The Returning Clouds
(Clearwisdom.net) More than ten years ago, a sudden change in my life made me tired of the military service to which I had devoted years of the golden period of my life. I left the service and followed an elderly master to another place, looking for a land of tranquility and purity.
The place was a well-known mountain in South China. The temple was decorated by nature with green bamboo and pine trees. At such a high altitude, the white clouds were often floating under foot as you walked. As the wind was blowing, the pine trees in the forest waved around with a sound as if countless horses were rumbling about. Everything on the mountain seemed to dissolve among the boundless sound.
Upon arriving there, everything was new to me. Because of its place on the mountain, the temple was not big. Except for the Grand Buddha Hall, several plain buildings made up the rest. There were also some two-story buildings built there in recent years. Not many monks or nuns lived there. Other than the master, there was Brother Guo Yu and Brother Guo De. There was a nun about 60 years old named Guo Wu, as well as a cooking lady who had been abandoned by her impious son. There was also a dog named Xiao Xing, who welcomed me along with Brother Guo Yu when I arrived.
There was a pond for drinking water about two meters in width. The slim trickle of spring water came down from above through a bamboo pipe. The water was very clear and a little sweet, with an herbal taste to it. The taste was so special that it surpassed any drinks I had previously had. Brother Guo Yu, who was very knowledgeable about herbs, said the water had accumulated the essence from hundreds of different herbs. When I later saw numerous herbs and grasses growing all over the mountain, I knew it was true.
Life in the temple was simple and routine. Except for Brother Guo Yu, the master only gave each of us one book of collected scripture to read. The master was busy, since other than being in charge of the temple, he also had many appointments in the provincial Buddhist association and held classes in various places. Most of the time, we did not see him at the temple. During that time, I followed Brother Guo Yu to the mountains every day to collect herbs. Little by little, he told me some supernatural stories. Once, on the way to collect herbs, he pointed to a cliff far away and asked if I saw the character on the cliff. In fact, I had already noticed there was a big red character "sword" engraved into the cliff. The cliff was several hundred meters high, with a very deep valley below. It was almost impossible for anyone to climb up there to engrave the character. Seeing my puzzled expression, he told me a legend.
"It was about eight hundred years ago, during the Song Dynasty. There was a couple who was determined to cultivate. They forsook everyday society and cultivated by the cliff. Many years passed, and they had not yet succeeded in their cultivation. While being very fretful, they had a dream in which they were told to look for a master named White Cloud in a temple. They thus came here, and White Could Master was in charge of the temple. Upon seeing them, the master recited a verse, With sword over the head, where is the way back? They soon became enlightened and reached nirvana. With gratitude towards the master, they came to visit the temple once every one hundred years. The word sword on the cliff was evidence of their nirvana."
"Have you seen them in the temple?" I asked.
"I am only over 70 years old. According to our master, they did not come back after the Emperor Kang and Emperor Qian in the Qing Dynasty." He sighed and then asked, "What brought you here?" I was not prepared for this question, and still I said, "I want to cultivate and spend the rest of my life in the forest." He had a light smile, "Maybe we can draw a divination stick in front of the Buddha some day to see if you are allowed to stay here." His smile was very mysterious. I suddenly realized Brother Guo Yu was not an ordinary person. He looked only 40-50 years old with reddish cheeks, although he claimed to be over 70 years old. I was unable to figure out what he meant, but I could tell his words were spoken with no bad intention. In the following days, lots of thoughts came to my mind, "Does it mean I have no predestined relationship with Buddha?" It was not until many years later that I completely understood it.
Outside of the entrance to the left, there is a cliff near several blue-green rocks with flat tops about one meter on each side. While sitting on the rocks on a clear day, one can see mountains far away surrounded by clouds. Some mountains are high, some are low, and they extend to the end of the sky. Very often there were days with rain or mist, but on clear days, Brother Guo Yu and I often sat on the rocks, with legs crossed, looking at the scenic view together with the dog Xiao Xing. Wind whispered by our ears and white clouds floated by our sides. As the sun sank at dusk by the mountain far away, we saw the white clouds coming from the distance and swooping into the valleyjust like birds returning to their nest. The next morning, they rose like mist and flew towards the blue sky. On the rainy or cloudy days, mist often mixed with the clouds. It seemed the clouds were living beings. (I had already abandoned the theories of high pressure and low pressure learned in the classroom.)
I asked Brother Guo Yu about this interesting phenomenon that I had never seen before. He gently touched a piece of white cloud by our side and said, "This is called Returning Cloud. They have spirit. After playing around for one day in the sky, it is time for them to come back and rest. This place is their home. In fact, a human being is just like a piece of cloud, and everyone has an eternal homethe place where one's life belongs. Buddha Fa is the way back home." I was touched by his words.
When the master was around, we were very busy and had to get up at 4:00 a.m. There was incense burning in the Grand Buddha Hall, various rooms, and all the way out the entrance. We stood on both sides until the master finished reading the thick book of collected scripture. Then it was breakfast time. Hardly anyone fell asleep in the morning class, but the evening class was a different story. The murmuring voice of the master turned into a lullaby, and people on both sides with palms pressed together in front of their chests were leaning forward or backward out of sleepiness. This was so especially for Brother Guo De, who several times almost fell out of the Grand Buddha Hall. At those times, the master would stop reading the scripture and tell several jokes to wake us up.
Once, the master went out for a while to hold a class somewhere. One day, several arrogant young men came, claiming the master asked them to come here to practice martial arts. Soon afterwards, the peace in the temple was disturbed by the loud and busy sound of martial arts practice. In those days, I had to help the master every day with handling the mail from various places. After some time, even the masters friends and relatives came and lived in the temple. As more people were living here, conflicts started to arise. Every day, I was busy with replying to those letters and did not have time to follow Brother Guo Yu to collect herbs. Occasionally, I helped process the herbs he collected and gave them away to village residents nearby who needed them.
One day, Brother Guo Yu had a talk with me. He said slowly but seriously, "Do you remember we talked about drawing a divination stick for you in front of Buddha?" I nodded. He sighed and said, "With demons coming, the Yellow Crane is leaving. Sun and moon are waiting for the return. Normally, I would not help draw a divination stick in front of Buddha. But now this is not a place for one to stay a long time. Please follow me." We went into the Grand Buddha Hall and lit incense. He took out the divination stick container and let me draw one stick. I picked one and Brother Guo Yu looked at it carefully. He then wrote several sentences on a piece of paper. I remember part of them:
As one digs a well, the source of water is found;
As one separates the sand, the gold is seen.
Things are testing your heart;
Need to work harder on it.
After Brother Guo Yu saw this divination stick, he closed his eyes for a while and said, "Isnt it you who likes wandering around? Tomorrow you can leave here, and I will take care of it for master. After you leave here, please do not forget about cultivation. Someday you will come across a high level cultivation system. At that time, please remember to come back to save me." After that, he recited verses for a long time in front of Buddha.
On the following day, I walked down the mountain. Brother Guo Yu and Xiao Xing accompanied me to the road and said farewell. I walked a long distance, passing two mountain bends. Looking back, beyond the long road and white clouds, Brother Guo Yu and Xiao Xing had almost become two black dots but were still standing there.
Soon afterwards, I returned to my hometown. Several years later, I came across the precious high level cultivation systemFalun Dafa. In the past several years of rain and snow, despite the persecution, many practitioners and I have been telling people the wonderfulness of Dafa. With Dafa from Master, we are saving the worldly people, who have been poisoned by the evil slanderous lies. It is just like, "Things are testing your heart." The only pity is, I have not introduced this wonderful Dafa to my Brother Guo Yu.