高旻寺的妙老和尚，就是打得出名了，無論什麼出家人到那兒，都要被他打過。甚至於脖子都給打斷了，嚇都嚇死你。那個老和尚真是厲害，往那兒一坐，一般的人就好像老鼠見到貓似的，那麼樣地怕。那麼我們這兒和他不同的，我們這兒沒有那麼打，我每天給你們講開示，都是歡歡喜喜對你們好像哄小孩子這麼樣子，好像 baby siter（褓姆）似的。那老和尚根本就沒有笑容的，總是像個關帝公那麼樣子，講起來就歡喜罵人、歡喜打人，這樣子。所以這是不同的地方。
All of you are still here freezing in the icebox. Are you having any problem with the cold? Now I want to bring up and discuss how we are creating an independent stance from which we will change the faults that currently plague Buddhism. I'll be honest with you, one major difference is that in the Chan meditation halls of China, participants eat three meals a day: rice gruel in the morning, a full meal at noon, and Chinese hot buns in the evening.
In the Chan meditation halls of China, all the participants got beaten. All were hit with the incense board, whether they deserved it or not. Every session, everyone had to undergo being hit. The proctors rotated in administering the beatings. They hit participants one by one-everybody got it. We didn't do it this year, right? I did that before, but not this year, because this year I have more kindness and compassion, and you have fewer karmic obstacles, so this year no one got hit. That is another difference. In the Chan meditation halls of China beatings were administered. The severity of the beatings was in direct proportion to the rigidity of the monastery rules.
The Elder Master Miao of Gaomin Monastery, for instance, was famous for his beatings. It didn't matter who they were, all the left-home people who went there got beaten by him. Sometimes shoulder bones were broken by the beatings. It was enough to scare you to death! That old monk was horribly fierce. Participants would sit there terrified-like mice in the presence of a cat. We are different here. We don't beat people here. What is more, everyday I give you instruction, entertaining you like a babysitter. The Old Abbot of Gaomin never smiled. He was just like a Guan Di Gong. He liked to scold people; he enjoyed hitting people. That is another difference.
Why in a country like this should we undergo such suffering? Because this country has the reward of many blessings. Since there are simply too many blessings, you should turn it around and bear some suffering. That's because people who leave the home-life cannot enjoy their blessings. Only in that way will you be able to bring forth a resolve for the Way and think: "I must cultivate. If I don't cultivate, then what in the world am I doing? This would all be meaningless! I don't wear fine clothes. I give up eating fine food. I don't live in a grand house. I endure such bitterness. And so I must work hard and put an end to birth and death." That's another difference.
Another thing, in the Chan meditation halls of China, no one was allowed to stretch out his legs. You couldn't take your legs down off the bench and stick them straight out in front of you. If you stuck your legs out, your legs would get beaten. There was no politeness involved. Even the abbot or the leader of the hall would get beaten. For instance, if the leader of the hall fell asleep and snored, then the proctor would have to go hit him. But the method for hitting a leader of the hall and the method for hitting an ordinary participant were different. The proctor had to kneel with his right knee on the ground and then "pa!"-strike him once to wake him up. He knelt to hit the abbot or the leader of the hall. He certainly could not fail to first kneel down. That is another difference. We don't do that here. I don't instruct you to hit others. The fact that I like to hit others is already bad enough. I don't want to teach you to beat others. That is also a difference.
Another thing, in China, when the tea was served, the teacup was a certain size and there was a certain way to hold it. The cup was held with one hand, the thumb placed on the upper rim of the cup. One extended one's teacup and the person on duty would pour the tea. When the cup was full, one drew the cup back and drank the tea. When finished drinking, one set the teacup down in front of one's place. The person on duty would watch, and when everyone had put his cup down, he would come around and pick them up and remove them from the hall--all without making a sound. He did it in total silence. Although we had ginseng tea to drink here, our rules were not as tight as those. But never mind, we will do it slowly. Gradually we will look into this. Because it's not necessarily the case that all the rules used in China are applicable in this country. We should accord with the customs of this country as well. That is another difference.
In the Chan meditation halls in China, participants were not permitted to walk out of the meditation hall to drink tea or do something else, or to stand around, or to sit somewhere else. None of that was allowed. After they finished taking their meal in the dining hall, they would begin the walking incense-period. You could not do something else-even for a second. Not a second was wasted. That's how it was. But this is America, and things will be done a little bit differently here. That's why after lunch most of you go upstairs-probably to brush your teeth or stretch your legs. Small faults like that are not so important. Besides, as time goes on everything will get on the right track.