October 13, 1973 , Saturday evening

120.1 On Not Following the Assembly


    A laywoman who arrived in San Francisco on the first of this month has been staying at the Translation Institute but hasn’t been coming to Gold Mountain Monastery to attend lectures and events. But that is not how we do things here. At our monasteries, the assembly does everything together. You should do whatever everyone else is doing. You shouldn’t do your own thing and try to be special or different from others.

     Although I’m usually quite strict, since this laywoman is so advanced in years, I let her be when she didn’t come to the sutra lectures. Little did I know that by letting her do as she pleased, she would encounter a demonic obstacle. This morning she telephoned to say that she had encountered a demon. The demon caused her to be unable to stand steadily. She kept tripping and falling. That’s how bad it was. She also felt as if her mouth and eyes were contorted.

     She called and asked me to hurry over to the Translation Institute and subdue the demon for her. I told her, “I haven’t even subdued my own demons; how can I subdue yours? What’s more, I don’t have time right now. I have to eat first.” After lunch, I went to Washington Street and saw that she was indeed half-paralyzed. I said, “So now you really can’t go to sutra lectures. Since you didn’t want to go, now you’ve contracted this sickness that prevents you from going.”

     “It’s not that I didn’t want to go to the sutra lecture. I simply wanted to use the time to write essays,” she replied.

     “Whether you write your essays is not the issue. However, you should not miss the sutra lectures. Since there are lectures going on right at Gold Mountain Monastery, why are you staying at the Translation Institute and not coming to Gold Mountain ?” She didn’t even come for meals, because she wanted to sleep in.

     Today I took her to an acupuncturist, who said, “Fortunately you came early. If you had come later, she would certainly have been half-paralyzed permanently. If you had come tomorrow, it would have been too late.” When she heard that, she realized how serious the matter was. Afterwards, I sent her back to Washington Street . Originally, we planned to cut the sutra lecture short today and go over to finish some work at Washington Street . However, I’ve decided that we don’t need to do that. We can instead go there a little earlier tomorrow morning and finish the job. Otherwise, we might get so worn out working that we wouldn’t be able to wake up tomorrow. So, we’ll bow the Ten Thousand Buddhas Repentance here as usual, and then transfer some of the merit to this layperson. May she be free from disasters and sicknesses; may she cultivate the true and enter the Way without trouble from demons.

Timely Teachings Ch. 1 Part III, page 296, following paragraph 2