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Our Mentor » The Teaching of the Venerable Master Xuan Hua » The Cultivation of the Sangha members

The Cultivation of the Sangha members2013-01-10


Those who seek transcendental Dharma need to leave behind the worldly Dharma. If not, it is like standing in two boats, wanting to go north and south at the same time; such a deed is impossible.


Since ancient times, all eminent Dharma Masters and the greatly virtuous ones obtained their enlightenment by ascetic practices and diligent cultivation. You can search through the Tripitaka and not find even a single Patriarch who attained enlightenment through pursuit of pleasure.


What are the criteria for choosing an Abbot? He must be even-tempered, congenial and affable. He should practice democracy, and not use his power to oppress anyone. He must inspire respect.


Sangha members may accept offerings, but should not be greedy for offerings. Only by not being greedy for offerings, can they be like true disciples of the Buddha.


Disciples of the two-fold assembly (monks and nuns) can no longer seek fame and social status. Rather, they should possess the spirit of willingly suffer on behalf of all living beings, and the impartial mind to universally save all living beings.


Sangha members should vigorously investigate Chan, practice meditation, uphold mantras, recite sutras, and strictly observe the precepts. If instead they simply rely on the Buddha for food and clothing, they will fall into the three evil paths.


When filled with essence, cold does not exist; when filled with energy, hunger does not exist; when filled with spirit, exhaustion does not exist. Therefore, essence, energy, and spirit are three treasures cultivated by the Sangha members.


Sangha members serve as models for laypeople. If you cannot be a good model, then you cannot evoke faith within the laypeople and you won't be able to influence them. Therefore, Sangha members should comport themselves in a way proper for Sangha members.


Sangha members should have proper knowledge and proper views. Without them, one will surely fall into demonic ways and be caught by the fifty skandha-demons. Sangha members should do things together as a group. One should not have a special style, or just do whatever one pleases.


"Concentration yields efficacy. Distraction leads to hindrance." What do we concentrate on? To attain concentration, one should get rid of desires and love. If desires and love are not cut off, then even if one leaves the home-life and cultivates for eighty thousand great eons, one will not achieve the Way. This point is of vital importance.


We have to cultivate the Way and nurture our virtue at all the time. When our virtue and our cultivation in the Way are both perfected, then we will be worthy of being a Sangha member.


Sangha members take propagating the Dharma as their main responsibility. Spreading the Buddhadharma is our basic duty and obligation. Therefore, our every thought should be devoted to propagating the Dharma. Our every deed and action should speak the Dharma for living beings.