A Modern Analogy of the "Gold Begging Bowl" vs. "Jade Begging Bowl"
(Clearwisdom.net) In some areas of Hebei Province, some practitioners have recently enthusiastically helped other practitioners to buy MP3 players and PDA's (personal digital assistants). Their prices range from 300 yuan (1) to 500 yuan. Some practitioners even bought e-books (electronic books, like the size of an actual book, with LCD display, cost about 1,700 yuan). The e-book is really nice-looking, and can store all of the Dafa books. Some practitioners from the rural areas have also purchased MP3 players. In addition, some of them are searching for cheaper MP3 players with more storage.
However, I feel that these practitioners have put too much emphasis on these luxury tools, similar to the analogy of the "gold begging bowl" vs. "jade begging bowl." (An old story from Buddhism: Buddha Sakyamuni and his disciples begged for their food. Some disciples became attached to their begging bowls, since they were the only possessions they were allowed. Some managed to obtain gold begging bowls, and some others got jade ones. Sakyamuni then told his disciples not to be attached to their begging bowls.)
Indeed, some practitioners don't have a collection of all Dafa books. Instead, we have hand-copied books in the past. In this way, we study Fa through hand copying and have also helped with the issue of book shortages. Listening to Teacher's lectures using audio tape players (which only cost about 20 yuan) is also very easy. It is great to be able to use those good tools to study Fa, yet we should also consider our financial situation and how much we really need them. We should not spend too much of our time and energy on this issue.
I heard that some practitioners outside China are very attached to computer and electronic tools, including PDA's. Later on, they put their attention and money toward owning pocket PCs. Using the excuse that these tools facilitate Fa study and practicing the exercises, they spent a lot of time playing with the new functions and transforming file formats on the fancy computer tools. As a result, they have less time for the actual Fa study and practicing the exercises.
In "Teaching the Fa at the 2004 Chicago Conference," Teacher said,
"As Dafa disciples have clarified the facts you have saved many beings who were supposed to be saved, but it's not enough. In fact, so far, what you've accomplished is still limited, and in terms of numbers the proportion is still quite small. The Dafa disciples in Mainland China, in particular, have the greatest responsibility. The main body of Dafa disciples is in China, so the Dafa disciples there should do even better; through lessons learned they should become more rational and more clearheaded, and do things more righteously; they should allow more sentient beings to be saved; and they should have the effect of the main body of Dafa disciples. "
I think we should spend more of our money on making truth-clarifying materials and on other ways of clarifying the truth. Of course, clarifying the truth does not necessarily mean spending a lot of money. I think we should put more of our mind and heart on improving our methods to clarify the truth so that more sentient beings can be saved.
Above are only some of my feelings and understandings, which may not be correct.
(1) 500 yuan is the average monthly income for an urban worker in China.