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The Best Way to Treat Each Other - P1/2 March 19, 1993 Brisbane, Australia    
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 Yan He was about to become a tutor of the crown princethe son of Duke Ling of the state of Wei. He went to consult Qu Bo-yu and asked him,『Here is someone who is naturally violent…』he means the prince,『If I let him remain undisciplined,the state will be in danger.
 
 
If I try to correct him,I shall endanger myself. He knows enough to see the faults of others,but not to see his own. Under these circumstances what shall I do?"
 
 
Qu Bo-yu replied,『That is a good question. Be on guard,be careful and be sure that you yourself are acting appropriately.
 
 
Appear to be flexible but maintain harmony within. However,there is danger in doing these two things. While being flexible be sure to remain centered. While maintaining harmony within,do not display it openly. If you are too flexible and lose your self-center,』he means your center,『then you will be overcome and destroyed,and you will collapse.
 
 
If you try to demonstrate your composure,you will be criticized and slandered. If he wants to be a child,play a child with him,be a child with him. If he wants to act strangely,act strangely with him. If he wants to be reckless,be reckless with him,but remain centered.』
 
 
That's what he meant. 『Then you can reach him and bring him back to his senses.』This is from Chuang Tzu. The story inside the Chuang Tzu. So here is a story that is very useful to us,not only to the tutor of the crown prince but also to our daily practice.
 
 
The son of Duke Ling,the crown prince,was a violent man. Suppose we meet many persons outside similar to this man and suppose he is in a very high position and we have to have acquaintance with him through business or maybe through other friends' relationship,or maybe through any circumstances that we cannot avoid,so what shall we do?
 
 
In this case,the man is in a very high position and his conduct would naturally affect the whole nation. And now,here is the man of virtues and discipline,who was asked to become the teacher of this prince who is naturally a little bit arrogant and violent.
 
 
Of course,he was born into a very powerful background and many people would spoil him,flatter him,and not many good friends who'd dare tell him the correct things,because he may react and any of his reactions,when not pleased,sometimes may cost other people'slives.
 
 
Now,the man of virtues who practiced the Tao and who understood the discipline,even then could not use only discipline and Tao to convert this violent prince into a proper way of behavior; not immediately anyhow. Should this teacher came to the prince and just kind of showing his very proud attitude and criticized the prince,that 『the prince is no good and the prince is always bad,the prince is up to nothing,』etc.,『and very un-virtuous and very violent,』etc.,do you think he can last more than five minutes?
 
 
He probably has not finished his sentence and he's already been sentenced to 『good-bye,』sentenced to death. Therefore,he was very worried,of course,and he came to ask somebody who was wiser than him,probably his teacher,yes,Qu Bo-yu; maybe one of these wise men in the old time.
 
 
What is recorded in Chuang Tzu's book must be somehow beneficial to other people,must be wise and virtuous. Sometimes,maybe Chuang Tzu himself dared not put his name on it,so he used another name. And Chuang Tzu is famous for using a lot of parables to teach his disciples and the people of his time to know how to behave and how to understand the greater wisdom,and how to practice or expand the wisdom.
 
 
So you see,Qu Bo-yu's advice to the teacher of the prince,we can use also in our daily life. But in this situation,it's more important because the prince has influence over the whole state,the whole nation. Most of the people,they also have influence but to a certain extent only.
 
 
If a man of high position behaves properly and acts in wisdom,then of course many who come in contact with him,or even indirectly in contact with him,would get benefit. Otherwise,of course he would cause a lot of trouble.
 
 
Now,in such a circumstance as the violent prince,if the teacher immediately criticizes him or tries to correct him,then the teacher will be in danger. Therefore,Qu Bo-yu told him 『be careful,be on guard. Make sure that you are acting appropriately.』
 
 
Appropriatelymeans what?He was saying 『be flexible,but remember yourself.』Just like whatever you dotry to remember that you are a practitioner,yes,so you won't be affected by circumstanceseven if you are with bad peopleyou remain centered. You probably do not criticize thembut you remain UnderstandYou remain unaffected. Just like a lotusdoesn't get dirty by the mud that is surrounding the flower.
 
 
So now in this casewe of coursein generaltry to help the people who come to us and who want to have complete enlightenmentwithout side-effectwithout dangerand with the fastest result. So we advise themHere are some guidelines. If you want to follow this coursewe advise you: vegetarianethical conductand meditation twothree hours a day.UnderstandWe advise thembut we don't force people. Thereforethey come at their free will. They are free to choose.
 
 
But the trouble in the story is the prince. Now the prince represents someone who is in power,and in the old time,anyone who is in power is more powerful than God on Earth. They can kill,they can destroy,they can put you in misery.
 
 
We are luckier because these days,the situation has changed somewhat. But mostly,the law of any nation would protect the innocent. In most of the cases we can rely on the law to protect us,so we don't fear so much the man in power.
 
 
But at that time when all the nations were under control of such powerful figures like Lords princes and all that,and they seemed to be God on Earth,so whatever they say will be done,whatever they want to do,they do it.
 
 
But it is also probably the bad karma (retribution) of the whole nation that creates such things. Otherwise,like in Australia,we don't have that. We have democracy,yes. Maybe people here have good karma (retribution),so they have a freer life and richer nation,and very peaceful.
 
 
The story told us some lesson how to behave towards other people. That means we have to be flexible all the timeflexible all the time. Therefore,we work,right?We work like every other person and we harmonize ourselves with them. We wear the same clothes,yes,we try to speak the same language and we do many things that look like any other people
 
 
But thenat the same timewe remain centered: we know that we are practitioners. Even though we go to a non-vegetarian Restaurant and we're invited to any party which includes wine and meat,but we still eat vegetarian,right?Not because we are flexible then we lose ourselves,『Okay,we have to be like them,so we have to do everything like them.』No,no,no,no.
 
 
We do only the things that look like them for example,they eat and we eat,okay?We don't just sit there and say,"No,I'm a vegetarian. No,no,no,no!』Okay?But while being with them,playing with them,eating with them,we have some reason or some excuse,some occasion,to tell them about our practice. Understand?
 
 
About why we should be vegetarian if they should care to listen; if they don't,it's all right. At least,we do not try to stick ourselves out like a sore thumb,letting everybody know that we are better than them. Understand?We eat quietlywe do things quietlyand if people want to listen to usthen we speak.  Understand?



Of course,if we go anywhere and we eat vegetarian,some people will notice,right?Not that we intentionally fork up a salad or lettuce and say,『Here,you see?This is what I eat." Okay?And then the whole congregation has to listen to us - no,no,no!
 
 
We come to a wedding party,for example,let people enjoy what they came for,yes?But if whoever notices the difference of our diet then they will come and ask us. If they ask,then we answer. Understand?We just do it,everything naturally just like we do it in our home,and be very humble,unpretentious.
 
 
Not noisy and let everybody knows that we are great practitioners,etc. A flower who has a fragrance,then everyone will smell it. Should somebody have a nose problem,that's all right. How can we force it?Understand?If his nose is blocked or he has a cold or flu and he can't smell anything,then don't force him. You understand?All right. In this world,there are many people with the flu,they can't smell the rose even though you put it under his nose. So don't be upset.
 
 
So now you ask me why I came here. I came here because you wanted me to come,and also there would be many people who'd want to come to listen to us. Understand?Because we do not force people,but we may let them know that there are such lectures,there are such ways of life. If they are interested,they come on their own. We just offer an opportunity for people to know there is something that they might like it,but they don't know where to get. Understand?
 
 
It's just like people put advertisement in the newspaper and say,well,『We have a restaurant,vegetarian or French cuisine or Australian specialty,』etc.,and people come on their own. If they are interested in vegetarian food,they come to the vegetarian restaurant. If they are interested in Chinese restaurant,they would automatically come to a Chinese restaurant or Aulacese (Vietnamese) restaurant,etc.
 
 
So we give them the opportunity to know that there are such things on such and such day and such and such street. So that is not forcing people; that's the difference,you understand?That's the difference: they make the choice. We just let them know there are things like that. If they want to,they come. That's the difference,yes.
 
 
So these things we must learn to act appropriately in different circumstances. So if people already have such an interested mind in such subjects,they will come. Understand what I mean?They want to be enlightened or they want vegetarian,then they will come. But we don't force people to come. That's the difference. Yes. Because that will be our show.
 
 
We may invite people to our house and say welcome and have a tea party,yes,and then by the way,we talk about something,if you are interested to see,yes?Or tea party,and then we prepare vegetarian food and people know because they are our friends or friends of friends and they'll come. Then maybe they'd ask,


『Why all these are vegetarian?』then we may talk to them about this. Otherwise,not to steal somebody else's show.


Now we do things like people,but not at our expense. You understand what I mean?We do things like that means we are quietwe are unobtrusive. We don't let people feel our pressure of being virtuousyou understandBut we don't lose our valueour ethical standard. You understand what I mean?
 
 
Suppose you know English very well,and then because you want some students to love you,you start to speak no English at all. Even when they came to you to learn English,you just say,"I don't know any English. All my English,I erased just because I want to be like you." Is that okay?No. Then how can you teach them English if you blank yourself from the English knowledge?You can't,right?
 
 
Similarly,try not to make the excuse that 『I have to be like the people and then I do whatever,just like them,』understand?For example,we do things that are not harmful,but look like people. Okay,You dress up nicely,okay?You comb yourself and you look decent and noble,so people look at you,understand?
 
 
Most people look from outside,they see,『These are the people that are clean,from good family,have good manner and well-kempt,』so probably people have a little bit more affection,yes,or more trust in you and then slowly you can talk to them. All right?
 
 
If you wear very filthy clothes because you are a practitioner,you don't care about the outside appearance,then if somebody invites you to a very noble house,before you start speaking,people already don't want to listen. Understand?How can you force people to accept the things that are very uncommon?You understand what I mean?
 
 
So these things are un-harmful to our inside or our conduct,for example. Yes. You can wear what you want,no problem. You put on some makeup,you wear nice clothes,you go to good party,if you see a lot of people,all right?- if you are in a position to see people and you look good - so people think "Ah,she is normal. It's all right,nothing twisting inside at all." Then people feel easy,you understand?
 
 
And they relax and they open their mind. Or,for example,if people invite you to a dancing party,even though you know that you don't want to dance anymore. Or you practice meditation now,you don't feel like going out at all,but because it's very important for your business,yes,important to meet some people to do business with,and then because they like you very much,yes,somehow,they have a party,a birthday party,then they have some dancing,if you want,you can dance.
 
 
Then just dance a few steps with them. Understand?But meanwhile,don't lose yourself in the music and forget everything. For example like that. These things are outside and don't harm us. So we must know what we can do and what we should not. Not because in the name of flexibility or integrationthen you do everything you want and make excuseyes 
 
 
There are things we should not do: eating meat and drinking wine,all that. If you have one sip,you will not go to hell,I tell you the truth,but maybe one sip and next time two sips and then three sips and then people see,"Last time you drank,so why not this time?Drink More,a little bit more. Today is a special day,my birthday,』and all that. You see?
 
 
So that's what causes trouble,so we have to be on guard. That's all. Okay?Because if people see you do it once,the other people will force you to do it twice,and then three times,and that's how we started anyhow,from the beginning before we go on in this path,right?
 
 
First,we don't know how to smoke… Did you ever see a baby born with a cigarette in his mouth,or a wine bottle?No,it started somewhere,right?From friends: one puff,two puffs and one sip,two sips,and that's how it started.


So now we know the danger of persuasive force from the other person,from emotional persuasion,yes. People just say,"Ah,if you love me,you drink this. If you love me,you eat this," and all those things. They are just emotional blackmail,understand?
 
 
 
 
So be careful. 『We love you,yes,but we don't do it.』『If I do this thing,it doesn't do you any good. If I drink one more glass of wine with you,a whisky with you,it doesn't do you any good. It doesn't show you my love,it doesn't increase my love for you. It doesn't do you any good or it doesn't do me any good,either,and I don't feel I love you more through this glass of whisky,so why?』Understand?
 
 
『Why force me to drink it in the name of love?』Love is that,whatever you do,if you are happy,then I am happy. It is not that you have to do this for me so that I am happy,otherwise I am not happy. It's not correct,understand?
 
 
So,therefore,we let people eat and drink what they want if they are happyyes. And they should let us eat and drink what we want if that makes us happy. That is the justiceand that is the correct way to treat each other.



But if people are interested in asking us about eating vegetarian,of course we tell them. Of course,we are not interested to know why they eat meat - that we all know already,right?So only the other way round,that they would come and ask us about practicing Quan Yin Method or eating vegetarian.
 
 
So he says here,『While maintaining harmony within,do not display it openly. If you are too flexible and lose your center then you will be overcome and destroyed and you will collapse. If you try to demonstrate your composure,you will be criticized and slandered.』
 
 
Okay,sodon't demonstrate. Always be flexible and cleveryes. Do not let people notice that you are too differentnot on purposeand display your virtues. You understand?Most people,sometimes,because just practiced,and over-enthusiastic,and go out and must let everybody know that they are now vegetarian; but a difficult thing to do. And meditate two-and-a-half hours,"My God,you can't do it!』or 『You have to know I'm doing it."
 
 
Because it is also true. It is also true,because the whole world are not doing it. Even though you practice this method,you are vegetarian,but look at how many people are?Therefore,it's a very difficult thing to do. It's very,very hard task to accomplish,and therefore,you are great. I admire your courage,your wisdom and your effort in trying to be above the mud,trying to be clean while muddy water is surrounding us,trying to be a lotus. That's very great indeed,
 
 
but should we think that we are great at all,then we are not great. We're doing it just for fame,just like other people outside. They accomplish such very fantastic feats of physical strength or psychic power,or anything at all,just to get the approval from the crowd or from the society. Understand?Just like people who do charitable deeds so that their names be written on a big piece of newspaper,written on the columns of an orphan home or old-age hospital and things like that.
 
 
We should be careful that we don't step into the trap of spiritual competitionspiritual materialism.

 

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