A Cultivation Story from Ancient China - Swallowing the Dan
(Clearwisdom.net) The world is full of mazes, and what you see with your own eyes may not be real. A long time ago, Wei Boyang from the state of Wu, took three disciples to the mountains to cultivate the Tao and Dan (1). After many years of painstaking cultivation, the Dan was finally nurtured completely. At the moment of swallowing the Dan, Wei Boyang discovered that some of his disciples had not completely eliminated their mentalities of everyday people, and so he said to them, "Dan has been nurtured completely, and I don't know whether it can be consumed or not. Lets have the dog eat a grain of it first, and if the dog ascends to heaven, then we can eat it, and if the dog dies, then we cannot swallow it." He then fed the white dog with the Dan and the dog died immediately. His disciples were all greatly surprised.
Wei Boyang could not do anything but ask the disciples, "It is most difficult to nurture the Dan, and now we have done it, but actually the dog died from eating it, so what should we do?" One disciple said, "Master's gong is high, could you eat a grain to try it?" Wei Boyang sighed and said, "I led you to the mountains to cultivate the Tao for several years, had you endure so much suffering, and now actually the final state is here. It will be too shameful for me to descend the mountain to face people, so I have to brave death by swallowing the Dan. If I die, you should descend the mountain and there's no need for you to cultivate again after that." Then he swallowed the Dan, fell to the ground and died.
Three of the disciples saw that their Master had died, which was a big shock, and they didn't know what to think. The second disciple said, "We followed our Master to cultivate the Tao and Dan to become immortal. Now Master has also died, so how can we become immortal? Let's descend the mountain." By now the oldest disciple said, "Master is the person who has attained enlightenment, so we must believe Master and follow Master to the end, even if I should die, I will not regret it!" After saying this he also swallowed a grain of Dan, and also fell down immediately and died.
The third disciple upon seeing this said, "Master and our older fellow disciple both died and the Tao cannot be cultivated anymore. Both of us are still young, and it's better for us to descend the mountain, and then we can live for several dozen years more." Thereupon these two disciples descended the mountain. After they had just walked away, when Wei Boyang stood up from the ground. He took the Dan from his mouth to feed into the oldest disciple and the dog's mouths. Both the disciple and the dog all came back to life, thereupon they ascended to heaven. Afterwards Wei Boyang requested a person who chops firewood to bring a letter to his two other disciples telling them the details. These two disciples had great regrets.
(From Taiping Guangji)
(1) Dan -- Energy cluster in a cultivator's body, collected from other dimensions
August 30, 2006