From last issue : The seventh of the Ten Advantages of the Perfection of Prajna.
I’ll tell you another true story. Once long ago there were two Dharma brothers who resolved to cultivate together. They cultivated asceticism, eating only one meal a day. Once they went north to a place not far from Five Peaks Mountain. Snow fell around the poor hut they were living in. The hut was totally empty. They found nothing to eat inside. There was no firewood, no rice, no water. It snowed for three days straight and they bore their hunger for three day as they sat in meditation. The younger Dharma brother then had a false thought. What was it? He reasoned with himself: “It's all right for me to go without food for three days, but my elder Dharma brother came from such a wealthy family, it's a shame for him to have to go hungry for three days. Ah! If only someone would bring us a little offering, how good that would be! In this cold weather, it would be nice if someone brought us some noodles.”
Now, that false thought of his was more than the earth god could take. The earth god refers to the local earth spirit in that area. Ah! He looked into it, and finding that those three genuine cultivators had gone hungry for three days, he thought,“If I don't find some way to protect the Dharma, then I will surely be committing an offense!”
And so he raced behind the mountain and appeared in the dreams of a husband and wife, telling them, “In that poor hut located up front of you are a couple of cultivators who haven't eatern for three or four days. You should quickly cook up some noodles and deliver them to those two.” The couple, both in the fifies or sixites, had a lot of faith in spirits. Especially since they'd had the same dream several times in the same night. They knew it must be true. And so they cooked plenty of noodles for both of them and carried them off to give them to the two true cultivators.
The two of them were sitting in meditation when the noodles arrived. As soon as the younger Dharma brother saw them , he was delighted and burst out laughing, “Ho! Ho!” As soon as he laughed, his elder Dharma brother realized what had happened and said, “Huh! All you do is have false thinking! Well you false-thought these noodles here, now you eat them! From today onwards, I refuse to practice the Way with you. You are a complete coward! What you've done is really terrible! I'm leaving you.”
Originally the two of shared a sitting mat. Now he insisted that they cut it in half.“You go your way and I'll go mine. We can't be together any more. All you do is have false thinking and take advantage of opportunities.” And so after that the two did not cultivate together any more. Each went his own way.
See what the virtuous ones of old were like? Having been without food for three days, he still thought that it was unprincipled when someone brought an offering of noodles. He felt it went against the ethics of cultivation. But people of today…Whoo! If someone offers them noodles they think,“I am truly a cultivator! I've had a response! Whatever I happen to think about eating just appears before me!” And so, in cultivating the Way, if you have a thought of taking advantage of opportunities, if you strike up a false thought, you may think that the food that comes in response tastes good, but it will create huge obstacles in your cultivation of the Way. You'll have good things to eat in your mouth, but your self-nature won't be able to emit light.Why not? Because you keep having false thinking, dreaming up ways of how to take advantage of situations.
But this cultivator would not compromise his principles because he had samadhi-power. If you have samadhi-power, then no matter what happens you should not have any false thinking nor should you take advantage of the situation. If you take advantage of the situation, you act as if you hadn't eaten for eight lifetimes. You act just like the pigeons. Watch them, as soon as there is something to eat, they'd give their lives for it. You can pinch their beaks and they will flap around, but they won't leave; let them go and they still won't leave because of the things to eat. We who cultivate the Way should not be like the pigeons. The pigeons act that way because of their greed; they don't have any samadhi-power. That's why they have to be pigeons now.
To be continued