Digging Caves to Cultivate the Tao
(Clearwisdom.net) Hao Datong is one of the Seven True Taoists in Quanzhen Taoism, who are very well-known in China. According to Feng Bi Preface in Taigu Collections (available from Orthodox Taoism Scriptures compiled in the Ming Dynasty), he once traveled to Wozhou (a.k.a. Zhaozhou or Zhao County in Hebei Province). There he sat still for mediation under the Zhaozhou Bridge for 6 years. During that time, naughty children made fun of him, and he was not bothered. The children even piled up stones over his head, and he was not disturbed. As water rose in the river, he did not leave, but nonetheless remained safe. That is, he was a person with high morality and supernormal abilities.
Hao Datong used to follow Wang Chongyang, the master of Quanzhen Taoism. After Wang Chongyang passed away becoming a divine being, his seven disciples separated from each other and traveled around. Hao Daotong went to various places, and survived by begging for food. After arriving at Zhaozhou, he sat for meditation every day under Zhaozhou Bridge. One day, Wang Chongyang changed form to a young adult and told him that, only by a digging cave in a mountain and cultivating in it could he reach the Right Fruit attainment status.
Digging Caves in the Mountains
Hao Datong followed his teacher's words and went to Hua Mountain. He spent three years digging in Beidouping. Finally the Ziwei Cave was completed and he planned to cultivate there. When digging the cave, two disciples began to follow him: Meiliang and Zhuqing. These two disciples helped Hao Datong dig the cave and worked very hard. Hao Datong was also responsible to them. Surprisingly, as soon as Ziwei Cave was finished, one elderly Taoist arrived and said, "Your cave looks very nice. I do not know how to dig a cave, can I borrow this cave to cultivate here?" Hao Datong agreed and gave the cave to him. The two disciples were upset, but could do nothing since their teacher already agreed. Hao Datong and his two disciples went to another place to dig a cave. As soon as the second cave was finished, another fellow Taoist came and asked for it. In this way, after Hao Datong and his two disciples spent their efforts digging one cave, a fellow Taoist would come and take it; after digging another cave, another fellow Taoist would come take it. More than 40 years passed, and they finished 70 caves, but still had no place to cultivate.
The Regretting Rock
Hao Datong and his two disciples then went to Nieniechuan cliff, a wonderful place to cultivate. He asked his two disciples to hold the rope, and he lowered himself down using the rope to dig a cave on the cliff. These two disciples originally planned to follow him to cultivate themselves into divine beings. But through the years, they only helped him dig caves and give them away to other people, while learning nothing about the Tao. They had planned to quit, but did not want Hao Datong to see them leave. Now it seemed a good opportunity. So they cut the rope, leaving their teacher down on the side of the cliff, and immediately left with their luggage. As soon as they walked to Qianchichuang and passed a rock, they saw Hao Datong walking lightly toward them. The two disciples immediately realized their teacher had already become an enlightened being, and felt very guilty. Seeing their regret, Hao Datong once again accepted them as disciples. That rock was later called the "Regretting Rock."
Hao Datong and his two disciples returned to Nantianmen, and started to dig a cave there. One day, as they were digging, someone came. The two disciples told their teacher, "Someone is walking towards us." Upon hearing that, Hao Daotong went inside the cave. He then passed away and became a divine being. This cave was thus not completed, and was named "Unfinished Cave."
The most essential thing of cultivation is to cultivate one's xinxing. Some people do not understand this, and they may wonder: Why do Falun Gong practitioners distribute flyers, hold parades, and have arts performances? Is this cultivation? In fact, wandering around and surviving by begging for food can cultivate one's xinxing, so can sitting under the bridge for meditation or digging caves in the mountain. The formality is not essential. What is critical is that one's xinxing improves through this process. Similarly, when distributing truth-clarification materials, holding a parade or having an arts performance, there are also conflicts or situations that stimulate xinxing improvement. More importantly, doing so allows interaction with more people so that they are able to hear about Dafa, and those with bad thoughts have the chance repent and seek kindness. Thus, more people will be saved.
(From Minghui Weekly-Overseas edition)