What America needs right now are sages in the Sangha and enlightened people, those who have become sages.America needs the Proper Dharma. It doesnít need Dharma in decline or members of the Sangha who prefer to remain mute. It has no need for ordinary Sangha members who know nothing but to eat. You who have left the home-life inAmerica must cultivate vigorously and quickly realize enlightenment. Once you have realized enlightenment, nothing presents any difficulty. Donít be afraid. Fear is useless. Hurry up and realize enlightenment.
I need disciples who have realized enlightenment. The first, second, and third people to realize enlightenment are my true disciples. We can distinguish three levels and nine grades. Whoever wants to can be in the first grade. You also have a chance to join the second or third grade. Itís not the case that you reach three levels of enlightenment and thatís it. There are infinitely many levels. Already there are some who have become enlightened. However, I cannot tell you who they are. Once you know, youíll do anything to make offerings to them, thinking, ďThose are sages. Iíve got to make offerings to them.Ē Then the merit and virtue would be all yours. Thus, I cannot tell you who they are.
Among the rankings of first, second, and third, letís see where you fall. There are the first, second, and third of the top level, and those of the bottom level. What I need are people who realize enlightenment, not people who spend their time sleeping.
Some object, ďIíve bowed in repentance, and it doesnít help. All that seems like superficial work. How can I realize enlightenment?Ē
Donít seek outside. You must work on the false before the true can appear. If you donít work on the false, the true cannot manifest. If you wish to become a sage, you must cultivate the Bodhisattva Path to the end of time. Since we have not yet attained the true, we can start by working on the superficial aspects. When we have accumulated plenty of merit and virtue, we will naturally realize enlightenment. We havenít realized enlightenment yet because our virtue is insufficient.
When we have cultivated blessings and wisdom to perfection, we will naturally become sages. Our cultivation can be compared to constructing a building. Skyscrapers are built from the ground up, not from the sky down.
To travel far, one must begin nearby.
To climb the heights, one must start from below.
Every journey begins with the first step. Itís impossible to skip the first step and start with the second or the tenth step. To reach a high place, you must start climbing from below. You canít simply leap up to the top of a skyscraper. You canít get up there so easily, unless you take a rocket or an elevator, but thatís another matter. Thatís relying on technology, not on your own strength.