Chapter 10: The Aims of Chinese Original Quiet Sitting (1)
1 The three aims of Chinese Original Quiet Sitting are:
(1) To transcend the mundane and enter the sacred
(2) To return to oneness with nature
(3) To attain eternal life and coexist with other eternal spirits
2 To arrive at these three aims, three basic criteria must be met first:
(1) Purifying the heart [mind] and diminishing desires
(2) Changing personal temperament
(3) Helping one’s self and helping others
3 The most important thing is to begin by cultivating self-nature, building yourself up to be decent to others and doing your work properly.
4 (1) Purifying the mind and diminishing desires: This criterion is hard for most people to achieve.
5 We can visualize it this way: Water is originally clear. If we take a glass of murky water and analyze it chemically, we can show it was originally clear.
6 As long as the murky water keeps moving, it stays murky. But if left alone to return to a resting state, this unstirred water can become clear and, in the old phrase, “as quiet as still water.”
7 Our human nature was originally clear. “At its root, man’s nature was originally good.”
8 A child is unknowing, undiscriminating and without desires. A child is pure, but when grown, he will be filled with the seven emotions and six desires.
9 The seven emotions and six desires are the same as the impurities in a glass of water: of course this water will be cloudy. So, the first requirement for quiet sitting is to clear away impurities.
10 Previously I spoke of “sweeping the ground of the mind.” That is, to sweep away the seven emotions and six desires, so that this glass of water can become clear. We can also make the ground of our mind as spotless as before.
10 我曾經講「打掃心上地」。就是把七情六慾 打掃掉，則這杯水可以變成清水。我們也仍舊可以使得心地清明。
11 Being temperate means to curtail your desires. This is also a difficult criterion to meet. All humans have desires. Saints want to save the world and its people. This, too, is a desire, but they do not have selfish hearts. They do not want it for themselves.
12 There are proper and improper desires. Every person has desires, but as the Chinese character 欲 [means “desire”] adds a 心 [means “heart”] beneath it, then problems multiply because 慾 [desires of the heart] means “selfish desires.”
13 Seriously, if we wish to return to our origin, the first thing to do is to curtail our desires. Confucius said, “eating, drinking, and finding a mate are basic and top among human desires.” Everyone is constrained by these three desires.
14 As soon as a person reaches physical maturity, he will have strong desires. If these are left to develop without restraint, our world will “be engulfed in human desires.”
15 Everyone tries to satisfy their own desires, and they will spare no means to attain their goals. This leads to a disorderly society.
16 Presently, in every corner of the world, each person is trying to satisfy his or her own desires. Thus we are engulfed in human desires. The tide sweeps everything before it. Nobody can keep clear of it.
17 This is especially true of industrial society, where material enticements pander to everyone’s desires. If people cannot get what they want, they fight and rob and kill for it.
18 In lesser cases, they act for individual gain. In greater cases, they want to seize whole countries. This is why there is such a great need to be temperate. That is, to curtail our human desires.
19 This is especially true of the desire between man and woman. If we cannot restrain our sexual desire, it can hurt us physically.
20 I ask all of you, my fellow strivers: why do you want to learn quiet sitting?
21 I dare say that seventy percent of you are doing it for health and long life; twenty percent of you are curious to see if indeed it can promote good health and longevity and only ten percent of you truly wish to study, seek, and cultivate the Dao.
22 For most people, it is a matter of health and long life. But why do you want health and long life? Because you wish your mind could be clear; your desires are too many and you wish you could lessen them. That is why I say, the first criterion for quiet sitting is to purify the mind and diminish desires.
23 If cultivating and seeking the Dao is your true aim, then let me stress it again: young people with chaste bodies are golden lads and jade lasses. Their innate, primal energy has not yet been compromised. So, if you truly seek and cultivate the Dao, it means that you should hold on to your primal energy and nurture and preserve your primal energies. Keeping the chaste body of childhood is no easy thing.
24 Any human who grows to adulthood has sexual impulses. So this is a very difficult thing. The ones who can overcome those impulses have superior wisdom, determination and persistence. Their innate and acquired qualities are beyond the ordinary. Such people make up only ten percent of the whole.
25 Most people are physically compromised when they reach adulthood, and after marriage they are completely drained of primal energies.
26 If they wish to seek or cultivate the Dao at this point, they must practice to return to their original state.
27 The first step is to practice to replenish the body. This is a matter of physical restoration, as when a weathered old house must be restored inside and out to keep it from collapsing. By this I mean practice that replenishes jing, qi and shen.
28 To be restored inside and out, you must first be temperate in desires. The second step is to control desires and the final step is to abstain.
29 Of course being temperate is possible for everyone. But though you practice control for many days, it will all be in vain the moment you let yourself go. It is like a house that was just restored and then exposed to a storm that made it topple.
30 So I say, as long as the physical damage is not excessive, if you begin with practice to restore the body, there is hope. I am referring to replenishment of jing, qi and shen, and to purify the mind and diminish desires.
31 (2) Changing personal temperament [of the body and the mind]: After a certain period of practicing quiet sitting, there are sure to be physical responses. Mentally, there will be various effects.
32 “Conditions of the body” are physical reactions; “conditions of the mind” are psychological reactions and feelings. When one’s practice is far enough along, both body and mind will undergo natural changes in themselves without being sought after.
33 For instance, your temperament may have been explosive, but after doing quiet sitting for a considerable period, you will naturally grow more even- tempered.
34 But this is not always the case. Take me, for instance. My physical makeup has been changed, but my [mental] temperament has not changed. During my eight years on Mount Hua, my temperament became increasingly hard- edged. I resent evil as if it is my mortal enemy, so I have not changed.
35 In essence, the sort of firm, “upright qi” that I am speaking of is what Confucius meant when he said “acuity and uprightness partake of spirit.”
36 To be a decent person, first of all, one needs to be upright. One needs to be upright and be aboveboard, righteous and unselfish. This cardinal principle will always hold true.
37 Therefore, what I call “changing personal temperament” creates conducive conditions for your pursuit of quiet sitting. But it takes a level of practice and not everyone can reach.
38 (3) Helping oneself and helping others. In today’s world, too few of us would go into debt or forgo wealth to serve the Dao and save the world. Few of us would pawn our possessions to aid a friend in distress. This is due to the over-importance we put on wealth.
39 Wealth is something outside of us. We need to take a detached view of tangible wealth. As long as we are able to care for our parents, support our families, and educate our children, what we have should be enough. Too much of it could cause us to do evil things.
40 Intangible wealth comes from accumulating virtues, doing good deeds and seizing opportunities to one’s best ability to help others.
41 It means self-restraint in dealings with others, and making sacrifices for one’s country, society and God.
41 克己待人，犧牲自己，奉獻給國家，奉獻給社會，奉獻給 上帝。
42 If one does this, it appears to temporarily reduce one’s wealth, but in the long view it leaves virtues for one’s descendants. Accumulating virtue is most important.
43 One day when we leave this physical world and go elsewhere in space, only virtues, sins and vices will be carried with us.
44 Regarding this issue, the doctrine of the Lord of Universe Church, A New Realm, has in-depth explanations and support from a scientific perspective, which need not concern us here.
45 What I want to say is that your progress in quiet sitting depends on having the right concept. You have to accumulate plenty of virtues, to build up plenty of external merits, before you could begin helping yourself.
46 Thus, the ways to help yourself are:
1) Use tangible resources to help others the best you can. This is the offering of wealth.
2) Resolve to guide others toward goodness when opportunities arise. Set an example by your own behavior. This is the offering of dharma.
47 Offerings of wealth and dharma can erase residual bad karma, which is the evil we have committed in lifetimes of thrashing about in the cycle of reincarnation.
48 Luckily we have been given the opportunity to be reborn into a human body, to correct ourselves and help ourselves.
49 Not having strayed away from our original nature, we wish to cultivate the Dao. In addition, our affinity has drawn us to participate in the Quiet Sitting Class. We have the opportunity to help ourselves. Let us hope the Dao mindset is steadfast in us, so we do not fall back into the cycle of reincarnation.
50 To help yourself, you must first eliminate bad karma that remained from other lifetimes. No matter how hard you practice quiet sitting, if bad karma is not erased, many demonic hindrances and obstacles will surely keep you from sitting with a calm mind.
51 This is definitely not superstition. I have over fifty years of personal experience in this.
52 Frankly speaking, all of these are for you yourself. You must be saved before you can “help others cross to the other shore” or help save them. If you carry evil inside you while advising others, who is going to believe you?
53 Going a step further, we work to “help others” for our own sakes and for the sake of the next generation.
54 Today you help a John Smith. Maybe John Smith will not help you tomorrow. The one who helps you may not even be connected with John Smith.
55 But by an unseen law, other people will naturally seize the opportunity to help you when you least expect it.
56 Of course, the underlying motive should be generosity, with no thought of any return. When there is a thought of an anticipated return, it is a lowly form of generosity.
57 In the Treatise of the Exalted One on Response and Retribution, Taishang Laojun  says, “Show generosity with no thought of return; do not regret your giving.” This maxim tells us how to live a decent life in this world.
58 Daoism urges us to gain immortality which requires us to help ourselves and others with at least 3,000 counts of external meritorious conducts and 800 counts of internal cultivation attainments.
59 Yuan Liaofan of the Ming Dynasty met a fortune-teller at an early age. Whichever way he interpreted his fortune, his fate was fixed. He would never gain fame or bear descendants.
60 Thereupon he vowed to increase his store of merits. He drew up a “Ledger of Merit and Error” for himself. Each day he made entries in it, examining his merits and errors.
61 When 365 days were over, he tallied up the numbers of merits and errors to see which was greater. Each year he spurred himself onward; finally he began to rise in the ranks of officialdom, and his wife bore him two sons.
62 Beginning from when he kept his “Ledger of Merit and Error,” he was able to surpass destiny, to overcome fatalism. He leaped beyond the three realms  and left the five phases  to create his own fate.
63 Most ordinary people are bound by the cycle of the five phases [aka the five elements]: metal, wood, water, fire and earth, which produce creative and destructive cycles.
64 To go beyond fate, people should examine themselves daily. If they can build up their store of merits and virtues, and if their merits outweigh errors, they can break out of fatalism and create their own fate. Amid the ways of the world, they can find the answers to their wishes.
65 Although Yuan Liaofan was a Confucian turned Buddhist who had never become an immortal, his level of practice transcended the mundane and entered the sacred. He has set an example worth following by later generations.
66 Thus, to transcend the mundane and enter the sacred, to become divine through sagely deeds, you must establish great merits: 3,000 counts of external meritorious conducts and 800 counts of internal cultivation attainments.
67 Hence, there is a saying: “When one completes external meritorious conducts and internal cultivation attainments, he attains the Dao.”
68 The Collected Works of Patriarch Lü tells how Lü Chunyang [literally means Pure Yang] completed the 3,000 counts of external meritorious conducts and 800 counts of internal cultivation attainments in a single thought.
69 Lü Chunyang honored the old patriarch Zhongli (Zhongli Quan) as master. Old Zhongli decided to give Lü a lesson by posing a test. He promised Lü he would impart a method to “turn stones into gold at a touch.” Lü would have wealth enough to help people in distress.
70 Patriarch Lü asked him: “I believe in Master’s supernatural powers, but will these stones turned to gold remain unchanged? Will they always be gold?”
71 Old Zhongli replied, “Their substance will not change for five hundred years.”
72 Lü Chunyang asked: “Will they change after five hundred years?”
73 Old Zhongli replied, “They will change after five hundred years.”
74 Lü Chunyang said, “Master, do not teach it to me. If you impart this method to me, and I give people gold that will change back to stones, will I not be harming people five hundred years from now?”
75 On the strength of this single thought, Patriarch Lü completed all 3,000 external meritorious conducts and 800 internal cultivation attainments.
76 That he did not cling to wealth is amazing in itself. Here he could have gotten a large sum of money to help the people in this world. Even so, he did not consider it, for fear of doing harm to people five hundred years later.
77 These are the sentiments of great saints and sages, a man truly born to be immortal. Thus, external meritorious conducts and internal cultivation attainments are crucial for Daoists.
78 Only when external meritorious conducts and internal cultivation attainments are complete can the yang shen ascend. Then the true self, the refined self, can come and go at will.
79 If external meritorious conducts and internal cultivation attainments are not complete, there is no escaping this fleshly envelope, no matter how lofty one’s practice has achieved.
80 Dao cultivators must not ignore this essential truth!
 Personal temperament in Chinese refers to both conditions of the physical body and the mind.
 This is a very important concept in Daoism. Helping others refers to relieving other people from pain and suffering, emotionally and physically, helping others raise their spirituality and become enlightened, and raise lost spirits in the non-physical realm from limbo. The goal of helping one's self is reaching immortality and becoming one with the Dao, which in turn can only be achieved through self-cultivation and doing good deeds. These two aspects are interrelated and inseparable.
 The seven emotions according to Chinese medicine are "anger, grief, worry, joy, sorrow, fear, and fright." The seven emotions are traditionally defined in Confucianism as "joy, anger, sorrow, fear, love, hatred, and desire." The six desires in Buddhism refer to pleasing to one's "sight, sound, smell, taste, physical comfort, and thoughts."
 This expression came from Buddhism, meaning to help other to cross to the other shore of elevated spirituality.
 Laozi, a mystic philosopher of ancient China, was best known as the author of the Dao De Jing. He is also revered as a deity in most religious forms of the Daoist religion, which often refers to Laozi as Taishang Laojun, or "One of the Three Pure Ones."
 The "three realms" in Buddhist terminology are the realms of desire, form, and formlessness.
 Traditional fortunetelling correlates a person's date and hour of birth with the five evolutional phases of change. These are thought to have a determining effect on career, health, longevity, marriage, and psychological traits. Thus, the term "five phases" refers to fate.
 Lü Chunyang is one of the Eight Immortals of Daoist lore, and founder of the Quanzhen lineage 全真派.