When we're together, we should dress and do everything uniformly. You shouldn't appear to be special. When bowing to the Buddhas, for example, everyone should prostrate on the bowing cushion. You should not be the exception and bow on the floor. No one should act special by standing on something special either. If you're afraid of your feet being cold, you may wear an extra pair of socks, which should be more than sufficient. I don't understand what you're trying to convey by stuffing something underneath your feet. Why should you appear to be special? You're trying to stand apart from the crowd, thus disrupting the harmony of communal life.
You should act like everyone else when everyone is here bowing to the Buddhas. You create divergence and disarray if you act one way while he acts another. During meditation or recitation of the Buddha's name, for instance, you cannot use the temple's blanket to cover your legs. If your legs are cold, wear an extra pair of pants. Don't be greedy for vanity and luxury, yet feel that you're cold when you sit. Since you're unskilled, why don't you wear more clothes? Why do you want to cover yourself instead? No one wraps their legs with anything special in the meditation halls of China; they only cover their legs with the padded jacket or the long robe they wear. No one takes a bed of blankets or a comforter to cover their legs. These are the symptoms of non-cooperation. You're not cultivating along with everyone else if you're an uncooperative nonconformist.
If you have any ailment, you should wear more clothes. You protest though, "I can't meditate so easily if I wear more layers." If you are used to it, it works. It's only because you're not used to it that you don't think it's easy to meditate. I can wear as much as I possibly can–thick cotton pants, padded coat–yet still sit in the full lotus posture. If I can do that at my age, I believe all of you young people can as well. You say you're incapable of this and incapable of that because you lack determination, capacity to bear pain and hardship, and moral fiber to endure what others cannot endure.
You genuflect if the Communists tell you to kneel on broken glass. You have no way to leave a prison cell if they lock you up for several decades. How come you can do it if others force you? Why can't you set a goal to do what others cannot do? Why do you have to be as useless as a scalawag? If you don't cultivate seriously, you create offense karmas. Let's not talk about your dearth of merit and virtue. In fact, even if you earn merit and virtue, you cannot possibly compensate for the offenses that you've created. With weighty offenses and slim merit, your foundation is short of virtue. As a result, you end up wasting your time, letting time slip through your fingers. Therefore, we must needle our wound and analyze our pain rather than languish in leisure and shirk responsibilities, refusing to do anything disadvantageous to us. We want the upper hand in every situation, lazily hiding out in peace and quiet and perfunctorily fulfilling our duties.
Should the monastery not shut its doors if everyone acts this way? When Gold Mountain Monastery first opened, everyone endured hunger, pain, cold, and misery in order to recite the Six-Syllable Mantra twenty-four hours a day. We cultivated in earnest. Now, people are languid during the morning and evening ceremonies—coming in late, leaving early, and taking bathroom breaks in between. Where has your mind gone in that case? Have you asked yourself that question?
What's more, you pretend to be sick. You ask for sick leave. Those who really are ill may claim that they're sick, but you should not fake an illness. You cannot refuse to get up in the morning so that everyone waits for you. Whichever side it might be, people should go to the main hall together for the morning and evening ceremonies. No one should go alone. You must wait until everyone is there. You will wait for anyone who is still sleeping. How come everybody's absent from the morning ceremony? It is because everyone was waiting for that person. There has to be a record of this. If that person isn't sick but gets up late on purpose, that person will have to move out of the community. This applies to everyone, regardless of how long you have left home. It's not communal living when you do not keep to the group and try to stand apart. Why can't you get up if others can? What are you doing at night? There's no nightlife here; why do you get up so late? How hideous! How embarrassing! You've left home—what kind of home have you left? You can't bear a bit of suffering. You can't even manage to attend morning and evening ceremonies. How can you cultivate? You claim you work hard, but it's all a facade; you're just deceiving and lying to people. You don't cherish yourself at all.
You must leave the hall as a group after the morning and evening ceremonies. No one may run off early. The more you learn, the more rules you disregard. Since where you are now is a long way from the Buddha Hall, you start to walk alone and he does too. He doesn't know what you're doing. You don't know what he's doing, either. Each person should know what the others are doing. You can't act on your own. Whoever wishes to act on his own must leave the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas. Regardless of how long you have left the home life, you're not exempted from this rule.
The longer your tenure, the more you should be others' exemplars. People are supposed to learn from those who have left the home-life for many years, yet you are unqualified as role models. Others imitate your gluttony and indolence, hiding out in some safe haven. How can I permit that? You usually joke and laugh, but during ceremonies you become lethargic.
I wanted to continue to rebuke people, but my fellow cultivator and good and wise advisor tells me not to scold people. He warns me not to commit the karma of speech, which would assuredly destine me to fall in the hells in the future. I responded, "I'm willing to fall into the hells if others will improve." He exclaimed, "No! No!" So I will stop. I will not admonish you pampered emperors... And you dare laugh! How shameless!