Background Circumstances of our Church’s Request to T’ienti for a Year of Heavenly Amnesty
“As the Second Presiding Emissary of the T’ienti Teachings to this world, I, Lee Wei-sheng, poured my heart’s blood into writing a message during Celestial Inspection Days of 1999. I knelt weeping before the Seat of Rule and implored our Hierarch T’ienti, the Mystic, Encompassing, Supreme Lord, to be inclined with compassion toward us, and to graciously set the year 2000 as a “Year of Heavenly Amnesty.” Following the massive purgations of these end-times, while Heaven, humanity, and the underworld are engulfed in karma, I plead for multitudes of spirit-beings in our domain. Let them follow the rational progression of pardoning self and pardoning others, which leads to amnesty from Heaven. In keeping with such natural laws as the dignity of living things, the harmony of survival, and blessings of life, let them stop cruelty and violence, and win their way to peace, happiness, and ongoing life. Let them return to the great Tao of the universe, so that life’s stream may flow ever onward.”
“Here I would like to enumerate the four background circumstances behind my plea for Heavenly Amnesty:
1) Now is the year 2000 in the human world, commonly called the “millennial year.” According to the Christian world-view, because Jesus gave his spirit and living flesh to redeem the world’s sins, Heaven will send peace, blessings, and rapture to the earth during every thousandth year of the Common Era. This is called the millenium. A millennial year is a time for redemption and pardoning sins. But the world receives this grace only if people can turn toward goodness and good deeds.
2) Throughout the 95 years that the First Presiding Emissary lived in this world, he always stood in awe of Heaven’s mandate and followed his master’s bidding. In order to rescue vulnerable beings in these end times, to transmit T’ienti’s true Tao in the world, he forsook family wealth and became a seeker. Renouncing considerations of personal safety, reputation, and family wealth, he gave whatever he had. With his pair of long-suffering eyes, he contemplated the travails of the human world; with his bondage-smashing hands, he held back the onslaught of catastrophe.
On December 26, 1999 he fulfilled his great vow of renunciation in spirit and flesh; he gave his body to redeem others sins and sacrificed himself for the Tao. In his last testament, he wrote: “My Chinese compatriots do not cherish their heavenly blessings nor are they thankful for Heaven’s grace, and so a bloody tragedy is imminent across the Strait.” He vowed “to take the collective karmic burden of the Chinese people upon myself, to gain true peace on both sides of the Strait.”
On April 5 of the year 2000, we observe the 100th anniversary of the day when our First Presiding Emissary came to be born in human form. This is our centennial. In view of his sacrifices of body and spirit in the cause of redemption, his arduous efforts of rescue, and the lofty standard of Tao-seeking he established by never seeking blessings for himself, we ask to be favored with grace of “Heavenly amnesty.”
3) By the common calendar, this year marks a time of great change as we move out of the Twentieth Century into the Twenty-First. Looking back to the century between 1900 and 1999, humankind passed through two horrible world wars, 34 catastrophic regional wars, and over 150 bloody local wars or civil wars. This record of bloody cruelty is unprecedented. According to U.N. statistics, militarized violence claimed 280,000,000 lives between 1917 and 1997. During the same time, non-militarized violence claimed another 70,000,000 lives. As for natural catastrophes such as earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, and plagues, the number of victims is uncountable.
In autumn of last year, 1999, Taiwan experienced the 9/21 earthquake, its worst in 100 years, with 2500 fatalities and 5000 people seriously injured. Ten thousand buildings were destroyed. The erosion and destruction of resources, both tangible and intangible, was incalculable. Post-quake reconstruction is proving unusually difficult.
After the past century of cruel, life-denying calamities, the human world and the human heart are filled and beset by resentful ch’i, sinister ch’i, vengeful ch’i, stagnant ch’i, and bloody ch’i. In order to release, soothe, balance, and revive these forces, I request “Heavenly amnesty,” to help mankind become mindful of life-furthering-life, which is the virtue of Heaven. Let them look within and repent of wrongs; let them bring forth the inclusive love which belongs to human nature. By pardoning self and others, they will accord with Heavenly amnesty.
4) From the beginning the Lord’s Tao and the Lord’s will have been at work to govern the cosmos and the human world. Sages of major religions, angels, holy eminences, prophets, and immortals have descended, one after another, to be born in the human world.
They are born in different regions, among different peoples, to meet the needs of various temporal settings. They have founded different religions, carried forth their teachings, and saved people from the world’s distress. All felt a mission to uproot human evil, to recover man’s original state, and return to the great Tao of the universe.
Sad to say, worldlings tend to obscure their true nature, and wrongdoings accumulate. Karma leads to karma in a cycle, taking revenge back and forth across the eons. While the One CH’I Progenitor was practicing the Tao in the world, during the Miluo Assembly of 1938 on Huang Mountain, he submitted a document pleading to rescue spirits in the underworld, at the risk of plunging to Hell or even ruination of body and spirit. He held forth hope that “whether good or evil, right or wrong, whether viviparous, oviparous, slime-born or spontaneously generated, whatever category of denizen in the nine regions, if any of them turn their heads, they will be saved at that movement, and will be completely released from Hell.” Due to this compassionate vow he was permanently stationed in Hell, until such time as all underworld spirits are saved. The great depth of this vow is consistent with the intentions and deeds of sages from the world’s major religions. Also, we can view it in relation to Ksitagarbha Bodisattva’s v Owing to corruption by material desire, human beings commit wrongs, and bad karma accumulates. The ill-treated and resentful take revenge, which sets up a karmic cycle between the human world and Hell. On the topsy-turvy wheel of reincarnation, the phenomena of beings in Hell is mirrored by the phenomena of beings in the human world. Hell is here in the human world, and the human world is in Hell. Because of this, humanity gets ever farther away from the great Tao of the universe. Humanity is getting farther away from God.
Pardoning self and pardoning others leads to Heavenly amnesty, and thereby all sentient and non-sentient beings, all physical and non-physical beings will be nurtured by grace. If amnesty can be taken into the Nether Realm, if Hell can be cleansed and cleared, this will enable sinners in the nine regions to look within and renew themselves. They can cultivate and save themselves; they can realize the life’s meaning; they can enlighten self and other, letting go of bitterness and gaining joy. With the miasma of resentment dispelled, they can emerge from shadowy regions. The human world will be cleansed, for eventual rebuilding as a land of bliss. Dead souls will be raised and living souls will be comforted. Mankind will know the purity of Heaven and tranquility of earth.”