Those who are able to do so must also be ready for strict practices which require great patience and purity of mind. It is not suitable for anyone who is harbouring selfish tendencies, who does not have the mind of enlightenment. For such people, the training may lead to wrong goals and they may live to regret whatever they have acquired.
It is not easy for anyone who has power to be humble, to remain unrecognised; it is not easy for him to live in seclusion or refrain from curious testing of his abilities. Because of these and many other obvious reasons, many have trained, acquired such abilities, and entered into the wrong paths which are poisoned by greed, envy, lust and other non-virtues. What has become of them? They end up becoming negative forces and soldiers of the evil demons and it will be very difficult for them to work their ways back to the righteous path and move.
One must recognise the pitfalls of acquiring spiritual powers and therefore refrain from developing them out of ignoble reasons. One should not even have any wish to have any kind of spiritual powers in the first place. It is better to be a kindly and beneficial person than one who is well developed with spiritual powers. The righteous man far excels the spiritual person through his power of love and he has lesser pitfalls in life. He is the happiest being when he is able to relate to others and to practise loving-kindness. Only those who are laden with merits can become such a person and he must recognise the dangers of acquisitiveness, especially for spiritual wealth. That is why it is so important to practise the transference of merits.
Having nothing and yet able to draw merits from the great reservoir of the cosmic, he is at peace with himself and therefore suffers no greed, anger or envy of any kind. Therefore, it is important that those who are serving with you should be reminded of this vital point so that they will not secretly yearn for spiritual powers of any kind. Just that love and compassion are the energies that draw them to service, to pray for the well-being of others, and they will progress steadily. But he who aspires to wild dreams and hopes to advance with special powers will soon end up in confusion and losing the ability to be pure at heart, so that he will end up a disgruntled one!
The best spiritual training is not one of powers to subdue others but the subduing of one’s own mind. Subduing one’s own mind, is to be able to subdue all kinds of negative and tempting thoughts that arise; it is to be able to recognise such thoughts and to realise the futility of entertaining them; it is a great discipline which few are able to master. It is difficult indeed for anyone to reject self-cherishing thoughts or to avoid ego development. Those on the spiritual paths must carefully examine each action of the mind before it becomes a reality which may have short-lived powers or happiness. They are reminded that the best practice is not in the development of power but compassion!
To be at peace with oneself, that is the greatest achievement in life. It will lead to tranquility and perfect bliss so that the mind will turn to noble thoughts which are filled with concern for the welfare of beings. Then his compassion is awakened and he has only love for his fellow creatures, so that he will henceforth strive to remove pains from their lives. The development of such a mind will turn him into the path of cultivation that develops him into a ‘hsien’, a perfected being who has no more defilement and filled with wisdom. He will recognise the danger of being recognised by worldly ones of their true being and therefore often disguises himself by living in seclusion or acting as one of unsound mind. He does not wish to be flattered or rewarded, and he will live for the benefit of the suffering ones. The ways of worldly men are far from his mind and he will progress in his spiritual training which benefits not the body but his inner self. Therefore, his needs are little, for material comforts are what that draws the mind to non-virtuous thoughts of attachment, he gives all that he possesses, for he knows the danger of material things, and he lives in the humblest manner for his heart is pained by those who are immersed with luxury. The practice of ‘hsinship’ is no different from that of a Lohan, they both share the same ideals although their paths may not be quite similar. For this reason, you must learn to appreciate cultivators of all ways and recognise only their developed wisdom and not outward forms!
Tuesday, 20th August 1985
7th Moon, 5th Day