At the minimum, residents of a monastery should avoid creating problems for others and prompting them to quit their cultivation. If you meet that requirement and work hard at cultivating infinite kindness, compassion, joy and renunciation similar to the Buddhas of the ten directions, you will succeed whether you investigate Chan, practice being mindful of the Buddha or whatever. If, on a daily basis, you're anxious about being taken advantage of, refusing to do anymore than you have to in the monastic community, you turn everything into formula. You work during certain hours. You could care less about the Way-place during non-work hours. When we used to have fewer people, everyone cared about the Way-place. Now that there are more people, it's all or nothing. As a Chinese saying goes, "The more dragons there are, the more unreliability occurs. It's either drought or flood." You would think that an increase in population would strengthen the culture of cultivation; unfortunately, our current circumstance proves that everything at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas (CTTB) is a fagade, an absence of substance behind the labels.
Earlier, I had said that "The CTTB Buddha recitation sessions don't resemble Buddha recitation sessions; Chan sessions don't resemble Chan sessions." Why did I say that? Outsiders typically have high regard for the ethos for practicing the Way and strict regulations at the CTTB. Actually, the CTTB is a place without rules. Its deficient mores are deteriorating day by day. It is destroying the Buddhadharma on a daily basis. Why? People are disinterested in improving and being diligent. At the CTTB, people recite the Buddha's name in different intervals. You chant your tune; I sing my song; he intones his melody. No one is in unison. That not only weakens people's resolve, it further intensifies people's worries and tainted thoughts. That is not a session on being mindful of the Buddha, but a session on being afflicted. You can't stand the sight of me; I would rather not look at you. You strike up false thinking when you listen to my recitation; I stir up polluted thoughts when I hear your chanting. We're all pondering uselessly and inducing afflictions. This is a failure to recite the Buddha's name according to the Dharma.
During silent sits, you sleep instead of sitting erect and being mindful of the Buddha. Although I don't say anything, I am extremely hurt whenever I see that. When you aren't serious about being mindful of the Buddha, how can you face the donors?
Teachers and elders? Buddhas and Bodhisattvas? Ask yourself: Why did I leave the home-life in the first place? To idle away my time until death? That would be of no value!
It's the same way with meditation. You don't run in the same direction during the running period. You either run outside or inside. It's okay if you are not sitting, when you do, you start snoring thunderously. You think you're investigating Chan when you're sleeping. Take a look at what you're doing. If you are not wasting time, what else could it be? For whom do you put on such pretenses? Are you cheating others or yourself? If you spend your meditation periods this way, you will not reach Buddhahood, enlightenment or insight in 80,000 great eons, not to mention three, two or one eon. Such incidents make me want to bawl my head off.
Why did I never said anything before? It is because I want to establish places of cultivation in the West. Since this is the beginning, everything is an experiment. It is as if we were back in the laboratory in school. We test one thing at a time, soak up experiences a drop at a time until the water becomes a strait. At that time, we may kill, hack and clear out those who sit idle in the Way-place, keeping only those who are truly diligent. I will say no more. I will be satisfied if I can pick one out of 10,000 people. People here now are still in training.