During a Chan Session, everyone should understand the rules. Before the wooden fish is struck, no one should casually wander around. If you don't abide by the rules and follow instructions, then you are a transgressor of the rules. In the Chan Hall, the rules of the Chan Hall should be observed. After the silent sit is ended, the proctor should check and make sure everyone has put on his shoes before he hits the bell. When everyone has stood up, he should hit the wooden fish twice. Before the fish is struck twice, even if people have already stood up, they should not start walking yet. These are very simple rules which all of you should know. If you hit the wooden fish immediately after the sit is ended, before people have stood up, how can they walk? If you wait for another three minutes, that's fine. Some people's legs are numb from sitting, and they cannot even stand up, so how could they walk? These things are common sense in the Chan Hall, and everyone should know them.
I know that several people felt pain in their legs as they sat, so they started crying. That's totally useless. The more you cry, the more it hurts. The legs won't say, "Since you cried, we'll stop hurting." People are generally under the impression that sitting in Chan at our place is a very good thing. Actually, when they come here, they have to suffer. "Very good" means "very bitter." We get up a little after two o'clock in the morning, rest for only one hour during the day, and don't go to sleep until midnight. Getting only two to three hours of sleep every day, you could say we're applying effort as if our life depended on it. That's called "renouncing death and getting life in return."
If you cannot give up death, you won't be able to exchange it for life.If you can't give up the false, you won't be able to realize the truth.
If you can't endure suffering, you won't get to enjoy blessings. If you want to attain true skill, you must patiently endure toil and suffering--grit your teeth and bear the pain in your legs. Actually, there doesn't have to be any pain. But we want there to be pain, so we endure it when our legs hurt. "Enduring what people cannot endure" is just enduring this. If you cannot bear the pain, then you still can't pass the test. You have to break through all the critical gates in your body. "Critical gates" refers to the points of pain and discomfort in your body that cause you a lot of affliction. At that point, if you can endure it and not become afflicted, just that is skill. If you cannot endure it, then you can't pass the test. Some people who come here can't even take it for a day before they want to run away. All of you have been here for so many days--that's not easy.
Girls are especially afraid of pain, and the fact that they've been taking so much suffering means they will certainly plant deep good roots. In the future their Bodhi seeds will sprout and bear the Bodhi fruit. As it's said, "no work is done in vain." However much effort you put in here, that's how much you'll get out, and you won't be wasting your time at all.
In cultivating, you must have "patience with production"--that is, you must be patient with what you cannot endure. "Patience with dharmas" means you must be patient with the arising and cessation of all dharmas. Even if you cannot endure, you have to endure. Don't be afraid of pain, and don't be running about everywhere, or you won't be able to attain samadhi. You must see all dharmas as empty; see through them and put them down. From patience with production and patience with dharmas, you can then attain patience with non-production and the non-existence of dharmas. As it's said, "Not seeing the slightest dharma arise, and not seeing the slightest dharma cease," you can patiently accept it in your mind.