Men may not enter women's residences or surrounding grounds and women may not enter men's residences or surrounding grounds, without someone of the same gender accompanying them. No exceptions will be made to this rule. The Venerable Master added the line that there will be no exceptions. There are also special rules for families living at the CTTB.
There are two reasons for this. One, of course, is that we're in a monastery. The genders are separated very clearly. But actually, this is a general rule. People, especially left-home people, do not go into each other's rooms just to talk, even if you are of the same sex. Why? If you go into someone else's room, you'll probably end up gossiping. Gossip, of course, is against the precepts. It's included in the precept against false speech. There are four kinds of false speech, and one of them has to do with gossiping. So it's a very basic precept. Gossip can destroy the Way-place. Now I feel that we all have to take responsibility for this.
In the past there was not very much gossip here, because Venerable Master would announce everything. Since everybody knew everything, there was nothing to gossip about. Even when he was going to go somewhere, he would sit up on the Dharma seat and tell everybody where he was going and what he was going to do. One time he was sick and the doctor told him to drink some milk, so he got up here in front of everyone and announced that he was going to drink some milk. These seem to be very personal, small things, yet he took time and energy to tell us all, so that we wouldn't have any false thinking about what he was doing.
We would have community meetings about every two weeks, at least once a month. At these community meetings, Venerable Master would tell us everything that was going on at the CTTB. He would also correct people at those meetings. If somebody was doing something wrong, that also would be discussed right out in the open and everyone would know. So there was nothing to gossip about. But now it's more difficult because our community is much more complex than it used to be. There are many more people here than before, and everyone is extremely busy.
I think we need to work on ourselves more, take more responsibility for our mouth karma, and that includes me. If we can do this, we can help the Way-place and not waste so much time because gossip is basically untrue. It's not factual, and we get confused if we listen to it or speak it.
All of us here must realize that everyone else here is helping us. No one here is trying to hurt us. It's one of the safest places in the world to be, and there's no need to gossip.
No firearms or weapons of any sort are allowed. Fireworks, flammables, or anything else that could possibly be harmful is strictly prohibited. This means that we should be careful using equipment, especially powerful equipment, and not harm living beings. All residents and guests, both Sangha and laity, must register at the Administration Office so that housing may be assigned to them. Visitors maybe subject to a housing fee that may or may not include meals.
Sleeping outside or in vehicles is not permitted. The CTTB reserves the right to inspect baggage of residents and guests when they arrive and depart. We're going to inspect your baggage. Actually, this is a very old tradition in all the Buddhist monasteries. Normally, we don't do that because it's embarrassing for us. Of course, one of the reasons that it's done is to be sure that no one is stealing things from the Way-place, because the retribution of stealing even a small thing from the Way-place is really, really extreme. We haven't really been upholding our responsibility in this matter, and so we constantly find things disappearing.
For example, we had a hundred umbrellas and now we can hardly find any of them. They were just for the guests to use while they were here, and now they've all disappeared. Some people come here and take the fruit and some people pull the peacocks' feathers out. They probably think these are small things. Now if you see people do these things, you should help them, not let them come to this way-place and create offenses. But this of course has to do with the precept of stealing. According to the precept of stealing, even if you moved something from its place without letting anybody know and you don't put it back, even if it's at the CTTB, it's still considered stealing.
If you need to borrow something to do some work, you should leave a note in the place where you took it from, and you should always remember to put it back. Sometimes if you go around the City, you will see all kinds of things lying around on the ground: shovels, tools, all kinds of valuable things that are being destroyed by the elements because someone just left them there and didn't return them. We should be mindful of this.
Next, both Sangha and lay residents of the CTTB must request permission before leaving the grounds. The request should go to their designated supervisor with their time of departure and time of return. This needs to be done at least two days before the planned trip. No one may leave without the supervisor's approval. I can't believe that the boy driving out at midnight and the girl driving the car out at midnight got permission to do that. So they breached their contract with the CTTB.
The Master used to make a point when he came here to always sign in at the office and always sign out. Of course he didn't have to, but he did it. And I have to admit that I myself am very sloppy about this and I have to improve.
Each automobile must be parked in its designated spot. No overnight parking is permitted in front of or adjacent to the north side of the administration building. The north side is basically the front of the building.
For the sake of maintaining a quiet, sagely, smoke-free atmosphere, automobile traffic beyond the barriers is limited to residents and students unless special permission is granted. This is something that the Office has to pay attention to. CTTB cannot accept responsibility for lost or stolen property.
Here's one to pay attention to. No one may teach classes or act as a spiritual advisor or tutor without permission from the Education Committee.
Suppose someone comes to the City, doesn't stop at the office, but just goes and finds a place because they've been here before and kind of know the City, and they go around telling people that they have just written a book and they have the tape, and they want to teach them a special dharma. This is against the rules. And when you accept these things and agree to be taught by this person, you are breaking the rules of the CTTB.
Time is getting short, and there are some important housing rules. I think all the rules are currently a problem. The first one says that all residents are required to live in the housing provided. Any arrangements for students for off-campus housing must be approved by the CTTB.
If someone assigns you that room, you have to stay in that room. If somebody assigns you to an apartment, you must stay there. All resident fees must be paid in full. All past due fees and bills must be paid before a resident can continue to occupy a dwelling. You can think about that one. To repeat, all residents are required to stay in their assigned room only.
Residents are responsible to keep their dwelling places clean and neat. Rooms are subject to inspection. No screws, nail, tape, or the like may be used on the walls to destroy the surfaces of the walls. And things should remain in the room where they were originally placed unless you get permission to remove them.
I would like you to take a look at the dwelling place where you're living and you'll see that it's falling apart probably. The buildings here are falling apart, because the people living in them are not taking care of them. Everyone expects the Sangha to fix all the buildings. I think that's a very extreme problem.
Now, when we're talking about fixing the dwelling, it doesn't mean that because you like purple paint, you paint the walls purple while you're living here. This place does not belong to you.
To be continued