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.
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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