大家過堂 -- 他因為在叢林裡也要過堂，他在我拉林鎮那兒自己住，那就隨便吃這麼三大碗，願意吃一個鐘頭也可以，兩個鐘頭也可以，慢慢吃。你們到臺灣，那是十分鐘的時間，普通叢林裡不是十分鐘，三十分鐘他吃不飽的 -- 所以他每逢過堂首先要坐到行堂那個人旁邊。行堂的那個飯桶在什麼地方，他就一定坐在飯桶旁邊。因為他吃要快吃，人家沒吃完一口他吃了一碗，再添；人家沒吃完一口，他又吃完了一碗，再添。這麼樣這個人吃得這麼多，你說怎樣啊？瘦得皮包骨，一點肉也沒有，就這樣子。那麼你說這是會吃不會吃？這可以說不會吃。你會吃呢，吃的不多不少，不會太過，也不會不及。那麼這學「吃飯三昧」。
[A break in the tape] I'm not afraid of anything, so I'm even less afraid of people opposing me. Why? Because I don't have any sense of self. Whether you oppose me or follow my instructions, I'm just this way. What you do is your business, not mine. Why? It was aptly stated by Great Master Yongjia, who said the following:
Let others slander me;
I bear their condemnation.
Those who try to burn the sky only exhaust themselves.
When I hear it, it's just like drinking sweet dew
Having accepted it, suddenly one enters the inconceivable.
If you slander me, it doesn't matter. If you criticize me, it's also okay. If you raise a torch in an attempt to burn the sky, you will only wear yourself out since the sky is beyond your reach. When others slander or insult me, their words are like sweet dew. "Having accepted it, suddenly one enters the inconceivable." If a person can really have this kind of attitude, he will have tasted the true flavor of the Way.
The two people at Gold Mountain Monastery who have made Bodhisattva resolves announced two weeks earlier that they could not continue their bowing pilgrimage. The reason was that there was over five feet of water on the roads from the heavy rains. They rested for two days and then telephoned and said that they would resume bowing the next day. During the two weeks between then and their second phone call, there was no rain and they managed to bow 325 miles. All of us should give this some deep reflection. The two of them have made such a sincere resolve and have continued to bow every three steps, undeterred by wind, rain, or snow, carrying out a practice that most people cannot do. In the West, they are the first two to practice this kind of Dharma door.
We should all think about what Dharma door we want to cultivate. Our goal is not to be number one. Rather, we want to think about what Dharma door we can use to propagate Buddhism and make it prosper, so that everyone will know what Buddhism is. Right now, the two of them are making a full prostration every three steps. Their bowing has evoked a special response, such that the rain stopped. This is an inconceivable state.
Every time Guo Yu goes down for a bow, he recites, "Homage to the Great Means Expansive Buddha Flower Adornment Sutra and the Ocean-wide Flower Adornment Assembly of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas." As a result, he now has some foundation for his wisdom. When he talks, he doesn't laugh or joke around or behave too casually. Every word he says and every move he makes accords with the Buddha's precepts—the precept Dharma and the precept substance. He is quite in accord with the rules.
All of us at Gold Mountain Monastery should reflect upon ourselves. How can we fail to cultivate when he cultivates so vigorously? Being so scattered and having so many false thoughts, how can we face these two who have made the Bodhisattva resolve? We are their Dharma brothers and fellow cultivators. They received precepts at Gold Mountain Monastery in the United States and subsequently made such a resolve. We should really ponder this well. Cultivation of the Way is not a game or a joke.
After those two monks began their "three steps, one bow" pilgrimage, Guo Yi [Bhikshuni Heng Yin] also wanted to make a resolve to follow in their footsteps, literally. It's a good thing I didn't let her go. Otherwise, the two monks would surely have failed in their pilgrimage. Why is this? They would be bowing on the one hand and false-thinking about how to help this Bhikshuni on the other. If there were a Bhikshuni bowing behind the Bhikshus, they would have false thoughts about helping each other, which would detract from the sincerity of their resolve. That's why I didn't okay this. I didn't give my permission for this.
Later, another monk, Guo Hui [Bhikshu Heng Lai Shi], wanted to go bow with the two. Although this wish is not bad, it's easier to take care of the matters of food and shelter when there are only two people. There is just enough room for two in the tent. There is not enough room for three people, even if they sit up, and the tent would be very stuffy and suffocating. Therefore, I didn't allow Guo Hui to join them.
If two people bow, they have a certain amount of merit. If three people bow, the world will not say, "Oh, look, there's one more!" and have more faith as a result. Such a bowing pilgrimage influences people to bring forth the Bodhi resolve. Two people are sufficient to make this influence felt; there is no need for a third person.
Gold Mountain Monastery is a fountainhead of Buddhism in the West. There's a saying: "When the eight immortals cross the sea, they each display their supernatural powers." Each person can make his own resolve. If you make a resolve to eat, you can study the eating samadhi. Don't think that eating is such a simple matter. It is not easy at all. For instance, people who know how to eat will not eat too little or too much; they know how to stay healthy. An example of someone who doesn't know how to eat is a monk named Zhi Yi, who eats only one meal a day, but has a huge bowl which he fills three times in that one meal. His bowl is bigger than any of ours. What he eats in one meal—three bowlfuls—I could eat for ten days and still not finish. In fact, I could probably live on one bowlful for ten days. He truly resembles a hungry ghost. Why?
When he was living in the town of Lalin, he would eat for one or two hours, taking his time. However, in the large monasteries, only thirty minutes are allotted for a meal. (In Taiwan it is only ten minutes.) He couldn't eat his fill in thirty minutes, so he would always make sure to sit next to the food server. Wherever the food server was, that's where he'd sit. He had to eat fast. In the time it took people to finish one mouthful; he would be done with his first bowl and getting seconds. By the time others had eaten a second mouthful; he would be finishing his second bowl and starting his third. Although he ate like a glutton, he was virtually skin and bones, with no flesh at all. Would you say he knew how to eat or not? It could be said that he didn't know how to eat. If you know how to eat, you would not overeat, nor would you undereat. You would not go to either extreme. That's part of learning the samadhi of eating.
You could also study the sleeping samadhi. "Oh, I know what that is," someone says. "It must mean that you sleep both day and night, being totally oblivious to the waking world and always being in a deep, sleep-like samadhi." That's not it. If you attain the sleep samadhi, then it doesn't really matter whether you sleep or not. It's fine to sleep, and it's also okay not to sleep. There's no problem.
What is the samadhi of wearing clothes? It doesn't mean wearing fine garments and wearing lots of clothes. It means that you aren't even aware of whether or not you wear clothes. You might get up and come to morning recitation without even remembering to get dressed. When you come to the Buddha Hall, everyone will notice that you haven't put on any clothes before it dawns on you. If you can attain that state of mind, that's not bad. Unfortunately, it's not an easy state to attain. If you intentionally attend morning recitation in the nude to show that you have attained the samadhi of wearing clothes, you're making a mistake. It counts only if you yourself are unaware of whether or not you are dressed. It would be wrong to purposefully go nude to show off your spiritual attainment.
Therefore, each person cultivates his or her own samadhi. The two monks are practicing the bowing samadhi. You could perhaps study Sutra recitation samadhi, the mantra recitation samadhi, or the samadhi of making obeisance. The choice is yours. However, you should at all costs avoid learning the samadhi of fighting, the samadhi of being obstinate, and the samadhi of oppressing others.
Cultivators should value virtue in the Way, which takes the form of benefiting others. Put aside the concern for helping yourself, and devote yourself to helping others. Be willing to take harm upon yourself in order to protect others from harm. In other words, if you want to benefit others and not harm them, it is essential to cultivate virtue in the Way. The Way is external, whereas virtue is internal. Externally, you nurture the Way by cultivating various paths.
Once you have the Way on the outside, a sense of great happiness wells up within. You have attained virtue in your mind.
When you have virtue, everyone admires you.
When you have the Way, everyone respects you.
Once you have virtuous conduct, everyone thinks well of you. If you have virtue, then people are delighted when you scold or even hit them. If you lack virtue, then even if you make obeisance to people, they will want to kick you. Virtue wins everyone's respect. Therefore, it is of the foremost importance.
All of you should hang the words "virtue in the Way" on the tips of your eyebrows, so that you see them as soon as you open your eyes. Westerners have no concern for virtue or the Way. It could be said that they have forgotten what is most fundamental. The most fundamental thing is virtue in the Way. Without virtue, one can neither accomplish the Way nor realize Buddhahood. Buddhas are adorned with the myriad virtues. Having perfected and realized the myriad virtues, they were able to become Buddhas.
Virtue in the Way represents righteous energy. It can be compared to the sun and moon. It is equivalent to heaven and earth. Therefore, no one can afford to overlook virtue in the Way.
Virtue in the Way also serves as the Way-place. Virtue in the Way requires cultivation. If you cultivate, you can have virtue. Without cultivation, there is no virtue.
Therefore, if cultivators fail to consider virtue, they will not be able to cultivate. Virtue in the Way consists of renouncing oneself for the sake of others—forgetting about oneself in order to help others without a single thought of selfishness and without ever thinking of one's own benefit. A mind devoid of selfish and self-benefiting thoughts is a virtuous mind. Thus, in everything they do, cultivators should pay attention to virtue. Do everything within your capacity to help others. Supporting the Way-place is a way of helping others. You are cultivating the Way when you protect the Way-place from troubles.
Therefore, each of you should use your utmost ability to perfect your virtue. Then, you will have some accomplishment. Don't be so preoccupied with yourself that you cannot forget about yourself. To practice the Bodhisattva Path, you must forget yourself. While it is important to enlighten yourself, it is even more important to enlighten others. As students of the Buddhadharma, we ought to realize this and never forget about helping others.
To be continued