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Chapter Four: The Essence of Amassing Souls

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The amassment of souls entails subduing one's mental and physical turbulence, and attaining enlightenment by cultivating the Dao.

001. The Fifteenth Patriarch said: "Sainthood is not achieved by introducing the Way of Heaven to new regions, but by practicing the Dao and attaining enlightenment. Therefore, realize the mystery of the Way of Heaven to become an enlightened Buddha today. Once you have grasped the Heavenly Secrets fully and firmly, and have perceived the mystery of true self, you shall be ordained by Heaven to amass souls." Therefore, if you desire to see the great undertaking of the future world through to fruition, you must heed the true essence of the above admonishment and regard it as the most important key to knowing and enlightening your true self.

002. To amass souls means to fulfill the true purpose of all beings under Heaven. This is a massive undertaking, requiring great fortitude, moral greatness, and achievement.

003. The amassment of souls means withdrawing oneself from attachment and returning to the origin of nothingness. For the true amassment of souls is unique, marked by the identification of the true self with divine truth.

004. Only an innocent person can undertake the mission of amassing souls, so you must purify your heart and become as pure and innocent as a child. As Confucius said: "The 300 verses of the Book of Odes can be summed up in a single phrase: 'Don't allow evil in your thoughts'."

005. The amassment of souls is the final settlement of accounts of your merits, the final tallying of your karma, and the final results of your cultivation of the Dao. It is the last salvation on earth.

006. The amassment souls calls for selecting the finest practitioners of the Dao, and responsibility will be taken account for the delivery of souls.

007. The amassment of souls means selecting and helping to perfect practitioners of Dao into saints and sages.

008. Once you have achieved a certain level of attainment, it is time to help others fulfill their true purpose.

009. The Last Salvation is the amassment of souls, when a great tabulation of results will be made. Heaven will reject those who have failed to perfect their true selves.

010. Collect the good, discard the bad.

011. At the time of the amassment of souls, no further patriarch shall appear, as the Three Buddhas will descend into this world personally to manage the Last Salvation.

012. On a brilliant day, the Three Buddhas will preside over the world and manage the collection of souls to build a paradise.

013. The first step of amassing souls is to anchor capricious thought, for it moves quickly like a monkey or a horse. Once you tame the heart and mind, idle thoughts will no longer spring forth.

014. The time has come to amass souls. Face everything that may come with a new attitude. Understand that all forms, anxieties and concerns must be thrown away when the truth has come. So cast away forthwith the bondage and fame you have no use for, and all the attachments of your heart

015. The Three Buddhas are the administrators of the amassment of souls. Their "registered trademark" is the point initiated by the Enlightened Master.

016. To amass souls requires a transcendent mind and superb integrity, and awareness of the honor of serving every Buddha and Bodhisattva.

017. He who preaches the teachings of the saints of the world's five great religions and who has attained enlightenment can undertake the mission of amassing souls.

018. Adhering the mind to the Heavenly Portal and returning to empitness depends on self-sanctification and the subduing of physical and mental turbulence.

019. To amass souls requires that we understand that we should detach ourselves from all external forms and settings. If all forms are seen as unreal, the Buddha shall be perceived, and the Dao shall be attained. Thus, delivering souls plants more seeds of enlightenment and cultivates superior men.

020. To amass souls means caring not about mundane attachments but reflecting exclusively upon your true self. There are four guidelines for achieving this aim: Distinguish between heavenly truth and human nature; grasp the essence of spreading the Dao and amassing souls; elevate your understanding of the truth; practice cultivation of the Dao with sincerity.

021. Today Heaven sides with the amassment of souls, for Heaven wants to pick the best practitioners of Dao and select the saints and sages for the coming millennia.

022. The amassment of souls is like discerning between rock and jade and good from evil, for fish eyes cannot pass for pearls.

023. The key to amassing souls is to see clearly your original self as it truly is, without any adornment.

024. The gospel of the kingdom of Heaven is the gospel of the amassment of souls; that is, to enter through the narrow gate into the kingdom of Heaven and receive eternal life.

025. Only those who see clearly into their own nature and realize the essence of the true self are qualified to further the mission of amassing souls.

026. The amassment of souls requires the virtues of wisdom, benevolence, and courage in equal abundance, and moreover maintenance of a humble disposition and recognition of new acquaintance with the Dao.

027. Fulfillment of the true self (collection of the soul) requires private cultivation and self-affirmation. As the Sixth Patriarch said: "Reflect inward, and the mystery of true nature will be revealed within."

028. The steam engine operates on the principle of evaporation of water upon contact with heat. As human sentiment is like water, you must elevate yourself to the level of natural law in order to attain command over affairs with equanimity. Therefore as a team member striving to enlighten souls, you must weaken human sentiment and strengthen your rationality.

029. The final amassment of souls shall occur when the original Buddhas return to their homeland in the kingdom of Heaven.

030. The amassment of souls relies on virtue and is conducted entirely according to one's true nature.

031. The amassment of souls emphasizes reflecting inward to reach a state of zero distinction between yourself and the world outside, and so that the true self extends into the great void.

032. The essence of amassing souls is to warm everyone's heart.

033. Focus your mind on the Heavenly Portal and be with Heaven always.

034. The Master said: The three calamities (floods, fire, and wind) and the eight afflictions (famines, plagues, insects, beasts, droughts, floods, monsters, and demons) are intended as warnings for people to return to the path of truth. Only those who have amassed souls and lit the Three Lamps will escape from calamity and the final catastrophe. As the awakened person is indeed a living Buddha, all who amass souls will become living Buddhas in the future.

035. A great era is upon us, so the first thing you must do is adjust your spirit, mind and body--not your wealth and family business--to the new era. Place your priorities correctly, or all your efforts will be in vain.

036. The purpose of amassing souls is to bring about the realization that the final reckoning is like the stealing of treasures: if you fail to practice the Dao sincerely, you will be left with nothing in the end.

037. If you lack a common understanding of the amassment of souls, you will drift from the Way and be cast from the great amassment of souls. This is because the power of karma that has accumulated for the last epoch of sixty thousand years makes you deaf and blind before the truth.

038. You should commit to memory the eight items that identify the day of the amassment of souls, and read and understand them frequently and clearly.

039. The amassment of souls emphasizes cleansing one's mind and body (the mind is soiled by greed, anger, ignorance, and love; the body by drink, lust, property, and aggravation); achieving supreme knowledge; sincere thought; and amending the heart. These constitute the substance of cultivating internal merit.

040. The aim of Dao cultivation today is to lead all beings to restore their true selves. Thus, whether during propagation of the Dao to others or amassing souls, everyone must restore their true self as a refuge. This is not related to having the Mandate of Heaven, for it is the true meaning of amassing souls.

041. The mission of amassing souls is undertaken together by Heaven and man, so you should do your utmost to fulfill it. Proceeding with sincere faith and dedication, you can even bend metal and shatter stone.

042. All energy and action you have committed is directed upwards toward seeking the Way of Buddha and below toward delivering all beings in helping Maitreya to attain perfect enlightenment.

043. I would rather see an old monk fall into hell than mix human sentiment into Buddha Dharma.

044. Deliverance of people requires the agent of 'human sentiment'; amassing souls calls for guidance with the truth.

045. If we undertake the mission of delivering all beings in the same manner as that of spreading the Dao, how can Heaven select saints and sages? Therefore, it is necessary to reform our practice thoroughly.

046. The difference between the mission of spreading Dao and amassing souls is in "cultivation," meaning correction. If you do not cultivate yourself, what will a point initiated by the Enlightened Master mean to you? As the Doctrine of the Mean states: "Knowing how to polish your character, you know how to handle others; knowing how to handle others, you know how to govern a state or clan."

047. As Heaven loves all beings, the Lord in Heaven dispatches the mission of initiating enlightenment to give all sentient beings an opportunity to become a Buddha before the final catastrophe of the third epoch.

048. The mission of amassing souls and initiating enlightenment is undertaken directly by the Three Buddhas. Just as when the saints of the five great religions spread Dao, they transmitted the Dao to others directly at any time and any place. They had no need to conduct rituals with sacrifices and prayer to Heaven to descend on their temple. We are quite fortunate in this respect.

049. Heaven passed forth this admonishment at the Erlin Guanyin Altar during the Spring Liturgy on March 15, 1987: "Before the final reckoning, the transmitter with the Mandate of Heaven will initiate the Heavenly Portal of all those who pass, giving them the chance to embrace the Way of Heaven. However, not all transmitters will have success, as they must have great virtue in order to convert people the world over to restore their true selves. These golden words reveal the mysteries of Heaven, so my children, meditate on them on your own to realize their meaning completely."

Thus it is demonstrated that the mission of initiating enlightenment is ordained by Heaven to give all flesh a chance to obtain the Way of Heaven before catastrophe visits upon us. For if Heaven's Mandate were not so precious, how could people ever have this chance? Consider this question deeply!