上人：不是說在這吵架，我揭你的短，你說我的什麼，就是有不圓滿的地方，我們再提出來補充一下。譬如他照相，我們這個團體的都要照，不要跑得遠遠的，說不照相，這是不合法的，沒有團體心。好像我們出門，無論男女，坐著、站著都距離不遠，一致行動。好像走，不是一個跟著一個的，我們都是男界也兩個和兩個一起，女界也兩個和兩個一起，這麼樣走。我從來在什麼地方，我都是在後邊的，我不願意跑到前邊，所以你們都在我前邊走。不要你看他，他看你，走路都不敢走，好像昨天上飛機（三藩市到洛杉磯），弄得七長八短的，這不像樣子。我們團體要像軍隊似的，大家都要打起精神來，不能在那兒，人家要上飛機，你在那兒睡覺！不能這樣子。我們上飛機也要快，下飛機也要快。不過你走路也不必像跑似的，我們要很穩當、很威儀的，不能叫在家人看我們這班人，大概都是嬉皮吧！都是 Hare Krishna 吧！你們也要知道這一點。男界的在我左邊走，女界的在我右邊走，這到什麼地方都是這樣子。坐也是這樣子坐，要有一定的規矩，不可以坐得八百丈遠，找你們還不知道到什麼地方去找去。昨天上飛機，你望望他，他望望你，你也不敢走，他也不敢動彈，這是幹什麼的？在這兒你們懂不懂這個？（眾答：懂。）
上人：我們是和 Hare Krishna，和那嬉皮都不一樣，做早晚課大家都要一起走。（弟子：排班。）
Chang Fu-lin: Master, this time the Dharma Propagation Delegation isn't bringing much...
Ven. Master: This is not Dharma propagation. We don't have the status to propagate the Dharma, and we can't just recklessly call it propagating the Dharma. We are just visiting, going around learning, not propagating the Dharma. None of us are qualified to propagate the Dharma. We are all students, and whenever we see something worth learning, we should imitate it. When we see something unworthy, we should examine ourselves. On this trip, we should all participate when there's a press conference. It shouldn't be just one person who does all the talking. If that person says something wrong, we should correct the mistake immediately for the reporters. Just clarify it, without arguing. Otherwise, if someone says something wrong, there would be no way to fix it. When we are all together, everyone will know what is being said. If a point has not been expressed well, we can clarify it. We do not want to dispute or pick on each other's faults. We just want to make a few corrections to what is said. Do you understand? (Everyone: Yes.) If someone wants to take our picture, everyone in the group should be in it. Don't run away and refused to be photographed. That's not right, and it shows a lack of group spirit. In public, whether we are seated or standing, the men and the women should not be too far apart. We must move as a unit. Don't walk in single file. Instead, the men should go two by two, and so should the women. That's how we should walk. Wherever I go, I'm always in back. I don't want to be up front, so everyone should walk in front of me. Don't just stare at one another, with nobody daring to take a step. It was a mess at the airport yesterday. It shouldn't be that way. Our delegation should be like an army, with everyone alert and on-the-ball. You can't be sleeping when we're about to board the plane. Don't wait until the last minute to do everything. We have to board the plane quickly, and also get off the plane efficiently. But don't run. We must be solemn and dignified. We can't let the lay-people think we're hippies or Hare Krishnas! The men should walk on my left and the women on my right, no matter where we go. We should also sit this way. There are rules for all of this. Don't sit a mile away, so that I don't even know where to go looking for you. Yesterday when we were boarding the plane, everyone just looked at one another and no one dared to walk ahead. What was the matter? Do you all understand the situation? (Everyone: Yes.) We are not the same as the Hare Krishnas or the hippies. We should set out as a group and go to the morning and evening ceremonies together. It shouldn't be that one person goes first, and another goes later on. Everyone should go together. (Disciple: Line up.) Yes, it should be very orderly. People shouldn't straggle in at different times. Within the delegation, the left-home people should protect the laypeople, and the laypeople should also protect the left-home people. Does everyone in the delegation have a nametag? (Disciple: Yes.) None of us is qualified to propagate the Dharma. You shouldn't be arrogant and say you're propagating the Dharma when you are still wet behind the ears. What do you think you're propagating? How can you propagate the Dharma when you haven't even got your own act together?
Heng Fang: Since we want to be unified, they may give us nametags at the airport.
Ven. Master: If the nametag says we're a Dharma Propagation Delegation, we won't wear it. We don't want "Dharma Propagation Delegation." What does it say on the ones you made this time? (Everyone: These are the nametags from the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas.) That's just fine. We don't need to have theirs. It doesn't say "Dharma Propagation Delegation," does it? (Everyone: No, it just says "Dharma Realm Buddhist Association, The Sagely City of Ten Thousand Buddhas.") That's perfect. Does it have a name? (Everyone: Yes.) You should all know this, and I shouldn't have to tell you: we left-home people should be especially careful not to get arrogant. We are not qualified and we cannot fake it. I know I'm just learning. I don't have the authority to propagate the Dharma. Whether or not you do, I don't know. We are a Visiting Delegation. We go around visiting, calling on friends, seeking knowledge. We cannot be shameless and boast that we are a Dharma Propagation Delegation. There's an attitude of arrogance in that. Do you see? Gwo Jen, do you understand this? (Heng Sure: Yes.) Then why did you call yourselves a Dharma Propagation Delegation? I don't know about you, but if I see the name "Dharma Propagation Delegation," I know I don't have that kind of authority. On our first trip, we were called a Visiting Delegation. The second time, we were also called a Visiting Delegation. As far as I know, on the few trips we've made, we've always been called a Visiting Delegation, never a Dharma Propagation Delegation. We go to each place to learn from people. Haven't you heard me? Every place I visit, the first thing I say is, "I have come to inquire and learn from all the elders and the noble and virtuous Sangha members." When we go to other places, we cannot get arrogant all of a sudden.
There are several topics we should cover in our lectures. First, we should emphasize education because all over the world, education is going bankrupt and culture is being trampled to the ground. If we don't try to reverse this trend, then each generation of humanity will be worse than the last. For example, in American schools, they are giving contraceptives to eleven- and twelve-year-old students. Doesn't that amount to killing the children? Second, we should promote respect for the elderly. Nowadays, no one takes care of the aged, and they get sent to homes for the elderly. But the homes for the elderly don't take good care of them either, and people may even die of cold or hunger there. We should mention this issue, for it's a way to save the world.
Third, we should speak about the problems of young people. How should people in old age, youth, and middle age be? We should explain the "Sutra of Human Life" for everyone. How to be a person—this is the most important thing to know in studying Buddhism. If you cannot be a good person, how can you become a Buddha?
Fourth, we should put emphasis on not eating meat. Actually, we were supposed to talk about why abortion is bad, and why homosexuality is bad, but you all are too young, and not suited for speaking this Dharma. When you're older, it's alright.
The theme of education is very important, and so is respect for elders. Did any of you attend the recent Celebration for Venerating the Elderly? What impressions did you have? Yes, I'm asking you!
Heng Ling: What I feel is, if we have this kind of meeting for respecting the elderly every year, it will remind...
Ven. Master: This is not just every year; it should be every day. It should be promoted in every moment, at all times. If you only do it once a year, what use is that? We must advocate it constantly, in thought after thought, or else people for forget it. If you advocate it once, they will forget about it as soon as it's over.
Professor Yang, the Honored One of the University, plans to write an article. Any of you who have opinions on this can also write articles for
Vajra Bodhi Sea or other magazines. You should all practice writing essays. Just make an honest report for the world, and don't be fanciful. This is a fundamental education, a basic principle, and you should all seek it. At all times, we must promote education. At all times, we must promote respect for elders and tenderness for youngsters. That was the wish of Confucius.
Once Confucius said to his disciples Dz Lu and Yen Hwei, "Tell me what your wishes are." Dz Lu said, "I wish to have a plump steed to ride, and a light furcoat to wear. I would share them with friends, and if they get ruined, I would not be upset." He said, "I'd ride a plump, mighty steed, and wear light, warm fur clothing. My friends can also use them. I'd share them with a friend, so two people can use them. If they get ruined, I wouldn't lament it." This was the answer that Dz Lu hastily blurted out. Yen Hwei said, "I wish to refrain from bragging about myself and speaking about my own labor." He said, "My resolve is to refrain from praising myself and boasting about my good points. No matter what help I render to others, I will not make them feel indebted to me, nor say that I am benefitting them, nor say that I have done a meritorious deed." After they had spoken, they said, "May we ask what the Master's wish is?" Confucius replied, "To console the elderly, to be trustworthy with friends, and to cherish the young." He said, "I will make sure aged people are peaceful, happy, and free of cares. In dealing with friends, I will not make them lose faith in me. I will always keep my promises. As for children, I will treat them all as my own sons and daughters, and care for them with tenderness."
The word dz (子) is a respectful form of address, used in
fu dz (夫子, a title of respect for one's Master), as in "May I ask what the Master's wish is?" In addressing one's Master, one does not use
ni (你, the common "you"). Educated people cannot address their elders using ni. They cannot use that tone of voice. This is different from Americans who address their fathers using "you" and refer to their mothers using "she." That is considered disrespectful.
It is important to know how to address people. In general, laypeople should not call one another by their official names. They should use an alias. For example, Professor Yang's official name is Fu-sen, but he gave himself an alias, Li-chr. By calling him Li-chr, you show your respect for him. You cannot call him, "Fu-sen, Fu-sen." Not to speak of left-home people, even laypeople have this etiquette. The son must not say his father's name. For example, suppose someone wants to make an apology, and asks who your father is. You should say, "The son cannot say his father's name, but since you asked, I will tell you what my father's name is." There are rules of etiquette for all of this.
To be continued