Hsihu Center, Formosa June 4, 1995.
Today, I take you to Egypt to see the pyramids. Have you seen them before? No? What a pity! Neither have I. (Laughed.) Now, we will go there together. The pyramids are nothing special! Just like a temple. Do you know that? Triangular on all four sides, this is what I heard! Sometimes, we can visit the place with our souls, and save the air tickets. Has anyone tried going this way? Yes! However, we can go to even further places. The pyramids are nothing!
Their name is pyramid (means 'golden symbol tower' in Chinese), but they are actually made of stones. If we go to the Amitabha Buddha's World, or the World of the Medicine Buddha, or the Heavenly Kingdom, we will see the real golden pyramids. Is that not so? They are more beautiful, in brilliant gold, real gold! Furthermore, the gold there is different from the gold here, which is so hard and not that bright. In our world, gold and diamonds are the brightest, but in the superior worlds, the gold and diamonds there are more brilliant, and radiate light!
Alright,we are now going to Egypt to have some fun. Do not go to heaven, because it is too far. And here it is very hot, why do I take you to Egypt? It's because it is even hotter there. (Master and all laugh.) In that case, you won't complain any more here. When you come back later, you will say, "Wow! Miaoli is really great. Marvelous! There are still trees, and a little breeze." There are not even trees in Egypt. Do you know that? It seems there are no trees near the pyramids, so it is even hotter.
Okay, now, let us try going there. Use your wisdom eye to look over there. In the desert, everywhere is sand and rocks. They built several pyramids in the middle of the desert. I don't know why they are called the 'golden symbol,' there is no trace of gold, only rocks. However, they cannot be bought with real gold. Even in this modern era we still have to shake our heads (in admiration) when observing the way they were built!
Near the pyramids, there are many tombs of the kings, queens, and princes. Naturally, the atmosphere is very scary at night. Nevertheless, some people love to take adventures in that place at night. Why? Normally there are hardly any people in the daytime. Of course, there are some tourists, but they just walk about and then leave. Very few people venture inside. There is almost no one there at night. Of course, there are some guards outside. No one can go in night. They lock the door when the sun goes down. Even tourists are not allowed to go in. However, some people love to go in at night. You have to apply for entry if you wish to go in at night. Under special circumstances, they will let you in.
One night, a man ventured inside. He wanted to find out why people would build such a grand but empty structure, and leave it unused. Initially, they thought the pyramids were the tombs of the Pharaohs of ancient Egypt, but they could not find any coffins or mummies inside. They are all empty. In the pyramid, there is only a box that looks like a coffin, made of stone, also empty, without even a cover on top. Above the so-called main hall, there is an empty chamber, with another empty room above that. It is empty from there all the way to the top. They kept the space empty to minimize the pressure. Can you imagine if it were all stones on top? The pyramid is very gigantic, surely it could not bear the weight for so long if it were all stone on top. They were built perfectly and given consideration to every aspect, so the pyramids are still standing after so many ages have gone by, while many civilizations or non-civilizations have changed.
Their building technique was extremely superb. Capable of building such structures, they must have been a highly intelligent race. Nowadays, many scientists and archaeologists have discovered that our ancestors were extremely civilized and clever. Perhaps they were scientists from extraterrestrial planets.
Besides the pyramids, there are many other things that were buried in ancient times, and discovered only recently. They prove that our ancestors were extremely and exceedingly intelligent. I don't know why they would have children like us, not intelligent at all, who try to come to Miaoli on Sundays to buy a little wisdom. Here we give it away free of charge. It is possible to buy it and take home, but it is still useless if you do not use it. Think of some ways to use it.
I have given you the 'Instruction Manual of Wisdom,' some of you! I will give to whoever wants it, and not to those who don't want. However, it was very difficult to get the 'Instruction Manual of Wisdom' in ancient times. Not as simple as just come and write down your name and then receive it immediately. This is like buying ready-made clothing, try it on immediately and then take it home.
The pyramids were not built to be used as tombs. They found out later that this was not the purpose. I think they built the pyramids for spiritual practice. Just now I told you it was very difficult to get the 'Instruction Manual of Wisdom' in ancient times. This is one of the reasons why they built the pyramids. It was because spiritual practice was very difficult in olden times for fear of being discovered by others.
Where canyou sit when holding a group meditation in the desert? (Master and all laughed.) Do you understand? Even with the guards around, everyone can still see you. It is better here, with all these trees! In the empty desert, you roast to death by sitting there in the daytime, and freeze to death at night. The temperature in the desert is extremely hot in the daytime, and extremely cold at night. Two extremes. That was why they built the pyramids. They are very, very quiet inside. It was very difficult for people to locate the entrance later. Hundreds of years have gone by! Many people are still looking for the entrance, but have failed.
Once, a king made a very firm decision to find the entrance. He said, "Strange! It was built like that, but no one can go in. What does it mean?" He gathered hundreds and thousands of laborers, spent much money and effort, mobilized a great group of workers, stone excavation experts. Someone like me, specialized in breaking rocks. (Everyone laughed.) They pushed and hit for a long time, but found no trace of the entrance. They were built so perfectly that the entrance was tightly fitted into the wall, invisible, as if it were only a wall. No one noticed the entrance was there.
They worked so laboriously and sincerely that perhaps the ghosts or deities inside, or God, helped them. Suddenly a piece of rock fell down, from the inside, not because of their striking efforts outside. It fell from inside by itself! So they started digging from that spot, and found an entrance.
Going inside, they were very disappointed because it was empty, nothing. Every room was empty. In the biggest chamber in the center, there was an empty box like a coffin. They were bewildered. How could someone spend so much effort, labour, money and time to build such a grand structure that contained nothing? Why were they so wasteful?
Later, going in from that door, they found another door. It was highly concealed, I mean very difficult to find. They built doors as if there were none. But, slowly they noticed and found the door. There were a dozen doors after that door before they reached the so-called main hall. There was nothing inside, and no one knew why. They found no treasure, no coffins, no mummies, no living person, no dead person, nothing.
There was a man, probably an Englishman who also practiced spiritually. He had been to India and practiced meditation. He also knew what searching for the self-nature within is, so he thought he could do it! He went inside alone at night, carrying a flashlight and a coat.
Hewas not allowed to enter at first, but finally got the approval because he persisted in applying repeatedly! He went in there to find out why the pyramid was built this way. He eventually found out, and I knew it too.
Since the place was intended for spiritual practice, naturally it was empty. What furniture would be required if it was built for people to meditate? Take our main hall for instance, is there any furniture? No, only the sun umbrellas, and they were not here before, only recently we have them. The only furniture we have are these trees intended to give shade or for you to lean on. The rooms are empty. As it turns out, in old times, spiritual practitioners were afraid of being chased by people. In those times, they have to practice this method in secret because if their practice was revealed, their life would be in grave danger. It is still dangerous now, not to mention in ancient times. It was dangerous two thousand years ago, and when Shakyamuni Buddha was alive.
Many people always threaten the so-called true spiritual practitioners. It is perfectly all right if you do not practice the true method, everyone praises you. If you practice the real path, you are finished. You have to start to cover and protect yourself -- camouflage. You must be ordinary. Otherwise, people can sense it, and trouble you.
Since ancient times, it has been always like this, not only today. That was why they built the pyramids in such a concealed way. The entrance was known only to their own people. They were very spacious inside, and completely empty. Of course there was nothing! They were built for people to meditate inside, for initiation, etc., without being seen by outsiders.
Shall we move the pyramid over here? (Master laughs.) Then we don't need guards anymore. (Everyone applauds.) What? Do you think I can do it? No kidding! Even if we build a pyramid here today, the demolition machine will come to tear it down.
When that man entered the pyramid that night, he meditated there and discovered this secret. Actually, he did not need to meditate in there to find out. Looking at the empty rooms, we can understand. A real place of spiritual practice is only for people to meditate. There won't be anything inside, at the most a Buddha statue or the Buddha's photograph. They used the Buddha's statue before, but now perhaps it is faster to take photographs, or use a portrait. It was empty because people needed to sit in there, about the same as our place here.
That man had a very terrible experience in the pyramid. He said he dared not go again! He had the courage to venture inside, because he was very sincere in seeking the Truth. He wanted the answer to why the ancient people would build this kind of empty yet grand structure. It has nothing inside, yet was very mysterious, even the entrance was a secret.
In the pyramid, he meditated with a method he had learned in India. As he sat there, nothing happened at first. Gradually, he felt that the owners of the tombs near the pyramid had all came to greet him. They all came to give him a not very cordial greeting, but it was a terribly frightening atmosphere. They threatened him, nevertheless, he maintained his composure. He knew something would happen even before he came.
Another person had ventured into the pyramid before him. Having returned home, that person revealed in his diary that he had discovered the truth. However, his life would be in danger if he revealed it, because society could not possibly understand him -- this was what he wrote in his diary.
This second adventurer was mentally prepared! Although he was prepared, the extremely terrible and ugly faces he saw, and these lonely souls and wandering ghosts almost crushed him! Fortunately, being a practitioner he had some idea about what to do. He strived to keep himself in samadhi. Suddenly all the ugly ghosts fled, and stopped threatening, oppressing, or trying to kill him. They all vanished suddenly, and he didn't know why. Then he saw two brilliant beings come radiating light. It was because of the two of them that the ugly ghosts fled. Later, the two beings taught him a great deal while he was in there. They advised him not to seek the Truth anymore, because it is very difficult. They said, "You will encounter many trials, and you will surely regret it."
Finally, the man said, "I will not regret it. What else can I ask for except the Truth? This world is very strange to me now! I am living in this world, but I can ask for nothing. Nothing in the world can satisfy me. Nothing excites and attracts me anymore, except the quest for Truth. I want nothing. I fear nothing. I will die sooner or later. It is all right if I die for Truth."
Later, the two so-called inner masters, the superior masters within, touched by his determination, finally agreed. They asked him to lie on the stone -- actually he should lie in the coffin like a dead man, and then they would take his soul out, just like a dead man, and come back after a while. Never mind, it is all right to lie on the stone. He saw his astral body going out while his physical body lay still.
It was dark in the pyramid, darker than the nights here. There was nothing inside, sealed on all sides, leaving only a ventilation hole leading to the top. The ventilation hole in the pyramid clearly shows that it is not a tomb (dead people don't need it!) It must have been a place for people to live or stay in temporarily. Otherwise, there would not be a vent, illogical! It was very dark inside, darker than blackness, so it was very horrible. The longer he sat, the more frightened he became. He could see the lonely wandering ghosts coming to annoy him even though it's very dark. They only fled when the two so-called superior masters arrived later.
They told the man to lie down, and started to help him. Suddenly, his soul exited, and he saw his very ugly body lying there motionless. His eyes could not see, his ears could not hear, nothing was functional, except the heart throbbing automatically. It was just as if he was a dead person. Then he realized what death really is.
After that, the two masters took him to visit a dying old man. They introduced this old man as a life long Truth aspirant. However, the old man claimed that he had found nothing, only temptations, desires, fame and wealth, nothing else, no Truth. He persuaded the young man not to search any more! "Don't be cheated! There is no Truth in the world. All are lies. You can never find It!" However, the young man didn't listen, and still wanted to go on searching.
That was only meant to test him! Finally, the two enlightened masters said, "Okay, if you are determined, we will take you to another place to 'show you the Truth,' meaning initiation!"
Travelling with the soul, not the body, he could feel being taken to different chambers. There was a secret chamber beneath the pyramid. The two enlightened masters told him not to look back, just follow them, absolutely refrain from looking back.
The result was, he followed for a while and then wondered. Why is there no door? Where is the original secret door? He could not resist any longer and looked back. Suddenly, everything was severed! The two masters were gone, and he had returned to his body.
He could still hear the faint and distant voices of his two masters: "Why didn't you listen to us? What for did you want to find the secret door made of stone? The most important thing is to find the secret door within that liberates you from the transmigration of life and death. Now it is too late! Good-bye!" Then, they were gone.
Should you think I am too strict, try your luck in the pyramid, if you can refrain from looking back. Remember! In case you really go there and meet the two masters, do not look back. We humans are always seeking superficial things. We are curious. We look at this and that, asking, " What is this? What is that?"
Master taught you not to touch them, but you insist on touching them. Is that not so? If I ask you to touch it, then you refuse. This is why we progress very slowly. Even when Master tells us the moral guidelines, and secret method of spiritual practice, we will think: "Uh-huh! Why does She have to talk so much?" We know very well that they are good for us, but we still resist sometimes. Do you understand? When we eventually run into trouble, and become aware of the bad consequence, it is already too late!
The two masters had forsaken him, and didn't teach him anymore. He passed the first test of the ghosts. On the second test, the old man tried to persuade him to go back. He observed that the old man was struggling in great agony. His search for the Truth was so painful, but still he failed to find It on his dying day. The young man did not lose his faith. On the third occasion, he was only told not to look for that door, yet he turned around to look.
There are many similar stories. We also have some fairy tales from ancient China. A man went to the Peng Lai Fairy Island and married a goddess. They lived a happy life together. The goddess told him which doors could be opened and gave him the keys. Only the seventh or eigth door was forbidden. Yet, he still opened the door, and dropped back down to the wordly level. After going home, he could never find Fairy Island again.
Many people pursue spiritual practice, but very few attain the Truth. Or, they have attained half, one third, two thirds, but not the whole. It is all because they cannot control their mundane ideas and habits.
Sometimes, we have already climbed a great height up the hill, two thirds up the hill. We tell ourselves: Do not look back, or you will be frightened, and you will fall! It's true, but we are curious. We think: "What does it matter if I take a look? I used to look very often. Why can't I look today?" Very often it is different from today. The result of taking a glance is panic, and then you fall down! After falling down, it is very difficult to start all over again. You can; it's not totally impossible, but much of our courage, spirit and energy have been exhausted. It is very difficult for us to climb again later. Is that not so?