47. How can one accumulate merits after receiving Tien-Tao? (& Q48 to Q49)

The constant maintenance of the True Nature in one’s heart is the virtuous nature. When the virtuous nature is manifested in one’s daily practice, it is the true ethics and morality. If one has Tao but lacks virtues, he is a devil. Confucius said,

“Only with perfect virtues
can a person attain Tao.”

Virtue means to attain Tao. To accumulate merits is the same as to establish one’s virtues.

To establish one’s virtues,

  • one should help the needy,
  • vow to relief disasters and bring salvation,
  • follow the teachings of the five religions, and
  • carry the teachings into practices to the fullest extent.

Merits are accumulated through

  • donating to print Sutras and Scriptures,
  • establishing God’s Altars,
  • exhorting and touching the sinful,
  • spreading God’s truth in the land of non-believers,
  • advocating Tao and virtues,
  • stimulating the wisdom of others, and
  • introducing and supporting others so they can attain Tao.
When the external merits are fulfilled,
the internal merits will be facilitated.

In terms of social workone can donate his own wealth to help the needy and to provide relief to disasters, or to raise fund if the need is too great for a single person to fulfill. In all cases, we must adapt and adjust our approaches according to the time, the place, the people, and the task.

  • We should persuade parents to care for children;
  • children to fulfill filial devotion;
  • siblings to have friendship and respect for each other;
  • spouses to live in harmony;
  • friends to trust each other’s and be trustworthy;
  • government officials to be loyal and fair;
  • the sinful to repent;
  • and the ordinary to become Sages.

True merits are accumulated as long as one does not intend to build reputations and expect praises, nor deploy harsh words and attitudes. If one intends to build reputations or receive praises, he accumulated no merit despite of the good deeds. He will only be rewarded in his next life. If one exhorts others in a harsh or infuriated tone, then he is not a practitioner of Tao.

Virtues
Establish one’s virtues (Image by feworave from Pixabay)

48. Why there are slanders even though Tien-Tao is true?

Confucian Analects states,

“A tune with high pitch
has few who can harmonize.
Tao when spreading
arouses disparages.
One who cultivates virtues
draws slanders.”

Tien-Tao is vast and profound, so ordinary scholars could not fully comprehend It. The lack of comprehension leads to bemusement and doubts. It is not unusual for the bemused to slander or to come to subjective conclusions.

Confucius said,

“A practitioner of Tao,
who does not become irate
when the ignorant is against him,
is a true practitioner.”

Tien-Tao will not flourish without slanders. The Buddhist Sutra states

“For every slander brought about,
an equivalent weight of debt
is being paid off.”

When Confucius traveled through various states to spread Tao, he was constantly slandered. After he attained Tao and returned to Heaven, his name remained in the world forever. His worshipers are all over the world and so are temples to serve him.

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49. Why would practitioners of the true Tao still face tests?

The way of the True Tao goes against human emotions and desires. Those who follow the way of the True Tao become Immortals while those who follow human emotions and desires become ghosts. There is a saying,

“To practice Tao
is like climbing a tall post.
It is easy to come down
but very difficult to get to the top.”

Ji-Gong Buddha said,

“The usually invisible Tien-Tao will be revealed through many significant miracles. The true wills of practitioners of Tao will be exposed through grueling tests.

An adage states,

“A piece of jade must be ground
in order to realize its use,
and a nugget of gold must be smelt
in order to realize its value.”

Taoist practice of Tao is critical of maturity; a Taoist uses slow and smooth breaths in tranquility to nurture his True Self, and he exaggerates inhaling and exhaling actions to refine his True Self.

Confucian practice of Tao stresses tenacity, and it is said that practicing Tao is just like carving a bull horn or grinding a piece of jade. (To carve a bull horn, one must cut the horn into shape, and then polish it to make it smooth. To grind a piece of jade, one must sculpt the jade into form and then grind it to make it shine. Both of these works require a great deal of concentration, care, time, and patience.)

Both Taoist and Confucian practices
are to test the tenacity of one’s will
to attain Tao.

When Confucius was trapped and starved between the states Chen and Cai, he said,

“Without reaching the top of a high mountain,
one cannot realize how severe the fall could be.
Without standing next to deep water,
one cannot realize the danger of being drowned. Without being in an open sea,
one cannot understand the damages
the wind and the wave can bring.
An orchid that grows deep in a forest
will not stop sending out fragrance
just because no one can appreciate it.
Similarly, a practitioner of Tao
who cultivates his virtues
will not act against his wills
just because he is distressed and
lives in poverty.”

After Confucius survived the siege, he said to the few who were still with him “The siege we survived between the states Chen and Cai are fortunate for me as well as for you all.”

We have to understand that,

when the going gets tough,
the tough get going.

Difficult situations are the stimuli
for one to get stronger and better.

Those who can last and survive all difficulties are the ones who can attain Tao. Mencius said,

“When God is about to give a mission
to a person,
God will always put this person to test
by exercising his mind,
laboring his body,
starving him, and
empty his possessions.”

If one is being put through tests, he should be grateful because he is selected by God to take on a mission. For example, if there is an examination held for a post, not everyone can take it. Only those who meet the qualifications can become a candidate.

Confucius said “A piece of twisted and decayed wood cannot be used for carving. A wall made of loose mud cannot be painted.” So only those who, through many previous lives had practiced Tao and are predestined to encounter Tien-Tao, will face real tests. If one does not qualify, why should God test him?

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