We now recite "Namo Amitabha Buddha" and there is nothing more important than this work. Don't you see? Last night it was raining and today the sky is clear. In a moment you are all going to make a vow to stop the rain. The rain has got to stop because we are working hard here at our cultivation. I myself don't have the strength, but if you collectively say, "IT IS NOT ALLOWED TO RAIN!..." Yesterday I admonished Guo Tong because he was being lazy and not working hard. Now we should all do this work together. For these few days while we are cultivating here, the least response we can expect is a clear sky. Otherwise it will be pitch dark at night, and the paths are very muddy. The men don't know this, but the women are really roughing it over there. They have to cross the river, and it is never certain whether they are going to cross the water or whether the water is going to cross them. But I'll tell you:
When you're confused, the teacher takes you across.
When you're enlightened, you take yourself across.
When you become enlightened, you take yourself across; you carry your own flashlight.
At just this moment Guo Hang has struck up a false thought. He wants to run into the mountains to live. Isn't that right, Guo Hang?
Guo Hang: Yes...
Ven. Master: But you have to open your eyes. If you keep your eyes shut, even if you have a flashlight, it will be useless. You'll fall down anyway. Remember, you've all made a vow that it is not allowed to rain. If it doesn't rain, that proves you are all sincere. If it does rain, that will prove that you are not sincere. It has nothing whatever to do with me. It's none of my business. The rain is your business.
Most of the people from Gold Mountain Monastery have entered the sleep samdhi, because they're used to sleeping sitting up, so they can sleep while they sit. The newcomers aren't able to do this.
August 18, 1975, Monday evening
Disciple: This is a story I've already told everyone at Gold Mountain Monastery, but there are so many new people that I'd like to tell it again.
There was an eighty-year old lady. When Shi Fu was in Hong Kong, he had a temple built on top of a mountain and you had to walk up eight hundred steps to get there. I wasn't clear about the details last time and Shi Fu had to tell me, so I know them now.
This eighty-year-old lady was deaf, yet every day she would go to Shi Fu's Dharma lecture. She insisted on going even though she couldn't hear. After a while, one day when everyone was chanting, all of a sudden she could hear them. On the night before this, she had had a dream in which three fat children ran into her stomach, and from then on, she had to eat every hour. She had to go down in the middle of the Sutra lectures and cook something for herself and go back to the lecture. This went on for about a week and then she decided to tell Shi Fu.
Shi Fu would get up very early in the morning and take supplies to an island where he was building a temple, and he would return in the evening for the Sutra lecture. The elderly lady got ready to meet him as he was coming up the steps. She told him her dream. Shi Fu told her to light a stick of incense at midnight. She went back and lit incense at midnight, and then she saw Weitou Bodhisattva take the children by the ear and drag them away. Shi Fu later told her the Bodhisattva was taking them to jail. Afterwards she was cured of her hunger ailment.
The reason she had it in the first place was because in her past life her friend had had that ailment and she had not believed it. She had accused her friend of making it up. That was why she had received this retribution in this life. When she herself had the ailment, a lot of people said she was faking it. Those people will receive a similar retribution in the future.
Ven. Master: If anyone wants to say anything, I'll give you an opportunity to speak right now.
Question: We haven't told people on what page in the Recitation Handbook the Sutras and mantras we'll be reciting are. The newcomers won't know, so people from Gold Mountain should tell them where we are in the book so they can follow along in the recitation.
Ven. Master: Good. You should tell everyone where we are starting. It's not like at Gold Mountain where we only have a couple of new people. Here we should announce it to everyone.
Ven. Master: What time did you start this morning?
Disciple: 7 o'clock.
Ven. Master: Did you do Morning Recitation?
To be continued