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Tuesday evening, December 5, 1972

31. On Wishful Thinking

Ven. Master Hsuan Hua

In the lecture series on the Sixth Patriarch Sutra, I discussed the lives of many patriarchs, and went into great detail about the lives of the first six patriarchs in China . Now, in our Saturday classes, we investigate the lives of patriarchs as well. Although we have discussed so many patriarchs, no one has aspired to emulate any one of them for their cultivation, virtue, or erudition. No one wishes to do the work. There may be some who want to be Patriarchs, but they want to be lazy patriarchs, gluttonous patriarchs, patriarchs who like to sleep and eat good food. They want to be patriarchs who enjoy life, because they have not broken the habits associated with a Western lifestyle. They think they can become patriarchs right in the midst of material comfort and pleasure. That will not be easy to do.  

I also told you about Layman Pang and how he and his son, daughter, and wife were all enlightened. After hearing that story, many people began to aspire to be like Layman Pang. Even some who originally wanted to enter monastic life have decided that they would rather be like Layman Pang than to follow the monastic way of life. They argue their case this way: ďMonastics can get enlightened; so can laypeople. Iíll follow the example of Layman Pang.Ē Nothing is wrong with that. However, you must become enlightened before you can consider yourself similar to Layman Pang. If you donít get enlightened, you wonít be like Layman Pang, much less like a genuine fully-ordained monk. You may make light of what Iím saying, but it would behoove you to look into the meaning behind my words.   


(Timely Teachings)