Today, I am going to tell you the story of a saint. (Applause) This story is about a person who didn't know that he was a saint, unlike you. (Laughter) Each of you are aware of your sainthood. He didn't know that he was a saint the only "remaining" person (the words `saint' and `remaining' sound similar in Chinese). (Laughter)
The name of this person was Long Shu, and he went to see a doctor named Wen Zhi. I think Wen Zhi was born in the Era of Spring and Autumn in the Warring States. Long Shu went to see Wen Zhi, a very famous doctor who could cure any illness. Someone said that he once cured Emperor Wen of Chi State in the Era of Spring and Autumn in the Warring States. Emperor Wen suffered from an unknown disease. He went to consult Wen Zhi, who didn't prescribe any medicine to heal him but only made him angry, and his illness was cured! Have you heard this story? (Audience: No.)
Long Shu consulted Wen Zhi, "Your medical skill is so wonderful this the whole world knows. Now I am suffering from a strange disease. Will you please treat me?"
Wen Zhi said, "Of course! But first let me know what is wrong with you. Tell me about your symptoms."
Long Shu then explained, "I don't know the name of this disease, or from where it came. The situation is this: I have been living in my village for a very long time, but now I find myself feeling alienated. I feel myself as a total stranger, having no deep relationship with anyone.
"For instance, when people in my village all praise me, I don't feel honored. When people in other villages insult me, I also don't feel upset. Even when I get some precious things, I am not delighted, nor do I feel agitated or sorry when I lose something. I feel that life and death are the same! I could even die tomorrow. I see no difference between wealth and poverty. The worst thing is that I see people the same as pigs. (Laughter) I also see myself the same as them a pig. (Master and everyone laugh.)
"I live in my house as if staying in an inn. I live in my village as if living in a foreign country it doesn't feel like my hometown.
"Apart from these strange habits and thoughts, I also have many shortcomings. For instance, I look down upon positions, fame, palaces and governments. I think they are just common things for which I have no respect. I have no fear of punishment life, death, goodness or evil; all of these things do not touch me!
"Therefore, I cannot help my country, or be loyal to the king. I cannot maintain close relationships with relatives and friends, nor can I handle my children or wife. I cannot educate them or mix with them. Unable to think in the same ways as my wife and children do, I find it hard to live with them. I cannot manage my wife and children, nor can I manage the servants and maids in my household."
"I am perplexed! Do you know what type of illness this is? Can you cure me?"
Doctor Wen Zhi then told Long Shu to turn around and stand in a brighter place under the sun, so that he could observe him with his heavenly eye. Then he yelled loudly, "Oh! I saw it!"
Long Shu asked him, "What have you seen?"
"I saw your heart."
Long Shu asked, "What about my heart?"
"Your heart is square and fair, spacious and empty, very much like the heart of a saint! The six apertures are open, only the last one remains blocked."
Perhaps it was because this aperture was not opened, he didn't know what was wrong with himself. If the last hole had also been opened, he would have been certain about his own illness.
Long Shu then asked, "What kind of disease is this?"
Wen Zhi explained, "In this era, people regard the wisdom of a saint as an illness. Perhaps this is what you've got. If you are really infected with the "Saint's Symptoms," my medical treatment will be futile on you!"
Do you understand? (Answer: Understand!) (Applause)
I also don't know what his illness was, but it is fine if you know. Do you really understand? Do you really know? Good grief! How do you manage to understand? Perhaps you are similar to him. Is that right? Are you all saints, so you understand each other? Maybe this is the reason. However, when I ask you to forsake your wife and children, and come here to help Master to spread the Truth, you would say, "I can't do it!"
Perhaps you have transcended the level of this person! He couldn't maintain relationships with relatives and friends, but you are more advanced; you have such close relationships with your relatives that you cannot forsake them. It is easy to talk, but difficult to act.
As an after thought, perhaps we are all similar because many people have these symptoms. I seem to have these symptoms, but I am not a saint. Perhaps I have been infected!
There are many types of illnesses in the world! For instance, people who indulge in meat eating, smoking, drinking, and sexuality, will incur a specific disease some hard to cure diseases, like AIDS or others! Then, when you go around outside, and use other people's bathrooms or toilets, sometimes you may also be infected with that disease, though you have not indulged yourself.
When people exert themselves excessively, they may get a lung disease. If you had a relationship with them, or got too close to them and were in contact with them for a period of time, you would also get the disease.
I am not a saint! However, it seems that I've also got the "Saint's Symptoms". Who is the one who dared to infect me, raise your hand and show me!? (Laughter) You should acknowledge your own faults! Don't pretend that you don't know. Do you? (Laughter)
Normally, I only interact with you. I never go anywhere and socialize with other people. Therefore, if I ever got any disease, it must be you who infected me. Who is the one? You dare not admit it now that you know it is a disease. (Master and everyone laugh.)
It must be you who infected me. Otherwise, why would I have become like this? Previously, I also loved to stroll on the streets, go shopping, or find someone with whom to dance or sing. Otherwise, I would feel very lonely.
Now I feel nothing even if I sleep all day long. If you had not come, I would carry on sleeping, and only get up to eat when hungry. One, two or three meals I eat when I feel like eating, but most of the time I don't.
Most probably I've got this disease, now that I have no special feelings towards my relatives and friends. Not that I do not love them! I love them as much as I love you. However, love remains love, and it vanishes when it should. I love them dearly when they are here, but I forget them immediately when they are gone, and don't even need to wait till tomorrow. As soon as they turn their backs, I also turn. (Laughter)
Even my mood and emotions are changed. It is strange! (Applause) Most probably I've got this "Saint's Symptoms" disease. Perhaps I was infected. I shall go to consult Wen Zhi! (Master and everyone laugh.)
Perhaps Long Shu was a spiritual practitioner! Do we become like him after we have pursued spiritual practice? It seems to be the case. Haven't you? (Audience: Yes.) Oh! So you are the ones who infected me. Now you finally admit it.
I was not like this before; well, perhaps a little bit. However, it is getting worse. For instance, I used to hate something, but then I stopped hating it later. I just don't mind anymore!
Anyone may come or go as they want, I won't be very upset! You too would only be upset for two or three days. (Answer: Yes.) Not as much as before. Previously, we would suffer a lot when we lost something, or failed in our business. Now we don't mind too much; we won't blame others or heaven, but will work harder instead.
So, there were saints in the Era of the Warring States, not only in Miaoli now! (Master and everyone laugh.) Don't think that you are the only saints in China. They existed long ago.
I have told you, the method of spiritual practice exists in every age; the problem is whether or not we have the affinity to study under an enlightened Master. If we have an affinity with a certain enlightened Master, we will follow that Master.
Perhaps Long Shu practiced spirituality in his previous life, so he came back only to complete it. Maybe he had reached the fourth level, (Master laughs) so there was only a little way to go!
Had the doctor told him to look for an enlightened Master, he would have been cured! Only one more aperture to open; once it was opened, he would have been immediately enlightened, and would not have felt that he was sick.
Perhaps initially he didn't think himself as being ill, but he was in contact and associating with people, and everyone told him: "Why are you so odd, so unemotional and aloof?"
Being unemotional and aloof is not the same as treating people badly. All of you, after listening to this story, should not behave like pieces of ice, (laughter) and then proclaim this is the "ice quality" of saints. (Master and everyone laugh because Chinese words for ice (ping) and quality (ping) are almost similarly pronounced.)
I notice that some people do have this "ice quality" ice cold personality when talking to people, and do not seem to pay attention at all. When people ask them something, or whether they understand or not, they don't answer even if they know. Or, they would respond very slowly. People ask them on the first day of the month, but they don't answer until it is the fifteenth. (Laughter) This is really awful.
Besides, people are very busy sometimes, and have many things to do; they don't have time to tolerate your sluggishness. These kinds of people must rectify themselves. Theirs is a sickness of ego. They love to make things difficult for people, and love to hear others begging them. They desire constant attention from people, so they deliberately delay their response. They don't reply, or do it very slowly, thinking that they are very great, very elegant. This is not elegance, this is being stupid and senseless!
Perhaps for the first few times, people may feel embarrassed, and will continue to implore you politely, and maintain a relationship with you. Gradually, they will get tired of you. Since there are so many people on Earth, why should they go to you a senseless and sluggish piece of ice? Do you understand what I mean? (Audience: Understand!)
Therefore, being unattached to the world doesn't mean that we should detest the world! Long Shu was sick in that he was not attached to his relatives, friends, or his hometown and country. However, he was not aloof, only that he was in a very ordinary and calm state of mind. He didn't deliberately make things difficult for people, or demonstrate that he was a saint; nor did he act coldly, or speak very slowly unable to finishing one sentence in half a month.
He also didn't deliberately refuse to reply or respond when people sought his help. He didn't say, "What do you want? Could I possibly help you?". Unlike some people, instead of sincerely and promptly rendering assistance to people, they talk extremely slowly for half a day, as if something maybe karma, has got stuck in their throat. (Master and everyone laugh.)
Perhaps they have just descended from the snowy mountains. Maybe they are great masters from the snowy Himalayas. (Master and everyone laugh.) They want people to realize the intensity of the cold! I really dread having relationships with those cold and aloof people. They deliberately act very sluggishly to attract people's attention, so that people have to beseech them.
In fact, this is a serious disease of heavy ego and an inferiority complex. If a person is confident, he would not behave like this; he will act frankly and earnestly. There is no reason to "um and "aw". Maybe he (or she) hanged himself (herself) previously, and the impression extends to this life; the rope is still tightly tied around a certain spot, so he (she) cannot speak. (Laughter)
We humans have plenty of illnesses, but we often do not think that we are sick. Long Shu thought that he was ill, but actually he was not. Many of us think that we are all right, but we are actually sick.
We should be aware of where our illness lies. Others may be able to correct us several times, but we must know where our illness is, and save ourselves quickly. If we cannot save ourselves, then consult books, or find someone to help us, instead of doing nothing. If our fault is not rectified, we have to come back next time, with or without following an enlightened Master. It is because we cannot forsake that corner, and keep clinging to it, using it as a weapon to make things difficult for others or to win their attention. Then, we have to come back!
The law of this world is very impartial you get whatever you want. Even the enlightened Master cannot force you to get liberation, unless you want it yourself! The doctor also cannot force you to take medicine, or forcibly operate on you without your consent. Right? (Audience: Yes!) Even if you cannot make the request because you are unconscious, your relatives can speak for you. It means that you have consented in the first place. It can only be done with your consent.
If you deliberately cling to your faults, you have to come back next life, and may not meet an enlightened Master! Then, you will also run around like Long Shu, carrying a heart with six open apertures, not knowing what is wrong with you. And, it will be very difficult to open the seventh.
All of you should reflect and quickly rectify your faults, if any. If you do not rectify it today, you have to do it tomorrow or the day after anyway. The longer you delay, the more serious the trouble, because the interest multiplies. The bad habit will become strong and entrenched, then it will become more difficult for us to eradicate. Good day! (Applause)