So, another disciple took the lead and started bowing to me every day. Seeing this, someone said that I had told everyone to bow to me. But I never said that, because I know I have no virtue. That's why I don't like people to bow to me. That person also started bowing to me, in a flippant way. He didn't do it seriously, because he felt he was an old-timer, and that it would have been beneath him to bow to me seriously. So he bowed as a joke, but later he felt he no longer had any face to come here. The Buddhist Lecture Hall has established some rules now, and you Americans have set up the rule that people shouldn't talk. I agree completely with that rule, I don't like to talk either. If we talk less to each other, we will create less trouble. You are doing quite well now, and the rules are much better kept than in the beginning. I believe that day by day it will get even better. In America [in Chinese, literally "the beautiful country"] everything is beautiful, and so I'm sure that the rules established here will not be ugly either.
They always delight in sitting in dhyana and, in a quiet place, cultivating collecting their thoughts. Manjushri, this is called the first range of association.
You must delight in sitting in dhyana, and then you will be able to do so. If you don't delight in doing so, then even though you may sit in dhyana, it won't be of any use. They always delight in sitting in dhyana. This is the most important requisite for cultivating the Bodhisattva Way. If you don't delight in sitting in dhyana, I believe you will be quite scattered. If you sit in dhyana, you can obtain samadhi power.
"Do you have to 'sit' in dhyana?" Yes, and no. We can define "not sitting" as being before you have ever sat in meditation. However, after you have done the sitting, can also be defined as "not sitting." The actual period when you are sitting in meditation can be defined as "sitting." And so I say it's also not sitting, because once you have achieved dhyana, then when you sit you are in dhyana, when you walk you are in dhyana, when you are asleep you are in dhyana: when moving, when still, when awake and when asleep, it's all dhyana. But before you have understood dhyana, you must first sit in dhyana. Once you have attained dhyana, you never leave it. In movement and stillness, in waking and sleeping, dhyana is you and you are dhyana. Dhyana follows you, and you follow dhyana. Just as a shadow follows a form, you couldn't leave it even if you wanted to. That's samadhi power.
"You've been talking and talking about it, but exactly what is dhyana?" It isn't anything at all! If you think it is something, you have an attachment. It is not anything at all, so there is no attachment to anything.
You say, "What you are saying is too indefinite." Of course! If it were definite, it wouldn't be dhyana. Dhyana is not definite. It is emptiness. Out of emptiness your samadhi power arises.
"Chan" is the abbreviated Chinese transliteration for the Sanskrit word "dhyana." The entire transliteration is "chan no." Translated, dhyana means "cultivating one's thoughts" and "quieting reflection." You sit there and cultivate your thoughts; you sit there and quiet your reflections. If you don't know how to apply effort, then you will sit there and strike up false thoughts. You should chase those false thoughts away. Once you chase away the false thoughts, you won't have any.
You should not think that "striking up false thoughts" is necessarily a bad expression. Change it to "chasing away false thoughts," and it's not bad. Do battle with your false thoughts. When a false thought first arises, use the demon-quelling pestle to beat it to death. When the next one comes up, use the demon-quelling pestle to beat that one to death, too. Sometimes after you have beaten one to death with the demon-quelling pestle, the same one comes back to life again. In that case you should use the demon-slicing sword. With it, you can slice right through a false thought the moment you see it arise. Once it's sliced in two, it won't come back to life again. That's how powerful the demon-slicing sword is. Once you slice through your false thoughts until they die, then your wisdom can arise. Wisdom, in fact, is the demon-slicing sword. If you have wisdom, you have a demon-slicing sword; if you don't have wisdom, you won't have a demon-slicing sword either.
To be continued
Venerable Master's Dharma Words
We should nurture our energy, and not expend it in a fit of temper.