This year has been full of crises. All the left-home people have been very busy everyday with no time to rest. Both the new and the old preceptees must cultivate with courage and vigor. The new preceptees and those who wish to receive the precepts should memorize the fifty-three small mantras and be able to recite them. A left-home person who has not received the complete precepts is equivalent to a layperson. For those who wish to leave home this year, they will have to take the complete precepts before they can be considered true disciples of the Buddha.
Shramaneras and Shramanerikas who wish to receive precepts this year may do so. But after this year, it will not be so convenient. In the future, those who want to leave home will be required to undergo three years of training before being allowed to shave their heads. Then they must go through two years of bowing, repentance and reciting sutras before they can receive the complete precepts. This Ordination platform is a special expedient for those of you who haven't taken precepts yet. We talk about equality in Buddhism. There's no concept of class distinction as a left-home person. So, it is a grave mistake to be haughty and arrogant to the Shramaneras and Shramanerikas in your role as a Bhikshu or Bhikshuni.
In the past, some Shramaneras were made to do hard work when they came here, and the Bhikshus started to order them around. This is not permissible. Similarly, the Bhikshunis cannot think that because they have received the Bhikshuni precepts, they are higher than anyone else. What do you mean by the word "high"? Is it that your attitude is high, or that your thinking is "high"? You yourself should honestly practice, and be a model for others. For example, suppose you're always telling the Shramaneras to do hard work, but you never do any. You tell the Shramaneras to eat the bad food, while you eat the good food. This is not the conduct of a cultivator. You should not order people around. Bhikshunis, if you cause those who haven't received precepts to retreat from their Bodhi resolve, you are creating limitless bad karma. Although you are a left-home person, if you cannot be a true and good model for others, then you will let down your parents, teachers, the Buddhas, the Bodhisattvas, and the Way-place. After receiving the complete precepts, you have to eat what others cannot eat, take what others cannot take, be patient with what others cannot be patient, and yield what others cannot yield. It doesn't mean other people should follow your instructions. That would cause those who haven't brought forth their Bodhi mind to not do so, and those who have brought forth their Bodhi mind to retreat. If you make people retreat, then no matter what Dharma door you cultivate, you won't be successful. In the future, you will fall into the hells and undergo endless aeons of suffering. So, don't think that you are something great after you've received the complete precepts, and go around acting like a patriarch. This is a huge mistake.
Everyone says that the people at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas are cultivators. But if you are always jealous and obstructive, with a ghost in your stomach, then you are simply coming here for the food, and passing the time until you die. So, from now on, we in the City should ask ourselves everyday, why did I come to the city? You have to be clear about your own position, and not only echo what others say. Don't be lazy and avoid your work, or pretend to be sick. If you are really sick, you can rest, but if you are only pretending to be sick, then you are acting like a scoundrel in Buddhism. You have to respect yourself. When there isn't much work to do in the Way-place, you can relax a bit, but you can't just go to sleep, or sit there posing as if you are meditating. This "meditation" is another name for laziness. When there is work to do, you don't join the others, but just sit there pretending to be an old cultivator. Real cultivators don't need to put on an act for others. Why must you show off to others? You are not cultivating for other people. You say you need meditation to cultivate, but at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, if nobody is meditating, you shouldn't either. You have to follow along with whatever people are doing and not do something special. Many people come to the City to join the meditation session but what they see is a sleeping session. The sleep demon hasn't been chased away yet. During a session, we must constantly strike up our spirits, sit upright and not let our heads drop down to sleep. If you sleep, you will be hit with the incense board. In a session, you cannot simply do whatever you like. Nobody should fall asleep. You have to get your spirits up and drive away the sleep demon.