to United International World Buddhism Association Headquarters:
Please Help to Remove Our Doubt and Delusion
(An e-mail with the date of November 25, 2016 at 10:28 PM)
To: uiwbah < email@example.com>
Holy Virtuous Ones at the United International World Buddhism Association Headquarters, Greetings!
I hereby would like to ask you to help resolve and remove a confusing doubt that I and a group of Buddhists have had for a long time. That is: Our master often assigns tasks to us and tells us things that we must do for him. When we found that the thing to do is incorrect and may even violate cultivation, he would tell us that this was a test for us. Of course, accomplishing what the master wants is what we should do. However, is such testing correct? And should we be tested in this way?
We heard that there are tests in the forms of the four explicit ways and the four hidden ways. However, a master of exactly what type can conduct such a test? To be specific, a master of what grade level has the qualification to test disciples with the four explicit ways and the four hidden ways? We sense that our master does not seem to possess the grade level to do such testing, but he often hinted to us that he is a great Bodhisattva. Many of us have plaguing confusions of this kind. Therefore, we would like to beseech a true and correct answer. A Bodhisattva at which stage (or which grade level) or higher has the qualification to carry out the Buddha-dharma of testing disciples?
I am very grateful to your kindness!
The above is a letter from a Buddhist inquiring about matters of master testing disciple. Actually, testing a disciple inherently is not something that should be done. However, observing a disciple to see whether his or her speech, conduct, and manner “conform to the direction of kindness” or not is quite justified. As to the use of the four explicit ways and the four hidden ways to test disciples in esoteric Buddhism, the master doing so must be a holy virtuous one at a grade level of Golden Button Grade 3 or higher. Furthermore, holy virtuous ones at grade levels of Golden Button Grade 3 or higher generally would not use such a method of testing. In particular, ordinary masters still have to cultivate themselves. Stating in words that are not nice to hear but are truthful, one who is still in the state of an ordinary being and has not attained liberation yet simply does not have the qualification to test anyone.
In the situation of any master who has not achieved a grade level of golden buttons, covering up something he/she did wrong as giving disciples a test is just an excuse to get out of the difficult situation created by his/her own mistake. Such a behavior is very bad and does not belong to a cultivator.
Wang Zha Shang Zun said, “A few years ago, my kind Master H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III once said this, ‘I am now a humble one and do not possess the qualification to test others. I can only test myself on whether I am benefiting living beings or not. That is why I do not accept offerings and only volunteer myself to serve the great masses!’”
United International World Buddhism Association Headquarters (Seal)
November 27, 2016