January 26, 1974 | Saturday evening
On Being Responsible for the Options One Chooses
Ven. Master Hua
Contemplate vicious words as merit.
Then the person becomes your wise and skillful teacher.
Without his slander leading you to choose between hostility and friendship,
How could you demonstrate the power of compassion and patience with nonproduction?
If someone can scold you, no matter who he is, he is actually helping you to cultivate. However, if you help others to cultivate in that way, you yourself will accrue offenses. Who helped Śākyamuni Buddha to become a Buddha? It was Devadatta, who tried to ruin the Buddha but failed. The Buddha became a Buddha, and Devadatta fell into the hells alive.
Suppose a nun wants to be a monkís wise and skillful teacher ó to the point of hitting him or even killing him. If you want to be a good advisor, then you canít be afraid of incurring offenses and falling into the hells. You have to want only to help people cultivate the Way. Do not assume that by taking on the appearance of a rakshasa ghost you will actually be able to help people cultivate. Anyone who wants to be a rakshasa ghost can simply lose her temper and scold people. If you want to be a Bodhisattva, simply be cheerful and happy.
Good and evil are two different paths.
You can cultivate the one or commit the other.
If you want to follow the Path, you can; if you want to commit offenses, you can do that. Itís up to you. The teacher can only bring you in the door. You yourself must cultivate. If you donít cultivate, your teacher can do nothing. You must end your own birth and death, just as you must eat your own food to get full.
Timely Teachings, pages 220 - 221