Merit and Wisdom -- The Two Wheels of a Bike That Can Get You Everywhere

It's a topic most people just don't get ... merit and wisdom.

Let's say someone is sick or very ill. They have been going from doctor to doctor. You know the cure and you tell your friend. You even buy it for them. You give it to them.

They don't take it.

Why? Lack of wisdom not to take it. Lack of merit to get cured.

What if you tell them about the medicine and they cannot afford it, or cannot get it because it's in short supply? What if they arrive late and the store is closed or 101 other situations for not being able to get their hands on this rare cure?

Lack of merit ... they just don't have enough merit to get the medicine and get cured. They didn't do enough good deeds.

Let's say they get it and take the medicine, but not according to the instructions

... not the right quantity

... or not according to the schedule needed to produce an effect.

Perhaps they're just too impatient for results, but let's just say they just give up and stop taking it before the effects start kicking in, even though it absolutely will cure them.

... Lack of merit and wisdom once again explains things.

In all these cases, the problem has been some combination of lack in merit and wisdom, not just one or the other.

We all know situations like this where someone refuses to try one more thing -- THE thing that will help -- because they spent a lot of time, money, or energy in previous investigations or pursuits (which were stupid roads to follow -- lack of wisdom) and don't want to try one more thing.

Why not? Lack of merit and wisdom to get the real thing.

I could tell you story after story like this

... the time I arranged to pay a dentist to fix a hole on a woman's tooth which I absolutely knew would change her fortune (she changed phone numbers ... had no merit to receive the benefits)

... the lack of wisdom people you send to buy brand XXX at the store (after telling them, due to your expertise, the reasons why they should only buy brand XXX that works and NOT buy brand YYY which doesn't work) who come back with brand YYY

... the people who ignore your advice on timing and go to the office at the WRONG time and get the WRONG official to deal with

... I could tell you all sorts of stories but you get the picture.

Now here's the truth when it comes to spiritual cultivation.

(1) Most people do not have the WISDOM to differentiate good, proper, real, effective, virtuous etc. cultivation teachings from bad ones or mistaken ones. They don't know true dharma and cannot recognize it.

They just aren't educated enough so they cannot tell what's valuable. They don't have sufficient stores of wisdom so they get attracted to the wrong stuff.

They cannot even recognize how good the real dharma is because they have no frame of reference, and therefore treat it like dirt.

This means you can GIVE people the true dharma and they won't be interested. You can give it to them but they will be attracted to something else, even something detrimental.

And so on, so on, so on it goes.

Why? Bad karma -- they don't have enough good merit. They don't have enough wisdom to follow true teachings rather than false cultivation trails.


Let's put it another way.

If you are in the middle of the desert and your car breaks down and isn't running, do you want someone to come up to you, hug you and tell you everything in the universe is ultimately perfect? ... or do you want to get that vehicle fixed and get the heck out of there?

That's the difference between the thick love, touchy-feely, sugar coated, love the whole way 'round New Age teachings that people flock to versus the practicality of true cultivation that will produce results ... does indeed matter ... will free you from the realm of birth and death .... does produce gong-fu ...will help you stop being a slave to karma, your emotions and desires ... elevates, purifies and refines you ... helps you develop countless perfections and gives you the ability to perform gigantic acts of compassionate merit ... and will help you make a difference in the universe.

(2) Frankly, most people do not have the MERIT to come into contact with high stage cultivation teachings ... the true dharma. The true dharma is an open secret. It's there, it's free, there are no secret techniques you have to pay $10,000 for and yet that's the stuff people go for.

Most people will never be able to meet real spiritual cultivation teachings in their life. That's a fact because they lack merit. Even if they got them they would not recognize them or their worth or appreciate it them due to lack of wisdom.

Most people will NEVER come into contact with a genuine cultivation teacher in their life. Higher up the ladder, it's even harder to meet a teacher with true samadhi attainments. Yet higher still, it's rare indeed to be able to study with an enlightened teacher who has the Tao. Those guys are way pass the samadhi guys, and are the teachers of gods and mend.

To even get the chance to practice cultivation in an undisturbed fashion is HARD and requires sufficient merit. For example, when you try to really practice mediation you'll find the phone rings to disturb you, or you have no money so you cannot go on a 2-week retreat, or you don;t have the time because of worldly obligations.

Unless you FORCE yourself to make the time, you lack the merit. Don't just sit there and moan, "I lack the merit." Your fortune is in your hands so MAKE THE EFFORT to do good deeds and also CREATE the time. "The Gods help those who help themselves" is a true saying -- you are the architect of your fortune, it doesn't come from elsewhere, so take steps NOW to change it.

It takes tremendous merit to get the true cultivation teachings and you need merit to achieve the high stage results on the path. Yes indeed, you need to cultivate merit (virtuous deeds, thoughts and behavior) to get high stage gong-fu and cultivation accomplishments. Think about it ... the high stage samadhi, for example, are always connected with high stage heavenly realms and how could you ever hope to be reborn in such realms if your mind was not sufficiently virtues, clean, purified, refined and you had done no amount of charitable, compassionate deeds to deserve such enjoyments, even if but for a few moments?

As Master Nan always told me, the merit for riches, sex, power, status and fame are easy to accumulate but wisdom merit and cultivation merit are EXTREMELY hard to obtain. That's why you can do some good deeds, be reborn rich, and still be clueless.

There are quite a few officials and rich businessmen I know who fit that category.

Many people tell me they feel sorry for all the people they see on the street because they know they don't have a clue when it comes to the real meat, meaning and methods of spiritual cultivation ... so they know what these folks are missing. Nevertheless ... please recognize that most of those folks you see on the street have a VERY low stage of cultivation. They lack the merit and wisdom to get what you have. They don't have sufficient good fortune or good karma for the path. Even if they get it, without sufficient study, practice and merit, they will misunderstand it.

That doesn't mean you shouldn't offer the dharma to them or try to help. Just recognize things as they stand.

Let's put it this way ... most people in this 6 billion person world only function at the level of religious worship and will never get to a true stage of cultivation practice and training. Knowing this, you can realize that it's FANTASTIC that cultures, religions, etc. IMPOSE upon low stage people various rules of discipline and religion they should follow because at least it will help them generate a little merit, and over many lives their wisdom will come out.

As my teacher explained, if they are in Church for an hour, or praying to Mecca, at least they aren't thinking bad thoughts for awhile and generating some merit.

As terrible as it is, it is good that the mob and masses are IMPRINTED with this stuff because if they had nothing, think of all the damage they'd do. Most of these folks follow religious rules and think they're practicing spirituality or religion whereas those are just rules of discipline. But, at least those rules keep people and societies in line. When I look at places like China where entire generations have grown up without religious teachings of any sort whatsoever, I realize the great importance of religious morality teachings on elevating a civilization.

You don't need to save everyone in the world all at once because it's impossible. So just offer. Just offer teachings. Just make things available. Just offer charity whenever you can.

You can advertise your message all you want but that still doesn't mean people will GET the message. I've seen people sit and listen to my teacher for 30+ years, read all his books, attend all his lectures and still not be able to explain a single bit of dharma correctly.


If you have the Bodhisattva vow to come back again and again to help people, you will do that and simply do what's best for the moment and in particular situations as circumstances allow. My rule of thumb to pass on to you: just offer and wait till people get more interested as time goes by.

That's the way of the Buddhas. Offer the teachings but know that most people won't get it. Come back again and again and offer it in different forms suited to different mentalities.

That's expedient means. That's wisdom and merit.


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