[Narrator]: "Creating Destiny" is about forming one's fate rather than being bound by it. The Lesson of Learning to Create Destiny herein discusses the principle behind fate and the knowledge necessary to change it. By relating his own experience and trials at changing destiny, Mr. Liao Fan Man taught his son, Tien-Chi, not to be bound by fate, but rather to put forth his best effort in practicing kindness and cutting off evil. One should not reject doing a kind act simply because it seems to be a minute goodness, or commit an evil deed simply because it appears to be a small evil. If one practices in a proper manner, it is assured that one's destiny can be changed. It is often said, "Refraining from all evil and practicing all forms of kindness brings about the dispersion of disasters and the coming of fortune". This is the principle behind creating one's destiny.
[Liao-FaN]: My father passed away when I was young, and mother persuaded me to learn medicine instead of becoming a scholar. Mother said to me:
[MoTHer]: Learning medicine will be a good way to support yourself and also to help others. Besides, having a skill on hand, you will never have to worry about making a living, and you can even become famous through your medical skills. This has always been an ambition your father had for you.
[Liao-FaN]: One day, at the Compassionate Cloud Temple, I met an elderly but distinguished looking man who had a long beard and had such a look of a sage that I immediately paid my respects to him. The old man told me:
[Old MaN]: You are destined to become a government official. You can attain the rank of Erudite First Level Scholar next year, why aren't you studying for the exam?
[Liao-Fan]: So I told him of my mother's instructions to give up scholarly study for learning medicine. Then I asked for his name, birthplace, and residence. He replied:
[Old Man]: My last name is Kong. I came from Yunnan Province. I have inherited the knowledge of Mr. Shao, who developed the art of prediction very well. By calculations, I'm supposed to pass it on to you.
[Liao-Fan]: Therefore, I led Mr. Kong to my home and told my mother about him. Mother told me to treat him well and said:
[Mother]: Since Mr. Kong is so good at predicting the future, he must also know our past. Let's ask him and test his authenticity.
[Liao-Fan]: As a result, I found Mr. Kong's calculations to be very accurate, even in very small cases. After hearing his words of advice, I
once again thought about studying. I then consulted with my cousin Shen-chen. He recommended thus:
[CousiN]: "My friend, Mr. Hal-gu Yu is teaching at the home of Yo-fu Sheng. It would be very convenient for me to take you there for boarding and studying.
[Liao-Fan]: This was how I became Mr. Yu's student. Once again Mr. Kong made a prediction for me. He said:
[Mr. Kong]: As a student, you will place fourteenth in the county examination, seventy-first at the regional exam, and ninth at the provincial examination.
[Liao-Fan]: The following year, at the three places of examination, I placed exactly as he had predicted. Then Mr. Kong calculated the predictions for my entire life. He said:
[Mr. Kong] : You will pass such and such a test in such and such a year, you will become a civil servant in such a year, and in such a year you will get a promotion. Finally, you will be appointed as a magistrate in Szechuan Province. After holding that office for three and a half years, you will resign and return home. At the age of fifty-three, you will die around one o'clock in the morning on August 14th. It's a pity that you will not have a son.
[Liao-Fan]: I recorded and remembered all that he said. From then on, the outcome of every examination I took turned out exactly as Mr. Kong predicted. Mr. Kong also predicted that I would be promoted only after receiving a salary in the weight of ninety-one dans and five dous of rice. However, I had received only seventy-one dans of rice when the senior educational official, Mr. Tu, recommended me for a promotion. I secretly began to doubt Mr. Kong's predictions.
Nevertheless, the prediction turned out to be correct after all, because the recommendation was turned down by Mr. Tu's superior, Mr. Yang. It was not until several years later, when Mr. Chiu-min Ying saw my old exam papers, he exclaimed:
[Mr. Ying] : These five essays are as well written as reports to the Emperor! How can we bury the talents of such a great scholar?
[Liao-Fan]: Mr. Ying wanted the magistrate to issue an official order for me to become a candidate for 'imperial student' under his authority. After undergoing this eventful promotion, my calculations showed that I had received exactly ninety-one dans and five dous of rice. From then on, whether it was promotion, rank, or wealth, I deeply believed that all came in due time.
[Narrator]: Even the length of one's life is predestined.
[Liao-FaN]: I began to view everything in a more detached manner and ceased to seek gain and profit.
After being selected as an imperial student, I was to attend the university at Beijing. During my year-long stay at the capital, my interest in meditation grew and I often sat silently without giving rise to a single thought. I lost interest in books and did not study at all. Before I was to enter the national university at Nanking, I paid a visit to the enlightened Zen master Yun Gu at Chi-shia Mountain. We sat face to face in the Zen Hall for three days and nights without ever falling asleep. Master Yun Gu questioned me saying:
[MasTer YuN Gu]: The reason why mundane people are unable to attain sagehood is because they have too many wandering and false thoughts running through their minds. In our three-day meditation, I have not observed the slightest wandering thought arise in you - why is this so?
[Liao-Fan]: I replied, "Mr. Kong has clearly predicted the entire outcome of my life. I have seen that the time of life, death, promotion, and failure are all predestined. There is no use or need for me to think about it or to desire anything. That's why you have not seen me give rise to a single wandering thought." Master Yun Gu laughed and said:
[Master Yun Gu]: I thought you were someone of remarkable capabilities! Now I realize you are nothing but a common mundane person!
[Liao-Fan]: Feeling confused by what he said, I asked the Master to explain. He answered:
[Master Yun Gu]: An average person's mind is forever occupied by his wandering and imagi nary thoughts, so naturally their lives are bound by the chi of ying-yang and fate. We cannot deny the fact that fate exists, but only ordinary people are bound by it. Fate cannot bind those who cultivate great kindness.
[NarrATor]: Because their virtues accrued from kind acts are so great, these acts will alter their 'original' destiny for the better.
[MasTEr Yun Gu]: The merits accrued can actually change their destiny from suffering to happiness, poverty to prosperity, and short lives to longevity. Similarly, fate cannot bind those who commit great evils.
[NarRaTor]: When a person's evil deeds are so great and powerful, they will cancel out the fortune and prosperity predetermined in his original fate, and his life can be transformed from good to bad.
[Master Yun Gu]: For the past twenty years, you have lived your life according to Mr. Kong's predictions and did not do a thing to change it. Instead, you became bound by your own fate. If you're not considered as a mundane mortal, then who is?
[Liao-Fan]: Taken aback, I proceeded to ask Master Yun Gu, "According to you then, is it true that one can change one's fate, that one can escape from it?" The Master answered:
[Master Yun Gu]: Fate is created by ourselves. Good fortune or bad fortune are also determined by ourselves. When I commit evil, disasters are bound to strike. When I cultivate kindness, good fortune will naturally come my way. It says so in all the great ancient books of wisdom. In the Buddhist teachings, it is written that if one wishes for and seeks wealth, position, a son, a daughter, or longevity, one can attain them. One only has to cultivate kind deeds in order to escape the control of fate. Since untruthful speech is one of the greatest offenses in Buddhist teachings, we can be assured that these are not lies. Buddhas and Bodhisattvas certainly have no reasons to deceive us.
[Liao-Fan]: I did not quite understand what he meant by 'attaining all that one wished for', and so I asked him, "Mencius once said:
[Mencius]: Whatever is sought for can be attained. The seeking is in oneself.
[Liao-Fan]: This refers to inner qualities such as virtue, kindness, and morality. These are all qualities one can work towards. However, when it comes to outside factors such as wealth, fame, and prestige, how can we seek and attain them? Don't these have to be granted by others in order to be achieved? The Master replied:
[Master Yun Gu]: Mencius was correct, but you misinterpreted his meaning. Hui-Neng, the Sixth Patriarch of the Zen school has taught that:
[Hui-Neng]: All the fields of merit are within one's own heart. If one seeks from within, one can be in touch with all fortunes and disasters. The outside is merely a reflection of the inside.
[Master Yun Gu] : By seeking within ourselves, we can not only attain the inner qualities of virtue, kindness, and morality, but we can also attain wealth, fame, and prestige.
[Narrator]: If wealth, fame, and prestige are embodied in one's fate, then one will attain them even without having to seek. If they are not, then one cannot attain them even through plotting and scheming.
[Master Yun Gu] : Therefore, if one cannot reflect within his own heart but instead blindly seeks fame, fortune, and longevity from external sources, then this seeking will be in vain. Just as Mencius once said:
[Mencius]: In seeking, one should follow the right path. In attaining, one attains what one's destiny entitles him to.
[Narrator]: Whatever is attained in the end is still part of one's own fate.
[Master Yun Gu]: If one tries to seek these qualities from the outside, and even goes to the extent of committing evil deeds for them, then one will not only lose one's inner qualities of virtue and kindness, but predetermined fortune as well. Furthermore, evils committed in one's greedy mind to obtain more, will often reduce the fortune of one's original fate. From this we can see that no benefit is derived from blind seeking.
[Liao-Fan]: Master Yun Gu continued to ask:
[Master Yun Gu] : What were Mr. Kung's predictions regarding your entire life?
[LiAO-FAN]: I told him in great detail, from the placement positions in the examinations, to my appointment as an official, and finally, the date of my death.
[Master Yun Gu]: Do you feel you deserve imperial appointments or a son?
[LiAO-FAN]: I reflected upon my previous deeds and attitudes in the past for a long time. Then I answered him saying, "No, I do not feel I deserve an imperial appointment or a son. Those who receive imperial appointments all have the appearance of good fortune, and I do not. I do not work towards accumulating virtues to build up my fortune, either. I am very impatient, intolerant, undisciplined, and speak without any restraint. I also have a strong sense of pride and arrogance. These are all signs of scant fortune and non-virtue. How is it possible for me to receive an imperial appointment?
[Narrator]: Next we will see why Liao-Fan has no children. Liking cleanliness is a good thing, but it can become a personality problem if one gets too immaculate. There is an old saying, 'life springs from the dirt of the earth, and water too clean often harbors no fish.'
[Liao-Fan]: The first reason why I feel I do not deserve a son is because I am addicted to cleanliness, resulting in the lack of thoughtfulness for others. The second reason is that:
[NARTAtor]: 'Harmony is the cultivator of all life'.
[Liao-Fan]: But I have a quick temper and easily become angry. The third reason is based on the principle that:
[Narrator] : 'Loving kindness is the basis of reproduction, and harshness is the root of sterility'.
[Liao-Fan]: I overly guard my own reputation and cannot sacrifice anything for the sake of others. The fourth reason is that I talk too much, which wastes a lot of chi, or energy. The fifth reason is that I also delight in drinking alcohol, and that depletes my spirit.
[NarRaTor]: To remain healthy, one must not sleep during the daytime and stay up through the nights.
[Liao-FaN]: The sixth reason I do not have a son is my habit of staying up nights, not knowing how to conserve my energy. Aside from these, I have many, many, other faults which are too numerous to mention.
[MasTer YuN Gu]: According to you then, there are too many things in life you do not deserve, not only fame and a son!
[NarrATor]: We should know that both good and bad fortune are all formed from one's heart; a wise person knows that everything one achieves or fails at in life are only consequences of their own actions and thoughts.
Only a fool assumes that all is the work of fate and destiny!
[Master Yun Gu]: We must understand that those who have thousands of dollars in this life must have cultivated the fortune worthy of that amount in the past. Those who have hundreds of dollars must also have fortune which is worthy of containing that sum. Those whose fate is to die of starvation, in fact were meant to die in that manner. We must understand that the fate of these people was created by their own past thoughts and actions; the retribution today is simply the fruit of their deeds. Heaven does nothing more than punish evil beings with the suffering they deserve, and reward kind ones with the fortune they deserve.
[Narrator]: The following section is Master Yun Gu's advice to Liao-Fan, using the views of worldly folk, persuading him to cultivate virtue.
[Master Yun Gu] : Bearing children is similar to bearing fruit from seeds; if the seeds are planted well, so will be the fruits they bear. If the seeds are not planted well, then the fruits will become malnourished. For example, if a person has accumulated enough merit and virtue for a hundred generations, then he or she will have descendants to last a hundred generations. One who accumulates enough merit and virtue to last ten generations will then have ten generations of descendants to live out that fortune. The same goes for three generations or two generations. For those who have no descendants at all, it is because they have not accumulated enough good merit and virtue - they may have amassed sins instead!
Now that you recognize your own shortcomings, you can work to change and reform the misdeeds which cause you to not have a son or become an imperial official. You must cultivate virtue, tolerance, and treat others with compassion and harmony. You must also care for your health and conserve your energy and spirit. Live as though everything of the past dissolved yesterday, and all of the future begins today. If you can accomplish this, then you are a person born anew. If even our physical body is governed by the law of fate, then how can a mind of virtue and discipline not evoke a response from heaven? As said in the Tai Ja Chapter in the Chinese Book of History...
[Narrator] : 'One may run from the decrees of heaven, but one can never escape the retribution for one's own evil deeds'. In other words, one can alter the retribution due from past deeds, but if one continues to behave immorally, then there is no chance of avoiding disaster.
[Master Yun Gu]: It is also said in the Book of Poems...
[Narrator] : 'A person should often reflect upon his own thoughts and actions, to see if they accord with the ways of heaven. If one practices thus, then fortune will come without being sought. The choice to seek either good fortune or to bring about adversity is all up to you.'
[Master Yun Gu]: Mr. Kong had predicted that you would not receive an imperial appointment or have a son. We can think of these as the decrees of heaven, but even that can still be changed. You only need to reform your ill ways, practice kind deeds and work to accumulate merit and virtue. These are your own transactions to create fortune, no one can take it away. How is it then possible that you will not get to enjoy it?
[Narrator]: The I Ching, Book of Change, was written to help kind people bring about good fortune and avoid adversity.
[Master Yun Gu] : If everything is predestined with no room for change, how can we improve upon our fortune and avoid adversity? The very first chapter of I Ching also said...
[Narrator]: 'Families who often perform kind deeds will have an excess of good fortune to pass onto the next generations.'
[Master Yun Gu]: Do you believe in this?
[LiAO-FAN]: I understood and believed in the Master, and paid my respects to him in gratitude. Then I began to repent of all my past wrongdoings, whether large or small, in front of the Buddha image. I wrote down my wish to pass the imperial examinations, and vowed to complete three thousand meritorious deeds to show my gratitude towards heaven, earth, and ancestors. Upon hearing of my vow, Master Yun Gu showed me a chart, and taught me how to keep a daily record of the kind and evil acts I committed. He told me that bad deeds could neutralize the merits I accrue from good deeds.
The Master also taught me how to recite the Jwun Ti Mantra; it is a way to train my mind for single-minded concentration. Only with a pure and unscattered mind could what I seek for come true. Master Yun Gu then said:
[Master Yun Gu]: You can also learn the proper way to practice the art of written mantras. It is said, "Those who practice the art but do not know the right way to do it will be laughed at by gods and spirits." The secret behind writing mantras is the absence of thought from start to finish. In the process of drawing,
one must not give rise to a single improper thought; even kind thoughts have to be let go of. Only under these circumstances can a mantra be successful. When one prays or seeks something in terms of changing fate, it is important that one does it when the mind is still. In this way, wishes will be easily fulfilled.
Mencius stated in his Principle of Forming Destiny that:
[MeNcius]: There is no difference between longevity and short life.
[MasTer Yun Gu]: At first glance, one would find this hard to understand - how can longevity and short life be the same? In actuality, when we look within our hearts, we will find no duality, no difference. We should see everything with eyes of equality and live morally regardless of good or bad times. If one can practice accordingly, then one can master the fate of wealth and poverty.
Therefore, when we are able to create and form our own destiny, it does not matter whether we are presently rich or poor.
[Narrator]: Just as a wealthy man should not become careless in his thoughts and actions because he is rich, a poor man should not resort to committing evil deeds due to his poverty. In either case, one should keep to one's place in society and be a virtuous person.
[MasteR Yun Gu]: If one can practice morality regardless of conditions, then he or she will surely change a poor life into a prosperous one, and a prosperous life into an even longer lasting prosperity.
One should also look upon long life and short life equally. A person who knows he is shortlived should not think, 'I'm going to die soon anyway, so there's no point in being virtuous, I should steal and kill for my benefit while I can.'
[Narrator]: Instead, one who already knows he has a short life to live should be even more diligent in cultivating kindness, hoping to gain a longer life next time, and perhaps his or her merits from practicing kindness can even lengthen the present life.
[Master Yun Gu]: One who is long-lived should not think, 'I have all the time in the world, it doesn't matter if I do some evil once in while.'
[Narrator]: We should know that longevity does not come easily, and should be cherished and used to cultivate even more kindness and virtue. Otherwise, you may very well use up your longevity all too soon.
[Master Yun Gu]: If you understand this principle, then you will be able to change a short life into a long life through virtuous behavior.
The issue of life and death is the most critical issue of one's life. Therefore, long and short life is also the most important issue to us. The same applies to wealth and poverty, low and high prestige. These are all encompassed by the issue of long and short life.
[Narrator]: That is why Mencius did not need to mention the latter in his principle of creating destiny, since he had already spoken about long and short life.
[Liao-Fan]: Master Yun Gu then told me about Mencius's teaching on cultivating the self. He said that:
[Master Yun Gu]: One who wishes to cultivate himself must do so day by day, and be mindful of his conduct at every moment, ensuring that no transgressions are made. As for changing one's destiny, that depends on the accumulation of merit, seeking for a response from the heavens. When cultivating the self, one should be aware of one's own faults, and resolve to correct them just as in curing a sickness. Perseverance is required, and attainment comes when one's practice matures and ripens. In that case, one's destiny will most definitely change for the better. We should work toward severing all bad habits and thoughts. It would be quite an accomplishment for the true benefits of these teachings to be felt once you reach the state of 'no thought'.
The actions of worldly people usually follow their thoughts. Whatever has to be 'thought' is not considered natural. I know that you are still unable to accomplish the state of 'no thought', but if you practice reciting the Jwun Ti Mantra continuously, it will help you to overcome scattered thoughts in the mind. When you recite, you must not think of reciting, but recite consciously and diligently without any attachment. When the reciting becomes second nature to you, it will be efficacious.
[Narrator]: But the essence of this practice can only be understood after you practice it.
[Liao-Fan]: My name used to be Shuei Hai, which meant 'broad learning', but after receiv ing these teachings from Master Yun Gu, I changed it to Liao Fan, which means 'transcending the mundane'. It signified my understanding of the fact that destiny is created by ourselves, and I did not wish to be like worldly people, who allow destiny to control them.
From then on, I began to be constantly aware of my thoughts and actions, and I was very cautious and careful in whatever I did. Soon I felt quite different from before. In the past, I used to be careless and lived my days in distraction, and had no self-discipline at all. Now, I found myself being naturally respectful, careful and conservative in my thoughts, speech, and actions. I maintain this attitude even when I'm alone, for I know that there are spirits and gods everywhere who can see my every action and thought. Even when I encounter people who dislike or slander me, I can take their insults with a patient and peaceful mind, and not feel compelled to quarrel with them.
The year after I met Master Yun Gu, I took the preliminary imperial exam in which Mr. Kong had predicted I would come in third place. Amazingly, I came in first! Mr. Kong' s predictions were beginning to lose their accuracy. He had not predicted I would pass the imperial exam at all, but that autumn, I did! None of these were part of my original destiny. Master Yun Gu had said that:
[Master Yun Gu]: Destiny can be changed.
[Liao-Fan] : And now I believe it more than ever!
Although I had corrected a lot of my faults, I found that I could not wholeheartedly do the things I ought to do. Even if I did do them, it was forced and unnatural. I reflected within and found that there were still many wrongs in my being.
[Narrator]: Such as seeing an opportunity to practice kindness and not being eager enough to do it; or, harboring doubts when helping others in need.
[Liao-Fan]: Sometimes I forced myself to act kindly, but my speech was still untamed and offensive. I found I could contain myself when sober, but after a few drinks, I would lose self-discipline and act without restraint. Although I often practiced kind deeds and accumulated merits, my faults and offenses were so numerous, they seemed to outnumber my good deeds. A lot of my time was spent vainly and without value. It took me more than ten years to complete the three thousand meritorious deeds I had vowed to do.
I was not able to dedicate the merits from these three thousand kind deeds at a temple until I returned to my hometown in the south a few years later. Then I made my second wish, and that was for a son. I vowed to complete another three thousand good deeds. A few years later, your mother gave birth to you, and named you Tien-chi.
Every time I performed a kind deed, I would record it in a book. Your mother, who could not read or write, would use a goose feather dipped in ink and make a red circle on the calendar for every kind deed she did. Sometimes she gave food to the poor, or bought living creatures from the marketplace to free in the wild. She recorded all of these with her circles on the calendar. At times she could accumulate more than ten red circles in one day!
[Narrator]: That means she performed more than ten kind deeds in a single day.
[LiAO-FAN]: Every day we practiced like this, and in four years, the three thousand deeds were completed. Once again I made the dedications, this time in our home. On September 13 th of that same year, I made my third wish, and that was to pass the next level in the imperial exam, the jin-shr level. I also vowed to complete ten thousand meritorious deeds. After three years, I attained my wish and passed the jin-shr level. I was also made the mayor of Bao-di prefecture. While in that office, I prepared a small booklet to record my merits and faults, and called it The Book of Disciplining the Mind.
[Narrator]: The book was called Disciplining the Mind in hopes of helping him avoid selfish and improper thoughts.
[Liao-Fan]: From that day, I recorded all my good and bad deeds in that booklet, and kept it on my desk. Every evening, I would burn incense and make a report of my deeds to the heavens at the little altar in the garden. Once, your mother was concerned when she saw that I had not accumulated many merits and asked:
[MoThER]: In the past, I was able to help you in your accumulation of kind deeds, and we were able to complete the three thousand meritorious deeds. Now, you have made a vow to complete ten thousand kind deeds, and there are fewer opportunities to practice them here at the government residence; how long will it be before your vow can be fulfilled?
[Liao-Fan]: That night, after your mother spoke these words, I dreamed of a heavenly being, and told him of my difficulty in completing the ten thousand kind deeds. The heavenly being said to me:
[HEAvENLy bEiNg]: When you became mayor, you reduced the taxes on the rice fields; that was a great kind deed, and that deed itself was worth ten thousand merits. Your vow is already fulfilled!
[Liao-Fan]: As it turned out, the farmers in Bao-di prefecture had to pay a very high tax, and when I came to office, I reduced the taxes on the rice fields by nearly half. But still, I felt strange...
[Narrator]: How did the heavenly being know about the tax deduction? Liao-Fan still held doubts and wondered how a single deed could be worth ten thousand merits.
[Liao-Fan]: Coincidentally, the Zen Master Huan-yu was traveling from the Five Plateau Mountains and stopped in Bao-di. I invited him over and told him of my dream, and asked whether it was believable. Master Huan-yu said:
[Master Huan-Yu]: When doing kind deeds, one must be true and sincere, and not seek any rewards, or act with falsity. If one does a kind deed with such a true and sincere heart, then one deed can indeed be worth the merit from ten thousand kind deeds. Besides, your act of reducing the taxes in this prefecture benefits more than ten thousand people; you have relieved the suffering of heavy taxes on all these farmers. The fortune you will gain from this act will surely be great!
[Liao-Fan]: Upon hearing his words, I was overwhelmed with gratitude and immediately gave a month's salary for him to take back to the Five-Plateau Mountains as donation. I asked the Master to use the money to offer food for ten thousand monks and dedicate the merits for me.
Mr. Kong had predicted that I would die at the age of fifty-three. However, I survived that year with no illnesses though I did not ask the heavens for a longer life. Now I am sixty-nine, and I have lived sixteen more years than what was destined!
The Chinese Book of History had said:
[Narrator]: 'The way of the Heavens is undetermined, and so is one's destiny.'
[Narrator]: 'Destiny is not set, but is only created and determined by oneself.'
[Liao-Fan]: These are all true, and I have come to understand that both fortune and adversity are all results of one's own doings. These are truly the words of sages and saints! If one is to say that fortune and adversity are all determined by the heavens, then I would consider that person to be mundane and common.
Tien-Chi, my son, I wonder how your life will be? In any case of destiny, we should always prepare for the worst; therefore, even in times of prosperity, you must act as if you were not prosperous, and when things are going your way, you must be mindful of adversity. When you are wealthy, be mindful of poverty, and when loved and respected by all, you must remain careful and conservative. When the family is greatly respected and revered, you must carry yourself humbly, and when your learning is broad and deep, you must not display it, but keep it humbly within.
[Narrator]: The six ways of contemplation mentioned above are a means to tackle the problem from its opposite side. If one can thus cultivate the mind, then virtue and morality will grow and fortune will increase on its own.
[Liao-Fan]: When mindful of the past, we should spread the virtues of our ancestors, and when mindful of the present, we should conceal the faults of our own parents. This is what Mencius said as:
[Mencius]: 'Parents caring for children and children caring for parents'.
[Liao-Fan]: When mindful of the nation, we should think of how we can repay its kindness to us, and when mindful of the family, we should think of how to bring about good fortune. When mindful of the outside, we should think of how to help those in need around us, and when mindful of within, we should prevent wicked thoughts and improper actions from arising.
[Narrator]: These six contemplations are all positive ways to cultivate good character. If one can practice accordingly, one will surely become a true gentleman.
[Liao-Fan]: A person must be able to detect his faults every day in order to correct them every day. If you are unable to detect any faults in yourself, then improvement of character is out of the question. There are many intelligent people in the world who refuse to cultivate morality and virtue, and cannot put forth diligent effort in their work. Their failures later in life are owed to a single word: Laziness.
The teachings which Master Yun Gu taught are truly the most worthy, deep, real, and proper teachings, and I hope you will study them closely and practice them with all your effort. You must use your time wisely and not let it slip by in vain.
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