This is a story to relate how all of us have these inner strengths:
Once there was a teacher who took up a position in a school located in a very remote area. On his way to and from the school, he had to walk through a cemetery. After a while he grew accustomed to the spooky atmosphere among the graves.
One day he was unexpectedly delayed at school and had to walk home late. On his way through the cemetery he suddenly fell into a freshly dug grave. The grave was very deep and wide and no matter how hard he tried to jump up, he could not get out. Before long, the sun went down and everything grew dark. There was nobody nearby he could call for help and there was nothing he could do except to wait till morning. So he sat down in a corner of the grave and tried to get some rest.
A little while later another man fell into the same grave. He climbed and slipped back, and climbed again and again, trying to get out. All to no avail just like him. The teacher, sitting quietly at the corner, felt sorry for the poor fellow’s futile efforts and said, “It’s useless trying to climb out of here. There is no way you can get out. ”
The man was terrified, thinking that a ghostly spirit had spoken to him. He was so scared that he leapt, an extraordinary and unbelievable leap, right out of the grave in a single bound and fled!
Everyone possesses these inherent strengths. They exist below the level of conscious knowledge, as our potential to do the impossible or great things. There is a saying:
“When there is a ferocious tiger chasing after you, you can run over mountains and through forests as if they were level plains. When a house is on fire, you can fly up to the eaves and walk on walls as carefree as stray weeds in the wind. ”
Many people have experiences between life and death and they survived because they did the impossible. Under normal circumstances, the second man in the story above would not be able to leap that high. The shock he experienced gave him the sudden surge of strength that had lain dormant within him. With a single leap he was out of the hole.
Similarly in the spiritual sense, when Buddha achieved enlightenment under the Bodhi tree, he joyfully exclaimed:
“How amazing! All sentient beings in this world possess wisdom and perfect virtue within themselves. They all possess the Buddha nature and all can attain Buddhahood. However, delusion and attachment have prevented them from attaining enlightenment. ”
Mencius described these qualities in the following way:
“The ability we possess without having to acquire is called innate ability. The understanding that we have without having to think about is called innate knowledge. Children who are carried in their parents’ arms naturally know to love their parents. As they grow older, they naturally come to love their older brothers and sisters as well. Showing love for our families, we manifest a benevolent nature. Respecting our elders we demonstrate the nature of righteousness. Only by following this nature can we bring peace to the world. ”
Unfortunately the modern world is different from the ancient times. Our inner nature is obscured by materialistic attitudes and characteristics that are inherited from past incarnations and sins. We then live in accordance with all kinds of delusions and attachments which further obscure our original Buddha or True nature which is divine and pure. We are trapped by our own inner bad karmic seeds which prevent us from achieving enlightenment. As long as we are trapped in this way we will continue in the vicious cycle of birth and death or reincarnation.
The Sixth Patriarch Hui Neng said:
“The prajna (wisdom) immanent in those whose root is shallow is exactly the same as that of a wise person. Why then do the former fail to realize the true nature when dharma is revealed to them? It is because they live under many layers of obstructions, just as the sun may be covered in thick clouds. Until the wind blows the clouds away, the sun cannot appear. ”
We are entering the final era, unless we are able to blow away the clouds that blocked the sun, the full brightness of the sun cannot be seen. Our innate wisdom, capability and strength will manifest and we need that sudden push like the man in the hole. This revelation of the ultimate truth is like the wind that disperses the clouds. In the temple of Tao of Heaven, we called this awakening the baptism of the fire and the Holy Spirit to wake up our inner divine soul. Our inner self is the true self and it has to be awakened. By the initiation of Tao we will be able to recognize the Buddha nature as being our true self and walk on the unchanging path of truth.
Author: T. A Chew
T. A Chew realized that even very young devotees of Tao of Heaven are able to become vegetarians after the initiation of Tao. It is the sudden awakening of the inner soul to realize our own divine nature that is full of compassion. This is similar to the sudden push like the second man in the hole to do the impossible. Website: http://www.white-sun.com