Subject: Please resolve our doubts
Dated: Fri, Nov 25, 2016
Greetings to the revered holy gurus of the Headquarters!
I am with this pleading to you to resolve a doubt that several Buddhists and I have long had.
Our master has often given us some assignments and asked us to do some things for him. When we found out the assignments were not correct or in violation of cultivation, he would say that he was using them to test us.
Of course, to carry out what the master wishes is what we should do. But is such testing correct or not? Should there be testing at all? We have heard that there is the testing by the four straightforward ways and the four hidden ways. What kind of a master specifically can hold such testing? Concretely, what level must a master have to qualify him for using the four straightforward ways and the four hidden ways in testing his disciples? We have the feeling that our master does not possess the level to carry out the testing, but he often hints at us that he is a great Bodhisattva. Many of us have this same question. Therefore, we would like to seek an accurate and precise answer to the question: what class of bodhisattva, what level must one have to be qualified to carry out such a Buddha Dharma as testing?
With abundant gratitude, Buddhist disciple Yueli
Above is the inquiry letter from a Buddhist regarding the matter of a master testing his disciples. In fact, testing disciples is a thing that should not happen at all! What should happen is observing whether the disciple’s speech and conduct are in line with good behaviors.
As for a master using the four straightforward ways and the four hidden ways to test his disciples, the master must be a holy guru who is Gold Button Level 3 or above (i.e., a Bodhisattva). Only such a mater can apply the four straightforward ways and the four hidden ways to test the disciples. However, a holy guru who is Gold Button Level 3 or above usually do not resort to testing.
A regular master who himself is still practicing cultivation, and to say it bluntly, who is still in the state of an ordinary person and not yet liberated, does not have the qualification to test anyone at all. If a master, who has yet to reach the Gold Button Level, calls his own wrongdoings testing, he is only looking for an excuse for himself to escape from the mistakes he has made. Such behavior is horrible, and not what a practitioner of cultivation should have.
Wangzha Shangzun said: “Many years ago, my benevolent master, Namo Dorje Chang Buddha III, said this: ‘I am a humbled person and do not have the qualifications to test others. I only have the mind to test myself for whether or not I am benefiting living beings. It is for that reason that I voluntarily serve people without receiving any offerings!’”
United International World Buddhism Association Headquarters
November 27, 2016
(English translation by Zunba)