Liao fan

Liao-Fan Yuan was born during the Liao-Fan's Four Lessons (了凡四訓), which was written originally to teach his son, Tian-Chi Yuan. The principal idea behind these lessons is that destiny can be changed through proper cultivation of kindness and humility. Thus one should not be bound by fate, but by one's own actions.

Liao-Fan was told by a wise monk, Mr. Kong, that he would only live to the age of fifty-three and have no son. At first, he disregarded this monk's words as farcical nonsense, but as Mr. Kong's other predictions began to occur with great accuracy, he then proactively made an effort to rewrite his fate. In relating his own life experience in changing destiny, Liao-Fan, at the age of sixty-nine, wrote and taught these four lessons to his son.

The first lesson shows how to create destiny. The second lesson explains the ways to reform. The third reveals the ways to cultivate kindness and the fourth discloses the benefits of the virtue of humility.

This book, still in circulation after more than 500 years, is said to be a useful foundation in learning Buddhism.

Excerpt from his book

3 conditions for reform:

  1. One must feel shame,
  2. One must know fear,
  3. One must have determination and courage.

3 methods to reform:

  1. Changing through action
  2. Changing through reasoning
  3. Changing from the heart

10 ways to cultivate kindness:

  1. Supporting the practice of kindness
  2. Harboring love and respect
  3. Helping others succeed
  4. Persuading others to practice kindness
  5. Helping those in desperate need
  6. Developing public projects for the greater benefit of the people
  7. Giving through donation
  8. Protecting the proper teaching
  9. Respecting our elders
  10. Loving and cherishing all living beings

External links

  • Liao-Fan's Four Lessons
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