What does it mean to respect those ahead? What does it mean to help those who come after? “Ahead” refers to a senior cultivator and “After” refers to a beginner. What type of person is qualified to be called a “senior cultivator”? What type of person is still a “beginner”? You may think that seniors are based upon a person’s status and are limited to those who received the Tao earlier than you, like your introducer, your guarantor or a Tao Transmitting Master. In reality, when a person’s virtue is abundant, they have great wisdom, and their actions and words are aligned, the person is then capable of being a role model who can lead others. Only then can the person be qualified to be called a senior cultivator. At that moment, others will respect him or her wholeheartedly. If a person’s virtue is inadequate, they lack wisdom and blindly lead others to a fire pit, how is he or she in a position to truly guide sentient beings back to heaven?
My disciples, time is not on our side. We are entering the last stage. If you still are not able to breakthrough all the images and forms, and only focus on name and fame, then how can you obtain true freedom and liberation? How are you able to return back to your original True Self and truly understand who you really are? My disciples, all sentient beings that are still learning the Tao, cultivating the Tao, and not being able to transcend the cycle of birth and death are all considered to be “beginners”. All sentient beings (the ignorant and lost ones) still depend on guidance from Buddha towards the path of awakening! My disciples, which one of you claim to be a senior cultivator? Aren’t you all considered as beginners? Therefore, the true meaning of respecting those ahead and helping those who come after is to emulate the saints and sages and learn from their upstanding character. Furthermore, you must lower yourself and be humble in helping all sentient beings. You have to support and help those you have affinity with to transcend the reincarnation cycle.
If you understand the principle: “receiving the Tao has its timing and affinity has its pace” and you sincerely cultivate the Tao, how can you not respect those who received the Tao ahead of you and respect those who received the heavenly decree earlier than you? In regard to those who receive the Tao after us, and to those who need proper assistance and guidance, if we maintain a compassionate heart and emulate the Buddha, how can we not love and help them? Therefore, the true essence of “respect those ahead and help those who come after” is to remind us to learn to let go of our ego and respect our seniors. In addition, support and guide those who come after us, and help those with whom you have an affinity with a compassionate heart.