Drinking damages the soul; being lustful damages the vitality; greed damages the virtues; anger damages the liver; smoking damages the spirit. These are the five poisons between Heaven and Earth. The world is polluted with these five filthy elements. Heaven has the spirit of the five fundamental elements and Earth has the characters of the five fundamental elements.
When one is upright, the five fundamental elements within oneself transform into the five virtues. If one is evil, the same five fundamental elements will transform into the five poisons. Thus, drinking, being lustful, greed, indignation, and smoking are the metamorphosis of the five fundamental elements. If one cannot eliminate these five poisons with determination, he would be confined by the five fundamental elements and thus will suffer the consequences when the time is up.
The reason why a normal person cannot be a Saint is because he always believes that all of his words and actions are right and good. When a person always sees others’ faults and never sees his own, he will never discover his own ignorance, and when he always talks about others’ faults and never admits his own, he will only make himself lost to the truth or reality of the world. Occasionally, a Saint will make a mistake, but the reason that a Saint can be called a Saint is because he is courageous enough to admit his mistake and correct them.
Be at ease and not rushed in your actions, then your attitute will naturally be dignified. Do not expect others to act according to your ideals, and do not blame others seriously. You should conceal from view some of your good points; this can make you achieve a greater level of cultivation. You should even help others to conceal their shortcomings, as this will make your mind broader. If you can only remember others’ good points, then everybody will want to be your friend. But if you only remember others’ shortcomings, then your foes will be many.
To cultivate one's soul requires one to be remorseful, to perform meritorious deeds, and to cultivate virtue in order to compensate for those sins and karma one has accumulated in this lifetime (or previous lifetimes). A person should not complain, get frustrated when he fails and must be regretful. In so doing he will have the courage to struggle forward again. When successful, a person should be humble, be willing to make concessions, and be yielding at the proper time. For such actions, he will obtain the good result that everyone will respect and follow him.
People usually struggle for fame and wealth, and sometimes risk their lives for these things. The superior person never acts in this way, and the inferior person always acts in this way. If one does not dispute with others about profits and advantages, then his annoyances and worries will be dispelled. Thus a person should dispel all material desires from his mind, and then his mind will naturally be quiet. When his mind is quiet and clear, then his soul will be pure, and it will naturally cease to produce the six desires, that is the desire of the eyes, ears, nose, mouth, body and awareness, and extinguish the three poisons, that is greed, anger and evil thoughts.
Cultivation involves cultivating your body, mind and soul. The best way to cultivate your body is to exercise caution in speech and conduct. The best way to cultivate your mind is to have few desires. The best way to cultivate your soul is to expel sin from oneself.
Author: T. A Chew
T. A Chew, an accountant by profession started to cultivate his body, mind and soul by first taking the vow of vegetarianism in 1995. He converted his house into a Tao temple in 1998 and had written a few books on Tao and cultivating Tao is cultivating the body, mind and soul.