AN INTRODUCTION TO TAO (Ⅰ)
Ladies and gentlemen, I'm grateful for the mercy of God and Holy Teachers, the great virtue of Lao Qian Ren (Grand Senior Elder) and Qian Ren (Senior Elder), so I can have this opportunity to share this topic with you. I sincerely hope that after my introduction, you'll have a better understanding about the meaning of receiving Tao.
You might be wondering why your friends or colleagues brought you to this Temple, since you already have your own belief or religion. Well, first of all, please understand that we are not asking you to convert to a new one. There is only one God, whether you believe in Christianity, Muslim, Catholics, Judaism, Hinduism or any other religions. So you don't have to worry.
Metaphorically speaking, all religions are just like ice but with different shapes, but when melted, it will turn into the same thing - water. So is the Truth, despite the various forms in terms of cultures, races, customs, ideologies, and regions. In fact, all the religions serve as tools that help us to realize the truth of life and the True-Nature, which is our conscience. Right here, we name it "Tao". It is like when I show you the moon with my finger; the finger is but a tool and not the moon itself. Anyone can also show you the moon by his or her finger.
Speaking of the Temple, now let's look at the altar in the front. There are three lights on the table and the middle one symbolize God. We all know God is invisible. Then, why are there Buddha's statues and why do we worship them? Well, this is not idol worshipping; instead, this is to remind us to follow in their footsteps emulating their merciful deeds. We often keep the pictures of our family, our beloved ones, or our children. Why? They are to remind us how much they love us and vice versa. Chinese people are familiar with Buddhas just like western countries with Jesus Christ. So if you cultivate very well or act like Mother Teresa who has devoted all her lifetime to God until she died, then, when you pass away, people will always remember you or even worship you.
The purpose of your being here is to receive Tao. But what is Tao? In Chinese language Tao means conscience, the True-Self, the path, the way back home.
Before my introduction, I would like to ask you some questions. Where do our physical bodies come from? From our parents, right? We often hold our birthday parties in our our own houses. Lots of gifts are received on that day. However, is there anyone here who gives a gift to his parents on his birthday and says "thank you" to them? Good for you if you do. Our mothers suffered such tremendous pains on the day we were born. We must remember that!
What is life? Now please follow my instructions. Use your right hand to pinch your left arm. Pinch it hard. What do you feel? Painful? You are alive! Why do I say so? Have you seen a dead person before? Will he feel pain while someone is pinching him?
So what is life? Have you ever thought about this question? There is no difference in appearance between the living and the dead. However, a living person can walk, talk, and think at will; he eats when he is hungry, drinks when he is thirsty, whereas a dead person cannot do all these things. Why? The answer is that a person is dead when his spirit separates from the body. The spirit to the body is like the driver to a car; both are indispensable to each other. Lack of one will make the other become useless.
Ⅲ. Why Should We Have to Receive Tao?
As mentioned, our physical body is from the parents, but where is our spirit from? Regardless of our skin color and nationality, our spirits all come from heaven, and they will have to return, no matter how long we stay in this secular world. However, do you think that everyone can return to heaven?
A criminal will have to face court trials; this is punishment on the physical body. But his spirit will receive another trial after he dies. Without passing the trial, he cannot be admitted to heaven. The fact is that, not everyone can go up to heaven after death; unfortunately, some even have to suffer in the underworld. Here we are living in a world of temptations. We are tempted to commit sins without the slightest awareness. We have forgotten the way back home, the eternal home in heaven.
In ancient times, the cultivators had to cast aside their wealth and fame, some even left behind their families to cultivate in the remote mountains in order to find the way back to heaven. This lifelong ascetic cultivation eventually touched Heaven and Heaven sent the Enlightening Masters to transmit Tao to them.
However, time is different now. Despite the advance in technology that brings about comfort and convenience, calamities and disasters have become widespread. Morality and values are deteriorating. These phenomena are warning signs from God that "the Last Calamity" is coming if humans do not recover their inherent conscience. By then, everyone on this globe will suffer together in the catastrophes. As there are so many noble and righteous people in the world, merciful God did send two Enlightening Masters to the world to transmit Dao to the people who have the holy affinity. They show to the world the way back to heaven. These two Masters are Ji-Gong Living Buddha and Yue-Hui Bodhisattva.
In the past, God sent many Buddhas and Saints to the world to transmit Dao. Jesus Christ was one we are familiar with. As I said, time is different now. Ji-Gong Living Buddha and Yue-Hui Bodhisattva are carrying out the mission of the Last Salvation. This can be compared to the limited tenure of an office. For example, Mr. Smith was the president of a country, then Mr. Brown, and now it is Mr. John. They are all presidents of the country, each holding the equal position and no one is greater than another, but there must be someone in charge at a certain period of time. The government changes, so does the salvation. That is why we should all receive Tao, basking in the light of the Enlightening Masters.
Well, you are so lucky because not everyone has the affinity to receive Tao. You must be equipped with the following conditions in order to receive Tao:
1. You must have cultivated well in your past lives.
2. Your ancestors have performed meritorious virtues.
3. You are a noble and righteous person.
That is why both your Introducer (the person who brought you here) and Guarantor are willing to bring you here to receive Dao. This affinity does not come easily, so we should treasure and cherish it!
Finally, may I ask if you would like to go up to heaven or down to underworld when you pass away? Of course we would like to ascend to the land of God. So please keep a pious heart in the Dao Receiving Ceremony and ask for Ji-Gong Living Buddha to instruct us the way back to heaven! Thank you for your listening and I beg for Buddha's forgiveness if I made any errors in my speech, and I humbly ask the Dao Transmitting Masters and lecturers to supplement any omission I have made. Thank you!!