然後又要叫我給批八字，他說看我那本書上說是，醫卜星象什麼我都懂 -- 醫書也讀過，算卦，相面什麼我都懂，所以又叫我給批八字。問我說，「我寫了一個字，師父給我批了沒有？」
Take for instance a certain person who took refuge with me. Why did he take refuge? It's because he thought that after he did, he could get rich. After he became a disciple, he vowed that he would get rich, and once he was rich that he would build a Buddhist hospital. He also asked me to interpret his physiognomy and read his fortune. I answered him like this: "If your physiognomy indicates that you should be wealthy, but your mind is not good, then you still will not get rich. If your physiognomy indicates that you will not be a wealthy man, but your mind is good, then you still can get rich. Therefore, physiognomy is false; don't believe in it."
He still wanted me to tell his fortune. He had read in my biography that I understood all the different methods of telling people's fortunes, and so he asked me over and over, "Teacher, did you read my fortune yet?"
I replied, "Oh, I lost that piece of paper you gave me."
"It doesn't matter," he said. "I'll write it for you again."
He rewrote it, and I said, "I don't have time right now. I'm too busy." "Never mind," he said, "Wait until later." Another month passed, and he asked, "Teacher, did you read my fortune yet?"
I replied, "What? Read what?"
"You know," he said, "That information I gave you to read my fortune with."
"Oh, that," I said, "They must have burned that paper when they cleaned my room." He still didn't get the point and rewrote the information for me. He must have rewritten that information five or six times. I never read his fortune for him, because people who have left the home-life cannot do that kind of thing. They cannot read people's physiognomy, they cannot tell people's fortunes. To do such things is to "advertise your medicines" like snake oil salesmen. People who genuinely cultivate the Way do not get involved in that kind of thing.
Eventually that disciple said he was going to New York. He probably was about to ask me about reading his fortune again, but that time I was no longer polite. I said, "You have taken refuge with me, and now I am going to instruct you. When you get to New York, there will be many left-home people there. No matter what left-home people you meet, I forbid you to ask them to read your physiognomy or tell your fortune. If you have the physiognomy of a dog, then no matter what you do you won't be able to change it into the physiognomy of a tiger. If you have the physiognomy of a tiger, you won't be able to change it into the physiognomy of a dog. What do you keep thinking about that for? Why do you want your fortune read? If you are to be poor and I tell you that your fortune is that you can get rich, you still won't get rich. If you are supposed to get rich, then even if I don't tell your fortune, you will still get rich. If you treat left-home people like that, asking them to read your fortune, it's just the same as insulting them. It's not polite to ask a left-home person such a thing. You really don't have any manners."
He protested, "But there are left-home people who read other people's fortunes and tell their physiognomy."
I said, "They are just snake oil salesmen. Anyone who is a genuine cultivator does not do such things."
After that, he didn't dare ask me to tell his fortune again. He said, "I made a vow to build a Buddhist hospital. It's been several years now, and I still haven't made much money. I'll never fulfill my vow at this rate."
I said, "If your vow could be fulfilled just by making it, then anyone's vow could be fulfilled just because he made it, and the Buddhas would be incredibly busy. They don't have time to get involved in so many matters that don't concern them. Just take going to school as an example. From elementary school you go on to high school, and then to college before you can obtain a Ph.D. How many years does it take? You want to get rich and figure that you can make a vow and in two and a half days it will be fulfilled. If things could happen as easily as that in this world, then everyone would have made such vows long ago, and your turn would never come."
He stammered, "Oh! Oh! Today I truly understand a little! Vows must be long-term and must be maintained for a long time. You cannot just make a vow today and fulfill it tomorrow."
To be continued