If you do not hold the precepts clearly and you try to oppress others with your authority, you will not be able to cultivate the Way. Cultivators should be kind, humble, and reverent toward all. They must observe six types of harmony:
1. Harmony of bodies through dwelling together. You cannot say, "I can be here, but you cannot." You have to live together. You cannot engage in physical, verbal, and psychological battles with your Dharma peers and fellow cultivators all day long. You have to live together in harmony. You should not be so absorbed in yourself that you have no consideration for anyone else. Don't use your authority or status to oppress others. That's not allowed. If you oppress people, you are not practicing "harmony in body through dwelling together."
2. Harmony of mouths through refraining from argument. Don't use your mouth as a vehicle for debate and contention, always arguing your own case and putting others down. You should not think that you are better than everyone else.
3. Harmony of minds through shared joy. In your thoughts you are in harmony with everyone. You should realize that the Wayplace does not belong to you alone. It belongs to the entire assembly. Therefore, you cannot use force or oppression with people.
4. Harmony of views through a common understanding. You cannot set yourself up as someone special and criticize everyone else as wrong, saying that your own view is superior. Everyone should have a shared understanding. You should not think you are special. What's so special about you? If you don't eat, you will starve just like anyone else. If you can go without food for a hundred days, you can consider yourself special. But can you do it? Humph! After seven days without food, you want to steal some food to eat. So, what's so special about you?
5. Harmony of precepts through common cultivation. Everyone must hold the precepts. You cannot say, "You have to hold these precepts, but I don't." The precepts must be held in common by everyone.
6. Harmony of benefits through shared enjoyment. If there are any benefits, they should be shared by all. If one person enjoys all the benefits by himself, he is being selfish and unfair. He is partial to himself.
Those who have left the home-life should always be clear about the Six Types of Harmony. They should never obstruct or oppress their fellow cultivators. This is of foremost importance.
On Wednesday I will be going to Asia. This time I will be back within two months. During that time, you should all maintain good conduct and integrity. You should each think about what kind of person you really want to be. Don't let it be like last year when I went to South America, and Gold Mountain Monastery was nearly deserted! If that happens, you'll all have to fend for yourselves. Bhikshus, in particular, while you're at Gold Mountain Monastery, may not bully the Bhikshunis. Bhikshus may not casually scold Bhikshunis. Can Bhikshunis scold Bhikshus? That's even less okay! Bhikshunis should observe the Eight Dharmas of Respect towards Bhikshus. They may not look down on Bhikshus or entertain impure thoughts.
You should all take yourselves seriously. Don't see yourselves as worthless. Each person should fulfill his own duties, so as to avoid making mistakes in cause and effect. If you do not fulfill your duties according to your position, you are making mistakes in cause and effect. Therefore, I said, "When one's nature is calm and demons are subdued, one is happy every day." If your nature is calm and you can hold the precepts, no demon will bother you. "I'm going crazy," you say. If you die, it will be even better. What's the point of going crazy? If you want to do that, you'd be better off dying sooner. Insanity and demons come about when one's nature is not calm. Once your nature is calm and concentrated, you won't be troubled by any demon. All the demons will have been subdued.
When one's Way is lofty, dragons and tigers are subdued.
When one's virtue is weighty, ghosts and spirits pay respect.
If you possess virtue, the Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, gods, dragons, and the rest of the eightfold division will protect and support whatever you say. If you lack virtue, your words will not be efficacious. If you have virtue, everything you say will be efficacious. The line says, "When one's Way is lofty, dragons and tigers are subdued." When you attain the Way, the dragons coil up and the tigers crouch down in submission. When you have sufficient virtue, ghosts and spirits will respect you. They will bow and make obeisance as soon as they see you. They won't be disrespectful.
When one's nature is calm and the demons are subdued, one is happy every day. When false thoughts no longer arise, everywhere is peaceful and auspicious. If you indulge in false thinking all the time, no place that you go will be peaceful. When you're on this mountain, that mountain looks higher to you. When you get to that mountain, you're ready to go on to the next mountain. If cultivators cannot reflect upon themselves and find their own faults, but instead direct their attention outwards, they are making a grave mistake.
Samadhi is gongfu or skill in cultivation. If you lack samadhi, you lack skill. If you have samadhi, you have skill. To develop samadhi, you must first hold precepts. That will help you to gain samadhi. Holding precepts simply means stopping all evil. It means refraining from evil and doing all good. You should do good deeds, not bad ones. Then samadhi can arise. Once samadhi arises, you have to be able to pass tests. Adverse situations that don't go your way are all tests. People who slander, scold, or beat you are testing you to see if you have samadhi. If you do, then when scolded, you think, "Who is being scolded. I don't have a self, so who is he scolding?" You have no sense of self and no sense of others. Therefore, who is being scolded, and who is doing the scolding?
Just now I said you should not oppress people. If others dare to oppress you, they are truly your good and wise advisors. If you are a Bhikshu and another Bhikshu scolds you, beats you, or even kills you, then you should remain unmoved and feel that the experience is as sweet as if you were eating honey, not as bitter as eating huanglian [the bitterest herb in Chinese medicine]. This Bhikshu might be a junior or senior Dharma peer of your generation, or one of the generation after yours— perhaps even your disciple scolding you, the teacher.
Let me tell you that when I was in the monastery, I was scolded by the old monks and the little monks alike. The middle-aged monks also did their share of scolding. For no reason that I could see, they would scold me. As soon as they set eyes upon me, they would start in. They would stand at my door and jump up and down as they berated me. One of my refuge disciples heard them and broke down crying. She said, "Teacher, you are so patient. I myself can't bear it, yet you still can take it."
"If you don't bear it, what are you going to do?" I asked her. "I ought to bear it. Why do they rail at me like that? It's because I'm lazy. I don't do enough work in the temple. I'm not helping them build the temple. That's why the disciples and grand-disciples of the abbot are scolding me. They say I'm not doing my share of the work" So, my own refuge disciples couldn't take it, but I still endured it. There was truly no anger inside of me. I felt as cool as if I were eating ice. It was truly a case of:
Contemplate vicious words as merit.
Then the person becomes your good advisor.
Without his slander leading you to choose
between hostility and friendship,
How could you demonstrate the power of compassion
and patience with nonproduction?
If someone can scold you, no matter who he is, he is actually helping you to cultivate. However, if you help others to cultivate in that way, you yourself will accrue offenses. Who helped Shakyamuni Buddha to achieve Buddhahood? It was Devadatta, who tried to ruin the Buddha but failed. The Buddha realized Buddhahood, and Devadatta fell into the hells alive. Now, if anyone wants to be a good advisor to a Bhikshuni, then go ahead and hit her or even kill her. If you want to be a good advisor, then you can't be afraid of incurring offenses and falling into the hells. You have to want only to help people cultivate the Way. You can assume the appearance of a rakshasa ghost to help people cultivate. Anyone who wants to be a rakshasa ghost can simply lose his temper and scold people. If you want to be a Bodhisattva, simply be cheerful and happy.
Good and evil are two different paths.
You can cultivate the one or commit the other.
If you want to cultivate the Way, you can; if you want to commit offenses, you can do that. It's up to you. The teacher can only bring you in the door. You yourself must cultivate. If you don't cultivate, your teacher can do nothing. You must end your own birth and death, just as you must eat your own food to get full. I'm about to leave, but before I do so, I'm going to say some things none of you want to hear.
If anyone wants to oppose his teacher, he is most welcome. I don't like those who don't oppose their teacher. I do not regard people who follow my instructions as good disciples. Anyone who doesn't follow instructions is not bad.
To be continued