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4.1 On Being Sincere and Respecting the Rules
September 1, 1974, Sunday evening
In listening to the Buddhadharma, you obtain benefit according to how sincere you are. If you lack sincerity, you will not derive any benefit from the Buddhadharma. If you recite sutras and bow to the Buddhas with the utmost sincerity, without being the least bit casual, you are sure to receive a great response. Some people recite the sutra on the one hand and daydream on the other. Perhaps they think, “In a while I can have a cup of tea.” That shows a total lack of sincerity.
After the sutra recitation ends and the Dharma Master is preparing to go up to lecture, some people go running around doing other things. This also shows a complete lack of sincerity. Such people will not be able to absorb the Buddhadharma. If they want to receive the Buddhadharma, how can they go running around everywhere? What are they trying to accomplish? Why aren’t they able to stay still? They have no respect for the rules. They may think these bad habits are not a problem, but if they go to a large, public monastery, they will not be allowed to act that way. Even in our own monastery, we should not be so careless and unruly. Why don’t you take care of your business earlier? Why you have to run off to the kitchen as soon as the sutra recitation is over? If you had any sincerity at all, you wouldn’t act like that. Therefore, I hope everyone will learn to behave better as time goes on.
(Timely Teachings, page 115)