Here in the Chan Hall, we must be orderly and well-mannered; we cannot put on airs or try to stand out. We cannot do as we please and defy the regulations of the Hall. Realize that the Chan Hall is a place where sages are created; thus we may not disturb the Way-place and deprive others of their chance at enlightenment. Those of you who are taking part in the Chan Session should pay attention to this point. You must hold the precepts strictly and not be lax.
It's most difficult to get to join in a Chan Session; under no circumstances should we let this chance slip by. All of you have this chance to investigate Chan together only because you planted down good roots many lives ago. Given the opportunity to join in a Chan Session, a hardworking cultivator of the Way will certainly seize the time and won't waste an instant. He'd never let a fleeting moment of pleasure lull him into laziness; if he did, he'd lose his chance to become enlightened and would fall into the Three Evil Destinies. That would certainly bring him regrets, but to no avail. That's why I say:
Don't wait till the pain sets in before you
decide to cultivate the Way.
The Three Evil Destinies are full of lazy souls.
So we should work hard and be vigorous in every moment. In the Chan Hall, hang your meditation topic squarely before your mind's eye, and investigate it both when walking and when sitting. Investigate it back and forth until you penetrate right through it. Then you will see your original identity. Why? Because the meditation topic cuts through all idle thoughts. Keep investigating until "you are unaware of the heavens above, the earth below, and the people in between." At that point, how could you have time for idle thoughts? We should realize that idle thinking is simply false speech. We have failed to observe the five basic precepts: we tell lies when we contend; we tell lies when we are greedy; we tell lies as we seek gratification; we tell lies as we are selfish; we tell lies as we chase personal advantages. Telling lies deceives people; we don't want to admit mistakes, so we rationalize for ourselves. How can a person who behaves like this cultivate the Way?
Why would someone who works hard fail to make progress? It comes from having told too many lies in the past. Once you utter a single lie, it stirs up a hundred idle thoughts. Then when you meditate, you won't be able to sit still, nor will you be able to stand firmly. You'll be restless and at a loss: "Should I advance? Should I retreat?" You'll be in a muddle, totally out of harmony with the Dharma.
Genuine cultivators adhere to the rules in everything they do. They are constantly diligent and would absolutely not tell lies, nor would they ever exploit situations. I hope that you all will not imitate liars and unruly characters. Not only will you fail to benefit from such people, on the contrary, you'll suffer their harm. Be careful, take heed! Once you catch the infection, the results are disastrous.
Real cultivators fear neither suffering nor hardship. They cultivate earnestly at all times and don't allow external situations to disturb their minds.
Investigate! Investigate! Investigate until the waters recede and the rocks appear (the truth is brought to light). Then you will see your original appearance.