If you can develop your skill--then it is true, true, true--all of it is true.If you aren't able to develop your skill, then it is false, false, false--all of it turns into falseness.
Just now someone doubted whether he could become a Buddha or not. Becoming a Buddha is not a question of whether you can or not, but a question of whether you cultivate or not. Whoever cultivates will become a Buddha; whoever doesn't cultivate will not become Buddha. It is the same principle as whoever eats will get full; whoever doesn't eat, won't get full. If you insist, "I cultivate! I cultivate!" only saying you cultivate but failing to actually do the cultivation, then that is useless. That's like talking about food or counting others' money. Talking about food, you say, "That kind of pancake is delicious. When you pan-fry it, it's great! Chinese dumplings are superb! I like to eat Chinese hot buns even more!" But all you do is recite the menu--sort of like reciting a Sutra. You don't actually eat those things. Then, that's of no use. You don't gain any advantage at all from it. Or it's like a teller in a bank who counts other people's money. All day long he counts money, but none of what he counts is his own. He's still just a paid employee who earns a few hundred dollars a month. He may count billions, count vast sums of money every day, but it's not his. These examples are just to say, we should honestly and reliably, actually cultivate.
If you really cultivate, then it is impossible not to become a Buddha, even though you might not want to. However, if you don't cultivate, then it is impossible to become a Buddha even if you want to. And so you ask, "What shall I do about excessive false thinking? Is there some special wonderful method for counteracting false thoughts?" No. "Who is mindful of the Buddha" is the method for counteracting your false thoughts. If you can concentrate on looking for "who," then the other false thoughts will disappear.
During these few days I have told you many times that the topic of "Who is mindful of the Buddha" is like a broom used for sweeping the floor. Sweep a bit and things get a little cleaner. Sweep a bit more, and things get a bit more clean. Each time you contemplate "who," many false thoughts are eradicated. If you contemplate "who" twice, the amount of false thinking decreases even more. The process of contemplating "who, who, who, who" sweeps the false thoughts away and leaves us clean. You say, "I want to try some other method." There isn't any better method. This is the very best method. If you recite mantras or are mindful of the Buddha, then those are methods for counteracting your false thoughts. If you can use them, then those kinds of false thoughts can lead to the truth. But if you can't use them, then those kinds of false thoughts turn into falseness. If you can use the Dharma--if you can develop your skill--then it is true, true, true--all of it is true. If you aren't able to develop your skill, then it is false, false, false--all of it turns into falseness. And so it remains to be seen to what level you are able to develop your skill. If you always hold aloft the regal jeweled Vajra sword to illuminate everything that is empty and false, then what is empty and false will vanish. It will disappear.
Time passes in the blink of an eye. Those who have had some response from their work should not be pleased with themselves; those who haven't had any response should not be distressed. You should continue to work hard. You now know the method used in investigating Chan meditation. And so you can continue to work at your cultivation even at home. Wherever you are and whatever you are doing, you can investigate this meditation topic until you awaken to its meaning. As long as you maintain the investigation, it is for certain that one day you will become enlightened. By being single-minded in your work, you will be successful. If you are not single-minded, then even if Shakyamuni Buddha himself appeared before you, you still wouldn't be able to become enlightened. Why? It is because you don't have your mind on what you are doing, and so you cannot become accomplished in your skill.
This year's Chan meditation session has been a good one--out of so many people, very few have been lax. Although sometimes after lunch you wasted a little time, it's not fair to expect too much. In this country, we are breaking new ground that has never been planted before. In order to plant Buddhism here, the breaking of new ground must be done little by little. That is why I haven't said anything about certain bending of the rules. Every year things get a little stricter--you already realize that. Last year was not as strict as this year, right? Or have you forgotten? I know that last year was not as intense as this year. This year some of you have had some accomplishment. Several people obtained some advantages. But if you ask if these were major awakenings--no, they were minor ones. And if you ask who had them, then it's obvious you weren't one who did! If you ask, then it wasn't you. If you don't ask, then perhaps you had a share. At least in the future you all can have a share, so don't be nervous.
In developing your skill, whether you have a response or not is just like when you drink water only you know whether the water is warm or cold: it is something you yourself know; others may not know. This year's Chan meditation session is over; in the future if you have chance to attend another Chan meditation session, you should be especially intense and not let even a second go by in vain. Work well in developing your skill to find out what your original face is--the one you had before your parents give birth to you.