October 7, 1973, Sunday noon, at Gold Mountain Monastery
On Using Children as an Alibi
Ven. Master Hsuan Hua
This Night-ruling Spirit is not like some of our laypeople who get upset as soon as they see children come to attend the lectures. They say they donít attend the sutra lectures because of those kids. Not only do they themselves not attend sutra lectures, they tell everyone else not to come either. They say they dislike the kids.
Actually, even if there were no kids, they wouldnít come to the sutra lectures or come and investigate the Buddhadharma. They spend their time and energy investigating other things instead. They watch movies, go dancing, and listen to music. They devote their time to that. They like entertainment; thatís what they are engaged in.
Several disciples and laypeople who donít come to listen to sutra lectures or investigate the Buddhadharma themselves are jealous of other people coming. So they tell other people not to come. Some whom they tell that to donít have any better sense than to follow their advice. They hear those people say, ďThe kids go there and cry and scream and squabble. You canít hear the Masterís lecture clearly.Ē Actually, thatís just an excuse. They use that as an alibi, a rationale for their not attending. In reality, itís totally contradictory: they donít want to study but they are jealous when others want to.
They are leading others down the wrong road. So, all of you should be wary of such people who try to make you retreat from your resolve for the Way.
If people were sincerely seeking the Dharma, they would still want to come investigate the Buddhadharma even if there were man-eating tigers here, not to speak of children. So you see, even though we have many tigers here, nonetheless so many people have come; and they havenít been eaten by the tigers.Ē
Timely Teachings, page 58 - 59.