The Basic Spirit of Heavenly Amnesty: End Cruelty and Violence
“I plead earnestly before God our Hierarch, because of the four circumstances above, beginning with the year 2000:
1) that every thousandth year be recognized as a Year of Heavenly Amnesty;
2) that every hundredth year be recognized as a Year of Pardon. At the same time I implore, during this first year of Heavenly Amnesty, that all calamity-ridden districts which suffered warfare and disaster during the 20th Century of the earthly calendar be favored with clement weather and bountiful harvests of grain. Let them receive gifts of peace, health, and prosperity, to help them recuperate from what they have been through.
In my written plea I grievingly related to God our Hierarch what I have lived through. Here is what I wrote: “Looking back on the 20th Century, I see a brutal, saddening record of calamities. Each time I get through alive, I reflect on how lucky I was to be born in this time of great change. I also think how unfortunate I was to be born in these harrowing times. The September 21 Earthquake is still fresh in my mind. I personally felt the earth shake, saw hillsides slide into streams, experienced the freezing of time. This disaster of faultlines in the earth, of faultlines in rock-strata and walls, of souls split apart from bodies, showed how fragile and helpless life is. During this ordeal of spirit and flesh, as jade and gravel alike were thrown in the fire, one one hand I thanked the Lord for helping me through this cruel trial, and on the other I wondered ‘does Heaven have no pity’?
All the spirit-beings of the universe were born alike from the Golden Disc; all are the children of God! God gave all beings the universal and equal dignity of life. In order for life to engender life, He gave survival-through-harmony; He gave the right to freely choose life’s happiness. We must not allow violence in any form to heedlessly ruin and forsake this gift. According to codes of punishments in the human world, strictness should alternate with mercy, since the complete Way is both civil and martial. In laws of the natural world, things which are cast down and stripped bare can find renewal. Heavenly amnesty will further through forgiveness; violence will come to an end; and all beings will bask in holy mercy.”
To me, “ending cruelty and violence” is the basic intent of Heavenly amnesty, and it a hopeful vision for the human world. In my written plea I wrote: “I accepted my mandate to take over as Presiding Emissary, to lead our Church’s worldly administration. Over the past three years I have done my best to carry on my father’s wishes. I have not trusted to blind luck or made reckless moves. I have set up a code of spiritual practice and established an organizational structure. I have moved forward in an orderly manner. One thread runs through all I have done: ‘A single person displaced is my personal grief; a single calamity unremedied is my wrong; one wrong not corrected is my responsibility.’ I affirm this as a reminder of my Heaven-given duty as a person of conscience.
The Founder of the Tao-Lineage is the supreme being of the universe. Through his virtue of life-furthering-life, he cherishes mind and matter. On all living things he bestows:
1) dignity of life, and the right to equality;
2) harmony of life, and the right to further life;
3) blessings of life, and the right to choose freely.
No individual should give up these rights; of course these rights are not to be alienated by any violent force which goes counter to natural law.
We are in a time of massive purgation, at the end of one century and the beginning of another. Across the globe we see regions of desolation stretching for hundreds of miles. There is hardly a sliver left of the pure land, the land of bliss, this earth should be. Not one second goes by without disaster striking. The sky goes out of kilter and sets loose killing force; the earth shifts abnormally and sets loose killing force. Humans negate their true nature and unleash killing force. Water and fire lose their proper relation; yin and yang go out of balance. The mildness of wind turns blustery; the distribution of rain is erratic. Across the land that was mankind’s abode and refuge, no person is exempt from calamity, no locality escapes danger. Though calamity arises from the human heart, what offense did the myriad spirit-beings commit, that jade should be incinerated with gravel, and spirit should share the ordeal of the flesh?
We are aware that in the 20th Century, mankind’s material civilization developed to new heights. The cunning devices of technology put creation in mankind’s hands. But such gratifications have had a corrosive effect on human nature. They have altered the moral code of tradition, the value system and social relations. The resulting buildup of group karma can be seen in human behavior at the century’s end: what we see is bestial, brutal violence coupled with cold-blooded instruments of death. All this goes to show: ‘cruelty is the worst of all evils.’ Such reflections are forced on us by the trampling of life’s dignity we have seen in the 20th Century.”