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Between Master and Disciples

The True Meaning Of Monkhood, Part 9 of 9, Dec 26, 2019

Lecture Language:English
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If you want to be liberated, have merit and live in a temple, there is also a lot of work to be done. It’s not that you have to shave your head.

I set you free now and let you eat. You can go eat now. I still have a lot of work to do today. Maybe I can’t come to see you. Still a few days to go. Who shall I see tomorrow? Which country has the most people? (Aulacese (Vietnamese).) OK, Aulacese (Vietnamese). Let’s go. Very good. Thank you. Did you understand what I said just now?

If she wants to become a nun with you, let her sweep the floor first, clean the toilets, tidy up the garden, mow the lawn and trim the trees in the garden. Don’t just shave your head so quickly and think that you’re great. If you want to be liberated, have merit and live in a temple, there is also a lot of work to be done. It’s not that you have to shave your head. If you just shave blindly without understanding, you can break any one of the 250 precepts, at any time. I’m telling you. You can break the precepts by a slight movement of thought. So, think clearly, it’s not so easy to be a monk or nun. I only broke one precept, which is wearing colorful clothes.

Monks cannot wear jewelry or anything valuable. They should only have two or three sets of clothes and one kasaya, that’s it. Plus a bowl, that’s the way it should be. So, think clearly. It’s not like, you just shave your head and it’s done. It’s not that easy. You can break the precepts at any time. Even a slight thought can make you break the precepts. Even when you scrub your body, you can break the precepts. I’m telling you. It’s just that I can’t tell you everything. I can only tell you some. It’s not that easy. If you want to make merits by serving in a temple, you can go and live there, clean the house, clean the toilets, bathrooms, etc. I worked like that when I’d just become a nun. I swept and mopped the floor for others, cleaned the toilets and bathrooms, and cooked for all the monks and the laypeople as well. When people came, I’d cook for them. I didn’t become a nun to be respected or take offerings from others. No. Even just a small thought or action can make you break the precepts. I’m telling you. There are 250 precepts, not just five precepts. Even just Five Precepts, you didn’t keep very well, not to mention 250 of them. You just want to become a monk because they look good, but you don’t have the correct concept of monkhood. If you talk nonsense or do something wrong, you can ruin the reputation of monks. So, think it over. I’m going out. Whoever wants to see me can go out now. I’m a little taller, sitting on this.

There was a monk in Japan, he was very good-looking, young and talented. He could paint very well. He painted portraits that looked real. He could draw a face that would look exactly like the person. So, he often painted for others, to make money, to maintain the temple he lived in, or to offer to other temples or other monks. There was a geisha. Japanese geisha. They don’t have physical relations with people. There was a geisha who seemed to have fallen in love with that monk, but she couldn’t have him. So, she tried many ways to approach him. She wanted to test him, and she liked him a lot. So, she asked him to paint her. When he came, she took off all her clothes and asked him to paint. Not just painting her face, or painting her with clothes on. No. She took everything off. She was completely naked, laying there, and asked him to paint her just like that.

Well, he carried on and painted her whole body. But before he started, he made the price very high. He said, “You have to pay me this much, if you want me to paint you, otherwise, it’s not worth it.” She paid too, because that geisha had a lot of money. She was willing to pay him anything because she liked him. She wanted to test him, to see if his heart would be shaken. Two or three times before, she tried to tease him, but he ignored her. This time she asked him to paint her, he agreed, but he asked for a lot of money. After he finished and got paid, he took that money and offered it to a temple for maintenance work. Because that temple was very shabby and had no money for repairs, so he gave it all to that temple. After that, he threw his paintbrushes away. From that day on, he stopped painting.

Do you Japanese know this story? Does anyone know this story? (It’s the first time I hear it.) First time? I thought you were Buddhists. And you even want to become a monk. When I read this story, I wasn’t a nun yet. I read it when I was little, that’s why I forgot the monk’s name. You are really disciples of the Buddha, "tu” as in “tu-di.” Are you “dust” or are you “soil”? Or maybe stones? Dust is fine, stone is harder. I’m going now. Because the monk thought he had broken the precept. As a monk, he shouldn’t have looked at a naked woman. So, from that day on, he stopped painting. Besides, he had earned what he wanted to earn. Because he used to make a little money at a time, it wasn’t enough. This time, he made a lot of money. It was enough for him to offer to the temple that he wanted to repair. After that, he stopped painting because he thought he had broken the precept. That’s why he stopped doing it. He went to practice spiritually and repent.

Bye-bye. (Thank You, Master.) You’re welcome. See you later. (Hallo, Master.) Hallo. But I tell you, breaking precepts doesn’t necessarily mean breaking the precepts. It depends on what’s inside you, not the outer appearance. The Chinese must know this story. The Japanese may not know it, but the Chinese know it for sure. There were two monks who wanted to cross a river. (Yes.) There was a girl who was sick and couldn’t cross to the other side. So, one monk ignored her, while the other monk (Carried her.) carried her across the river. He put her on the other side of the river and walked away. As they walked, after a long while, the other monk couldn’t help it and said: "You are a monk, how could you carry a girl?" The monk said, "I put her down on the river bank a long time ago, but you are still carrying her." Do you understand? (Yes.) OK then. So, forgive me for not keeping this precept strictly.

But it doesn’t matter. The Thai and the Burmese, some of them are temporary monks, just like the short-stays and the residents here. Residents are those who stay permanently. Short-stays are those who come and go. People in Thailand become monks for different reasons. If his parents passed away, for instance, he’ll be a monk for a week, a month or a year, in order to give his parents some merits. You understand? (Yes.) Perhaps I’m a temporary monk. It doesn’t matter. Now I look just the same as you, (Hallo, Master. Thank You, Master.) wearing colorful clothes. It doesn’t matter.

(Hallo, Master.) Hallo. (Hallo.) See you later. Please watch the road for me. (Yes.) Sometimes it’s uneven. (Yes.) Thanks a lot. Are you cold? You waited for so long. (No.) Hallo! (Hallo, Master.) I wonder if the kitchen has prepared anything today. No? They only prepare on Sunday, right?

(Hallo, Master.) Hallo, beautiful boys and girls. (Hallo, Master.) Watch out. Don’t get run over. (Hallo, Master.) Hallo. Be good. (Yes.) Be humble and behave well. So, the kitchen has prepared? (Yes.) OK, I’ll be back in a while. (OK.) It’s OK if we eat later, right? (Yes.) (Thank You, Master.) I cannot give an exact time. My time cannot be fixed like that. Beautiful hat. (Hallo, Master. Thank You, Master.) Hallo! (Hallo, Master.) Hallo, hallo. (Hallo, Master.) Very good. Our temple is not big, but we have many people.

Hi, everybody. Thanks for helping. You’ll have a lot of merits. You help the Master and I help you. You may not know, I help quietly. If you do things right, you’ll have merits from helping Master. So, be attentive when you work. I am going now. Guards, thank you, thank you. I’m going now. Take a few more looks. (Hallo, Master.) Love you.

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