Accumulation - 積累 - Jīlěi
Essence of long-dead life
compacted over eons-
Once accumulation has begun,
be careful not to interfere.
~inspired by Deng Ming-Dao
Taoist sages tell of a story of a grieving son, who piously sought the advice of geomancers in the wake of his father's passing. The geomancer instructed the son to bury his father at the mouth of a remote sea cave, a spot which was only exposed during a brief period every hundred years. Although the man had misgivings about the unorthodox arrangement, he did as he was told and threw the casket into the waters at the indicated time.
The man spent weeks in doubt, unsure of what he had done. Finally, unable to stand the pressure, he sought the advice of a competing geomancer. The jealous geomancer advised the son to raise the casket, in hopes of proving his adversary wrong. When the coffin was finally raised, and the lid opened, the son saw a fine layer of gold dust had accumulated on the decaying body. He took this as a sign of the auspicious transformation which had begun.Regretting his doubting manner, he wished to toss the coffin back, but it was too late, and the window of opportunity had passed. There was no method for remedying what he had done.
Spiritual practice must continue uninterrupted. We may anxiously await spiritual developments, a pronounced change in our sense of being, but we see little happening on a daily basis so we may feel discouraged. We must be patient, in order to finally glimpse the accumulation that our effort yields. Self-cultivation must be steady, a gradual progress not one of leaps and bounds. To stop prematurely, on this most important path, is more disastrous than having never started at all.