Spoken by the Supreme Master Ching Hai, Hsihu, Formosa
July 21, 1991 (Originally in Chinese) Videotape No. 183
This is a story from India. Once an enlightened master asked his disciple to renounce the world and join his monastic order. However, the disciple said that his wife, parents and siblings all loved him very much, and he could not forsake them. His departure would bring unbearable pain for his family. "Well, let me show you how much your family members love you," said his master.
Together, they came to the home of the disciple. Then the master gave the disciple a pill and hid himself outside, pretending to be a stranger. After swallowing the pill, the disciple became like a dead man, with no heartbeat or breathing. His body turned stiff and icy cold. His family members burst into tears, crying and imploring God to save him, but to no avail.
Suddenly the master entered and said to them, "I can save your relative." On hearing this, they became very happy. They bowed down and begged him to waste no time saving the man. "But there is one requirement," said the master. "For him to be revived, one person must die in his place, because this is the law of cause and effect. If I raise him from death, then I have to die for him. But I am not his kin! He is your relative. Since you love him so much, you must be very happy to die for him. I am just a passer-by. How can I die for him? So if one of you is willing to die for him, I can immediately bring back his soul. As we cannot transcend the karmic law of cause and retribution, an exchange has to be made."
None of the relatives were willing to die for him. They found very good excuses. "If I die, who will take care of this home?" "If I die, who will take care of this business?" Though the wife of the disciple loved him very much, and had cried desperately and rolled on the floor, she answered, "No, no! If I die, there will be no one to take care of my two children." Then they said, "Oh, well! The man is already dead. Then let it be so. Let us just send the body for cremation." Hearing that, the disciple got up immediately and said, "I am not dead yet!" Then he said good-bye to his family and left with his master.
There are many stories like this. Sometimes when we love someone, or when someone loves someone else, there are always some aspects of imperfection. Usually we do not love others to the extent of forgetting ourselves, or to the extent of being willing to die for them. Hence, with certain things, we do not know the truth without personal experience. We perceive only the outside appearances, which are not correct.
The attachments that we feel for this world are not the ultimate. It is best that we do not have to come back anymore because no matter how deeply attached we are, after a while we still have to leave. So, it is best to be prepared beforehand, and at the time of departure, to be gone forever. Otherwise, the next time we come back, we will again become attached, and get tied up with one another. After a while, we will have to leave once more. Again at that time, our relatives will feel great pain. Therefore, it is best to just be gone once and for all, without any need to come back again to trouble others. This is also an act of filial piety. Don't you think so? (Audience: Yes.)
It is this way between husband and wife. After a while, each goes his or her own way. Since both feel so attached and miserable at the time of separation, do not repeat it. Hence, we should be prepared spiritually. It is better to leave in a clear-cut manner. Do not come back again to re-play these painful scenes. Otherwise, we will be miserable and so will be the other party. What good will it do us?