In Cultivation One Must Practice the Middle Way
By Bhikshu Heng Sure
... There was a time, after I had been a monk for two or three years, that I wished to adjust my diet. I said to the Venerable Abbot, "I have too much greed. I'd like to stop eating cooked foods and only eat raw foods. Is that okay?" The Abbot said, "That's not such a good idea. Why don't you just be normal?" I said, "No, Shifu, I really must control my greed." He said, "Well, okay"
The first day, I ate celery, lettuce, and cucumbers, and as soon as I put them in my mouth, my tongue went crazy, looking for flavor. My tongue had its old greedy habits and it craved salt, and oil, and spices, and anything. It was seeking some familiar food, trying to taste the flavors that I was used to at lunch. I think I lasted on that diet about two days and then quietly went back to eating regular, normal food. So that was not so easy. In order to overcome our habits, we must have a wise mentor and have enough skill in our practice. That's the only way to control greed.
Reflecting upon Oneself
By the Abbot Bhikshu Heng Lyu
...We live in a nice environment yet sometimes we are still afflicted with pain and suffering as if we were hanging upside down. Some people say, "It's my bills every month." "It's my debts...my stocks!" "My husband, my wife, my son, my daughter..." Students say, "It's my grades, my Internet, my email..." This reminds me of a conversation the Venerable Master had with a laywoman in Taiwan in 1988. This laywoman complained to the Master about her husband, her in-laws and her children— they all treated her badly and as a result her health was poor. At the end she asked the Master what to do. The Master answered, "You should blame the person who told you to get married at the time." She was speechless upon hearing this.
What the Master really meant, of course, was that she should not blame others. He was hoping that she would reflect upon herself so as to discover the true source of her pain and suffering.