Did you know that the Way-place refers to the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas? The City of Ten Thousand Buddhas is the Way-place we're talking about.The City of Ten Thousand Buddhas is everyone's Way-place. You should not give up this great Way-place you have. Why is this Way-place yours? I could not use such a big place all by myself! Therefore, it belongs to every Buddhist in the whole world, not just to myself. I'm just watching the door for everyone. All of you are very busy thinking of ways to become an emperor or a president. You are going off to every comer of the world to realize your ambitions. Perhaps you hope to become a boss, or a manager in a company, or the boss in your household. Each of you has your own role and occupation. I alone am unemployed and without a job, so I can be your worker and watch the door for you.
When you succeed in becoming an emperor or a president, you should make a great resolve to protect and support the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas.
"Teacher, you must be joking with us," you say.
How do you know you won't be the president one day? Who knows, you might be an emperor in your next life. If you are, you should vow, "When I'm the emperor, I must protect the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas. I will build an imperial palace of gold there." You never know! It could happen when you least expect it.
This emperor's disciple is unwilling to return to the palace. I asked him what he would do with his harem, and he said, "It doesn't matter. Tell them to come to the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas." If he does that, then his palace will become a place for spiritual practice. This is very important.
And establish Dharma assemblies. And so next year, I don't know what the Western calendar date is, but on the evening of the 21st of the seventh lunar month, we will purify the boundaries, and on the 22nd we will begin an Earth Store Session to recite Earth Store Bodhisattva's name, or recite Om Mani Padme Hum.
We've held an "Om Mani Padme Hum" session before, where we had three groups reciting in shifts to keep the recitation going twenty-four hours a day. One group would recite for eight hours, then the second group would recite for eight hours, and then the third group would take a turn. During those seven days, the sound of recitation was uninterrupted. After that session, I felt that these Americans "kids" were a lot of fun and very sincere, so I wrote the poem "White Universe" to commemorate the session.
For next year's session, we can look into whether we want to recite "Om Mani Padme Hum" or "Earth Store King Bodhisattva." Either way is fine, and we can recite around the clock. Last time, did each group recite for eight hours or twelve hours at a time? I didn't concern myself with that. They recited on their own, and I didn't take part. You shouldn't think that I will participate in every Buddhist even here. For example, someone remarked, "We never see you when we sit in meditation." I'm here every day, but you don't see me. Who's fault is that? If you don't have eyes, how can you see me? You don't even realize it when I come, because I walk without making any noise. I walk right by you, and you don't know it. This isn't a fairytale, it's for real! You thought I wasn't here. Well, who did you see when you were here?
The Earth Store Session will start on the 22nd, and continue through the 23rd, 24th, 25th, 26th, and 27th, finishing on the 27th. On the 28th, 29th, and 30th, we will perform the Universal Bowing and also recite the Buddha's name. This will be a ten or eleven-day Dharma session. Anyone who wants to come is welcome to come either by yourself or in a group. However, you should first inform us in advance so we can prepare rooms and make arrangements for you to practice here. This is important. Don't come unannounced. If you make a sudden appearance, we have no time to prepare. Once the session begins, we won't be able to pick people up or send people off.
In the future, no matter who comes to the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, we will neither pick them up nor send them off. You are expected to come on your own. If we have to pick you up and send you off, it means the cultivators here have to waste a lot of time, and you certainly don't gain any merit being the cause of that. For the sake of your achieving merit and virtue, we should all get along and treat one another as family. There's no need for formalities. I hope everyone will pay special attention to this point.
To be continued