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I kuan tao thamma - FAQ on Tao's Cultivation
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FAQ on Tao's Cultivation

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FAQ on Tao's Cultivation

        Q1. If we are kind-hearted, do we need to receive Tao?

         A: Nowadays, the world is declining in its moral values. Human beings tend to be mean and treacherous. It is really rare, though commendable, that a man can keep good mind and do good deeds. Even if he/she is reborn in the next life as a human or deity and all the previously earned merits can be enjoyed, he/she is still trapped in the birth-and-death reincarnation. The good fortune and happiness are only temporary. Hence it makes even more precious and incomparable that we can receive Tao, worship our Enlightening Masters, thereby realizing our True-Nature, transcending the suffering of reincarnation, and enjoying the eternal grace.

        Q2. Why does it seem we have only begun to know about Tao in recent years? Did it exist in the past?

        A: The great Tao is sometimes hidden and sometimes manifest. In the past, Tao was transmitted on the one-to-one basis. Naturally, fewer people knew about the meaning of Tao. Now it is time for the universal salvation, Tao is propagated to everyone who has the affinity. The reason Tao is propagated universally is that in recent years moral standards have worsened and there have been unprecedented calamities. However, not all human beings are evil. Kind people with good karma and spiritual foundation must not be destroyed. Therefore, God descends Tao for universal salvation; all people can be awakened to their conscience and the world can become peaceful and orderly. That is the reason why calamities together with Tao are taking place in this world.

        Q3. Why can't the Three Treasures be revealed?

        A: Tao can only be descended to the world at the right time and to people with affinity. Tao is the Heart-Sutra of the patriarchs. Even the saints did not dare to disclose the heavenly secret recklessly, not to mention the common people. Although Tao is propagated universally at present, Tao receivers need to sincerely cultivate. Only when a person proves him/herself sincere and respectful, can he/she be allowed the transmission of Tao; otherwise, no one dares to disclose the heavenly secret lest he/she be examined by God and humans.

        Q4. Can a Tao cultivator worship various deities in addition to the ones in the Tao Temple?

        A: Tao cultivation does not conflict with one's worshipping the deities. According to the etiquette rules and rituals of the Temple, we make bows to all the deities in Heaven. Additionally, following the direct dharma of the White-Sun Era, we need not follow the indirect set by other sects. Direct dharma is the right way to inspire our enlightenment; the indirect path require long-time cultivation. Therefore, there is no way we should abandon the direct dharma and follow the indirect one.

        Q5. Does a cultivator need to be a vegetarian?

        A: A vegetarian diet means that it is a non-killing diet. It cleanses a person of the bad karma with killed animals. Humans kill animals to satisfy their desire for meat. According to the law of cause and effect, one who kills will be killed; it is cyclic reincarnation. Therefore, as cultivators , we should work to remove meat from our diets. If it can not be done abruptly, try it step by step. If you cannot break the habit, accumulate merits to help eliminate bad karma . Basically, a cultivator needs to be merciful. That is the most important.

        Q6. Do the voluntary workers in the Temple get paid?

        A: Under the grace of God, all walks of life can receive Tao, regardless of social status. Scholars, farmers, workers and businessmen alike can equally receive Tao. Therefore, from the Tao Transmitting Masters to the basic Tao relatives, every cultivator also has a decent job. They are self-supporting people who use their free time to propagate Tao and unselfishly help and serve the Tao relatives. They are just like angels, sacrificing and making free-will donations. They would never think of getting paid.

        Q7. Why must we pay the merit fee(donation)? How will it be used?

        A: In ancient times, cultivators had to leave their families, abandon their wealth, and endure many trials and hardships. Even so, many failed to encounter an Enlightened Master and to be transmitted with the supreme Tao. We are so lucky to be easily transmitted with this supreme Truth of Tao. Yet we are but ordinary people without many merits and virtues, so in order to show our sincerity and respect, the Buddha set the rule for us to donate merit fee. The money will be used to print Tao scriptures, do charity work, help social welfare services, etc. in the Tao receivers' names. As the saying goes, "Each cent in the Temple is great as a huge mountain. If a person deceives his conscience and covets the money, he will have to be born as a shabby animal in the next life." Therefore, no cultivator has the indecent thought of or desire for the merit fee.

        Q8. Why must we make the Ten Great Vows when receiving Tao?

        A: No cultivator can attain Buddhahood without clinging strongly to his or her great vows. In the Tao Transmitting Ceremony, everyone has to make Ten Great Vows in order to receive Tao. The Ten Great Vows serve as guidelines. They represent the highest aspirations for everyone to strengthen their faith, to really put into practice, and to persevere. The Ten Great Vows promise us an official state in Heaven. Without making the Ten Great Vows, one cannot persevere in his effort, nor can he remain consistent from start to the very end. It would be too easy to give up in the face of frustrations or difficulties. Then even if he has received Tao, it is pitiful. Therefore, we need to make the Ten Great Vows when receiving Tao so that we can have the right principles to follow. Additionally, Tao Transmitting Masters need to witness your making the Ten Great Vows before he/she begs for God's grace to transmit the Three Treasures to you.

        Q9. What is the meaning of the Three Worlds' Salvation?

        A: At the beginning of the Tao propagation, only living people could be transmitted with Tao. However, in the Era of White-Sun, under the grace of God, the deceased could also be transmitted with Tao. Shi-Zun and Shi-Mu honorably shouldered this Holy Mission. They are propagating Tao universally to the Three Worlds; namely, 1) the world of spiritual beings like the deities, the god of earth, goddess of the sea, etc; 2) righteous people in this earthly world; 3) the underworld beings such as the kind-hearted ghosts. This is what we call "The Three Worlds' Salvation."

        Q10. Does cultivation denote a passive attitude toward life?

        A: Cultivation carries the meaning of rectification. We adjust our life direction and understand its true value, so that we will not get lost in desires and temptations. After we receive Tao, we devote ourselves to the sublimation of our mind and exalt the bright side of human nature. We establish ourselves as well as others; we become enlightened and help others to become enlightened. We aim to build eternal harmony, equality and justice in this world. We benefit ourselves as well as others. We are not isolated. We are cultivators at home and in society. We have decent jobs and fulfill our duties as noble citizens. Situated in this dusty world of temptations, cultivators are not polluted in their hearts or minds. We are managing both holy and worldly affairs. Life is therefore joyful and carefree. How can that denote any idea of passiveness?

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Kegelapan 17/09/2013 18:21:35
I am not a grower of Chinese herbs. I grow Western herbs for my own use, and make tutincres and such from them. I am interested in Chinese herbalism and was looking for a guide to the plants that would be helpful both in understanding their herbal uses and in making decisions about whether to grow them. This book is written for the audience implied in the title, and goes far beyond what I can use, but it is also excellent in satisfying my needs.It is clearly written, beautifully and helpfully illustrated, and well laid out. The descriptions of the plants include Chinese names as well as Western ones, their uses in Chinese herbal preparations, recipes if the herbs have culinary uses, and extensive instruction on cultivation and processing. The many tables add to the book's usefulness, and include a table listing plants by invasive potential, which is a concern of mine, as it is a global problem as the immune system of local ecosystems becomes increasingly weakened by pollution and soil depletion. This table alone is witness to the author's thoroughness and care. An outstanding contribution to the field.
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