Friday, September 16, 2016

Teaching of Hwang Tae-ra

In the Chinese State of Lu lived Hwang Tae-ra, who as a punishment had a foot cut off.  He was not famous, a cripple and a public sinner and yet many followed him. In a bulletin for priests, the writer gives us some thoughts on which to meditate.

One of the disciples of Confucius asked his master how was it that Hwang had so many following him.  The numbers following Hwang were similar to those following Confucius and Hwang  didn't teach, or in anyway interact with his followers and yet they left with their heads filled with his teachings. The disciples asked: Is there a kind of teaching that comes without words?  Who is the Hwang fellow?

The disciple couldn't figure out why the crippled  Hwang had as many disciples as his own master Confucius without teaching, crippled and a public sinner. The disciple was using his eyes and ears to judge.

Confucius replied:  "He is a saint. I am lazy and  have not yet met him... one of these days I will make him my master. Not only the citizens of Lu but all the members of the human race I will lead them to Hwang."

His disciple surprised at the reply, asked: "Is he a greater teacher than You? What is it that makes him such?"

Confucius replied: He understands truth and lives a moral life. He knows the importance of life and death. Even if the heavens should fall and the earth caved in he would remain calm. He knows what you hear and see is not all that there is... He is a virtuous  person  from which comes freedom and peace. The loss of his foot is no more that having a lump of dirt  wiped away from his pants." This was Confucius estimation of Hwang.

This reply did not satisfy the disciple  and with continued puzzlement:  "Teacher Hwang  doesn't  give any talks or discuss with his followers...  how can one who is absorbed in his own improvement have such a great following?"

"When water is flowing you can't see your image. It is only water that is at rest that you are able to see your reflection is it not?  People are attracted to this quietness." Confucius explained the attraction of Hwang. Spending  time looking quietly at oneself,  in silence and gazing into tranquility they see themselves more clearly and this is Hwang's way of teaching.

In conclusion, we are told that Hwang Tae-ra was a fictitious character that was used by a scholar some 2400 years ago in China to help those handicapped and show that they had within themselves  the God-given light to live beautiful, profitable lives and  help others.