Selected Translations from the Book "Role Model to the World" by Yuan Cai (Part 10)
Observe propriety and suppress desires
Eating and drinking are human necessities that can also be desires. If indulged in excess, that would be gluttonous. The relationship between man and woman is a desire, and is also necessary for sustaining society. If one adopts inappropriate means to satisfy oneself, that is adulterous. Money and property are what everyone seeks, and they are indispensable. But if one obtains it by illegal means, that is plunder.
If people only indulge their desires, it may lead to disputes, and even culminate in a lawsuit. Ancient sages had thought about all these issues, hence they formulated rules of etiquette to restrain one's indulgence in food and in one's behavior in relationships between man and woman. They also developed moral principles to check one's acquisition of wealth and property.
A noble person is well aware of the need for food, relationship between man and woman, and money and property. But he does not openly seek them, let alone seek them in wanton excess. A coarse person is just the opposite.
"Looking but not caring to see", and not thinking about them, so desires are severed
Sages have said, "[by] not looking at things that could arouse desires, one would not be bedazzled." This is a secret for avoiding a number troubles. In general, people's appetite is aroused at the sight of delicious food, one cannot help but gaze at stunning beauty, and one can become greedy in their relationship with money. It's inevitable unless one has exceptional self-control. Only by fundamentally extirpating the roots of these desires and paying no attention when encountering them, will the wanton wishful thinking not arise. Without such thoughts, no wrong deeds will ensue.
Note: In the human world, people argue, fight, and even die for endless desires, but they are unaware of the cycle of suffering they are in. Here we recommend a poem by Master Li Hongzhi, founder of Falun Dafa, as an example of the transcending realm of a cultivator:
Abiding in the Dao
Present, but the heart elsewhere--
Perfectly reconciled with the world.
Looking, but caring not to see--
Free of delusion and doubt.
Listening, but caring not to hear--
A mind so hard to disturb.
Eating, but caring not to taste--
The palate's attachments severed.
Doing, but without pursuit--
So constant, abiding in the Dao.
Calm, but without strain of thought--
The truly wondrous can be seen.
January 4, 1996
(from Hong Yin Translation Version A)