Morality, Good Health, and Longevity

BY China Research Group TIMEJanuary 29, 2009 PRINT

New Yorkers, including Rep. Anthony Weiner, take their time to prepare food for the homeless on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. (Ramin Talaie/Getty Images)
New Yorkers, including Rep. Anthony Weiner, take their time to prepare food for the homeless on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. (Ramin Talaie/Getty Images)
Is there any relation between morality, good health, and longevity? A famous Zen master from China’s Tang Dynasty, Shi Xiqian (also called “Stone Xiqian” or “Stone Monk”), told people the secrets of good health and longevity in the form of a prescription.

He wrote: “One kind heart, one part compassion, a half measure of tenderness, three-sixteenths portion of truth, a full measure of strong belief, a full measure of loyalty, and five-eighths of filial loyalty, a whole measure of honesty, all accumulated merits and virtues; of amiability and friendliness, an arbitrary amount.”

Good people are kind and considerate of others. They rarely fight for their own fame and fortune. They respect the old and care for the young. The people around them will naturally respect them, so their moods are quiet; they have good interpersonal relationships and feel happy.

In this atmosphere of life, the neuroendocrine system is calm and the physiological function is orderly. The body is operating soundly, immunity is enhanced, and the body is naturally healthy.

Immoral persons live out of selfishness. They are narrow-hearted, they always think for their own sake, their jealousy is strong, and they compete maliciously to gain a little benefit. They live too alert, harboring hostility and tension.

Such intangible psychological pressure is a burden on both the mind and the body, resulting in organ dysfunction, immune dysfunction, and other diseases. How can such a person live longer?

Stone Monk gives a metaphorical description of how to make the right pills and take the right medicine. He wrote: “All herbs should be stir-fried in a kindhearted and tolerant pan.

“Be careful to prevent charring and drying out during preparation. Hot temper should be removed. The medication is ground in an ‘equality’ pan until it is a powder, with ‘thinking twice.’

“Make a pill using Boluomi (Artocarpus heterophyllus) as big as the fruit of the Bodhi. Take the pill three times a day at any time. It should be taken with ‘peaceful-mind’ soup. If you can really follow this recipe, you will not have illness.”

He says: “Do not do bad deeds while feigning innocence on the surface, benefit oneself while harming others, hurt others with hidden slights, have venom inside and wily intentions behind your smile, or create troubles without reason. You must abstain from all of these.

“If all 10 ‘herbs’ mentioned above are used, one can achieve longevity and happiness,” he says. “If only four or five are used, one can still relinquish some karma and prolong his lifespan and avoid some bad things. If none are used, nothing can be done.”

Even if Bianque or Luyi (famous Chinese medical doctors) were alive, they could not save such a person because he is already untreatable. No matter what he does—worshipping heaven, earth, or gods—it will all be in vain.

This recipe is good for all ages, does not cost any money, and does not need to be cooked. Why doesn’t everyone take it?

Dr. Benjamin Kong from Sweden and Dr. Xiu Zhou from Germany are the principal editors of the China Research Group.

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