Thursday evening, December 7, 1972
Ven. Master Hsuan Hua
During the recitation session, everyone should resolve to recite the Buddha’s name. Even those who work during the day should recite the Buddha’s name after they come back from work. All the language classes will stop during the session. We will simply recite the Buddha’s name. The sutra lectures will be replaced with instructional talks during the session. We will discuss the practice of reciting the Buddha’s name. Basically, I do not wish to stop the sutra lectures [Ed. note: on the Flower Adornment Sutra], since this sutra is very long and each time we stop we miss the opportunity to cover a large section. However, now we must emphasize the recitation session. Even those who have jobs should join the session when they get back from work and not miss the opportunity. Don’t simply take a rest after you come back from work. Don’t be lazy. Because we have been lazy for countless eons until now, we are still ordinary people and have not accomplished anything. Therefore, we cannot be lazy anymore. When you aren’t working, you should all come to recite.
The weather is cold, so you should put on more clothes. And if you are still cold, you should recite the Buddha’s name loudly. Recite till you perspire, and then you won’t be cold anymore. It’s like lecturing sutras: when you exert yourself, then you perspire. If you drink a cup of warm water on top of that, you will also perspire. We should put effort into reciting the Buddha’s name, so that we can end birth and death and then save living beings the way the Buddha does. Don’t casually chat or gossip with others. The monastics and laypeople staying in the monastery should recite the Buddha’s name whenever they have time. Laypeople who are not resident in the monastery should also not forget to come here and recite the Buddha’s name. We should have a contest in reciting the Buddha’s name and see who first attains the samadhi of mindfulness of the Buddha. That’s the game we’ll play. Everyone can show off his spiritual powers. Let’s see who has the greatest spiritual powers and is the first one to attain the samÁdhi of mindfulness of the Buddha Don’t waste time. People who work should come on the weekends to recite the Buddha’s name instead of goofing off. I like nothing better than seeing people recite the Buddha’s name. Whoever recites the Buddha’s name is a good disciple of mine, and whoever doesn’t, isn’t.
In the past, when we had recitation sessions, I did not insist that everyone come and recite and as a result, many people have slacked off. Many people took a holiday and went on vacation, going off on their yachts or in their cars, running off everywhere and wasting the time. This year, I decided that it would no longer do if I didn’t demand that you come. Therefore, if you want to come you can come, and if you don’t want to, you still have to come. If you don’t come, I won’t pay attention if you get into trouble in the future. I’m telling you clearly now. If you come now, I’ll be able to help you if you get into trouble. I don’t have much strength to help others, since I can’t even help myself. However, there are times when I can be of a little help. In what ways can I help? I don’t know. When the time comes, we can talk about it.
Timely Teachings. Page 267