We Should Not "Adhere to Precepts with Pursuit"
(Clearwisdom.net) Today I read "Buddha Sakyamuni" on the Minghui website (Chinese version of Clearwisdom.net), in which there was the following story:
Buddha's disciple Nanda and his beautiful wife loved each other deeply. One day while he was doing make up for his wife, he heard the Buddha begging outside, so he went out to show respect to the Buddha. However, the Buddha took him back to his place and asked someone to shave Nanda's head. While Nanda did not dare to go against what the Buddha was doing, he was anxious about his wife. The Buddha knew what was on his mind, so he took Nanda to a mountain, where lived an old ugly black monkey. The Buddha asked Nanda, "How do you compare your wife with the monkey?" Nanda replied, "My wife is very beautiful and the monkey is very ugly. There is no comparison between them." Then the Buddha took him to the Daoli layer of heaven, where he saw heavenly kings and heavenly maidens having fun together. There was only one palace in which there were only heavenly maidens, without a king. The maidens were extremely beautiful with the most refined pure skin; their beauty was beyond imagination in the human world. Nanda asked the Buddha, "Why is it that there is no king in this palace?" The Buddha said, "You can go and ask them!" So Nanda went to ask the maidens, who said, "The Buddha in the human world has a disciple called Nanda; the Buddha guided him to become a monk, and because of this he would ascend to this heaven and become the king after his death." Nanda was very pleased and told the Buddha about it. The Buddha asked him, "How does your wife compare with the maidens here?" Nanda replied, "It is like comparing the monkey with my wife; there is no comparison between them." The Buddha then brought him down to earth.
In pursuit of the pleasure and the beauty of the maidens in heaven, Nanda started to adhere to the precepts and cultivate, disregarding the beautiful ladies and wealth in the human world. Another disciple, Ananda, wrote a poem to mock him. A few days later, the Buddha took Nanda to hell and Nanda saw big iron woks boiling people, and one of them was empty. Nanda asked the prison guard why it was empty. The guard said, "The Buddha in the human world has a disciple called Nanda, who adheres to precepts with pursuit. He will ascend to heaven after his death, but will drop down here to suffer after he has enjoyed all his happy lot in heaven." Nanda was very frightened and asked the Buddha to help him. The Buddha said to him, "Go and cultivate diligently!" Nanda said, "I did not know until now that if one does not completely solve the issue of life and death, he will never enjoy eternal happiness! Yes, one can be very happy in heaven, but when the happiness comes to an end, one has to drop down. It is so miserable in hell, so frightening. Now I don't want to go up to heaven any more. I just beg Master for mercy and to free me from the bitter sea of life and death!" So the Buddha taught him the four noble truths and within seven days, Nanda became an Arhat.
After I read this story, I had a frightening thought, "How often was I doing the same - 'adhering to the precepts with pursuit?!'"
For example, when I heard a fellow practitioner saying that her skin had become finer because she continued to do the exercises, intentionally or unintentionally, I also did very well in doing the exercises. Yes, doing the exercises can improve one's skin and change one's body, but if we do the exercises in order to look "beautiful" and be "healthy," isn't it the same as "adhering to the precepts with pursuit?"
When my child's (also a practitioner) school work was not as good as before, I reminded him, "You'd better look within and see if you have been diligent in cultivation lately," as if cultivation were a means to achieve good school marks, and as if school marks were a yardstick to measure one's cultivation. Yes, cultivating Dafa can open up one's wisdom, but it is absolutely not for achieving anything in the human world that one's wisdom is opened up. Fundamentally, I was still concerned about my child doing well at school. Isn't this "adhering to the precepts with pursuit?"
When I send forth righteous thoughts, I still have an attachment to "avoiding persecution and protecting myself," not purely for eliminating the evil to save sentient beings, and there is still an element of "self-protection" involved. Isn't sending forth righteous thoughts to protect oneself "adhering to precepts with pursuit?"
When I clarify the facts to people, sometimes I don't hold a pure heart or am not completely selfless. Instead, from time to time, "self" still comes up, as if saving sentient beings were for "accomplishing a task" and for "consummation." Isn't this "adhering to precepts with pursuit?"
I cannot completely let go of everyday people's things, and instead I hold onto humanness with one hand and Buddhahood with the other. Of course I wouldn't give up cultivation, but at the same time, I can't let go of everyday people's things unconditionally. I know that cultivation includes hardships, but whenever there is anything difficult I try to push it away. Of course I believe in the Fa principles Master has taught us, but I don't dare to immediately cut off the human reasoning that has been imbedded deeply in me for thousands of years. I feel pleased with what I have gained from cultivation and feel depressed when I lose something in everyday people's society. How can I say that I am a true cultivator if I cannot let go of the fundamental attachments?
When Nanda enlightened to the principle of karma, he "became an Arhat in seven days." We are Dafa practitioners and can do even better. At the last stage of our cultivation, I hope I can assimilate to Dafa soon, and, together with fellow practitioners, and root out the last human attachments, so we can completely free ourselves from humanness, and truly become great gods in Dafa cultivation. We can then better use our supernormal abilities to eliminate the evil and save sentient beings