Saturday, August 23, 1975 (evening)
Venerable Master: Dhyana Master Gao Fengmiao always fell asleep during his meditations and so to prevent this he went to sit on top of a mountain. He sat atop a rock which looked like an inverted lotus, and the drop was who knows how far. He knew that if he fell asleep he would fall over the edge and be smashed to a pulp. The first day he sat very well. The second day went fine. But on the third day he dozed off and slipped over the edge. "I'm finished!" he thought, but just then Weitou Bodhisattva reached out his hand and snatched him out of the air.
Gao Fengmiao thought, "Weitou Bodhisattva is protecting me. How many cultivators are there like me in the world?"
"There are as many as the hairs on a cow," answered Weitou, "and since you are so arrogant, I won't protect your Dharma for the next eighty thousand great eons."
Hearing this, Gao Fengmiao was deeply ashamed. He repented earnestly. He cried and cried until he even forgot about sleeping. He cried himself into a stupor, forgetting everything, until suddenly, as if waking from a dream, he realized, "Before I knew that Weitou was protecting my Dharma, I cultivated the Way. Now, I will continue to cultivate whether he protects me or not. And he sat down again, more determined than ever. It wasn't long, however, before he fell asleep again and fell over the edge. Oddly enough, the same hand reached out and caught him.
"Who's that protecting my Dharma?" he asked. "It's me, Weitou Bodhisattva," came the reply. "Hey, Old Wei," said Gao Fengmiao, "You don't keep the precepts either. You told a lie." "I did not," countered Weitou. "You said you wouldn't protect my Dharma for eighty thousand eons and here you are protecting my Dharma," challenged Gao Fengmiao. Weitou replied, "Because of your one thought of genuine repentance, you overstepped eighty thousand great eons of retribution and so I came to save you."
The important point was that in his one thought of repentance, he was able to cancel out, to pass beyond, as it were, eighty thousand eons. That should answer your question. If the "schedule" for enlightenment was fixed, it would turn into a dead dharma, not a live dharma. It would be a fixed dharma, and there simply are no fixed dharmas. Shakyamuni Buddha cultivated for three great asamkhyeyas of eons, but that's just a manner of speaking. Three great asamkhyeyas of eons don't go beyond a single thought; one thought is just three great asamkhyeyas of eons. Haven't you been listening to the Avatamsaka Sutra? Do you know how many great asamkhyeyas of eons you have already cultivated? Maybe you have been cultivating for six great asamkhyeyas of eons.
Disciple: Perhaps not.
Venerable Master: How do you know that you weren't a louse on the body of a Dharma Master who recited "Om Mani Padme Hum"?
Disciple: Perhaps I still am.
Venerable Master: Guo Lin, what question did you want to ask? You can't come out to ask questions during the time when people are reciting the Buddha's name. That shows a total disregard for the rules.
Disciple: The Gold Mountain Doctrine in two separate places says that "we do not change," and it also contains the phrase, "make revolution in the Sangha."
Venerable Master: The phrase "making revolution in the Sangha" is not part of the doctrine itself. The first three statements are the Gold Mountain Doctrine: "Freezing, we do not scheme. Starving, we do not beg. Dying of poverty, we ask for nothing." What follows is the transmitting of the Buddha's mind-seal in accord with true principle.
Disciple: I was wondering, since you are the Orthodox Dharma, how can you advocate revolution?
Venerable Master: It is just because we are the Orthodox Dharma that we need a revolution. Every place else, it's the Dharma-ending Age. If you don't reform the Dharma-ending Age, you're neglecting your responsibility. Revolution refers to revolution in the Dharma-ending Age, not in the Orthodox Dharma. You don't realize how things are done in Asian Buddhism. For example, during the Incense Praise, the abbot lights the first stick of incense and when he is done he signals to the lay people to offer incense. The one who wants to light the first stick has to pay $5,000 or $50,000 [added during translation] and only then can he approach the altar. Not just anyone can go up and light incense. The first person to light incense pays $5,000, the second, $4,000, and the third, $3,000. That's a fixed rule. In the Dharma assembly, the one who gives the most money is the greatest Dharma protector. Do you think this is right?
To be continued