記得前天對的對聯，「不說妄語，即是真持咒」；你們覺得這個對聯所說的道理正確不正確？有沒有什麼不合乎邏輯學的地方？如果有的話，你們可以提出來，我們現在共同來研究。不要閉門造車，也不要盡單單聽我一個人。我說是，你們就是；非，你們就非；跟著我說什麼，你們就說什麼，不可以那樣子！你們自己都有自己的智慧，自己有自己的判斷力；你們認為這個對聯 no logic (不合理)，you can talk reason (你們可以講理由)。不要不敢講話，我們這兒還沒有到拔舌地獄那麼厲害！你們無論誰說話，說錯了，也不會把舌頭給割去；來建議，我一定接納你的智慧。我本來想要批評批評，但是我也不知道對不對？那就免開尊口了。
Whether you recite the Shurangama Mantra, the Great Compassion Mantra, the Ten Small Mantras or other mantras, if you do not say anything untrue, then you are truly reciting mantras. If you are not honest in what you say, then you are not actually reciting mantras. Mantras are true words; true words are not lies, they are authentic and true. If you recite mantras on the one hand, and tell lies on the other hand, your recitation will never be efficacious. The mantra will stay the mantra, and you will remain you. There will be no response from your karma in body, mouth, and mind. If you continue to indulge in the Ten Evil Deeds and do not practice the Ten Wholesome Deeds, I believe that whatever mantra you recite will not elicit any response.
If you do not tell lies, then you are constantly reciting mantras, every moment, every day, every year. There is not a second when you are not reciting mantras. When you do not tell lies, then that is truly upholding mantras. If you do not believe this, you can try experimenting with this principle. It sounds very simple, but it really is true. If you recite on the one hand and tell lies on the other, you will never obtain
samadhi from your recitation; you will not obtain the benefit of the mantra recitation. It is not that the mantra is not efficacious, rather it is due to your lack of sincerity. If you are sincere, you will not say dishonest words, and anytime you speak, your words are a mantra. Because you do not engage in dishonest speech, everything you say are true words. Today’s couplet starts with “Not telling lies is truly upholding mantras.” Try to match the couplet. Let us take a look at your wisdom.
Tomorrow’s meeting will be at 8 a.m. I don’t really need to tell you; you should remember. If there is no special Dharma assembly or special circumstances, we will have our meeting every Sunday. Everybody can speak their mind. Everyone can express how they feel. When I ask you questions during lecture time, some of you dare not speak. When we hold meetings, everybody is equal. There is no discrimination between the master and the disciples. There is no hierarchy. Everyone is the same. Everyone has the right to speak. Everyone can say whatever they want to say, on one condition, which is that they do not scold or get mad at other people. Otherwise, feel free to speak. This is the way we conduct our meetings. We are in a democratic country. We should certainly abide by democratic customs. Do not use pressure to oppress other people.
All individuals who work for the monastery should attend the meeting tomorrow. In the future, every event in the monastery should be given serious attention. Nothing should be done haphazardly. Why? Once you do not take things seriously, it is very easy to fall into the hells. I do not want to see you making mistakes in cause and effect and falling into the hells. Therefore, when we help out in the monastery, we should be serious in what we do. We should be careful. Do not haphazardly go through life as if the things you do don’t matter. If you do not understand the principles of cause and effect and end up creating offenses in the monastery, to the end of time it will not be easy for you to leave suffering and find happiness. You may repeatedly say that you want to leave suffering and find happiness, but how can you attain this without doing what it takes to leave suffering and be happy? You should all pay special attention to this point.
Furthermore, the work in the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas increases everyday. Hence, we should be more careful everyday. We should take things more seriously everyday. We should sincerely do our jobs. Why did I start the first part of the couplet with “Not telling lies is truly upholding mantras”? This may appear simply to be a couplet, but in a deeper sense it is speaking a kind of dharma – the dharma of not telling lies. Do not think that everything will be fine just because you recite mantras everyday. The dharma-protecting spirits, gods and dragons of the eightfold division do not like people who tell lies. They will not come to protect you if you tell lies. Your mantra recitation will not be efficacious. On the other hand, if you do not lie, whatever you say will be effective and will bring a response. It will be even more efficacious than any esoteric mantra. If you lie, whatever you do will not bring a response. You should all remember this.
The number of people here in the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas grows day by day. The number of tasks grows in proportion as well. We must be prepared for visitors anytime. You can either designate a person to be in charge of handling visitors, or you can take turns. The men’s side should nominate a monk and a layman; the women’s side should also nominate a nun and a laywoman. When there are many visitors, you should stay close to me to make it convenient for us to discuss plans of action necessary for the moment. Do not stay far away from me as if I were a fierce tiger who would kill those who get close with a single bite. Do not act that way. Keep this in mind. From now on, in whatever Dharma assembly, always stay nearby. Otherwise, I still have to look for you when necessary.
Why did we not do things this way before? It is because we did not have this many people before. We could do things haphazardly and get by. Now that the number of people has increased, you should all pay more attention to your demeanor at all times. I am not asking you monastics to play policemen. When you sit, sit straight. When you stand, stand erect. Do not be sloppy and unkempt. Speaking of donning a hat, some people do it this way…(laughter from the audience). Look! Some wear their hats towards their back; some wear them in a way that people cannot see them and they can not see other people either. They look really weird. It is not proper to wear your hat in a lopsided fashion. Furthermore, clothes should be buttoned appropriately. Your precept sash should be worn in the proper way. The hat should be upright, the buttons should be in place; socks and shoes should be worn properly. Do not wear your clothes inside out, or your shoes inverted. To an extreme, some people may wear their socks on their head, and their hat on their feet. This is a strange phenomenon. Monastics cannot adopt such behavior.
When eating, do not seat yourselves behind the door. If you sit behind the door, you look very much like a beggar. There is no distinction. Today, I will teach you. When you are done eating, you can stand up and meet people, and not hide in a corner. When you are not done eating, then remain in your seat and eat. During mealtime, it is better for monastics to be seated together. Do not leave empty seats in between. You may not be aware of this, but lay people dare not sit in the empty seats between monastics. The layperson will think “Uh-oh! If I sit in between two monastics, I may be mistaken as a monastic too. Or, people may think I am here to leave the home-life.” Hence, the layperson is scared. Therefore, when you see that there are visitors, monastics should sit close together. This is being considerate of others and oneself.
We are all here to uphold and support the monastery. We have to be attentive to many aspects. Do not do things in a sloppy manner. When a newcomer arrives, we should be accommodating and helpful. Do not be selfish, thinking, “I am the host here. When you come to my place, you are a visitor. If you do not listen to me, I will not be polite to you.” We should not act this way.
Do you still remember the couplet from the other day? “Not telling lies is truly upholding mantras.” What do you think? Is the principle embodied in the couplet accurate? Is there anything illogical about this? If there is, you can bring it up and we can investigate it together. Do not build castles in the air; nor should you listen to me exclusively. Do not be my copycat, echoing right when I say right, and wrong when I say wrong. You have your own wisdom and your own decision-making ability. If you think this couplet is illogical, you can bring up your reasons for this. Do not be afraid to speak up. It is not as scary here as the Hell of Pulling Tongues. Whoever speaks up, even if what he said is wrong, will not have his tongue pulled out. When you bring up your suggestions, I will acknowledge your wisdom. Originally, I thought of giving some comments. But since I am not sure if it is correct or not, I decided to keep my mouth shut.