven or Hell, and decides the path to good and evil.
12. Ways to guide others to attain Tao.
Set yourself as the standard and as the role model,
Patiently persuade and use proper methods,
Apply firmness, yielding, virtues, or solemnity according to the situation,
Should be pleasant according to personalities.
Even though many have received Tao, few really know Tao. Since one does not know the true meaning of Tao, how could be build merits to fulfill his vows, and return to his Origin to reunite with Lao-Mu? This is why as seniors, one must first awaken oneself then wake up others; right oneself then right others; become enlightened then light up others; and spread his virtues throughout the world so the Nine Six return together.
If one does not have ways to guide others, and his words are not said properly, not only he cannot guide others, but he will be doubted by others, and actually impedes the future of others. Therefore, he who guides others must first establish himself as the standard for others, prescribe according to the illness, and adjust appropriately according to the situation. He must be observant to others’ minds and be aware of others’ personalities, seize the opportunity and be flexible, apply both virtues and solemnity; and be both firm and yielding in teaching others. How can one method be applied to all and act hastily? To achieve instantaneous effect, as a proverb states ‘The person is superb, the land is divine, and with superior practice of Tao, one can subdue dragons and tigers’.
13. Why are there sayings “Place equal emphasis on sacred and secular”, “Sacred outweighs secular”, and “Abandon secular and devote to sacred” about practicing Tao?
How much weight one does place on sacred and secular matters depends on his own awakening,
The True Nature, the foundation, and predestination to encounter the Buddha,
The three classes of peerage is to be rendered by Mu,
Thoroughly enlighten to the Supreme Dharma to transcend to Li-tien.
The heaven, the earth and all matters within are begotten by the Truth. Wealth, nobility, and glory are bestowed by God. Since a human possesses the nature of Heaven and Earth, he relies on Heaven for his birth, receives from Heaven its precipitation, and from Earth the yield of the five grains for his survival. This is why his birth, death, survival, and perishing, and his rise, fall, glory and shames are all in the hands of God. So why should man differentiate between himself and Heaven, and be a miser?
Both the sacred and secular are necessities for man, so one must recognize clearly between the true and the false, and differentiate between what is important and what is not. As a practitioner of Tao, it is acceptable if one places equal emphasis on the sacred and the secular. To place the sacred over secular, one should weigh his abilities. To abandon the secular and devote to the sacred depends on his circumstances, the predestination to encounter Buddha, and the firmness of his True Nature. However, those who are really determined will cherish Tien-Tao as a priceless treasure after they have received It. They will treasure a moment of time as if it is worth a thousand tales of gold, so why mention whether the circumstances would not permit them to do so?
14. He who brings salvation to the soul of a deceased person should know of the ascension or descent of such soul, such as where would such soul ascend to and where would it descend to.
The soul of the deceased can ascend or descend and hence be categorized into two classes,
In Heaven or in Hell, to be ghosts or to be deities,
Without merits, the soul falls into the six paths and the Underworld.
31. Tien-fu Court is the place provided by the merciful Mi-Le Buddha for souls to further refine themselves.
32. Yin-Shan locates below Hell. It is a place of darkness.
At this Wei Phase, Heaven granted enormous grace to allow all in the Three Worlds to be ferried and together undertake the amassment of souls. Yet, those who are sons themselves, having received the true secret and being able to leave the sea of suffering and transcending the mortal world should, in the remembrances of their ancestors, wish to leave the sea of suffering together with the souls of their deceased ancestors.
However, without the building of merits and exhibitions of the true will, how could one bring
salvation to his ancestors and help them ascend to
15. Why do people carry debts and sins on themselves?
Life after life, how much debt and sin has one accumulated?
It all depends on building merits to fulfill vows,
Respect the Enlightened Teacher and esteem Tao, rid of hesitancy and doubts,
The evil fire and selfishness, swept with one stroke.
This is the period when the good and the evil are mingled and Buddhas and devils are difficult to distinguish. Practitioners of Tao should be prudent, for one amiss thought can lead to regrets for the rest of one’s life and sorrows for thousands and thousands of years. Remember since man descended to the world in Yin Phase, he became lost in birth and death. Throughout several hundreds of centuries, they accumulated debts life after life, as deep as the oceans and as high as mountains. At this Last Assembly-the time for the final judgment the law of karma cannot be bypassed. Practitioners of Tao could only adhere to Tao, strengthen their hearts, do good deeds vastly in order to mitigate their wrongdoings, and use virtues to repay their debts. Be tenacious without laxity, and be sincere and persistent from the beginning to the end, one can also clear his sins. This really is the best way to clear debts and attain enlightenment.
If one has received Tien-Tao, yet still has hesitancy and doubts in his heart, advances and slips sporadically, does not know to respect the Enlightened Teacher and esteem Tao, does not promptly build merits to fulfill the vows, it is like fighting fire with fuel. Certainly, he will be entangled with ghost debtors.
16. How can one free himself from the devils?
When the devil entangles the body one cannot escape,
Establish a firm faithful heart, hold on to the Buddha’s leg,
Show the dedication forcefully, complement with virtues,
Recognize firmly the Golden Thread, the will is determined.
The words ‘good’ and ‘evil’, and the ways to Buddha or devil are merely to distinguish one’s predestination to encounter Buddha and one’s foundation. He who approaches the Buddha will be good. He who approaches the devil will be evil. So after receiving Tien Tao, if one can repent his sins, do good deeds and cultivate virtues, reveals his faith, be determined and be persevering, advance forcefully to build merits, hold on to the Buddha’s leg to recognize the true and bright Golden Tread, he can rid of his confusion. Upon then, even a powerful devil or debtor cannot do anything to him.
17. To those who betrayed Tao, acted against virtues, abandoned vegetarianism, or violated Disciplines, how should we treat them? Why are these people not punished now?
The law of God is all seeing and has no favors,
To those who acted against virtues and abandoned vegetarianism, extra guidance should be given,
When the merits accumulated by the ancestors are exhausted, the time for punishment will come,
Repent and practice again, God will be lenient on them.
Vast as the rainfall, it cannot moisten those grasses without root. Broad as the dharma, it cannot ferry those who are not predestined to encounter. To those who act against Tao and virtues, or those who slander Saints and Buddhas, one should exhaust his means, to patiently persuade them to goodness, so to echo the mercifulness of God above, and carry out his responsibility on Earth. Cultivate the stumbled, and support the fallen. Yet if their pre-destinations to encounter the Buddha is shallow, and do not realize their sins, how could they be compelled?
The reason they have not met their punishments yet is due to the boundless grace of God, who is waiting for their own repentance. The net of Heaven stretches everywhere, and none is being left out. Once the merits accumulated by their ancestors are exhausted, the good and evil will be revealed and just punishments will ensue, so how can anyone escape from it?
18. Should we not feel ashamed before the grace of God, the virtues of the Enlightened Teacher, and the Elders?
The grace of God and the virtues of the Enlightened Teacher can never be fully repaid,
There is no place for one to settle, for one feels so ashamed,
The Elders guide with exhaustion in the hearts,
Sacrifice the body to express the sincerity.
Man receives the grace of precipitation from Heaven, and the virtue of the yielding of the five grains from Earth, yet who knows these? At this Third Period, mankind faces great catastrophes, so God descends the Golden Ferry to save mankind from the disasters of water and fire. The Enlightened Teacher descends into this world himself to cultivate and ferry mankind. Thousands of Buddhas help to spread Tao by performing miracles everywhere. The Elders guide the juniors, ignoring the weather elements and toils. The Elders speak so much words that their tongues are tired and lips are dried. In addition, with the pointing by the Enlightened Teacher, one can transcend the mortal world and escape sufferings, bring grace to his ancestors, and lay the foundation of tens of thousands of years.
This tremendous grace and virtue from Heaven is so grand that, even if one sacrifices his body and braves burning flames, he still cannot repay this in a thousandth. Do you know that a man is like a kernel of corn in the ocean? That it takes great care from the parents to raise him? That the grace of a drop of water should be repaid with a copious fountain? Crows and goats know to be filially pious, and sunflowers face the sun all day, so if a man does not know to repay the grace he owes, how could he still have the face to be standing between Heaven and Earth and be the dominion of all things? People as such bear only the name of being a ‘human’, yet in reality is only a walking corpse.
19. To become a Keeper of Altar, what kind of deportment one should have?
To encounter Tien-Tao one must be predestined,
Not to mention, to become a Keeper of Altar the predestination must be even more deeply rooted,
To right others one must first right himself,
The canons and Disciplines must be obeyed, the will must be sincere.
At this Third Period Last Assembly, the true secret is descended to the mortal world. Those who received Tien Tao can be said that they are fortunate in Three Lives. 33 So for those who become a Keeper of altar cannot be compared with the ordinary. If they do not come from a good family, have respectable qualifications, act righteously in their deportments, observe the canons, respect the Enlightened Teacher and esteem Tao, and are predestined to encounter the Buddha, how could they become a Keeper of Altar?
33. Three lives refer to lives in the past, at present and in the future.
Some of the Keepers of Altar nowadays lack experience, their faith have not been strengthened, and do not understand tests by the devils, so they carry only the title but lack virtues. How could they rank above hundreds of other practitioners, and be the leader of billions of lives and souls? Should they not be ashamed? So all Keepers of Altar should each do their best in undertakings.
20. The purposes of becoming a Keeper of Altar.
The purposes are to fulfill one’s vows and to repay the grace of God,
To help the Enlightened Teacher to save the world and convert the lost,
First take Immortals and Buddhas as one’s standard,
To barely fulfill one’s filial piety as a son.
As a Keeper of Alter, one’s foremost emphasis is to fulfill his vows and redeem his sins, and his aim is to help the Enlightened Teacher to save the world. As such, one can barely fulfill his obligations as a son. Yet Tao is descended by God, and many tasks could not be accomplished by human efforts alone. Since Heaven does not speak, It must rely on humans to preach. However, humans rely on God’s help to accomplish. So one should especially take Immortals and Buddhas as his standard, to have Heaven and man united as one, and together accomplish the amassment of souls.
21. The requirements for a Keeper of Altar.
Requirements for the Keeper of Altar cannot be violated,
The foremost emphasis is rites and canons,
Respect the Enlightened Teacher, esteem Tao, and the soul has mystic wisdom,
The responsibilities are enormous, do not be lost or ignorant.
As a Keeper of Altar, one should take on all tasks in the Altar as his responsibilities, all of which he should be familiar within his heart and be keenly observant so that everything is ready. To respect the Enlightened Teacher and esteem Tao, to be flexible and witty, to be clear with money, do distance from lust, to practice prudence and bravery concurrently, and to know the canons and rites, are the most important. He should treat duties in the altar as if they were his house work. Be diligent and be prudent. Share the burden of the Enlightened Teacher. Be humble, respectful, harmonious and pleasant. Right oneself and convert others. The Altar should better be solemn and neat. These are the essential requirements a Keeper of Altar must not lack.
22. Keeper of Altar serves Tao
The Keeper of Altar has numerous merits and mistakes,
Promptly guide the juniors to make them return Home,
If not, you will commit great sins,
Once knowing, quickly spread the wings and soar.
As a Keeper of Altar, one should take the tasks of helping others from sufferings, waking up the lost, breaking the infatuated, and bringing the Nine Six to transcend the cycle of birth and death as his own responsibility.
Although the Keepers of Altar have received Tao but they are still lost and have not yet awakened, have not yet become enlightened to the Truth, have not yet strengthened their will, and have not yet fulfilled the vows. Not only they could not transcend they cycle of birth and death and be united with Lao-Mu, but would face the consequence of not fulfilling their vows. Hence, thousands of souls are impeded in the sea of sufferings. No other sins can exceed such.
Yet if the Keeper of Altar can carry out his responsibilities, and exhaust his best to guide others so that everyone can receive Tao and practice to advance, then not only just him, but also his nine generations of ancestors will receive the grace. A proverb says “Saving a man’s live is worth more than building a seven stories pagoda.” Not to mention with hundreds and thousands of years of souls escaping sufferings, what other merits and virtues in the mortal world can exceed this?
23. Keeper of altar’s status
To become a Keeper of Altar is extraordinary,
As a role model and leader, be patient too,
Capability earns the position, yet must have virtues,
Otherwise how could he be ranked among the Four Eight sages?
As a Keeper of Altar, one places as the leader of others. He has to be outstanding in order to be the leader of an Altar. Three Six and Four Eight are all among this echelon. Yet those without virtues and capabilities cannot take the title in vain. To spread Tao in this period, he must be drilled with hard labors on his muscles and starvation on his body, in order for him to gain confirmation of his future peerage.
Although his rank is eminent, his heart should be humble. He should be harmonious and pleasant, be gentleman like, be forgiving and lenient, be tolerant, be able to yield, and to be patient in the heart and be tenacious in nature, so that he would be spared of the mockery of having the title in vain without virtues, or the insults of being labeled as incompetent.
24. Keeper of Altar’s responsibilities
Responsibilities include delegating to the capable and selecting virtuous,
Give wealth, be fully dedicated, help others to attain with all effort,
Within the Altar all tasks are his,
Life,, death, mishaps, and good fortunes should be set aside.
As a Keeper of Altar, all tasks within the Altar are his responsibilities, and hence are obligations of a Keeper of Altar. As to those siblings of Tao who are sincere, he should take as his responsibility in expediting their understanding of the Truth so that they can advance and give wealth and dharma.
25. How can one be ordained with Tien-Ming? 34
To be ordained with Tien-ming one must first cultivate virtues and build merits,
Heaven tests and others examine to scrutinize for sincere will,
The true heart can touch, merciful Heaven echoes,
If the Elder does not guarantee, it cannot be done.
34 Tien-Ming means the Divine Mission from god to convey Tien-Tao.
A Dian-chuan-shi (Messenger of God) is the representative of the Enlightened Teacher. He is ordained with Tien-ming of the Enlightened Teacher, to transmit the mysticism of the Enlightened Teacher, and to propagate the Truth for God. If he does not cultivate virtues, build merits, exhibit his determination, make sacrifices and show faith, and cannot pass tests by Heaven and examinations by others, how could he be ordained with the Tien-ming of the Enlightened Teacher to transmit the great dharma of the Enlightened Teacher? Yet if it is not due to the Elder’s guidance and guarantee, how can he be ranked among the Three Six Saints and sages?
26. Items those who have been ordained with Tien-ming should pay attention to.
The great responsibilities he carries are not light,
Altogether thousands of great vows have been taken,
Without advances not only Tao cannot be attained,
Ancestors and descendants will instead be dragged into the deep abyss of sufferings.
Once ordained with Tien-ming, one can be acclaimed as outstanding and elite. If one thinks this is the ultimate and becomes arrogant, audacious, evil and lavish, not only he cannot transcend the cycle of birth and death, he will encounter even greater disasters. This is why those who are ordained with Tien-ming should advance with extra prudence and courage, to assist the Enlightened Teacher to convert the mass. He advances cautiously and despite his high position, his heart becomes even more prudent. The weight of the mission is very heavy. If the great vows taken are not fulfilled, one would drag his ancestors and descendants to fall together into the deep abyss..
27. Where is the resting point for practicing Tao?
Practicing Tao advances without limit,
When can the grace and virtues ever be repaid?
Dedicate oneself to it until death,
Only with the great will that pervades from beginning to end, one cannot be far off.
The vast sea of suffering has no shore, so how could there be a resting point for practicing Tao? Hope you will dedicate yourself to fulfill the practice and your entire life to make others anew. Moreover, this is the period of the Last Chance of the Third Period when the True Tao is made available to all. How mush good time could there be? Fear not the labouring through the weather elements. Should have the courage of jumping into hot water or dashing into fire. Do not avoid difficulties and adversities but to hold firm to the perfect Tao. Be determined to pervade from beginning to end. Dedicate yourself till exhaustions, and stop only upon death. God is not oblivious to every single merit and peerage is commensurate with the merits accordingly.
28. What kind of illnesses the Keeper of Altar has?
Among Keeper of Altar how many do truly know?
Most separate one from another like a patch of sand,
Thoughts of arrogance, laziness and hesitancy,
Alas! Their audacity and their blemishes are difficult to remove.
Although there are many Keeper of Altar, many carry the title in vain, lack the qualification, or are incompetent. Yet many of them have the illness that are chronic or has no cure for. Or, they do not truly know, segregate like a patch of sands, abandon their determinations, are hesitant in their hearts and arrogant in their deportments, act perfunctorily, despise Immortals and Buddhas, cheat the Teacher and deny the Patriarchs, turn to God for help without trying on their own, become audacious, set the fire of evil, actuate anger, or stay comfortable.
Such are the severe and chronic illness, and examples are too numerous to be listed. When one has illness, he knows to seek the doctor for diagnosis and to take medicine for cure. Why would the Keeper of Altar with such illness not seek cure promptly?
29. Clearly see the real and false in oneself.
Know clearly the real from false, do not be confused,
The sacred, the mortal, sufferings, joys, mishaps and good fortunes,
The True Self, the soul and the body, who bestows?
Heaven the Hell should be clearly recognized.
The human body is a mirage, which is a temporary unification that lasts a hundred years. It is like a may fly or a dream. Vying for fame and fighting over fortune, one merely labours and suffers the wind and cold in vain. Rising early and working until late, one merely slaves for his descendants. When the dying day comes, one becomes a ghost in Hell and in the cycle of birth and death. The True Self is bestowed by God. Practice Tao with joys. Hold on to what is real. Transcend the cycle of birth and death. Then why does the lost abandon the happiness in purity and tranquility, but pursues the sufferings and worries in the mortal world? Is that not really sad?
30. Heavenly blessing are received by the simple ones while those who play smart trip themselves.
Desert the worldly and practice Tao with diligence,
What others say as mishaps are really good fortunes,
Those who play smart are really foolish,
Regretting for thousands of years, should they not be ashamed?
Now that God shows mercifulness, Tien-Tao is descended to the mortal world. The simple ones hear It and desert not. They are determined and practice tenaciously. Yet they are teased by those who play smart, who mock them as foolish or retarded. When the catastrophes come and the Tao is spread, it will be too late to regret. There are also practitioners who deploy trickeries and play smart, and laugh at the labouring of the simple and sincere. Yet God is all seeing, and God is not oblivious to a single merit. Wait till the time when those with merits are rewarded and those with sins are punished and regret then, would it not be too late? Who is wise and who is foolish will then receive judgment so different like heaven from earth.
31. What is the meaning of he who practices will attain?
One eats and fills his own belly,
Who can rob his talents and wisdom?
Recognize Tien-Tao clearly, the void is not void,
Do not be concerned whether others are good or not.
As a practitioner, if the husband practices, the husband attains, if the wife practices, the wife attains; and he who does not practice attains not. Yet who would redeem your sins and repay debts for you? Who would bear the tortures in hell for you? It all comes to one’s own accumulation of merits to confirm his own peerage. Those who practice for what is real should recognize that Tien-Tao is not void, and good and evil deeds will be reckoned. Do not have the thought of hesitancy, and forever maintain the heart of advancing forward without retreat. How can one be willing to have one amiss step, and lead to regret for thousands of centuries?
32. Distinguish the real and false in Tao.
Whether the Tao is real or false can be verified,
On stone tablets, the Heritage of Tien-Tao was clearly inscribed,
The Enlightened Teacher and scriptures can explain the detail,
Sacrificing oneself versus benefiting oneself, what is the difference?
In this world, Tao and religions are so wide-spread and numerous that there are about over a thousand variations. Tao has only one essence, and the three religions are one family. How could it be this confusing? It is because the seeds sowed for the final amassment of souls are different, and the Tao is righteous yet people are devious.
Deities and Buddhas have mercy on the mortals, so they established religions with the Truth of Tao to right the human hearts, and have them wait for the future coming of I-Kuan to amass souls. Still there are some persons who turn against the teachings of the Saints, audaciously call themselves eminent, and use the name of Buddha to fatten their own interest, so they form various denominations making the distinction between the real and the false difficult.
Thus, at this Final Chance of the Third Period, many who aspired to practice Tao become confused like those at a cross road, or blocked by the iron walls, and they do not know how to begin. God has mercy, Kung-Cheng’s fate is ripen, and Mi-Le Buddha is amassing souls. Hence salvation is brought to all Three Worlds and all religions are united. This is the time of making the Tao available to all. However Buddhas and devils are mingled and each claims that his time has arrived. Yet is the name of I-Kuan empty talk? The continuation in the heritage of Tao is to inherit the teaching of the past Saints and to pass on to the future. Inscriptions on stone tablets and scriptures are the proof, and how could these be empty talks without evidences? Yet the lost ones are attached to shapes and discuss only forms. They are attracted by the immediate glory and wealth. To abandon the pearl of the highest luminous but pursue instead the eye ball of a fish, is it not really sad?
33. Recognize clearly the real Tien-ming.
Tien-ming is far more sublime than an emperor,
Lead the Three Worlds, save from catastrophes,
The Messenger of God cannot be taken lightly,
Acting against Tien-ming one becomes a devil.
“The virtuous awes Tien-ming”. Yet Tien-ming can be real or false and they cannot be easily distinguished. At this time when jade and stone are charred together, and the distinction between Buddha and devil is difficult to make, one amiss thought will cause regret of thousands of centuries. How can one not be prudent?
However Tien-ming is sublime like the decree of an emperor. Shi Zun was ordained with Tien-ming, and the thousands of Buddhas are helping, to ferry all in the Three Worlds and to unite all religions. Yet during the period of secret selection, Tien-Tao cannot come forth to the open. This is why many heresies flourish and each exhibits and competes with its might. Some can call on wind and rain, and some can turn beans into armies. Such occult arts emerge all the time, making it difficult to distinguish between the real and the false. Only by recognizing clearly the Enlightened Teacher and the Truth, one will then not be fooled by shapes and images.
34. Recognize clearly the timing.
At the Wu and Wei Phase transition, the end is following the beginning,
The timing is critical, hurry to advance in practice,
Change Pan, 35 amass souls, match the Last Chance,
One amiss step leads to everlasting regret, and worry for thousands of centuries.
35. The changing of Pan refers to the dramatic changes brought on by the changing Qi and fate in heaven, on earth, in the landscape, the course of water, the characters and matters whenever a transition of Phase comes about.
Since the beginning of this Cycle, when Heaven and Earth were created, centuries of rises and falls passed. Seven Buddhas were ordained to govern the world, and three Buddhas to amass souls. Now is the Wu and Wei Phases transition, when Heaven and Earth are regressing, and the Red Yang Period has just ended. At this time of the last catastrophe and final judgment, Tien-Tao is spread widely to save mankind from water and fire. So for those who received Tao, yet do not take advantage of this opportune period to advance, but miss this opportunity and have to practice again even when waiting for the wide spread of Tien-Tao at the Third Period in the next Cycle of Heaven and Earth, it may be difficult for them to encounter. It is a pity!
35. Recognize the true devil and the true tests.
That True Tao has real tests, is the everlasting principle since the ancient,
Affection and callousness establish the foundation,
A beautiful jade must be ground to become useful,
Only with a determined heart can one ascend on the ladder to Heaven.
The purpose of tests in the examination court is to select the best. So when God descends tests and devils, could it not be for the screening for the true among the true practitioners? One who cultivates virtues draws slander. Tao when spreading arouses disparages. So the true Tao has true tests, and this is what is said to be ‘The screening for the true hearts”.
In the past, King Wen 36 was imprisoned in You-li; Confucius was trapped between feudal states of Chen and Cai 37 scholars Ju and Cheng 38 were slandered as a gang; could these all not be tests from the devil mandated by God? Raw jades must be ground and gold ores must be refined before they become rare treasures in the world. So when Tao becomes widely propagated, the good and the evil are mingled, so how could God not descend tests to eliminate the unworthy ones? Otherwise even sand or dirt can all become Buddhas. Those who are determined should pervade their practices from the beginning to the end. Persevering grass withstands strong wind; and trauma and shocks keep one alert.
36. King Wen was the Saint King who began the Tao Pan for the Red Yang Period.
37. The states of Chen and Cai are two feudal states at the time of the Zhou dynasty.
38. Ju and Cheng refer to Ju-zi and Cheng-zi, both whom are famous scholars during the Song Dynasty.
Tests from the devil have both affection and callousness, and refinement can subject one to both unfavourable and favourable circumstances. This is the blessing from God. The more difficulties a practitioner faces, the greater his achievements would be. Although the snow fall is sever, the orchid preservers; despite wind, snow and cold weather, the pine and cedar trees remain evergreen. So how could the true heart of a practitioner be swayed by disturbances?
36. How to dedicate the true heart?
The grace of a drop of water is like a vast ocean,
Sacrificing one’s life and body still cannot repay.
Even one has offered his wealth, he has to dedicate all his efforts,
Fear not tests and obstacles but travel east and west.
The mortals received tremendous grace from God, great virtues from Shi-Zun, and guidances from the Elder. Even if he sacrifices his body he still cannot repay them a fraction. Only by touching Heaven with trueness and sincerity, being tenacious and focused, being sincere and loyal, giving wealth and dharma, saving siblings from water and fire, helping Shi-Zun to transmit the mysticism, setting aside his own life and death, and dedicating one’s True-Self and life before Lao-Mu, one can then have no regret in encountering this true Tao and this opportune period.
37. What is the purpose of guidances from the elders?
The elders are busy everyday in guiding of others,
For the sake of saving the good and the faithful to return to Heaven.
Fear only that followers would drown in the sea of debts,
Together attend the Lung-Hua Assembly, and confirm the peerage in Heaven.
What would have qualified one to receive Tien-Tao, to able to transcend the cycle of birth and death, to escape catastrophes and to return to his root? One can be spared of the sufferings in the cycle of birth and death, and rescue his ancestors and descendants from sufferings, is it not because of the grace of God, the virtues of the Shi-Zun, and the guidance from elders and seniors?
Although you have bee rescued to board the mercy ferry, the elders are afraid that your heart and determination have not been strengthened. So they patiently persuade, teach with many ways, and brave toils and suffering of the weather elements. For what reasons would they give all their sincerity, and persuade with kind and gentle words? For all their concerns, they are afraid that you will awaken first but then fall, and lose what you have received. The concerns the elders have for you are down to the slightest details. Yet do you know and understand the elders? Do you repent and feel remorse in your hearts?
38. Be enlightened to the Truth to return to the Heaven of Truth. Know the root to return to the root.
Beloved children have long left the homeland,
Infatuated in their dreams they lost their True Selves,
Now that you have received the way to transcend birth and death,
Return home soon to see your Mother.
Remembering the Nine Six yuan-fu-zi left the domain of the Heaven of Truth, they were separated from Lao-Mu for some then thousands of years. They become lost to their True Selves and the way they came. They turned their backs on the enlightenment and embraced the worldly desires. They long for fame and pursue fortune. They are masked by sounds and images, and become entangled in compassion and affection. It gets worse every time as they enjoy themselves and forget to return.
At this Third Period, Shi-Zun incarnated into the mortal world to point out to the lost children the great path for them to return home. Once they have received Tien-Tao, they can save others from catastrophes, rid of the contaminants of materialism and desires, break loose from the entanglement of the net of fame and fortune, become enlightened to their True Selves, awake to their Origin, accumulate merits and virtues, fulfill their great vows, and transcend birth and death. Showed them the great path of the Golden Thread so they can recognize clearly the destination, will not be fooled by heresies, will not be intimidated by disturbances and tests from the devil. By being tenacious and diligent, establishing one’s virtues and practice to accumulate merits, one can return to the root and reunite with Lao-Mu. Then at the Lung-Hua Assembly, he can confirm his peerage and bring glory to his ancestors. He will be worshiped for thousands of generations with incense and offerings. He can enjoy both the happiness in Heaven and on Earth. His name will be esteemed for tens of thousands of years and his accomplishments will not be forgotten. Enjoy the everlasting spring in every life, be carefree and be happy. Sigh. Why wouldn’t you do it?
Looking at the mountain that is soaked in the moon light,
The cloud is like a sea that is boundless and vast.
Thousands of miles the wind and tide surge,
The yellow dust is blown all over the world.
Heaven and Earth both become dim,
The sun and the moon both lose luminosity.
The silver screen vaguely shows,
The act is the White Yang drama.
Extraordinary talents will appear,
Men and deities both panic.
Natural disasters and catastrophes caused by men,
Both arrive at the mortal world.
One big upheaval,
Everyone loses his direction.
Heaven arranges mystic mechanism,
Nine out of ten do not know.
Once the thunder roars,
Then see the real original image.
The sun and moon both become bright,
At that time the dark separates from the yellow. 39
39. Dark represents evilness while yellow represents goodness.
New worries and old wounds locked the eyebrows,
Looking at the present brings memories of the past, adding to the sorrow.
In the sky above, wind and cloud change frequently,
In the mortal world, the halcyon and chaos cannot be predicted totally.
Opportune moment will not last so one should treasure,
The future is boundless so cultivate early.
Do not cause the merciful heart to exert in numerous ways,
If you still do not return now when would you?
View the mortal world, it is all troubles and worries,
Life is short as a many fly’s,
Fortune and lust infatuate men and they do not know to return.
In the sea of compassion and tides of debts, who knows the sufferings?
Greed has no boundary!
Feeling sorry for the mortal world tears cascade,
Civilization and freedom,
Drowning in the sea of suffering still seek not for the ferry.
Competing to be faddish, vying for fame and fortune,
Who seeks for the true Tao?
THE CODE AND ROLE OF A KEEPER OF ALTAR
The meaning of a Keeper of Altar
The Altar is a place for explaining scriptures and dharmas, and for conveying Tao and mysticism. All those who become Saints or sages succeed through the Altar. All those who become Immortals or Buddhas begin at the Altar. The deities of all Heavens leave words of awakening through the Altar. All Immortals and Bodisattvas rely on the Altar in ferrying the lost. The Altar is the ladder to becoming a sage or a Saint, and the way through which one can become an Immortal or a Buddha.
Keeper means the master of all. There is a proverb “Although there are thousands in a house, there is only one master.” This is why a body has a master, a household has a master, and a kingdom has a master.
A body has a master means the master is in its unperturbed role and the entire body obeys orders. The True Self possesses all the wisdom with which It responds to all matters. It leads the Four Commencements 40 and encompasses all goodness. The Qi is united with Shen. 41 His words and deportments are in accordance with the Truth. He is pure inside and out. Thus he is cultivated.
40. The Four Commencements refer to the beginnings of benevolence, justice, propriety and wisdom.
41. Shen is the functional form of the soul.
A household has a master means the master maintains a righteous heart and is cultivated. He teaches family members with words, cultivates them through his own deeds, and preaches Tao to them. He sets himself as a role model for his wife first, and then his brothers. Calmness is maintained throughout the entire household. Then the family is harmonized, happy, and comfortable. As such, the entire family is orderly.
A kingdom has a master means the master is cultivated and his family is orderly. Beginning with his relatives then the strangers, and with his neighbours then those living far away, he guides them with virtues, and harmonizes them with propriety. Like the grass combed by the wind, his cultivation purifies others’ deeds and customs. Such virtues of a Saint king touch others, so that people will come voluntarily. Carrying their possessions and books, people will come once they hear about him.
The Great Learning state “When one family is benevolent, the entire country advocates benevolence. When one family is courteous, the entire country advocates courtesy. When one person is greedy and violent, the entire country is chaotic. Such is the pivot. It is said ‘One speech can ruin matters, one person can settle a country”. It can be seen from these that although the scope of a master may vary from small to grand, the responsibility is really uniform.
Therefore as a Keeper of Altar, he can rank among the company of Immortals and Buddhas, and he can stand alongside with Saints and sages. He sets example, spreads the Truth for Heaven, and teaches others Tao. He really is the role model in Tien-Tao, and is the right hand of the Dian-chuan-shi (Messenger of God). He inherits the Tao from the Saint Kings in the past, and passes on the teaching to future practitioners. He persuades others to awake to the Truth, and moves others to achieve the utmost perfection. He acts as a pillar standing against the rapids to stem the tides, or the morning bell and the evening drum. He restores the fallen Three Principles and Five Constants, wakes up the fools and the lost, and straightens the corruptive trends so all will act according to propriety and justice.
Then, the halcyon days of Saint Emperors Yao and Shun can be seen again in present days. Goods will be so abundant and people live in such great comfort that the ‘Great Harmony’ will appear at the Last Period. Everyone will enjoy the greatest glory and together reach the bliss of entering nirvana. They will fulfill the great vows of all the Buddhas to comfort the heart of God of rewarding the good and disliking the evil. If one truly understands these, obeys and acts accordingly, the Keeper of Altar has not failed God’s grace of descending Tao; the mercifulness of Zhi-Zun and Zhi-Mu in ferrying the mortal world; and has not impeded the time of yuan-fu-zi to return Home. Not only can he bring glory to his ancestors and descendants, he can further shield his descendants. He becomes the standard of today for others to follow, and the role model for future generations. Everyone will esteem and admire him. He confirms his peerage in Heaven while his name remains renowned in the mortal world. If one can truly fulfill as such, he is a Saint or a sage. One who is determined will succeed. Once he becomes an Immortal or a Buddha, there is no vow that he cannot fulfill. Such is God’s great expectations of the Keeper of an Altar. Hope all will encourage each other.
The Rules and Standards for
the Keeper of an Altar
Rules are guidance. Standards are role models. Manners should be centered on rules. Words and deportments should align to standards. Every movement and pause should be based on the Truth. Speech and bearing should be appropriate. All tasks are performed according to the Truth. All speeches are concerned with the hear of others.
Be respectful in daily life. Be circumspect in undertaking tasks. Be generous to others. Be considerate to the elders. Be concerned about the young. Be trustworthy with friends. In dealing with matters, take benevolence, justice, propriety, wisdom, and faith as the fundamentals. In treating people, be gentle, kind, respectful, thrifty, and courteous. Respect the virtuous and accept everyone, and nominate the virtuous to teach those who are less capable. Maintain the heart of deep respect to the elders inwardly and show a pleasant composure to the juniors outwardly. Constantly build harmony and gentleness in the heart, and the aureole will radiate naturally. Whoever sees him will not be disrespectful of him. Whatever he says will not be doubted by anyone. However he acts will not displease anyone. Such is “The manifestations are looked upon by generations as Tao in the world; demeanours are looked upon by generations as role model for the world; words are looked upon by generations as standards for the world. Those afar will look forward to meet him and those near by will not become tired of him.” This is why Confucius said” If the above is fond of propriety, all subjects would not dare to be disdainful. If the above is fond of justice, all subjects will not dare to love not. As such, people from four corners will carry their infants and come.” These words are indeed true. So for all Keepers of Altar, the rules and standards are listed below:
1. All Keepers of Altar should take worshiping God, venerating deities, respecting Shi-Zun, esteeming Tao, and respecting the elders as standards. The foremost is to be a role model for other practitioners.
2. As a practitioner of Tao, one should adhere to the Five Bonds and the Eight Cardinal Virtues 42 in his demeanours. As to every word and every act of a Keepers of Altar, he should especially be cautious constantly. Thus one can avoid criticisms and affects the propagation of Tao. In the daily dealing with people, he should be humble, respectful, harmonious, and pleasant. He should be void of arrogant or violent acts. It is said “He who respects others will always be respected by others.”
42. The Eight Cardinal Virtues are filial piety, brotherliness, loyalty, trustworthiness, propriety, justice, integrity, and know to be ashamed.
3. As to all siblings of Tao, regardless whether they are poor or rich, as long as they align to Tao with sincerity, the Keepers of the Altar should treat them equally. He should do his best to teach them wholeheartedly, and should not make distinctions so as to avoid being mocked of favouritism. Even if there are some who are devious, he should exhaust his means to move them.
4. As to sibling of both genders, the Keepers of an Altar should be dear to and love them as if they were his own siblings. He should guide them readily, and persuade them to build merits. The foremost is to right oneself and then cultivate others.
5. As to the inside and perimeter of the Altar, the Keepers of an Altar should clean and maintain diligently, in order to maintain neatness and to enhance the appearance. The main emphasize is solemnity and tranquility.
These five points should be memorized by the Keepers of the Altar in his heart and exercise them through his deeds. He should not have the slightest negligence.
What a Keeper of Altar must know
Tien-Tao has periods of conspicuousness and inconspicuousness, division and unity, and heresies and righteousness. From the beginning of time till now, Tao has never been exhausted or depleted; like the coming and going or the rise and fall as if in a repetitive cycle.
Tao is the Truth, and the Truth is constant, so why would there be conspicuousness and inconspicuousness? The saying of conspicuousness and inconspicuousness is due to the change in Phases and fates. This is why prior to the period of the Three Dynasties (Xia, Shang, Zhou), the Tao was vested in the sovereigns or prime ministers. This is the unity in teachings, and there is no division in unity. Since the time of King Zhao and King Mu, the teachings had regressed. After the period of the Three Dynasties, Tao was vested in teachers and scholars. This is the divergence of the teachings, and with divergence comes division.
The Saints of the three great religions each cultivated people in one region.
Confucius passed the Tao on, and eventually, It was passed to Mencius, after
which the heart dharma was lost. Lao-tzu rode a green ox through
Eventually Tao was passed on, through the Heritage, to the
current Eighteenth Gong Chang Shi-Zun. This is why Patriarch Wang said “Emperors
Yao and Shun, and Kings Yu and Tong began the transmission of the heart dharma.
This is the spring of the Heritage of Tao (the Green Yang Period). The Saints of
the three great religions inherited the heritage and passed on the teachings to
future practitioners. This is the summer of the Heritage of Tao (the Red Yang
Period). After these two periods, when a Saint appears, how could it not be the
autumn (the White Yang Period)?” In the book
Zen Tao Yi In, it was stated “The Last
Chance was never mentioned in the past, but only he who encounters the proper
time and is ordained with the
The mystic Tao that pervades the Three Ji’s 43 – the one and only dharma-transmitted by Shi-Zun melts the essences of the three great religions in one cauldron, and converts all countries into one family. The dharma takes “Cultivate the heart to refine the True Self”, “Hold the heart to cultivate the True Self”, “Brighten the heart to see the True Self”, “Embrace the Origin and maintain One”, “Hold fast to the center and pervade One”, and “All dharmas return to One” as the standard. The practice begins with “purity, tranquility with Wu-wei”, “Being set and tranquil with Wu-wei”, and “Stillness and cessation with Wu-wei.” The Gong-fu consists of mercifulness, inspiration, loyalty and magnanimity. The canons are the “Three Followings, Five disciplines, Six practices and do thousands of good deeds”, “Three Flowers and Five Qi’s”, “Three Orders and Five Constants”, and “See no evil, hear no evil, say no evil and do not evil.” The ultimate perfection is to “Exhaust the heart to reach life”, “Return to the root to restore life”, and “Indeed also should be as such.” It is the great center, the utmost righteousness, benevolence and perfection; the Shen is united with the Void; the Hearts 44 are swept and Images 45 are ridded. It is the Confucian saying “The way the Heaven carries is without sound or odor.”; Taoist saying “The great Tao has no form.”; and the Buddhist saying “All those with images are empty and illusive.” and the Buddhist saying “All those with images are empty and illusive.” And “If one meets me with image, begs me with sound, his practice is not righteous, and cannot see the original appearance.” Do not dwell on materialism; do not dwell on emptiness. The non-emptiness in the Void is called the “mystic existence.” “Mystic” is divine mysticism and cannot be predicted; “existence” is that does not leave out either the essence or the matters.
44. The Hearts refer to the Heart of the past, the Heart of the present, and the Heart of the future.
45. The Images refer to the Image of other, Image of the self, Image of all lives, and Image of longevity.
Yet when one cultivates virtues, others would slander. As the level of one’s practice of Tao advances, others would disparage; just like when a tune has high pitches, few can harmonize. So one is not always accepted anywhere in the world. Still one has no regrets nor indignation even with regarding to life and death. It is because of Tao. Examples of such are: King Wen imprisoned at You-li; Confucius was trapped between the states of Chen and Cai; Cheng-zi’s teachings were ignored by Cai jing; and Zhu-zi’s teachings were discredited by Han Tuo-Zhou. Firstly, the commoners cannot see through and regarded their teachings as oddities because of their lack of knowledge. Secondly, like gold ores that are refined, it is natural for them to be refined by tests and adversities in order to stimulate their hearts and strengthen their True Selves. Yuan-Ding assisted Zhu-zi but was exiled even he committed no wrong doing Zhu-zi still spread the Truth while he was detained, and was not deterred by the dangers and worries, because he recognized the Truth. Theses people, because they know the righteousness in Tao and recognize the Truth, can reach the boundary of the sages and the domain of the Saints, and their names will be illustrious for tens of thousands of generations. Yet the Truth is very mystic and the Tao is all encompassing, so it is easy to branch off but difficult to converge.
By the time heresies proliferate, factions become countless. There are those who mislead others with the advocacy of internal practice, yet their teaching cannot reach the three I’s. 46 They are ignorant about the great Origin of Heaven and mankind-the True Self and life. Their teachings are not compatible with the teachings of the Saints of the three great religions, which disrupt the great foundation of the Three Principles, the Five Constants, and righteousness. They took advantage of the ignorance of the simple with talks of ghosts and spirits, and tempt them with talks of avoiding mishaps and gaining fortunes. In general, such practices assume breathing technique through the mouth and nostrils as “act according to the True Self”, and create images with their hearts. Little would they know that without strict adherence to rules and disciplines, there is no benefit in their practice and cultivation. If what is passed on is not true, it is like pulling up seedlings to accelerate growth. If one practices in isolation, the damage could be severe. They passed their teachings to their disciples and attracted many. Such heresies spread widely and sometimes they can gather the mass and attempt rebellions. Examples were the “Yellow Turban Rebels” in the Han dynasty, who eventually were suppressed. During the transition of the Yuan and Ming dynasties, uprisings brought out by Han lin-i and Liu fu-tun led to death and ruined families. The damage to people impacted by such persons could be even greater than the wolf pack, tiger or even flood. Wolf pack, tiger or flood harms only the body. Heresies, however, erode people’s heart and mind at first by teaching them occult arts, then disrupt human relationships; the poison spread by such teachings could not be contained. Those who joined them could not eliminate their thoughts and fancies; they were elated that they followed someone who had virtues, yet they did not realize that they had entered the cave of demons, devils and spirits.
46. The Three I’s originated from I Ching. I (changes) has three - the None-change, the Change, and Interaction.
Some practitioners of occult arts can attain the state where the Shi-shen 47 can leave the body to travel around, and be able to read the mishaps and good fortunes of others. Even such occult arts have something to show. Yet since they choose the wrong practice, they can hardly attain peerage. This is why Zi-Zai said “Even the occult arts must have something to show, but when it is extended, it cannot proceed. This is why a virtuous would not practice it.” The ways of Yang Zhu and Mo-di were widely adopted throughout the country. During their time they had certain achievements, yet due to the slightest deviation from the Truth, the difference is tremendous. After many generations, everyone knows that their teachings are heresies. Instead of dedicating the entire life time to establish heresies, it is better to live a simple life and remain anonymous. Due to their inabilities to learn thoroughly and to recognize the Truth, they practiced occult arts that actually hurt themselves and poisoned future generations. Would that not be regrettable? This is why if a Keeper of Altar can truly recognize the true Tao, see through tests from the devils and various refinements, embrace his goal steadfastly, march forward courageously, keep magnificent goals, remain determined till the end. If his determination does not sway when Tao is obscure, and his heart does not change when he faces tests, he is close to attaining Tao.
47. Shi-shen refers to the Spirit of Intellect which controls the conscious mind.
Responsibilities of the Keeper of Altar
The practice of Tao begins with one’s ever bright virtue. Establish oneself as a role model for Heaven. It concludes with making others anew, which means to propagate Tao for Heaven. This is the meaning of the saying “Enlighten to its essence, actualize its manifestations. Hold on to its center. Give with its immenseness.”
Although one is polite, respectful, humble and courteous, he is not afraid, withdrawn intimidated or cowardly. Although one practices benevolence, love, harmony and peace, he is motivated, firm, determined, and tenacious. Not only would he attain Tao himself, but also can cultivate others. Since the ancient time, the more the Saints know about the weight of their responsibilities, the greater their vows are. The ultimate goal of their missions is to have mankind become civilized and cultivated, so all humans would know to rest at the utmost benevolence; to have the world become civilized and cultivated so the ‘Great Harmony’ can be realized. As long as their missions have not been accomplished, they will not stop. This is what Buddhist stated as “If all beings were not ferried, I vow not to become a Buddha.” This is why Yu and Ji 48 wanted to make sure everyone in the world is free of starvation, and Confucius detailed thoroughly the way of the ‘Great Harmony’. Yet in today’s world, there are many still starving and suffering, the ‘Great Harmony’ is still far from realization, and various beings are still drowning in the sea of suffering. Hence, Shi-Zun was ordained to respond to the timing. He is gifted with all encompassing essence and perfect manifestations. He cultivates everyone so each rests at the utmost benevolence, transforms the world into the ‘Great Harmony’, fulfills the unfulfilled vows of prior Saints, and completes the unfinished work of prior sages.
48. Yu and Ji refer to two different persons. Yu refers to the Saint King Yu of the Xia Dynasty. Ji refers to the official before King Yu, who taught people how to farm.
This is why every Keeper of Altar should honour the enlightened Teacher and esteem Tao, and be responsible and build merits in order to repay the grace of Heaven and the virtues of the Enlightened Teacher, and to fulfill the great vows taken in the censer. The Keepers of Altar should rise with determination, raise their arms and cry out loud. Aligning to Truth, they should march forward courageously. They should establish themselves then others, and become enlightened then light up others. They worry not, fear not, and are willing to die for the cause. Yi-yin 49 said “Heaven gives rise to people and let the wise wake up those who are less wise, and the awakened to wake up those who are not yet awakened. I am the awakened one among the people and I will take this way to wake up the people. So if it is not I who awake others, who else could it be? I will think that it is I who pushed that man or woman into a ditch and leave that person drowning if there is a single man or woman in the world has not received the grace of the Saint Emperors Yao and Shun. I will take on the mission of saving the world with such seriousness.”
49. Yi-yin was a prime minister of Saint King Tang at the time of the Shang Dynasty. He was a Saint and a prophet of his time.
Based on this, those who are Keepers of Altar should be even more responsible for ferrying all beings from the sea of sufferings, and relieving the mass from their ignorance. They should teach people to know thoroughly the great Tao which is centered, the Truth of life, the cultivation of the True Self to the ultimate benevolence, and the cultivation of virtue to the Ultimate Grandness.
Yet, before God delegates such great mission to a person, God will first distress his heart and determination, toil his extremities, starve his body, void him of his possessions, and disrupt his undertakings so that they cannot be accomplished, to stimulate his heart and to strengthen his True Self, to enhance and improve his abilities. Thus, he will not be wanton when wealthy, nor swayed by poverty, nor succumbed to force and power. His inspiration is perfect and all reaching. He acts in accordance with the situation. His deportment is void of shame. His words and deeds are aligned to the True. He carries his mission to everywhere in the world without failing the delegation from the Shi-zun. In addition, he practices constantly for betterment and maintains his aspiration from beginning to end. As such, he is close to befitting to Tao, and the greater his responsibilities are, the greater his merits and virtues will be.
If one practices solely for his own sake and contributes not to the world nor benefits anyone else, not only he has no merits, but has made a grave mistake. He is practicing the Lesser Vehicle of practicing Tao. If one can broaden his benevolence to the whole world so that everyone is benefited and graced by him, it is the Supreme Vehicle of practicing Tao. For this reason, the following five main points are listed. Hope all Keepers of Altar will advance with wisdom, benevolence, and courage. As such, one will not fail the merciful hearts of Shi-Zhun and Shi-Mu who took on the mission of ferrying the world. Neither will one miss his chance to seize the opportunity of being born at the Third Period and fortunate enough to have received Tien Tao.
The important rules are listed below:
1. A Keepers of Altar should perform deeds that will relieve others and facilitate matters, and maintain the heart of helping to relieve disasters and bringing salvation to the world. He should move the evil ones so they will become good, teach the fools so they will become sages, encourage others to establish Altars, widely preach and convert, frequently travel to introduce Tao to areas unknown of Tao, propagate the meaning of Tao, and awaken the heart of others so that they can land on the shore of Tao sooner. This is what “Help others to attain is to help oneself” means, for it is only by accumulating merits can one then fulfill his vows.
2. Among new siblings of Tao, naturally there are those who sincerely believe and practice, but most of them are not fully convinced and are sceptical, for they have not been awakened to the true meaning of Tao. The Keepers of Altar should pay them visits and explain to the new siblings so that they will know that it is difficult to receive Tao, to strengthen their faith, and to encourage them to practice to build merits. To those siblings who are illiterate, the Keepers of Altar should explain the true meaning of Tao to them in detail readily, so that they will understand the meaning of Tao. This carries the same meaning as what Confucius stated as “Gradually guide others.”
3. At this critical time, a Keepers of Altar should be thrifty all the time, accumulate merits according to his ability, assist in tasks of Tao, preach and convert, and save more of the good and the faithful. Hence, he can repay the debts he woes through many past lives, and he can contribute to stem and change the trend of corrupted morality. As such, he has made contribution to the society, and also benefits future generations. His achievements are immeasurable.
4. A Keepers of Altar should frequent the Altar and listen to admonishments in order to broaden his wisdom and experience, and to cultivate virtues. If there is anything he does not understand, he should discuss it with others. It is only the capable one who can undertake many tasks, so one should not have the attitude of not getting involved. As such the merits he builds will naturally be great and certainly can help many.
5. A Keepers of Altar should respect the Shi-Zun and esteem Tao, succeed the elders and inspire the juniors, have a sincere mind and righteous heart, be cautious in his words and prudent in his deeds, restrain himself and restore to propriety, embrace Tao and adhere to It in the practice, know the person and speak appropriately, teach according to the potentials, do not lean nor deviate, and be a role model in order to attain what Confucius had taught. This is to fulfill the objective of “He who is righteous effects others without giving orders.”
Also attached is “March of the Keepers of Altar”, a merciful admonishment by the Chief Examiner for all to observe:
Oh! March on Keepers of Altar! March on, Keepers of Altar!
The grand mission must be accomplished.
The goal and the golden thread must be ascertained,
The front leaning board 50 is the master of a vehicle.
When performing tasks one must organize and prioritize,
Right yourself first then help others.
Thousands of miles away, virtuous friends are made,
Brave the wind and rain to travel westward and eastward.
The advice is not to be afraid of any hardships,
After enduring all the difficulties comes glory.
Should know that the melon is sweet, yet it is bitter when not ripe,
Seedlings must survive the elements before fruition.
Ten years of studious study makes one distinguished,
Hanging one’s hair on the beam and needling one’s thigh 51is a Confucian scholar.
The benevolent one overcomes hardships before he attains,
The dedicated one labours first before he succeeds.
The virtuous one has three awes and the first is Tien Ming,
The Canons and rites of Tien Tao must be obeyed.
If one does not dedicate himself now,
Once he missed this blessed opportunity, his regret lasts for ten thousand winters.
Those who wander and leave their fields unplowed in the spring,
Will be short of food in autumn and starve in poverty.
If a Keeper of Altar is lazy,
Surely he will be punished in Hell.
The Keeper of Altar is the master of an Altar,
So his foolishness will bury thousands of people.
If the mass cannot land on the shore,
It is all because of the perfunctoriness of the Keeper of Altar.
If the souls of the deceased cannot transcend birth and death,
It is the fault of the Keeper of Altar.
If the fu-zi cannot return to the domain of the Truth,
It is all because of the irresponsibleness of the Keeper of Altar.
If one knows such are indeed sins he carries,
He will make himself anew and be a vanguard.
Transcend birth and death to testify the way to Heaven,
Make the five great sacrifices 52 to set an example.
The great virtues will reverberate throughout the entire cosmos,
Gradually reaches the blissful state and have peace.
To enter all relies on merits and asceticism.
Handle matters and deal with people with flexibility,
If one is rigid he will draw many tests.
Seeking fishes up a tree is foolish, 54
Marking on the side of a boat to locate a sword that went overboard 55 truly lacks sense.
Deal with matters flexibly like that of water,
The Tao will spread fast and wide prosperously.
If all brothers and sisters can be as such,
All miracles will come from Buddhas.
Oh! March on Keepers of Altar! March on, Keepers of Altar!
It all depends on whether the Keepers of Altar march on or not.
50. The front leaning board is a strip of wood located at the very front end of the carriage. It is equivalent to the driver’s seat in a car.
51. This verse came form the story of Su-chen, a famous scholar at the time of the Warring States, who studied by hanging his hair on the beam and needling thigh to keep him awake during his studying.
52. The five great sacrifices are oneself, fame and fortune, one’s children, one’s merits, and one’s peerage on behalf of Tao.
53. Yan and Zhao refer to the south and north in general directions.
54. This a parable from Mencius with the moral that one should not labour without fruition.
55. This is a parable from the Annals of Lu with the moral that one cannot reason if he is obstinate.
It all depends on whether the Keepers of altar march on or not.