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Sunday noon, December 3, 1972

29. On Being Jealous and Obstructive


There’s a bit of news about a disciple of mine whose real name I never really knew. No one seems to know if his surname was Liu or Yang. When he took refuge, he recorded the surname Yang, but people have also said his surname was something else. He registered with a false name even when he was taking refuge, so to this day we still don’t know his true name. He said that he himself didn’t know his last name.

Why was he so evasive? He hadn’t come for Buddhism. He had come to study gongfu—martial arts. I first saw him at Guangzhou Temple . He ran after me as I came out of that temple and asked me where I was from. Later, he came here to San Francisco . He somehow had the idea that all Chinese monks know martial arts. He thought all monks were like the monks from Shaolin Monastery, where they specialize in Shaolin boxing and Arhat boxing and have impressive martial skills. And so when he saw me, he thought that I had some gongfu. He could tell whether or not a person has skill by the way that person walks.

He came and took refuge with me, but his purpose was not to become a Buddhist, but rather, to learn gongfu. Since he hung around the monastery, I found him some work and let him translate for me. But he was not a reliable translator; he often omitted important principles that I explained. He translated only the superficial things. Since he himself had not managed to learn martial arts from me, he was afraid that others might. From morning to night he was jealous, obstructive, and selfish. He was particularly jealous of two young men who came here. I also had a jealous disciple in Hong Kong , who acted in much the same way. 

 Once, he accompanied me to Los Angeles and on that visit, many people wished to take refuge with me, but this jealous disciple obstructed them and discouraged them from doing so. Since he had come with me, people listened to him and no one took refuge.

He also followed me to Arizona to attend a religious conference held on a Native American reservation. I recited the ŚëraÚgama Mantra for them. Some people wanted my address, but this jealous disciple wouldn’t give it to them. Some others wanted to give me their addresses, and he also refused to take those addresses. As a result, those people never did manage to locate me.

Why did this disciple do things like that? He was terribly afraid that people would draw near to me and learn the Dharma and gongfu, and he wouldn’t have a chance to study them. So he jealously kept others away from me.

Several years ago he went to Hong Kong and probably studied martial arts there. Upon his return to America , he no longer came here. A couple of months ago, he died. He was only in his thirties. Even so, he’d made some money—over $70,000 in his bank account. He left it all unconditionally to his elder brother.

When he was alive, he had money but he refused to use it to create merit and virtue. Now that he is dead, even if he wanted to create merit and virtue he would have no chance to do so. What a shame! There’s a lesson to be learned here, so I decided to tell everyone this story today.


Timely Teachings. Ch. 1 Part II, page 46, following paragraph 2