Respecting Buddha with a Righteous Mind and Sincerity
(Clearwisdom.net) China has been known as a divine land since ancient times because Chinese culture was passed down from heaven. Therefore, the majority of the emperors and their subjects in Chinese history were guided by their spiritual beliefs and emphasized moral values. To ancient Chinese people, there was nothing more important than respecting and worshiping heaven and cultivating their morality. It is said that studying and following the books written by sages and virtuous men will help one improve one's moral values and will accumulate one's virtues, which will bring good fortune.
Xiao Deyan was a professor at Hongwen Imperial College during the Zhenguan Era (627 - 649 A.D.) under Emperor Taizong's reign in the Tang Dynasty. Xiao Deyan was a renowned historian who specialized in Zuo Zhuan, also known as the Chronicle of Zuo or the Commentary of Zuo, the earliest Chinese work of narrative history that covers the period from 722 to 468 B.C. Xiao Deyan was also a very virtuous man. Before he studied the Five Classics (including The Book of Changes, Poetry, Rites History and Music) or other ancient classics or before he started teaching a class, he would take a bath, put on an clean outfit and sit up straight with a solemn and respectful expression on his face. As Xiao Deyan got older, he became all the more diligent and modest. He was often told, "You are an old man. Why bother with the tiresome routine of bathing, changing clothes and sitting up straight before you study a book?" Xiao Deyan replied, "These are the education materials passed down by ancient sages. How can I forsake respect when I face valuable education materials written by ancient sages?"
When Emperor Taizong heard about Xiao Deyan's conduct, he admired him for his virtue, so he had Xiao Deyan teach the Duke of Jin ancient classics and made him the mayor of Wuyang. Xiao Deyan enjoyed wealth and a high status in the government until he died at at the advanced age of 97.
Buddhist scriptures are capable of inspiring people's wisdom, teaching people to improve their moral values, and prompting people to stop doing bad deeds and to become good. Studying Buddhist scriptures, one will also obtain infinite virtue. One must be thankful when one faces a Buddhist scripture. He must clean his hands and the desk before reading. He must also fill his heart with sincerity and respect as though he were facing a Buddha or a divine being. If he lacks respect for a Buddhist scripture, shows any contempt, or make any blasphemous remarks on account of his shallow notions, he will commit a sin that is as high as a mountain and will face infinite retributions. One part of respect for the Buddhist scriptures will eliminate one part of sin and increase one part of good fortune. Ten parts of respect for the Buddhist scriptures will eliminate ten parts of sin and increase ten parts of good fortune.
During the Sui Dynasty, there was a Buddhist monk in Yangzhou who chanted Buddhist scriptures daily. Meanwhile, there was a novice monk in Qishan who also chanted Buddhist scriptures daily. One day the two monks passed away at almost the same time. When their souls arrived in the underworld, the Underworld King invited the novice monk to sit on a golden seat and treated him as a guest of honor. However, the Underworld King asked the monk from Yangzhou to take a silver seat and neglected him. The monk from Yangzhou felt embarrassed. Soon the two monks returned from death. The monk from Yangzhou went visiting the novice monk in Qishan and inquired him as to why the Underworld King treated him with respect. The novice monk replied, "Before I start to chant a Buddhist scripture, I put on a clean outfit and light incense of good quality. I always study Buddhist scriptures with respect." The monk from Yangzhou said, "I have committed terrible sins. When I studied Buddhist scriptures, I was often improperly dressed. I didn't bathe or brush my teeth first. I was very disrespectful! I am ashamed! I am so ashamed of myself!"
There was a young scholar named Shen in ancient China. He was very arrogant because of his education. When he studied at the Xiao Temple, he once saw a Buddhist scripture whose contents he didn't fully agree with, so he changed the lines and added new content in red ink. Shen died shortly after he returned home without cause. His father had a dream where Shen told him that he had been condemned to Hell because he erased from and added words to a Buddhist scripture. Shen complained about the burning shackles he must wear and the insufferable pain he faced. Shen begged his father to go to Xiao Temple to find the scripture and erase the red ink from it. He also begged his father to print a new copy to redeem his sin.
There were a lot of highly talented and highly successful people in Chinese history, but they met a terrible fate when they failed to cultivate their morality or respect divine beings. Besides fulfilling his personal responsibilities in the society, a man must also cultivate his morality and act on kindness because the meaning of life is to return to one's true self. Today, Falun Gong has widely spread around the world. This is the most fundamental Buddha Law of the universe. Each and every person should follow the principles of Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance. Every person should treasure Falun Gong and treat Falun Gong books with sincerity and respect. It is important to know the heavenly law that one will obtain good fortune when one respects the Buddha Fa and that one will commit terrible sins when one lacks respect for the Buddha Fa.