(Thursday evening, November 16, 1972)
26. On Recognizing One’s Position
Ven. Master Hsuan Hua
A lay disciple who visited here few days ago made the following claim. He said he was in essence a monastic, since he had not drawn near his wife for over twenty years. I told him, “Although you yourself make such a claim, nobody else will recognize you as a monastic.”
“That’s true,” he said.
“Well, in that case, you can’t claim you are a monastic,” I responded. “Why do you want set yourself up to be something you are not and claim that you are just the same as a monastic? Basically, you enjoy pleasures and do not practice much. How can you make such a claim?”
He said, “But I’ve taken part in a few meditation sessions, so I think I pass.”
“What kind of meditation session did you attend?”
“Well, we sat in meditation for seven days,” he said.
“You probably have never heard of what our meditation sessions are like,” I told him. “We get up at 3 o’clock in the morning and sit and walk straight through until midnight . Did the sessions you attend maintain a similar schedule?”
“No,” he replied. “We started at eight in the morning and ended at five in the evening.”
“Well, that’s quite a different case.”
After he heard that, he realized he could not make the grade.
(Timely Teachings - Ch. 1 Part I, page 214, following paragraph 2)