Concerning the Proverb “You Shouldn’t Question the Whole Thing, but Neither Should You Believe in Everything You’ve Heard or Seen”

August 15, 2012 at 2:29 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Author:

Han Ru

[PureInsight.org] When it comes to beings or phenomena outside of this dimension such as myths, Buddhas and gods, some people with a lot of experience in life might bring up the proverb, “You shouldn’t question the whole thing, but neither should you believe in everything you’ve heard or seen.” On the surface, it means that they neither believe nor disbelieve in the existence of these phenomena or the existence of gods. But the bottom line is that they don’t believe in these things. Actually the phrase “You shouldn’t question the whole thing, but neither should you believe in everything you’ve been told or have seen” came from the cultivation community and reflects an objective view that cultivators had of cultivation. But as human society became more and more degenerate, people’s righteous faith in gods gradually disappeared. Thus this proverb’s meaning has become twisted and it has now become a phrase to express people’s lack of belief in gods or Buddhas.

The first part of the proverb, “You shouldn’t question the whole thing,” implies that people should believe in gods, Buddhas, and other dimensions. It makes good sense because many people have witnessed or experienced specific phenomena of gods, Buddhas and other dimensions.

So what does the second part of the proverb “but neither should you believe in everything you’ve heard or seen” mean? This pertains to reality in other dimensions. There are levels of heaven, levels of hell, Buddhas, Daos, gods, demons and ghosts in other dimensions. If a cultivator believes in everything, he would mess up his cultivation and might even end up cultivating on a demonic path without knowing it. That is why the second part of the proverb states that one must not believe in everything that he has heard or seen. A cultivator must depend on his enlightenment to keep his righteous faith and to attain the Right Fruit [1].

The same principle applies to ordinary people. If they don’t show reverence to righteous gods and instead put the statues of unknown spirits in a shrine, they might end up burning incense for foxes, weasels, ghosts and snakes [2], and bring upon themselves spirit or animal possession. Then these people are done for. Confucius said, “Keep one’s distance from the ghosts and spirits while showing them reverence.” [3] The saying carries a similar meaning. In summary, the second half of the proverb means that people shouldn’t believe in messed up things. Instead, they should have righteous beliefs.

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Notes:
[1] Right Fruit: In the cultivation world, “attaining the Right Fruit” refers to the completion of cultivation and reaching a high level.
[2] “Fan Ch’ih asked about wisdom. The Master said, ‘To work for the things the common people have a right to and to keep one’s distance from the ghosts and spirits while showing them reverence can be called wisdom.'” (From Book 6:22 in Analects)
[3] Foxes, weasels, ghosts and snakes: In Chinese ideology, it is believed that the spirits of foxes, weasels and a few other animals have supernatural powers and can take over a statue in a temple or even possess a human being.

Translated from: http://www.zhengjian.org/zj/articles/2003/4/7/21098.html

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