Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Heaven Knows, Earth Knows, You Knows and I knows!
Living This Moment in Purity
By Living Buddha Sheng-yen Lu
Translated by Janny Chow
This was translated from Grandmaster Lu's 145th book, 當下的清涼心.
CHAPTER 03 - Heaven Knows
On one occasion a man by the name of Cui Jia came to me for a consultation seeking information concerning his future. Cui Jia was handsome, tall, and very fit.
Upon asking the gods in the spirit realm for guidance on his behalf, I received the answer: " Heaven knows. "
The response initially seemed a bit strange. Of course " heaven knows " but what did that have to do with Cui Jia's future? I asked my question a second time. Once again, the response given was, " Heaven knows. "
I made a third attempt to ask my question, and the response was the same. However, this time, I received the additional message, " Due to the merits accumulated from 'heaven knows,' extra blessings will be bestowed upon this individual, and his fame, career, and prosperity will flourish. A bright and beautiful future awaits him. "
I then directed my next question towards Cui Jia, " Why do the gods keep replying with 'heaven knows'? "
Cui Jia was taken aback. Blushing in embarrassment, he related the following story to me.
In his college days, Cui Jia had rented a room in a residential home near his school. The landlady, a very beautiful and charming woman, was quite a flirt, and the young Cui Jia found himself rather enamored of her, particularly her alluring eyes in which he also detected affection toward himself. The mere thought of her would send flutters through his heart.
One day, the landlord traveled out of town on a business trip. As Cui Jia happened to pass by the master bedroom, the door opened, and inside, the landlord's wife stood gazing seductively at Cui Jia with an inviting, flirtatious expression across her face. Cui Jia stood motionless as his eyes locked with hers. Heat rushed through his body, and he could hardly contain himself.
The young woman spoke, " No one will know. "
He was young and full of sexual desire. As Cui Jia took a step forward, his heart pounded with excitement.
She continued, " It's all right to have some fun once in a while. No one else knows but us. "
Suddenly, Cui Jia recalled a phrase he had learned in school as a child: "Heaven knows, earth knows, you know, and I know. These are the 'four witnesses'. " He stopped in his tracks and said to the young wife, " It may appear as though no one else knows, but heaven knows."
The young woman then replied, "So what if heaven knows?"
Cui Jia responded, "Heaven knows, heaven knows, heaven knows!" He then turned his back on the young woman and quickly walked away.
That same night, she came to knock on Cui Jia 's bedroom door. She was leaning against the wall right outside his room, and he could smell her perfume wafting in through the cracks of the doorframe. Several times, he almost unlocked his door, knowing perfectly well that as soon as he opened it, her warm, voluptuous body would fall into his embrace. "Why not open the door?" he asked himself. But the phrase heaven knows, heaven knows, heaven knows, persisted in his conscience.
Other people may not know, but heaven knows. Human beings may be deceived, but one cannot deceive the heavens.
Eventually his will power prevailed, and he never opened his door.
The next morning, Cui Jia hurriedly moved out of the building and moved in with another classmate. He did not dare mention the incident to anyone; even to his closest friends, he gave the simple excuse that the house had merely been unsuitable for him.
So, as it turns out:
No one knows.
Yet Heaven knows.
Cui Jia then proceeded to tell me of another strange incident.
During his college days, he had moved five different times. This particular event, which occurred after the incident with the young woman, took place while he was lodging at a boarding house for students.
One night while he was fast asleep, Cui Jia suddenly heard a voice in his dreams saying, " Heaven knows, get out of bed quickly. Heaven knows, get out of bed quickly. Heaven knows, get out of bed quickly. "
The voice had been very clear, and waking from his sleep, he jumped out of bed. Running to look outside his window, he saw flames and thick smoke billowing from the house next door. Immediately he woke the other students in the house and, before escaping, made an emergency call to report the fire.
By the time Cui Jia had run out of the house, the flames from next door had already spread to his residence. Soon even the house in which he had been living became completely engulfed in flames. Altogether, six two-story buildings burned down. Many were killed and injured in that fire, and there was a great loss of property and possessions.
As Cui Jia shuddered in terror, recalling this incident, he was reminded that had he not heard the words " heaven knows, get out of bed quickly, " he would have remained deep in sleep. He and his friends, trapped in the sea of fire, would likely have been burnt to charcoal corpses.
Prior to this event, Cui Jia did not believe in the world of spirits and held no religious beliefs. Afterwards, however, he no longer doubted the existence of gods in this universe. The alarm call, waking him from his sleep, obviously had been a warning message from heaven.
I spoke to Cui Jia, " Gods and spirits indeed occupy the invisible world around us. One may try to deceive others in a dark room, but the penetrating eyes of gods perceive everything. "
Cui Jia responded, " Indeed, heaven knows. "
I said to him, " You should be commended for your high morals and will power. "
Cui Jia 's face reddened and he said, " Oh, but it was just luck! "
" Good and evil... " I began.
Cui Jia finished my sentence, " ...are only separated by a single thought. "
" A moment 's error may become the regret of a lifetime. "
" When one repents, one may be already at the end of one 's life. "
I explained to Cui Jia, " In today 's world, with increasing interaction between men and women, relationships have become increasingly complicated. People no longer concern themselves with traditional principles governing relationships between the sexes. What differentiates humans from other animals is man's sense of ethics. Without morals and guiding values, men are no different than birds and beasts. There are actually people who have abandoned ethics, and they are worse off than the birds and beasts. "
" How should we maintain our vigilance? " Cui Jia asked.
I replied, " As the Forty-two Chapters Sutra says: regard all older women as your own mother or elder sisters, all younger women as your younger sisters or daughters. Developing this kind of view can help extinguish one's licentious thoughts. "
" What if one finds it difficult to maintain this view? Then, what should one do? "
" Learn to practice the unclean view. What remains of a beautiful woman once her outer skin and flesh are removed? All that remains is a skeleton. When the body is viewed anatomically, one sees internal organs filled with blood, feces, and urine reeking of an unclean and offensive stench. By engaging in this kind of view, one will find the body's physical characteristics quite horrible and disgusting. "
" What if one cannot perform this visualization? "
" As one's sexual urges begin to rage out of control, just stop and imagine the consequences. Taking that one step may very likely prevent future loss of wealth and reputation. Otherwise, not only might one bring shame to one 's family and ancestors, one 's infamy may spread, having adverse influence on one 's children and grandchildren, and even destroy the career one has worked so hard to build up. Just thinking of these consequences is absolutely terrifying. This should cool down those surging sexual desires right away! "
" What if one still cannot restrain oneself. Then what happens? "
I could only respond, " A moment's pleasure will bring unending disaster and misfortune. "
" But so many people enjoy engaging in such pursuits of momentary happiness, " Cui Jia said. " Some would have no regrets even if they had to risk death! "
" The Buddha has taught: pleasure is emptiness, form is emptiness. "
" Generally though, people cannot see this. "
My final response was, "One creates one's own blessings and disasters."
In fact, our dialogue addresses a serious issue facing many members of contemporary societies. Ultimately, these matters can only be decided by each individual depending on his or her conscience, moral character, and power of stability developed from spiritual cultivation. In the invisible world around us, gods and spirits do exist. You may think that no one else knows but, in reality, heaven knows and cannot be deceived. It is my wish that everyone will cherish their bodies and souls, preserve their purity, and engage in spiritual cultivation to transcend the sufferings of transmigration.