Constantly Improve and Reform: Doing all that is wholesome; doing all that is right.

(Continued from issue #256)

Instructional Talk by Dharma Master Heng Shr on February 28, 2016,
during Lunch at Gold Wheel Sagely Monastery Medicine Master Jeweled Repentance Dharma Assembly

There are all types of people in the Way Place -- good ones and evil ones. The most valuable lesson you learn in the Way Place is following rules and regulations. Because this is within your inherent nature, this has always been present in your self-nature as your intrinsic code of morality. A person who does not uphold precepts has a hard time following rules and regulations. Such a person is about to lose his code of morality.

I would like to tell everyone, what the Venerable Master has said before. That year, the Venerable Master told thousands of people about Teacher X. So, during the break time in between dharma sessions, Teacher X had his team members went up the stage to advertise and sell fake medicine. The Venerable Master was using the Teacher X story to make his point. When Venerable Master arrived at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, he shared the same story. Our eyes cannot tolerate even one single grain of sand, nor a vajra diamond. This is how our eyes fundamentally behave. Therefore, Elder Venerable Master Hsu Yun had always said, 'the Vajra Proper Eye'.

Let me tell everyone this: We have rules and regulations in Gold Wheel Monastery so we are not in disarray. We do not allow people to arbitrarily behave this way or that way. We only do things one way that is set forth by our Venerable Master. We abide by the house rules laid down by our Venerable Master. If you are able to abide by the rules, then come. Otherwise, many other places will allow you to do as you please. You do not have to suffer if you disagree with these rules.

Do not be greedy. Because of our fantasies and greed, we have done many foolish things. When karma came for us to re-pay for the foolish things that we have said and done, we do not remember any of it. When we start to suffer, we complain, "Why me? Why me? Why?" You cannot remember your misdeeds because you haven't learned to follow what is wholesome and good.

At lunchtime, everyone eats his fill according to his needs. Having eaten and feeling energized, you can go to the Buddha Hall to bow to the Buddhas. You may return for a second or third helping as needed, but do not return for the seventh or eighth time since that is against proper decorum. Do not have the wrong way thinking, such as "I can return for more food if I can finish or since the food is already on my plate, I cannot return it. I will bring it home to eat later."This is not right. This is against our house rules. I am not going to say that this is the same as stealing or anything like that. Think about it. This is a manifestation of greed. You will end up harming yourself. When one person does this, others will follow. Soon, there will be chaos. By doing so, instead of planting good roots when we come to the Wayplace, we are creating bad karma.

I am being straightforward in how I tell you this because I care for all of you. On Sundays, after we conclude the meal, leftovers are packed up for people to take home. Do not leave them behind for the Sangha because they are only a few and they cannot eat a lot. People may take the leftover and make voluntary donation as one wishes. Regarding fruits, if they are already spoiled, the kitchen staff may leave them for the Sangha members to handle. In case there are too many fruits for the Sangha to consume, the Sangha will bring out the excess for the lay people to take and make voluntary donations, to alleviate the burden. Do not let good things spoil. This is a waste of our blessings and creating bad karma. If our bad karma outweighs our good merit gained by cultivating the Way, how are we to repent?

Whoever comes to the Wayplace must follow rules and regulations. Do not be arrogant. Otherwise, you do not have to come here. I am being direct and sincere because I want to protect everyone's dharma. In Gold Wheel Monastery, there are rules we follow. If we break the rules and regulations, then we are cheating the Buddhas and the Venerable Master.

Let us start the New Year with a new beginning. I have a present from the Venerable Master to you all, "Boundless are the ancients' benevolence, righteousness, propriety, and wisdom, nourishing the body housed in the ancient Buddhas' pagoda; A new year, month, day time, build a new way place in one's mind".

"Ancient" V in the olden days. An 'ancient' person refers to a sage prior to becoming a Buddha. These sages manifested in this world as the 'worthy and virtuous ones'. What path did they take to get there? They practiced the Five Constants -- humaneness, righteousness, propriety, wisdom, and trustworthiness. Once you practice one, you can accomplish the others. If you are unable to practice one of the Five Constants, then you will not be able to practice the rest.

Therefore, the ancients' humaneness, righteousness, propriety, wisdom and trustworthiness are not just words or for show. They are to nourish our seeds of sagehood in our body and mind. Silently nourish our seeds of sagehood with the Five Constants.

(To be continued ...)