In studying Buddhism, you must bring forth a true mind. In every move you make and every word you say, you should aim to be true. Don't be like worldly people, half true and half false, sometimes telling the truth and sometimes telling lies. Cultivators must always speak truthfully, do true deeds, and not tell lies. In every thought, we must get rid of our own faults. We must correct the bad habits we have formed since limitless eons in the past and repent of the offenses created in limitless eons.
Why haven't we had any response after studying the Buddha-dharma for so long? It's because we have defended our own faults and have not brought forth a true resolve to cultivate. Therefore, we have wasted all this time and have not achieved any real wisdom or attained any real samadhi. The time has passed in vain, and we have not had any accomplishment in our cultivation. This is very lamentable.
In the monastery, we must be thrifty with all materials. It is said,
Cherish the things of the temple,As if they were the pupils in your own eyes.
The things of the temple include the rice, oil, sauce, and vinegar that we consume. We should cherish them and not let them spoil and go to waste. We should cherish and take care of even a blade of grass, a piece of wood, or a sheet of paper that we use. If we are not careful in this and do not cherish our blessings, all our merit and virtue will leak out. Then,
Our offenses will exceed our blessings, and Our losses will surpass our gains.
Moreover, in our every move and every word, we must not hurt anyone else. We should guard the virtue of our mouth, not speaking frivolous words, untruthful words, harsh words, or words which cause disharmony. We should pay special attention to the virtue of our mouth. With our body, we should not kill, steal, or be promiscuous. In our mind, we should not have greed, hatred, or stupidity. We shouldn't always be worrying about our stinking skinbag, finding good things to feed it in every thought, trying to make it more attractive in every thought. In thought after thought, you only want the stinking skinbag to enjoy more pleasure─that's upside down. If we want to escape the Triple Realm and leave the six paths of rebirth, we must get rid of all these bad habits. We must also see through love and emotion. Only then can we fulfill our vows and accomplish the fruition of Bodhi.
In cultivation, we cannot enjoy our blessings. We must remember that when Shakyamuni Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, started cultivating, he was a noble prince of tremendous wealth. Nevertheless, he resolutely left the home-life to cultivate the Way. Given his status, even after he left home he could have eaten well, dressed well, and lived in a fine house, but he didn't. He went to the Himalayas and cultivated for six years, enduring pain, hunger, cold and heat. During those six years, he never ate any good food or went around asking people to make offerings to him. He just endured the suffering.
Even with his position of wealth and honor, Shakyamuni Buddha was willing to suffer and cultivate. What is our position? We are just ordinary, common people, yet why do we still want to dress well, eat well, live well, and enjoy ourselves? Why can't we take suffering? Why do we fear suffering? Think about it. When we compare ourselves to Shakyamuni Buddha, shouldn't we feel great remorse?