(Minghui.org) Let me tell you a story that has been passed on for generations in China. After Lü Dongbin (a beloved character from Chinese traditional culture, the most well known of the "Eight Immortals") became an immortal, he wanted to pass on his magic arts to a disciple who was not greedy. He thought of a plan and turned himself into an old man selling sweet dumplings. He placed a note on his stall that read: “One copper coin, one sweet dumpling; two copper coins, eat as many as you can.”

Many people came to eat his sweet dumplings that day, but no one paid one copper coin for one sweet dumpling. It was getting late. A young man came and paid one copper coin, ate one sweet dumpling, and left. Lü Dongbin was delighted and hurried after him, asking, “Why don't you pay two copper coins and eat as many as you can?” The young man said with regret, “I only had one copper coin left.”

Lü Dongbin sighed and flew into the sky. As a result, during his lifetime he never took a disciple. Even immortals found it hard to find someone without greed and desire.

In our daily life, everyone is busy, worried about surviving and trying to live a better life, leaving very little time to wonder why things are they way they are. The reason for this is very simple. Our lives are driven by desires, which are based on fame and self-interest.

Fame is hollow and satisfies one's vanity; self-interests are tangible and satisfy our desires and needs. People are centered around their self-interests, which in turn become bigger and bigger, until their desires become so inflated that they become muddleheaded. They do not ignore any desire and want to gain more and more self-interests. Think about it, you may own many mansions, but you only need one bed to sleep in; you may have rows of luxury cars, yet you can only sit in one seat at a time.

Cultivators have higher standards. We should strive to rise above ordinary people and remain pure like lotus flowers rising above a muddy pond. Cultivating means letting go of all kinds of desires and attachments. We need to keep assimilating to Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance until we attain the righteous enlightenment of selflessness and altruism.

Note: Ms. Li Yaru, the author of this article, was a Falun Gong practitioner. She graduated from Heilongjiang University and became a well respected teacher. She was later promoted to deputy principal of a high school and deputy director of the Board of Education of the Hanjiayuan Bureau of Forestry in the Daxinganling region. In July 2008, Ms. Li was illegally arrested, sentenced to a three-year prison term, and taken to Heilongjiang Women's Prison. She lost her job and her husband divorced her. Due to constant torture, she became ill and was diagnosed with leukemia. She passed away on July 20, 2011. She was only 48 years old.