He had long hair and wore bracelets on his arms. When I first met Brother Le Dao, I could tell through his appearance and temperament that he is indeed an artist.
Brother Le Dao's life is exceptionally rich. He had gone through a total of seven stages in his life before and after he came to faith in Jesus Christ. Before he followed Jesus, he had believed in Buddhism for more than ten years and in Taoism also for more than ten years. He had worked in different fields including school and business before entering art – and all that before receiving Christ.
Le Dao wore a jade chain on his arm, which looked a bit like a Buddhist Mala. He said it was not a Buddhist prayer bead necklace and that he wore this to reach out to Buddhists and Taoists in hopes of being able to evangelize them. He summed up his beliefs by saying: "My body is in the world, but the heart is in Canaan - that's my life."
His friends had repeatedly suggested he start a short video platform, knowing that he was financially poor. That was because he would accept almost no money other than for calligraphy works of Bible verses and particularly excellent texts that supplied people with positive energy.
"Why do you want me to write?" Le Dao asked humorously. "This is a narrow path I have chosen for myself. They said a short video platform could be very popular and at least 300-500 people would donate money each night if I wrote things like: ‘A true gentleman has ample virtue and is accommodating of all things’. But I said I would find that very boring. Then I would be nothing more than a printer of money and my mission would be gone.”
Le Dao thought much about the relationship between secular life and the heavenly mission. He believes that Christianity needs to shift from emphasizing the visible church to emphasizing and cherishing the invisible church.
Le Dao says that rather than spending tens of millions of yuan to construct church buildings, it is more important to lead people to God and Jesus. By loving each other, people will transition from the visible to the invisible church, which is the root and foundation of life.
Le Dao has as an artist come in contact with many businessmen, some of whom are Christians. He reported that after he had written the “Great Compassion Mantra” and the “Shurangama Sutra”, Buddhists snapped them up quickly despite the high prices. The same thing occurred among Taoists after he wrote “Tao Te Ching”.
But this sadly was not the case among many Christian entrepreneurs. He shared that wealthy Christian business owners he had met paid millions of yuan for villas and fancy cars. But when one talked to them about the Bible, they turned a deaf ear. They were also often indifferent to Christian art involving calligraphy, painting, or sculpture.
Le Dao was very surprised by this. He stated: "Running a big business, they are enthusiastic about donating money to construct churches. But the real way to influence people is not through a church building. A beautiful Christ-like life can bring many more people to the faith.”
This artist believes the most important thing for Christians is, of course, faith itself. Their existence should integrate life, mission, and the commandments. Initially, their faith needs to be built up, only then can they go into service or into money-making.
“When we do our best, we make an impact on the world. But the reality is that Christians often don't do things very well. Others don't notice our influence then and our speech has no power. We report on our good faith and life, but that in itself is often not enough to convince others.”
"Therefore, in addition to believing that we must do our best, we need to make sure we are also striving to do our best in the outside world, for ex. in the fields of art or business,” he added.
"I am doing my best in order to glorify God. This is not for my own benefit, but so that others can see God through me." Le Dao concluded: "If you do your best, you don't need to find ways to attract others. They will approach you on their own initiative and desire to meet with you.”
- Translated by Abigail Wu