The Law Wheel Design
Our Falun Dafa's symbol is a Law Wheel. People with abilities can see that the Law Wheel is turning, and the same goes for our small Law Wheel pins—they're turning too. We are guided in our cultivation by the nature of the universe, to be True, Good, and Endure. We practice according to the universe's law of evolution, so what we cultivate is just enormous. In a sense, the Law Wheel design is the universe's miniature. There's a concept in the Buddhist system that the Ten-Directional World is itself a universe, having four sides and eight directions, or eight points, so it's possible that some people can see that above and below it there's a gong pillar, and that's why when you count its top and bottom, you get a ten-directional world, which constitutes this universe. It represents the Buddhist summary of the universe.
Of course, there are countless galaxies in this universe, and our Milky Way is one of them. The whole universe is in motion, and all the galaxies in the whole universe are in motion, too, so the Tai-ji symbols in this design and the small srivatsa symbols, , are also turning, the whole Law Wheel is turning, too, and the large symbol in the center is turning as well. So in a sense, it symbolizes our Milky Way, and at the same time, since we're Buddhist, it has a Buddhist symbol in the center. That's looking at it from the surface. All the different kinds of matter have forms of being in other dimensions, and in those other dimensions they have extremely rich, complex evolution processes and forms of being. This Law Wheel design is the universe's miniature, and in all other dimensions it, too, has its forms of being and its evolution processes, so I call it a world.
When it's turning clockwise the Law Wheel can automatically take in energy from the universe, and when it's turning counterclockwise the Law Wheel can send out energy. Turning inward (clockwise), it saves oneself, turning outward (counterclockwise), it saves others. It is unique to our practice. Some people have asked, "We're Buddhist, so why are there Tai-ji? Isn't the Tai-ji a Daoist thing?" It's because what we cultivate is huge—it's just like we're cultivating the whole universe. So think about it, everybody: there are two major systems in the universe, the Buddhist system and the Daoist system, and without either of them it wouldn't make up a complete universe, you wouldn't be able to call it a complete universe, so we include Daoist things here. Some people might say, "Hey, there's more to it than just the Daoist system. What about Christianity, Confucianism, and all the other religions?" I can tell you this, when cultivation in Confucianism reaches extremely high levels it becomes Daoist, while a lot of Western religions are of a Buddhist nature when their cultivation reaches a high level, they're one set of teachings in the Buddhist system. Those are the only two systems that are major.
So why are there two Tai-ji symbols that are red at the top and blue at the bottom, and two other ones that are red at the top and black at the bottom? The way that people usually think of the Tai-ji is that it's made up of two kinds of matter, one black and one white, the qi of yin and yang. That understanding is a bit shallow. It has different manifestations in different dimensions. This is how its colors manifest at the highest level. The Dao as we know it is red at the top and black at the bottom, it takes on these colors. For example, we have some people whose Third Eyes are open, and they've discovered that what looks red to their eyes actually looks green in another dimension that's only one level away. They find that the golden yellow color is actually purple in another dimension, that there's that kind of contrast, since colors change in different dimensions. The Tai-ji with the red top and blue bottom belongs to the Original Great Dao, which includes the Qimen practices. The small symbols on the four sides are Buddhist, and they're the same as the one in the center—they're all Buddhist. The colors of this Law Wheel are quite bright, so we use it as Falun Dafa's symbol.
The Law Wheel that we see with our Third Eye won't necessarily have these colors. The background color might change, although its design doesn't. When the Law Wheel that I place in your lower abdomen turns, what you see in your Third Eye might be red, violet, green, or clear. It goes from red to orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet—its background color changes constantly, so you might see other colors, but the colors and the pattern of the symbols and the Tai-ji inside the Law Wheel don't change. We feel that the background color of this design looks nice, so we've kept them. People with abilities can penetrate beyond this dimension to see many, many things.
Some people have said, "This symbol looks like that thing Hitler had." I can tell you that this symbol doesn't have anything to do with any social clashes. Some people say that if the corner tilted to this side it would be Hitler's thing. That's not an issue, since it turns both ways. This symbol was widely known in the world 2,500 years ago, it was back in Shakyamuni's time that they got to know it. It's only been a few decades since the time of Hitler and World War II, and he stole this symbol for his own use. But the color of his was different from ours, it was black, and what's more, its corner pointed upward and it stood on its end, it was vertical. So that's all I'll say about the Law Wheel. We've only talked about how it looks on the surface.
So then what does this symbol represent for us Buddhists? Some people say it stands for good luck—that's how ordinary people interpret it. I'll tell you, the symbol marks a Buddha's level, and only those who reach the level of a Buddha have it. Bodhisattvas and Arhats don't have it, but Great Bodhisattvas, like the Four Great Bodhisattvas, all have it. We can tell that those Great Bodhisattvas have gone far beyond the levels of common Buddhas, they're even higher than Tathagatas. The Buddhas beyond the level of Tathagata are so many they're countless. Tathagatas have only one symbol, but when someone reaches the levels higher than Tathagata he'll begin to have more symbols. At a level twice as high as Tathagata you have two symbols, and at even higher levels you have three, four, or five… and some will have so many their bodies will be covered in them. They'll appear on the head, the shoulders, the knees, and when they get to be too many to fit, they'll even appear on the palms, the fingers, the soles of the feet, the pads of the toes, and so on. As the level gets higher and higher, the number of symbols keeps rising, and that's why the symbol indicates a Buddha's level. The higher a Buddha's level, the more symbols he has.
The Qimen Practices
There's more than just Buddhist and Daoist practices, there are also the Qimen practices. They call themselves the Qimen cultivations. Now when we think about cultivation, here's how most of us understand it. From ancient China on up to today, people have considered the Buddhist and Daoist cultivation ways standard, and they refer to them as true cultivation disciplines. The Qimen practices, though, have never been made public, and not many people know they exist. People only know about them from art and literature.
So is there such a thing as Qimen practices? Yes, there is. During my cultivation, in the later years, in particular, I came across three Qimen sages and they passed on to me the essence of their teachings, and those things were really unique, and really good. And exactly because their practices are so unique, most people can't understand them and what comes out in their practice is really strange. Also, they have a saying, "not Buddha, not Dao"—they don't cultivate Buddhahood and they don't cultivate Dao. When people hear that they don't cultivate Buddhahood or Dao, they call them "side-door fringe ways." But they call themselves Qimen practices. Calling them "side-door fringe ways" isn't exactly a compliment, but it's not negative, either. It doesn't mean they're evil ways, that's for sure. Even the surface meaning of it doesn't suggest that it's an evil practice. Historically people have been calling the Buddhist and Daoist practices "true cultivation disciplines." But people don't understand the Qimen practices, so they call them "side-door"—not the main door, or not a true teaching. And what's "fringe ways" about? The term for "fringe" meant "a little awkward," an awkward practice. "Fringe" usually meant a bit awkward in the ancient Chinese vocabulary. "Side-door fringe way" has this layer of meaning to it.
Then why aren't they evil ways? Because they, too, have strict character requirements, and they, too, base their cultivation on the nature of the universe. They don't violate the nature of the universe or the laws of the universe, and they don't do bad things, so you can't call them evil ways. It's not that the Buddhist and Daoist systems are true teachings because the nature of our universe is in line with their cultivation ways, but instead, it's because the Buddhist and Daoist system cultivation ways are in line with the nature of the universe. If the Qimen practices are in line with the nature of the universe, then they aren't evil practices—they're true teachings, too. That's because the criterion for determining good and evil, or virtue and vice, is the nature of the universe. They base their cultivation on the nature of the universe, so they're upright, too. It's just that their requirements and features are different from Buddhist and Daoist system ones. They don't make a practice of passing on their teachings to a wide range of students, they only teach a small circle. When Daoists pass their things on, they'll teach a large batch of disciples, but only one of them gets the real teachings. Buddhists believe in saving all sentient beings—if you can cultivate, then you cultivate.
When a Qimen practice is transmitted it can't be given to two people. Instead, only one person gets selected over a pretty long period of time, so that's why ordinary people have never seen their things. Of course, when qigong was in its heyday I discovered that a small percentage of people from these practices also came out to teach. But they would try and try to spread it, and it just wouldn't work, because there were some things their masters just absolutely wouldn't let them pass on. If you want to spread a practice widely, you can't pick your students, and people with all kinds of character might come to learn it. They'll bring along different ways of thinking, and they'll be all kinds of people, so you can't pick your disciples. That's why Qimen practices can't be popularized. They're vulnerable to danger, because those things they have are really special.
Some people have thought, "Buddhists try to cultivate into Buddhas, and Daoists try to cultivate into True Persons. So what does somebody become when he does a Qimen practice successfully?" He'll be a roaming Immortal, with no fixed domain in Heaven. You know, Tathagata Shakyamuni has the Saha World, Buddha Amitabha has the Western Paradise, and Bhaishajyaguru has the Emerald World. Each Tathagata and Great Buddha has his own world. Each Great Enlightened Being has a heavenly kingdom that he's put together, and a lot of his disciples live there. But with the Qimen practices, they don't have definite boundaries in the universe—they're just like wandering Gods or roaming Immortals.
Practicing in an Evil Way
What does "practicing in an evil way" mean? Well, there are a number of forms of it. There's a certain type of people who specifically do evil practices, and their stuff has been passed down for generations. Why do they pass that stuff on? It's because they want to build up their reputations, benefit themselves, and get rich. That's what they care about. Of course, their character isn't high, and they don't get any gong. So what do they get? Karma. When a person's karma is huge, it can form a kind of energy. But his level is nothing, and he's nothing compared to a cultivator. He is able to have power over ordinary people, though. That stuff is also a form of energy, so when its density gets very high, it can strengthen the abilities that the human body has. It can have that kind of effect. So there have always been people who teach that stuff. They say, "I do bad things, I swear at people, and my gong grows right up." They aren't building up their gong in the least. e fact is, they're just increasing the density of that black matter since doing bad things gives them black matter, karma. So they can strengthen those few little tiny inborn abilities with that karma and bring about some minor abilities, but they can't do anything big. These people think they can build up gong by doing bad things, that's their theory.
Some people say, "If the Dao grows by a foot, the demon will grow by ten times as much." That's blasphemy on the part of ordinary people, demons will never be higher than Daos. There's this phenomenon: the universe that we human beings know is only one small universe out of countless universes, and we call it the universe for short. Every time a long period of time has passed, a massive, cosmic catastrophe hits this universe of ours. The catastrophe destroys everything in the universe, even planets can be destroyed, and it can destroy all living things in the universe. The motion of the universe has patterns. In this cycle's universe human beings aren't the only ones who have gone bad. A lot of beings have seen something: speaking in terms of the present time, it's been quite a long time since a big explosion happened in this dimension of the universe. Astronomers aren't able to see it today because what we can see with the most powerful telescopes are things that happened 150,000 light-years ago. If we want to see the changes now happening in the celestial bodies, we have to wait until 150,000 light-years have passed. That's quite a long way back.
The whole universe has gone through a huge change now. Every time this kind of change takes place, all life in the whole universe is totally wiped out, it's totally annihilated, and every time this happens, both the nature and matter that used to exist in the universe have to be totally blown up. Usually life is annihilated in the explosion, but each time not everything gets wiped out. When the new universe is reconstructed by the Great Enlightened Beings at extremely high levels, some of the life that wasn't killed by the explosion remains in it. The Great Enlightened Beings construct a universe based on their own nature and standards, so they're different from the nature of the universe in the previous age.
That which isn't killed in the explosion holds on to the previous nature and the old laws when they do things in that universe. That newly constructed universe follows the new universe's nature, and its laws, to do things. So, all of the things that aren't killed in the explosion end up being demons that interfere with the laws of the universe. But they aren't that bad. They just act based on the nature of the universe from the last cycle, and they become the "celestial demons" that people talk about. But they're no threat to ordinary people, they definitely don't harm people. They just hold on to their laws when they do things. Ordinary people weren't allowed to know this before. I'd say there are just so many high-realm Buddhas beyond the Tathagata level. Those demons are nothing! They're really, really puny when they're stacked up against others. Aging, sickness, and death are a type of demon too, but they're born to guard and keep the nature of the universe.
Buddhism talks about Transmigration, and by doing so they've revealed something called the asura realm, which actually refers to living things in different dimensions, but those things don't have human nature. In the eyes of Great Enlightened Beings they're extremely low-level and really weak, but to ordinary people they're terrifying. They have some energy, and they think ordinary people are beasts, so they like to feed on people. And in recent years they've jumped at the chance to teach some practices. What a despicable creature! Look at its face—could you call that human?! It's really frightening. When you learn their things you have to go join them and become one of them. Some people have bad thoughts when they're doing qigong exercises, and when those thoughts are in line with their thinking, they'll come teach them. But, "One good can overcome a hundred evils." If you don't ask for it, nobody will dare to touch you. But, if you have evil thoughts and go after bad things, they'll come to help you, and then your cultivation will go down a demonic path. That's the problem that comes up.
There's another thing called unknowingly practicing in an evil way. What does it mean to "unknowingly practice in an evil way"? It just means practicing in an evil manner without being aware of it. You see this a lot—there's just way too much of it. It's like what I said the other day, some people have bad thoughts while they're doing their exercises, you see them doing standing exercises there, their arms and legs are so tired they're shaking. But their minds aren't even at rest. This guy is thinking, "Things are about to get more expensive, and I've got some shopping to do. I'd better do it right after I'm done exercising or I'll get stuck paying more." And then there are some people who are thinking, "My company is giving out condos. Am I going to get one? The housing guy always has some problem with me..." The more he thinks about it the angrier he gets. "I bet he won't give me one. Now how will I take him on…" All kinds of thoughts come up. It's like what I said, they'll talk on and on about everything, from their family to national affairs, and once they get to the things that make them angry, they'll keep getting angrier and angrier the more they talk.
When you practice you should take virtue seriously. So while you're doing the exercises, if you don't have good thoughts, at least you shouldn't have bad thoughts, and the best is to have no thoughts at all. The reason is, you need to build a foundation while you're practicing at low levels, yet that foundation serves a critical function, and that's because your thought process has some effect. So let's think about it. When you add stuff to your gong, how could the things your cultivation produces be good? How could they not be dark? There are so many people who have those thoughts when they're doing their exercises. Why haven't you gotten healthy when you're always exercising? Maybe some people don't think about those bad things at their practice site, but they always want to get some abilities when they exercise, they want to get this, they want to get that, they have all kinds of states of mind, and a lot of strong desires. So they're actually practicing in an evil way without knowing it. If you tell them that they're practicing in an evil way, they'll get upset—"Qigong grandmaster so-and-so is my teacher!" But that grandmaster told you to be serious about virtue—have you done that? When you do the exercises you always put in some bad thoughts. So are you going to get good things out of it? That's the problem. That's unknowingly practicing in an evil way, and it's common.
Male-Female Dual Cultivation
In the cultivation world there's a cultivation method called "male-female dual cultivation." Maybe you've seen in the Tantric cultivation ways, like in the statues or the paintings of Buddhas, that a male figure is holding a female while cultivating. But the form the male figure takes on is sometimes a Buddha, and he'll be holding a naked woman. There are also metamorphic forms of Buddhas, which have the appearance of a Vajra with a bull's head and horse's face, and hold a woman who's again naked. So why are they like that? Let's first clarify something. China's not the only country on this earth that's been influenced by Confucianism. In ancient times, some centuries back, the whole human race had similar moral values. So this kind of cultivation method actually didn't originate on our Earth. It came from another planet, but this method can be used for cultivation. When this cultivation method was introduced to China, the Chinese people couldn't accept it since it had male-female dual cultivation and another component with some secret techniques. As a result, China's emperor during the Huichang period of the Tang Dynasty outlawed it. So it was outlawed, and forbidden from spreading in the Han region. Back then it was called Tang Tantrism. It was still passed down in Tibet, though, which is a special region that has a unique situation. And why do they cultivate that way? The purpose of male-female dual cultivation is to collect yin to supplement the yang, and collect yang to supplement the yin, so that the yin and yang supplement each other and cultivate each other to achieve the goal of getting the yin and yang in balance.
You know, whether it's Buddhists or it's Daoists, especially the Daoists' yin-yang theory, they all talk about how the human body naturally has both yin and yang. And because yin and yang both exist in the human body, it can cultivate different abilities and beings, like the Cultivated Infant, Cherubs, Law Bodies, and so on. So because there's both yin and yang in the body, a whole lot of beings can be cultivated. That goes for both the male body and the female body—those things can all be developed in the elixir field region. So there's a lot of sense to what they say. Daoists usually consider the upper body yang and the lower body yin. Some people think the back of the body is yang and the front is yin. And then there are people who call the left side of the body yang and the right side yin. In China we have a saying "man left, woman right" and that's where it comes from. And there really is something to that. The human body naturally has both yin and yang, so by yin and yang interacting, the body can reach a balance of yin and yang on its own, and lots and lots of beings can be created.
So that explains why we can still cultivate to high levels without using male-female dual cultivation. If a person uses male-female dual cultivation in his cultivation but he doesn't handle it well, he might end up in a demonic state, and then his practice becomes an evil one. When high-level Tantric cultivations want to use male-female dual cultivation, they require that the monks or lamas cultivate to pretty high levels, and then at that time, his master will guide him to carry out that cultivation. His character is high, so he can handle it well and make sure that it won't turn into something evil. But as for those people with low character, though, they definitely can't use it because it's sure that they'd fall into an evil practice if they did it. Since their character is limited—since they haven't gotten rid of ordinary people's desires, they still have lust, and their character is only right there—I can guarantee that it'll be evil once they do it. That's why we say that if they just go and spread it at low levels it's surely spreading evil practices.
There have been a lot of qigong masters spreading male-female dual cultivation in recent years. Something's a little strange here, though. Male-female dual cultivation has even appeared among Daoists. And that's not a recent phenomenon, it actually started as far back as the Tang Dynasty. How could male-female dual cultivation show up among Daoists? The Daoist system's Tai-ji theory tells us that the human body is like a small universe and that it has its own yin and yang. All true Great Law practices are authentically passed down from an age long ago. You'll mess up that school if you freely put in whatever things you have or change it however you please, and it won't be able to meet the goal of reaching Perfection in cultivation. So if a discipline doesn't have any male-female dual cultivation things, make sure you don't go and use them. If you do, you'll go off course and run into problems. In our Falun Dafa discipline, to be specific, we don't have male-female dual cultivation, and we don't talk about it. That's how we look at this.
Dual Cultivation of Nature and Longevity
I've already explained dual cultivation of nature and longevity in detail. Dual cultivation of nature and longevity means that while cultivating your character, you are also cultivating longevity, or in other words, you are transforming your innate body. While your body is transforming and human cells are being gradually replaced by high-energy matter, the aging process slows down. Your body will show signs of returning to youth, returning gradually and transforming gradually. When it's finally completely replaced by high-energy matter, your body will have been entirely transformed into another kind of physical body. That kind of body, like I said, will have gone beyond the Five Elements, it won't be within the Five Elements anymore. And your body will never degenerate.
The cultivation in monasteries is only about cultivating your nature, so they don't talk about movements or about cultivating longevity. They practice Nirvana, which even appeared as early as the methods Shakyamuni passed on. Shakyamuni did in fact have an advanced, great method, and he definitely had the ability to completely transform his innate body into high-energy matter and take it away. But, to leave his cultivation way behind, he left by way of Nirvana instead. Why did he ask that of people? He wanted people to give up their attachments as much as possible, to give up everything, even including their bodies in the end, and no attachments would be left. He chose the path of Nirvana so that people would do that as much as they could, and generations of monks would take the same path. Nirvana is when a monk dies, casts off his mortal body, and his soul ascends with his gong.
Daoists focus on cultivating longevity. They pick their disciples and don't talk about saving all sentient beings, and they deal with really, really good people, so they talk about matters of technique, and about how to cultivate longevity. But as for the Buddhist system in a strict sense, especially the religion of Buddhism, they don't generally do that. Now that's not the case for every Buddhist practice, though, because a lot of profound Buddhist Great Law practices also have that. Our discipline actually has it. In our Falun Dafa discipline we want the innate body as well as the Cultivated Infant. And there is a difference between the two. The Cultivated Infant is a body that's made of high-energy matter, but he can't freely show himself in our dimension. He'd need to have an innate body like we have to keep the appearance of an ordinary person for the long run in this dimension. That's why when your innate body has been transformed, even though your cells have been replaced by high-energy matter, the configuration of your molecules doesn't change, so your body will still look almost the same as an ordinary person's. But there's still a difference—to be specific, that body can enter other dimensions.
A practice that cultivates both your nature and longevity can have a rejuvenating effect and make you look a lot younger than you are. Someone asked me the other day, "Teacher, how old do you think I am?" She was almost 70, actually, but she looked like she was in her forties. She didn't have any wrinkles, and her face looked smooth and fair with a rosiness to it. There's no way somebody who's almost 70 could look like that. But that does happen to our Falun Dafa practitioners. On a lighter note, young women like to do facials to get fairer and better skin. I'd say that if you truly do a dual practice of nature and longevity you'll naturally get that, and I can guarantee you won't need to do facials. We won't get into any examples of that, though. Before, there were quite a few older people from every walk of life, and so they considered me a young man. Now things are getting better and there are quite a few younger people from all walks of life. Actually, I'm not young anymore, and I'm heading for 50. I'm already 43.
Why is there a field around images of Buddhas? A lot of people can't explain it. There are some people who say, "The field around the Buddha statue comes from monks chanting scriptures in front of it," or in other words, it's a field that's created by monks cultivating in front of the statue. But it doesn't matter whether it's monks or whoever that cultivates there, that type of energy is scattered and not directional, and the field should be evenly distributed over the floor, the ceiling, and the walls of the whole temple. So why is it only the Buddha image that has such a strong field? For example, there's usually a field on the images of Buddhas that are in remote mountains, in some cave, or carved into stone. So why is there that field? Some people explain it every which way, but still don't come up with anything convincing. What's going on here is that a Buddha image has the field of an Enlightened Being's Law Body on it. The Enlightened Being's Law Body is there, so it has energy.
Now let's think about it, isn't it true that when Shakyamuni and Bodhisattva Guanyin did their cultivations, assuming there really were such persons, weren't they cultivators, too? People develop Law Bodies when they reach a pretty high level in Beyond-Triple-World-Law cultivation. Law Bodies are born in the elixir field area, they're made up of Law and gong, and they manifest in other dimensions. Law Bodies have the same enormous power that the person has, but Law Bodies' consciousness and thoughts are controlled by his principal being. But a Law Body is also a complete, independent, and real individual life in its own right, and so it can do anything on its own. Law Bodies do the same things that the person's master consciousness would like to do—exactly the same things. The person would do it the same way if he were to do it himself, and Law Bodies do it however he would. That's what we mean by "Law Body." When I want to do something, like adjust the bodies of disciples who truly cultivate, I have my Law Bodies do it. Law Bodies manifest in other dimensions since they don't have human bodies. And that being's form isn't fixed and unchanging. He can expand and shrink. Sometimes he becomes really large, so large that you can't see his whole head, and sometimes he becomes really small, so small that he's even smaller than a cell.
Buddha Image Consecration
A Buddha statue that's manufactured in a factory is only a piece of art. Image consecration is to invite a Buddha's Law Body to come and stay on the statue, and then people will take the statue as a kind of tangible body to worship. When a practitioner has a pious heart and cultivates himself, the Law Body on the statue will guard the Law for him, look after him, and protect him when he cultivates. That's the real purpose of consecration. And it can only be accomplished when proper thoughts are sent out at a formal consecration ceremony, or by Great Enlightened Beings at high levels, or by cultivators at very high levels who have the power.
In temples they say that Buddha statues need consecration, and that they don't work if they haven't gone through consecration. Nowadays in temples there are no more grandmasters among the monks, they've all departed. After the "Cultural Revolution," those junior monks who didn't receive true instruction became abbots, and a lot of teachings were lost. If you ask one of them what consecration is for, he'll tell you that after consecration the Buddha statue will start working. He can't explain just how exactly it works. So all he's doing is conducting a ceremony. He puts a small copy of some scriptures inside the statue, seals it up with paper, and chants scripture in front of it. He'll then claim that consecration is done. But, did it really have the effect of consecration? That depends on how he chanted scripture. Shakyamuni talked about proper thoughts—you should chant scripture with undivided attention to really shake the world of the discipline you cultivate, and only then can you invoke an Enlightened Being. And only when one of that Enlightened Being's Law Bodies goes up on the statue can it have the effect of consecration.
While some monks chant scripture, they're actually thinking to themselves, "How much money will I get after I finish consecration in a little bit?" Or while they're chanting scripture, they might be thinking, "So-and-so was so mean to me." They also intrigue against each other and have clashes. You can't deny that this happens in today's Age of the Law's End. It's not that we're criticizing Buddhism here, but the temples in the Age of the Law's End really aren't tranquil. As they think about those things they send out such bad thoughts—how could that Enlightened Being come? There's no way it can have the effect of consecration. But it's not absolute—there are still a few good temples and Daoist shrines that are exceptions.
In one city I saw a monk whose hands were dark. He stuffed a copy of some scriptures inside a Buddha statue and crudely sealed it. Then he mumbled a few words and thought the job was done. Then he picked up another statue and again mumbled a few words. For one consecration he charged as much as 40 dollars. Nowadays monks even think it's marketable, and make money off consecrating Buddha statues. I took a look and didn't see a consecration—there's just no way he could have done that. It's hard to believe that even monks would actually do such things nowadays. Know what else I saw? There was a person at a temple, and this guy seemed like a lay Buddhist. He claimed that he was doing consecration for a Buddha statue there. He took out a mirror and turned it toward the sun so that light would shine on the statue's body, and then he said the job was done. It's gotten that ridiculous! In becoming what it is today, Buddhism has come to have a lot of this kind of thing, believe it or not.
In Nanjing City they built a huge bronze Buddha statue and it was put on Lantau Island in Hong Kong. It's a gigantic Buddha statue. A lot of monks from all over the world came to consecrate the statue. One of the monks held a mirror in the sun to shine sunlight on the face of the Buddha statue, saying that was consecrating it. How could they do such a thing at such a grand gathering, on such a solemn occasion! I'd say that's really sad! No wonder Shakyamuni said that in the Age of the Law's End it would be hard for monks to save themselves, let alone save others. Plus, a lot of monks interpret Buddhist scriptures through the lens of their own ideas. Even the Daoist scripture Queen Mother of the West has found its way into temples. Things that aren't Buddhist scriptures have gotten into temples, and that's made a huge mess and caused lots of confusion. It's really in bad shape right now. Of course, there are still monks who are doing true cultivation and who are pretty good. Consecration is actually for inviting an Enlightened Being's Law Body to come and stay on the Buddha statue—that is consecration.
If a Buddha statue hasn't been consecrated, then you definitely can't make offerings to it, or it will have really serious consequences. And what will the serious consequences be? People who study human-body sciences have now discovered that a person's thoughts and brain activity can generate a type of matter. At high levels we can see that it really is a type of matter, but it turns out this matter isn't like the brain waves that we've now discovered with research. Instead, it takes the form of a complete human brain. The thing that ordinary people send out in their daily lives when they think is in the form of a human brain, but it disperses quickly since it doesn't have energy. But a practitioner's energy lasts much longer. Unlike what a lot of people think, a Buddha statue doesn't have thoughts when it's manufactured in a factory, none. Some haven't been consecrated, and even if you bring them to a temple, consecration still won't be accomplished. If you ask a fake qigong master or someone from a crooked practice to do consecration, that's even more dangerous—a fox or a weasel will get on the statue.
So if you go worship a Buddha statue that hasn't been consecrated it will be extremely dangerous. And just how dangerous? I've said that mankind has come to a point today where everything is deteriorating, everything in the whole society and in the universe is becoming corrupt, one thing after another, and everything that happens to ordinary people is their own doing. It's even hard to find a true teaching and follow a true way—interference comes from all directions. Let's say there's somebody who wants to seek a Buddha's help, but who is a Buddha? Even doing that is hard. If you don't believe it, let me spell it out. When the first person goes up to an unconsecrated Buddha statue, bows to it, and pays homage, things suddenly fall apart. Tell me, how many of the people who go to seek a Buddha's help do that to achieve a True Fruition? Way too few. So what motivates most people to worship a Buddha? Getting rid of bad fortune, resolving adversity, and getting rich—that's what they're after. Are those things in the Buddhist scriptures? There's absolutely nothing like that.
If a Buddha worshipper wants to get money, once he bows before a Buddha statue or a statue of Bodhisattva Guanyin or of a Tathagata and says, "Please, please help me get rich," uh-oh, a complete idea forms. Since what he sends out is aimed at the statue it gets on it instantly. Objects in other dimensions can expand and shrink, and once the idea gets on that object, the Buddha statue will have a brain, and it'll be able to think, but it won't have a body. Then other people come to worship it, they worship and worship, and that gives it some energy. It's even more dangerous if the worshippers are practitioners. From the moment they start to worship it it'll gradually start to get energy. So it forms a tangible body, but the tangible body is formed in another dimension. After it's formed, it exists in another dimension and is able to know a bit of the truths of the universe, so it can do some things for human beings, and it can build up a little gong that way. But the help it gives comes with strings attached, there's a cost. It moves around freely in that other dimension and controls ordinary people at will. And that tangible body has exactly the same look as the Buddha statue. So that's how a fake Bodhisattva Guanyin or a fake Tathagata comes into being through worship—they're created by people's worship, and they look the same as the Buddha statues and they take on a Buddha's appearance. The mind of the fake Buddha or fake Bodhisattva, as it turns out, is just rotten—it's after money. It's created in another dimension, it's able to think, and it knows a little bit of truth. It doesn't dare to do seriously bad things but it does dare to do some little bad things. And sometimes it helps people. If it didn't help people it would be totally evil and it'd be killed. So how does it help people? Maybe someone prays, "Please, please Buddha, give me a little help. So-and-so is sick in my family." "Sure, I'll help you." It will ask you to put money in the donation box, since it has money on its mind. When you toss lots of money into that box it'll help the person get well quicker. It has some energy, so it's able to control an ordinary person from other dimensions. It's even more dangerous if someone with gong goes to worship it. Let's see, what does this practitioner pray for? Money? Think about it—what does a practitioner want money for? Even praying to get rid of bad fortune and sickness for your family is an attachment of affection for your family. You want to control other people's fates, but everybody has his own fate! If you worship it and murmur, "Please, please help me get a little richer." "Alright"—it'll help you. It's just itching to have you ask for more money. The more you ask for, the more things it can take away from you. It's a fair deal. There's plenty of money other people tossed into the donation box, and it'll let you get some. How will you get the money? You might find a wallet out of nowhere, or you might get a bonus from your company. It will go to any trouble to get you the money. But it can't help you for nothing, can it? No loss, no gain. It gets some of your gong since it wants gong, or it'll take away your elixir or other things that you've cultivated. That's what it's after.
Sometimes these fake Buddhas can get pretty dangerous. A lot of our practitioners whose Third Eyes are open think that they've seen Buddhas. There was somebody who said that a group of Buddhas came to a temple one day and that one of the so-called Buddhas had such-and-such name, and he led the group. The guy talked about what yesterday's group was like, what today's group is like, and how that group just stayed for a while and left, how another group came on its heels, and so on. So who are they? They're exactly the type I talked about—they aren't real Buddhas, they're fake. There's quite a lot like them out there.
If a temple has that problem it's even more dangerous. When a monk worships it, it'll take charge of him—"Aren't you worshipping me? It's obvious you're worshipping me! Well, don't you want to cultivate? I'll take care of you. I'll arrange your cultivation." So it'll arrange things for you, but where will your cultivation take you? No discipline in the heavens will accept you now that you've cultivated according to its arrangements. It arranged your cultivation, so you'll be under its guidance from here on out. Then won't your cultivation be a waste? I'd say that nowadays it's hard for human beings to attain a True Fruition through cultivation. This kind of thing is pretty common. When many of us see Buddha-light in well-known mountains and in famous valleys, most of it is something like that. They have energy and can show themselves. But a true Great Enlightened Being would never show himself so rashly.
There were fewer of those so-called "earthly Buddhas" and "earthly Daos" in the past, but there are a ton of them now. When they do bad things Heaven will kill them, and they'll rush to those Buddha statues when they know their lives are at risk. Great Enlightened Beings don't just go and disrupt the laws governing ordinary people. The greater the Enlightened Being, the less likely he'll go against the laws for ordinary people—he won't even break them the slightest bit. After all, he can't just suddenly smash a Buddha statue with a thunderbolt. That's definitely not something he'd do. So when it runs and gets on a Buddha statue he'll leave it alone. It knows when its life is at risk, so it runs away. Then is the Bodhisattva Guanyin you see the real Bodhisattva Guanyin? Is the Buddha you see a real Buddha? It's hard to say.
This problem has made a lot of us think about something related: "What should we do about the images of Buddha at home?" Maybe a lot of these people have thought of me. To help my students cultivate, I'll tell you that you can do this: take my book (because the book has my picture in it) or a picture of me and hold the Buddha image in your hand. Do the Great Lotus Flower hand position, as if you're asking me for help, and make a request to your teacher for consecration. It'll be done in half a minute. But I want to tell you, this only applies to our cultivators—it won't work if you try it for your friends or family. We only do that for cultivators. Some people say that they take my picture to the homes of their friends and family to drive off evil spirits, but my picture isn't for driving off evil spirits for ordinary people. That's about the most disrespectful thing you could do to your teacher.
So now that I've talked about earthly Buddhas and earthly Daos, there's another thing. In ancient China, a lot of people did their cultivation deep in the mountains or woods. But why isn't there anyone like that today? They haven't disappeared, actually. They just don't let ordinary people know about them, that approach is still every bit alive and well, and they all have abilities. It's not that they've disappeared over the years, there's still a good number around. There's still a few thousand of them in the world. Our country has somewhat more of them, especially in those famous mountains and along the great valleys. They're also found in some other high mountains. They use abilities to seal off their caves, and that's why you can't see evidence that they exist. Their cultivation is pretty slow, their methods are a bit clumsy, and they aren't able to grasp the essence of cultivation. But we, in contrast, focus directly on your mind, we cultivate by following the universe's highest nature, and we cultivate by following the universe's form. So it's only natural that our gong grows fast. Cultivation ways stack up in a pyramid-like shape, so only the middle path is the Great Way. A person who takes those side paths in cultivation might not have a high character, and he might become Unlocked without cultivating very high. But they're far from the Great Way of true cultivation.
They, too, pass down their disciplines and teach disciples. Their disciplines can only cultivate so high, so their character is only that high, and their disciples cultivate up that high. The closer the worldly side paths get to the fringes, the more requirements there are. Their devotional methods are complicated, and they can't grasp the essence of cultivation. When a person cultivates he concentrates on cultivating his character. But they don't realize that—they think hardship is enough for cultivation. So after a long period of time, after cultivating for hundreds of years or even, say, 1,000 years, they only develop a little bit of gong. But the truth is, their gong doesn't come from those hardships that they go through. Then where does it come from? It's just like with any person: he has a lot of attachments when he's young, and when he gets older his attachments are naturally let go or worn out as time goes by and as his hopes for the future fade away. That's the method those side-path practices have taken up. They discovered that they can increase their gong through meditation, through their power of concentration, and bearing hardships when they're moving along in cultivation. Yet they don't know that their ordinary people's attachments have been slowly worn out over that long, harsh period of time, or that their gong grew after they gave up those attachments little by little.
But we target and truly point out the attachments so that we can eliminate them, and this way we make really fast progress in cultivation. There are some places I've gone to where I would often come across those people who've cultivated for many years. They've said, "Nobody knows we're here. We won't interfere with what you're doing, and we won't make any trouble for you." Those are the rather good ones.
But there are bad ones, too, and we've had to deal with them. I'll give you an example. The first time I went to Guizhou Province to transmit the practice, there was this guy who arrived right during the middle of one of my classes. He said that his grandmaster wanted to see me and that his grandmaster was so-and-so, who'd cultivated for a ton of years. I saw that the yin qi this guy had was awful, and his face looked a sickly yellow. So I said that I didn't have time and wouldn't go see him, I turned him down. This made his grandmaster really upset and he started giving me trouble. He messed with me all the time. I'm someone who doesn't like to fight with others, and he wasn't even worth a fight anyway. Whenever he fetched bad things and brought them over I would just clean them up, and after that I'd get back to teaching my Law.
Back in the Ming Dynasty there was this cultivator, and he got possessed by a snake when he was cultivating. He never managed to finish his cultivation, he died, and the snake took over his body and eventually cultivated a human form. That person's grandmaster was the human form which that snake had cultivated. His nature hadn't changed, so he transformed into a big snake to mess with me. I thought it had really crossed the line, so I caught it in my hand and used an extremely powerful gong called Dissolving Gong to melt its lower body into water. Its upper body slithered back to where it came from.
One day, a young follower of his contacted the Assistant in charge of the Guizhou Assistance Center, and told her that his grandmaster wanted to see her. So the Assistant went. She entered a pitch black cave and couldn't see anything, except for a shadow that was sitting there, with its eyes emitting green light. When the eyes opened the cave lit up, and when the eyes closed the cave went dark. He said in a local dialect, "Li Hongzhi is coming again. This time none of us will do those things. I was wrong. Li Hongzhi is here to save people." His follower asked him, "Grandmaster, please stand up. What's wrong with your legs?" He replied, "I can't stand anymore. My legs were injured." After he was asked how they got injured, he began to talk about how he made trouble. But then in 1993 at the Asian Health Expo he messed with me again. He was always doing terrible things and tried to ruin my transmitting of the Great Law, so I completely destroyed him. After he was destroyed his brethren in the practice all wanted to take action. I said a few words then, and they were shocked, really scared. None of them dared to do a thing—they knew what was going on. Some of them were still totally ordinary people, and they had cultivated for a long time. So these examples are just to help you understand consecration.
The Subject of Sorcery
So what's the subject of sorcery? In the course of spreading their practices, a lot of people in cultivation circles have taught it as a part of cultivation. But the fact is, it's not a part of cultivation. It's like a kind of trick, incantation, or technique that's passed down. The formats it uses—such as drawing talismans, burning incense, burning pieces of paper, chanting incantations, and that kind of thing—can heal people, and its approach to healing is unique. For example, let's suppose there's someone with a cold sore on his face. The practitioner of sorcery will dip a brush-pen in cinnabar ink and draw a circle on the ground and make an "x" inside the circle. He'll then ask the person to stand in the middle of the circle and he'll begin to chant incantations. Then he uses the brush-pen that was dipped in cinnabar ink to draw circles on the person's face. He chants the incantations as he draws the circles, and he draws and draws until he makes a dot on the cold sore, which happens just as he finishes chanting. Then he tells the person that it's cured. The person does find that the cold sore is smaller and it doesn't hurt when he touches it. It worked. They can treat minor ailments, but they can't heal major problems. What will he do if you say your arm aches? He'll start to chant incantations, and he'll ask you to hold out your arms, he'll blow a puff of air at the Hegu acupoint of this hand and make the air go out the Hegu acupoint of your other hand, and you do feel a waft of air. When you touch it again, it doesn't hurt as much as it did before. And they use other methods, like burning pieces of paper for the dead, drawing talismans, hanging amulets, and so on. Those are the kinds of things they do.
In the Daoist small worldly paths they don't cultivate longevity. What they do is all about fortune-telling, feng shui reading, exorcising evil, and healing people, and most small worldly paths use sorcery. It can heal people, but the methods it uses aren't good, as it turns out. We won't go into the methods it uses, but our practitioners who cultivate the Great Law shouldn't use it since it has really bad, low-level messages. In ancient China they classified healing methods into different subjects, like fracture healing, acupuncture, massage, chiropractic, acupressure, qigong healing, herbal treatments, and so on, and they were classified into a lot of different categories. Each type of treatment was called a subject, and sorcery was listed as the thirteenth subject. That's why its full name is "The Number Thirteen Subject of Sorcery." Sorcery isn't part of cultivation. It doesn't come from the gong that you get in cultivation. It's just something like a technique.