Guided by Wang Fengyi's Words and Deeds

A Talk given by Xiaodan Jin on December 22, 2017

All Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, the Venerable Master, all Dharma Masters, and all good and wise advisors. Amitabha! Today is Xiaodan’s turn to practice making a report. If I say anything incorrectly, please compassionately correct me.

This semester we are studying the Sutra on the Upasaka Precepts. The Dharma Master mentioned a quote from the Venerable Master that goes, “When the human way is completed, the path to Buddhahood is accomplished.”

If we do not know how to be good people, then we cannot talk about becoming Buddhas. As Buddhists we must first lay the foundations and understand the basic principles of being filial to one’s parents, interacting with people and performing our duties, and showing respect to teachers. Therefore, the Dharma Master asked us to read the Records of the Words and Deeds of Wang Fengyi. There are a few stories which I would like to share with everyone today.

Good Man Wang Fengyi was born in Chaoyang County of Liaoning Province in Manchuria. Because his family was poor, he could not go to school. He herded cattle as a child and performed hard labor for others after he grew up. From a young age he was very filial, and he was naturally pure, honest, and kind. He was trustworthy in his work, filial to his parents, and brotherly toward his siblings.

However, he always had thoughts of complaint toward others and toward fate and spurned society, seeing the faults in others and thinking that others were dishonest while he was honest. Seeing the faults in others built up hatred within him. As a result, at the age of twenty-four, a blister grew on his belly that initially just swelled but gradually became a sore. Because the sore was sometimes mild but at other times severe, he could not do heavy labor anymore.

One day when Fengyi was thirty-five years old, he heard Good Man Yang Bo tell the story of SanNiang teaching her son. The young owner at school heard his classmates gossip that SanNiang was not his birth mother. After he returned home and was routinely memorizing texts in the evening, he purposely did not try hard. When SanNiang ordered him to memorize properly, he retorted coldly, “You’re not my birth mother. If my birth mother were here, I wouldn’t be listening to you rant at me right now!” Angered by these words, SanNiang broke the needle head of her sewing machine.

The house servant Xuebao came to see what the commotion was about. Having understood the situation, he told the young owner, “SanNiang works using the sewing machine day and night to pay for your education so that you can become a noble person when you grow up and glorify your family ancestry. You must never speak harshly to her. Go pay respect to the family guidelines and ask for punishment from your mother.”

Then the young owner heeded Xuebao’s words and kneeled in front of SanNiang, repenting and said: “I am young and foolish, and I rebelled against you just now. Please teach me a lesson by beating me.”

SanNiang said, “Get up immediately! I’m at fault for not being a good mother. I should not have reacted in a similar way as you and gotten angry myself.” In this way, mother and son reconciled and became good toward each other once more.

Upon hearing this story, Good Man Wang thought to himself: “Strange indeed! What were the mother and son arguing with each other about? And why did they each admit their own faults after the argument?” After thinking about this over and over again, he finally understood and realized why mother and son were both regarded as worthy people. Worthy people fight to admit their own faults, while foolish people fight over who is right! After hearing this story, he kept on thinking on his way home and realized why he had a sore on his belly: “I become angry as soon as I see others not following the way I want things to be. This is just me not understanding principle, so I am a foolish person!”

He then loudly berated himself, “How is it right to only pick out the faults in others? How is it right to become angry when I see others not doing the right thing?” He kept on shouting at himself during the entire walk of ten miles back home. He even reflected into the night, asking himself over and over again these questions. He asked until he started laughing, at which point he had truly repented of his faults and become enlightened to his past wrongdoings. The next morning, he felt his belly itch and discovered that the sore that was on his belly for twelve years vanished in one night.

In the same year, Good Man Wang bravely stepped forward to try to rescue Good Man Yang Bo and resolved to go visit him. At that time it was already dark outside, yet he strode through the night, proclaiming as he walked, “If Yang Bo dies, I won’t live either.” As he kept walking, it suddenly became bright. Then when he stopped talking within the space of a meal, it became dark again. Thus, Good Man Wang saw daylight in the dark night while walking and understood the Way. For the next forty years he cured people's illnesses by talking, exhorted people to do good, taught people, and transformed the world.

Good Man Wang used simple and plain words to explain great principles: not fighting, not being greedy, not complaining about others, finding the goodness, and recognizing faults. It sounds as if some of them are parallel to the Six Great Guiding Principles at CTTB! It might be easy to list them, but it takes great effort to practice them. Not fighting is always the first, as the Venerable Master often said, “We must first learn to not fight. We should let good things happen to others and take what others do not want. In this way, we can be in accord with, not in opposition to, the Way. As the saying goes, “Fighting involves thoughts of victory and defeat, and goes in opposition to the Way.”

When Good Man Wang tells us to find goodness and recognize faults, are we supposed to recognize the good in ourselves and see the faults in others? Of course not. Quite to the contrary, we should find good in others and recognize our own faults. He said, “People who practice goodness in the world are many, but those who receive benefits are few. Why is this? It is because we harbor only the faults of others in our minds, so how can we receive benefits?

Everyone has goodness in them, just as even evil people do. If we cannot see them on this side, look from the opposite side. Every thing has a good side and a bad side as well. We should always find the good side to things to avoid having afflictions. Whenever we encounter things that cause us to be afflicted, we should find the good side from another perspective, and then we will not have afflictions anymore. This is just like what the Venerable Master said, “Truly recognize your own faults, do not discuss the faults of others.”

The Venerable Master says in his instructional talks, “We must all avoid seeing and pointing out the faults of others. There are some simple words that describe this,

Everything is easy to deal with,
But a bad temper's hard to change.
If you can truly not get angry,
You have a priceless jewel.
If you can further hold no grudges against others,
Everything will turn out well.
If afflictions never arise,
Where can offenses be found?
If you always look for others' faults,
Your own suffering has not come to an end

As it is said in the Shurangama Sutra, “Returning to the source, the nature is not two. Many are the entrances through expedients.” There is a single truth in the world—all the sages who understand the Way speak of paths that intersect with each other—it is just our minds that are confused by the eighty-four thousand afflictions. 

In recent years a Good Man Liu has appeared in Manchuria. He was born into a poor family in the countryside in Heilongjiang Province. He had a bad temper from a young age and only started school at the age of 13 because of family poverty. He fought with classmates at school and wreaked havoc with his temper at home; as a result, he became ill when he was 13. At the age of 25, he was already severely ill and laid in bed all day. His family could not afford to pay for curing his illness, and he could only wait on his deathbed. Just at this time, an elder of his village gave him a book, which was the Records on Sincere Behavior by Wang Fengyi. After reading it, Good Man Liu reflected on his own actions and realized why he had become ill. Having recognized his own wrongs, he quietly repented. As it is said, “With sincerity comes illumination.” When he repented to the point of true sincerity, he suddenly felt his heart of goodness return. After vomiting continuously for seven and a half nights, he rid himself of twelve years of sickness.

Since then, Good Man Liu became determined to emulate Good Man Wang’s filial piety, loyalty, and to cure people’s illnesses by talking. Good Man Liu said, “Regardless of what calamity you face, do not complain about others. If you complain, then venomous energy will enter your body. If you do not complain, then venomous energy flows out from your body.”

He said that once his son got into a serious car accident where everyone except his son died. The hospital called him and he told his wife, “If we go see our son, he might not live. Do not blame this and blame that. Everything is determined by fate. If he’s our son, he won’t die; if it is our wealth, it won’t disappear. If someone is not your child, he won’t stay even if you want him to. If someone is your child, he won’t be able to leave you. However, if it was not a hit-and-run, we cannot blackmail others. If it was a hit-and-run, then that’s even better, we will have decreased many burdens.” Thus, with such a mind-set, he and his wife went to the hospital.

When they arrived, they found him in a coma. He remained in a coma for nine days. On the tenth day he woke up but spoke nonsense. On the eleventh day, his son asked, “Why didn’t Mom come?” Good Man Liu replied, “Your mom came, but you weren’t conscious. She’s away now.”

How long did his son stay in the hospital? Nineteen days. There were three or four patients next to him because of car accidents and were still lying in bed after three or four months. Good Man Liu was unhappy when his son left the hospital and got upset at the doctor, saying, “You’re kicking us out of the hospital after only nineteen days!” The doctor said, “Your child is very special; he’s different from most patients. He recovered so quickly, improving by leaps and bounds every day.” At the time Good Man Liu realized that the power behind not blaming others was too great. Just like what Good Man Wang once said: “There is boundless power behind not blaming others.”

The doctor had to prescribe some medicine for his son once he left the hospital. What kind of medicine did he give him? Only twenty days of sleeping pills. Good Man Liu asked the doctor incredulously, “Are you kidding?” The doctor said, “What do you mean?” Liu continued, “What are you doing? Why are you giving him twenty days of sleeping pills?” The doctor said. “Your son needs rest. During these nineteen days, I didn’t inject any medicine into him. This child recovered too quickly that I did not get to inject medicine into him.”

How much did they spend for those nineteen days in the hospital? 3,400 yuan. There was somebody across the room from his son in the hospital who had also gotten into a car accident, who ended up spending 320,000 yuan and was still lying in bed. What happened when Liu’s son returned home? He didn’t eat anything except for peaches. He would eat 2.5 kg of peaches a day. After eating peaches for two months, his hip recovered and he became clear-headed. They really escaped misfortune in this situation.

Goond Man Wang really impressed me. As ordinary people, whenever we encounter misfortunes or things that go against our way, we become frustrated and sad. But when Good Man Wang encountered hardships or difficulties, he would laugh for several days and then deal with the situation. He said, “We must cheer up when we encounter misfortunes. Then we can raise our spiritual energy and become fully enlightened to the Way.” I feel that this is a good method, because once we have afflictions, we become very foolish. If we then try to deal with the situation, we will definitely make things worse.

A few weeks ago, a Dharma Master said that even though the physical body of the Venerable Master is no longer here, the Dharma-body of the Venerable Master never left us. The Venerable Master might be watching us and testing us (disciples) to see if we can bring forth our true mind and joyfully overcome the difficulties together. Wish the Wonderful Enlightenment Mountain Master Plan can be accomplished smoothly soon. May the proper Dharma dwell long in the world.


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