THE SAGELY CITY OF TEN THOUSAND BUDDHAS

Terengganu

31 August (Day 34)

We drive southward in the morning to the second city of the east coast, Trengannu. Before lunch, we arrive at the local Buddhist society. This is an old building with some adjacent wooden sheds serving as kitchen and washing facilities. A family place – young and old mill around. We’ve observed this pattern in other places as well: temples are often community hangouts. Particularly on the east coast where there aren’t any Chinese Sanghins, lay people get together and study on their own.

Since last night the Abbot lectured on the specifics of the Ch'an School, tonight he talks about the other four schools: Teaching, Secret, Vinaya (Precepts), and Pure Land (Recitation). The core message:

“No matter what dharma-door you cultivate, just do it reliably and honestly. Don’t flirt with different doors, opting for the sensational and bizarre. Actual cultivation is very modest; it is plain living from day to day. If you’re not too big for the commonplace, you won’t be too small when something special happens. How often do we set out gaze upon the heavens with our legs planted in mud. How often do we seek outside of ourselves for Dharma, looking far and high for something which is right underneath our very noses!”

When you are confused, a thousand volumes are too few;
After awakening, one word is too many.

1 September (Day 35)

Earth Store Bodhisattva’s Festival

Today is Earth Store Bodhisattva’s Festival. We began reciting his name yesterday. We alternate between half an hour of walking recitation and half an hour of silent recitation. The local people join in with great enthusiasm.

Today Kuo Lei left the group and went on alone to Thailand, en route to Nepal. He’s been planning for the coming part of this grand Asian tour for years. He wants to hit the Himalayas before the snow starts coming in.

Yesterday he came in to take his leave.

“Why don’t you wait for a few more days and stay with the group as far as Singapore. It’ll be better if the group sticks together. I’ll make the snow wait. It won’t snow before you get to the Himalayas, I promise you.” The Abbot gently instructs.

He has just delivered a mind-boggling offer. At first, Kuo Lei agreed, but later he decided he couldn’t wait. He left early this morning on a southbound train to Thailand.

In the after Kuo T’ung excitedly waves a news paper at us, “Guess what! It just started snowing at the Nepalese border!”… sigh …

The same afternoon, over three hundred people take refuge. We’ve been feeling edgy. Three of us are down with colds: Heng Sure, Heng Ch'au, and myself. The rest of the group also seem a little out-of-sorts. At first I fail to place my finger on the problem. The normal escape is to blame it on external conditions. On further investigation this state turns out to be another lesson of the mind.

Cultivation is always wearing a shiny armor, the armor of self-reliance, courage, and fearlessness. Any bit of retreat is like pouring cold water over the armor, and rust sets in sooner than you realize. the Dharma-protecting spirits are always watching – so are the demons.

Afterwards, sitting in meditation, I feel suddenly lighter. “The mind of the past cannot be got at, the mind of the present cannot be got at, the mind of the future cannot be got at.” There is never any turning back – remorse is a luxury. There is no looking forward either. All time is false. Only now is real. The Way is straight and narrow as a razor’s edge. You address it with the consummate grace of a tightrope walker. Perched in mid-air, you cannot waver—spotlight’s lit, and the show must go on.

In order to become a Buddha, you first have to become a self-reliant person. It means being master of your actions and responsible for your own whims and fantasies – the subduer of your own mind. Nobody watches over you with a whip. The teacher shows the Way; we ourselves must walk the path.

Tonight, the Abbot speaks against superstition and the custom of burning paper money.

“People ask me whether there are ghosts or not. If in your mind there are ghosts, it’s a case of people being afraid of ghosts; if in your mind there are no ghosts, then ghosts are afraid of people. Because of greed, people do all sorts of upside-down things that they know are irrational, like burning paper money with the Rebirth Mantra on it. this offense – that of destroying the Buddha’s image and burning the Sutras – is grave enough to send you into the spaceless hells. Some people are smarter still – even before they die, they start depositing money into the bank of the shadowy regions. These people already know where they’re heading. They think they can bribe King Yama. How pitiful!

People are turned forever by the three poisons. We end up as people again because we’re addicted to this poisonous wine. Just think, as soon as a baby is born, he is already greedy. He is greedy for his mother’s milk. Who teaches him to be greedy? Nobody. This is just a hangover from timeless kalpas. And, when the baby is not greedy for milk, he is greedy for sleep. Even if he is satiated, he is not really happy. The first sound which an infant utters upon leaving his mother’s womb is ‘Ku! Ku!’ (the word in Chinese means both “to cry” and “to suffer”) – he knows a lot of suffering to be here.

As the child grows older, it becomes greedier still for new clothes and toys. What child isn’t greedy for new toys? You deprive him of something and he throws a fit. This anger results from unfulfilled desire. And as he develops, he’ll do even more absurd things when his needs are not fulfilled. He goes from being angry to being stupid. We are all helplessly manipulated by greed, anger, and stupidity. Wouldn’t you say this is pathetic?”

The superior person tends towards the upper path;
Inferior people tend towards the low.
The upper path means always being happy;
The lower path means always being worried over petty details.
The superior person has a broad chest and large measure;
The petty person is always frowning and cramped.

And, also:

From ancient times, the immortals had no other method,
But to stay happy at all times and never get vexed.

End of lecture, and people’s faces have softened. The perpetual frowns on their foreheads are lifted and many of them are actually grinning.

At night I doze off into a light sleep. Around midnight, a sudden draft sends me to fetch a shawl from the other end of the mattress. Just in time – on the floor crawling toward me is a little black snake, very skinny, about six inches long, type unknown – it looks deviant enough. I start reciting a couple of lines from the Shurangama Mantra, and the beast starts to writhe in convulsion. In a few seconds, it slinks into a crack on the floor and disappears for the rest of the night.

This morning, upon mentioning the incident to the Abbot, he says, “That probably was no ordinary snake. But, don’t become attached – the strange things in this world are too many to count.”

Kuantan

2 September (Day 36)

We start out in the early morning, and after a three-hour journey arrive at Kuantan. This is the third state on the east coast tour and our final stop before heading back to Kuala Lumpur. On our way we drive through lush tropical forests and miles and miles of coconut groves and palm-trees. Thatched cottages built on stilts dot the roadside, and the sapphire river glistens like a shiny water snake.

The population of Chinese is very small in this pre-dominantly Malay state; the people who know about Buddhism are rarer still.

As we drive into the Pahang Buddhist Association, about a hundred people are clapping their hands. After a big lunch, the Abbot speaks to the crowd briefly,

“Buddhism is not something esoteric or far-out; rather, it is just the common part of everyday living. Worldly living and Buddhism should be integrated. We should not be turned by states. When something pleasant comes your way, do you become happy? When something unpleasant comes your way, are you disturbed? That’s just being turned by states. When unpleasant situations come we should take them in stride. That’s what cultivation is about.

To take what others cannot take,
To do what others cannot do,
To endure what others cannot endure…”

All afternoon we recite Earth Store Bodhisattva’s name. The children are the most receptive. As evening comes, a crowd of about two hundred gather. The temple is small, and many stand outside. The Abbot talks about the ten great vows of Universal Worthy Bodhisattva. The first vow is to respect and worship all Buddhas, which means bowing to all the Buddhas of the past, present, and future.

Don’t think that Buddhas of the future are very far off – it may just mean you, me, and them. All living beings can eventually become Buddhas. now, in most other religions, bowing and prostrating yourself is considered something below people’s standards; they call it ‘worshipping idols’. However, in Buddhism, the purpose of bowing is to get rid of our arrogance. When you bow, you put down the pridefulness in yourself and pay homage to the Buddhas of the three periods of time and the ten directions. Bowing is also a great form of exercise! Your body, blood, and breath get a good workout. You won’t be bothered by rheumatism or arthritis any more.”

The Abbot goes on to discuss the merits of reciting:

“ ‘Namo Amito Fo.’ ‘Homage to Amita Buddha.’ If we return our lives in respect to Amitabha and recite his name constantly with one mind, at death we will not be confused or scattered; we will quickly be reborn in the Land of Ultimate Bliss. Why? Because Amitabha, on the causal ground, was a Bhikshu who made forty-eight vows. He was determined to cross living beings over from this world of suffering to the world of pure joy. In the Land of Ultimate Bliss, people are not born of parents but from lotuses. There are nine grades of lotuses, and each grade has within it another nine divisions, so altogether there are eight-one grades, the larger one’s lotus becomes and the larger the Buddha sitting upon it.”

On Seclusion

When I first came to cultivate the Way at the Gold Mountain community, I sat a lot in mediation. The Abbot saw that the discipline agreed with my nature and encouraged it. After a couple of months of sitting I conceived a great yearning to enter into “seclusion”. This is a traditional method within Buddhism when a cultivator voluntarily chooses to live in solitary confinement, say in a locked room, for an appointed period of intense study and meditation, anywhere from a few months to a few years. Perhaps from seeds dormant within the eighth consciousness or left-over habit from past lives, the discipline of seclusion attracted me immensely.

Before encountering the Buddhadharma in this lifetime I had been a little boat bobbing up and down in a seething ocean of desire and motion. The years had left me tired, afraid, and unhappy. Inside was a screeching loneliness; I felt lobotomized from my spiritual roots.

Later I found out that this was a state common to people drive mad by the world, called the “blazing heap of the five skandhas,” which are form, feeling, thinking, activity, and consciousness. These five veils suffocate the life of our wisdom and leave us stranded on a desert of illusion, dazed and parched with thirst. I was like a person who had become used to drugging himself to sleep because he could not face the jarring “reality” of his everyday existence; each time upon waking up what was before his eyes appeared even more grueling, and now he also had to contend with the hangover. The more he drugged himself, the more miserable he became. It was a vicious circle. And now I wanted to sever the “devil’s intestines” of my mental processes.

One night I asked the Abbot for permission to enter into seclusion. He broke out in a gentle laughter,

“Oh, so you want to lock yourself up,” he said. “Wait a hundred days. You have to undergo a little hardship before you qualify. You have to have more patience.”

After about three months I asked him again.

“It’s not yet time,” he said. “Learn to be more patient with everything. What’s the use of hiding in a cell when you can’t face reality? Learn to live in harmony with everything and everyone around you. When you can do that, when you have some real gung fu, then you can enter into seclusion.”

The last time I broached the subject was about a year later, right after a Ch'an session. Savoring the bliss of quiet contemplation, I was ready to chuck everything and confine myself to a room. I thought this would be the best way to “encounter” the self – to be spared the daily round of chores and external stimuli, and to plunge into a program of continuous meditation and silence.

The Abbot said, “We’re just expanding at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas. Every ounce of strength is needed. We must pool all our resources together.” Implying: Don’t be selfish, you fool!

I knew he was going to say something like that, but I’d wanted to ask anyway.

As the months draw out, I’ve gained a little more understanding of my situation. The real seclusion I seek is the ceasing of my mad mind. I thought I could go about it by first confining my body in a narrow space. Actually I should simply seal my mad, spinning mind from the seclusion of the heart, which means knowing who’s the real boss. I was opting for an easy way out, turning from the roots to the branches. To lick the problem I still have to get to the basis: to end the attachment of “self”.

Now I know that I don’t have sufficient merit and virtue to pull off a “seclusion” just yet. There is still a lot of groundwork I need to do on myself, quietly, humbly, without fuss. And I won’t ask anymore. When the time comes, and only if I deserve it, I’ll be given the opportunity.

2 September (Day 37)

A simple refuge ceremony is held in the morning where about a hundred take refuge. At night the Abbot gives a moving address that speaks directly to all.

“It’s said that if your offenses weren’t heavy, you wouldn’t have been born in the Saha, if your karma isn’t empty, you won’t be born in the Pure Land. In one enlightened thought, one is the Buddha; in one confused thought, one is a living being. The only difference between a Buddha and a common person is that one has great wisdom and one has great stupidity. The reason why our wisdom light is obstructed is because of our sense of self. We are so attached to this self, always claiming ‘I, me, mine’, yet at the time of death we’ll still have to put it down.

Since you’re so attached to this ‘self’, let’s investigate and try to locate it now. In your entire body, every single part has its own name -- a head is called a head, a hand a hand, a toe a toe – in fact, even the tiniest cell has its own name. Where can you find this thing called the ‘self’? Because of this ‘self’, you’re afraid of getting cold, becoming hungry, and all sorts of other things. There is a clever old saying that goes:

To reach seventy is already rare;
Then take off the years of youth and old age;
What is left in between is not much,
And even then, half of it is spent in sleep.

It’s already rare to get to be seventy years of age; when you take off fifteen years for youth and fifteen years for old age, you end up with about forty years. Half of that is spent in sleeping. Of the remaining twenty years, what about all the time you spend in eating, drinking, putting on clothes, going to the toilet, socializing, coming and going, etc.? -- at least another five years down the drain. What do you do with the remaining fifteen years? Most people bungle their way through and don’t even know that time is passing. So we go through our lives all muddled. Everything is unreal – all is an illusion. What is so important to attach to? If you see through all and put it down, you’ll obtain self-mastery. If you do not put it down, you’ll never be truly at ease.

Many of us create offenses because of this ‘self’. Some people within Buddhism even claim that when one dies it’s like an ‘extinguished lamp’, that there is nothing more after death. If it’s truly like this, why bother to study Buddhism at all? You can go ahead and kill and rob or do anything you please. Why are people exhorted to do good and to avoid evil? Just because there is cause and effect.

Can a person mold his or her own destiny? Yes.

A superior person has the knowledge to forge his own fate.
You determine your own destiny;
You seek your own blessings.
Calamities and blessings have no door;
You create them yourself.
The retribution of good and evil follows you like a shadow.

Most common people are restrained by their fate. An uncommon person is not. If you are an unusually good person, then the good you do transcends the normal boundaries of fate; the same applies if you are an extremely evil person. There is nothing fixed about fate. It is flexible – you can change it from bad to good. Or, if your fate was originally good and you deliberately do a lot of evil, then your good fate will sour too. Therefore, be very careful in whatever you do; do not deliberately go down the wrong track when you know you shouldn’t do it all along.

Many Chinese believe in feng shui (geomancy; literally, ‘wind and water’). They consult a geomancer to see if they can hit it rich or become an official or have a long life. People who are superstitious say that the wind and water is in direct relation to the geomantic lay-out of the land; they do not know that it’s ultimately controlled by a tiny square-inch within your mind. If you have Way-virtue, if you practice meritorious deeds, even a piece of land with poor feng shui will become good. Conversely, if you have no Way-virtue, even if you are offered prize wind and water, it will still turn rotten.

‘Merit is the basis, wealth is just a branch’. Do not vie for fame and gain; rather, vie to do good deeds. This means benefiting others – not just one or two individuals – but being selfless and bringing forth a Bodhisattva resolve to help all living beings.

When the Way is lofty,
Dragons and tigers are subdued.
When virtue is abundant,
Ghosts and spirits respect you.

Most living beings never admit to their own mistakes; they’d rather blame the heavens or other people but not themselves. Daily they become more confused. Those who study Buddhism should not start blaming the Buddhas, saying, ‘I’ve studied Buddhism for three years now; how come I still haven’t opened up wisdom?’ as if the Buddhas were unfair. Thinking in this way, you create all sorts of karma that is a mixture of good and bad. Instead, you should ask yourself, ‘Have I truly gotten rid of my greed, anger, and stupidity?’

Someone else asks, ‘I’ve been eating vegetarian food; how come my lot has not improved?’ or, ‘I’ve been bowing to the Buddhas till calluses have appeared on my head, so how come the Buddhas still don’t aid me?’ this is called blaming the heavens and finding fault with the Way. For example, I’ve been transmitting two of the forty-two Hands and Eyes. Someone who had been cultivating it for three days came and asked me, ‘How is it that I still do not have eyes in my hands?’ If this were so easy, it would be more popular than smoking opium. Living beings need patience.

Now, the two monks bowing once every three steps have some of that patience. They’ve been bowing since May 7, 1977 – sixteen months now. It might take them a total of two and a half years to complete their journey. They’re never lazy, not even for a second. The highway in California is extremely hot, and often their hands, feet, and heads hurt so badly it’s as if they are being cut with daggers. Yet, they endure it and persevere. This has moved the dragons and gods of the eightfold division, and a series of remarkable responses has occurred.

In the Sutra of the Forty Two Sections the Buddha said that to make offerings to a thousand evil people is not worthy the merit of making an offering to one good person; making offerings to a thousand good people does not equal the merit of making offerings to one person who keeps the five precepts; making offerings to ten thousand such people is not worth making offerings to one Bhikshu; making offerings to a hundred thousand Bhikshus is not worth making offerings to a First Fruit Arhat; and so on and so forth, to the point that if you were to make offerings to boundless sages, the merit would not measure up to making offerings to a person who has no mark of cultivation or certification, a person of the Way with no mind.

You can say that these two monks are cultivators of the Way with no mind. They don’t strike up many false thoughts each day. In bringing them to Malaysia, you people are reaping measureless merit and virtue by making offerings to them. Now, it is not that I particularly favor the people in Malaysia, rather it is because we’ve built up Dharma conditions for a very long time. Otherwise, you couldn’t bring forth such faith in me over a brief period of time like this. Whatever I say, you people really like to hear; even if I am scolding you, you still eat it up. That’s just because we’ve known each other for countless lifetimes. If you don’t believe me, perhaps your dreams will convince you.”

Somebody says, “Well, a dream isn’t real.”

“I don’t tell you it was real, did I? What is real anyway, tell me?”

Ng Fung Pao says, “Cultivating is real.”

The Abbot retorts, “Then why don’t you cultivate?” (all-round laughter) he continues:

“If in this world you’re trying to find the real, you won’t be able to. Cultivation is true, but it is not something you can see, per se. The cultivation that you see is already bound to form and shape. If you want to seek the real, first search within the false. Do not seek the real apart from the false. And be patient.

I’ll tell you another story about Kuo Chen (Heng Sure – ‘fruit of the truth’ and ‘constantly real’ respectively). The first time we went to take a look at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas he exclaimed, ‘This place is truly good!’ At the time I asked him, ‘What is “truly good”? If you were to seek all over the world, you’d probably not find anything truly good.’ Right then I helped him plant the seed for bowing once every three steps. Just one sentence – yet it inspired him. He became determined to find out what is ‘truly good’ within himself.”

Questions and answers

Q: “How do you find the real within the false?’

A: “Real diamonds and gold can be obtained from the earth.”

Q: “Can we use our minds to understand the three periods of time – the past, present, and future?”

A: “Of course. The three periods of time are just yesterday, today, and tomorrow – what’s so hard to fathom? If I explain them as a shorter period of time like this, it will be easier for you to remember and comprehend. The same applies to last year, this year, and next year; this life, last life, and next life. It’s all the same theory. If you cannot even remember all that you did yesterday, not to speak of last year, how much the less will you remember your previous lives?”

4 September (Day 37)

This is our last day at Kuantan before returning to Kuala Lumpur. Day in and out our bridges are being burnt. There is no turning back. You turn your head and the props are gone. Each turn brings a different landscape, with each thought a new country appears truly magnificent and ineffable are the “states more numerous than dust motes”! these few days we have gotten in the habit of reciting Earth Store Bodhisattva’s name in the morning for about two hours and in the afternoon for three or four hours, with breaks for instructions and brief rest periods. Sceneries of the world slide by, image upon image, juxtaposed against each other in an illusory web.

It is like a clever conjurist,
Who can manifest many things.
Because of living beings’ karmic power,
Inconceivable countries appear.

Avatamsaka Sutra, Flower Store Chapter

As Heng Hsien says, “There is no attaching here. You can’t. I try to apply yesterday’s rule to today, and it doesn’t fit. Already it’s a new ball game.” Truly, of the minds of the past, present, and future, none can be obtained, none can be got at.

In the afternoon the five precepts are transmitted. In the evening the Abbot talks to a crowd of about three hundred. He touches on different subjects, mainly about the “soul” and the Twelve Causal Links.

“Of course there is a ‘soul’ within the Buddhist doctrine. We just use different terminology. We say ‘eighth consciousness’, or the ‘intermediate skandha body’. When one is confused, this entity is called a soul; when one is enlightened it is called the Buddha Nature. if in Buddhism we deny the existence of a soul, then there is no Buddha Nature to speak of, and what use is there of studying to become a Buddha?

Now, rather than having just one soul, most people have three hun and seven p’ai. The hun are yang and the p’ai are yin. The p’ai exist individually and resemble bodies of human beings, except none of them has the five faculties – one many only sport eyes, with no ears, nose, or mouth; another may have only a nose, without any of the other features, and so on. They borrow each other’s faculties and together make up the entity that we mistakenly call one soul. Actually, there are seven. Sometimes when people undergo extreme terror or shock, their souls may be ‘scattered’, or they are ‘scared out of their wits’, so to speak. One of their p’ai may flee or become lost, and these people end up becoming very dull, or abnormal, or insane. People who haven’t opened their five eyes cannot see this. But, in fact, inconceivable and uncanny things happen all the time, and if you will only believe what you personally witness, then you will miss out on a lot. Do not use the yardstick of a common person to measure the vastness of wisdom. Chung Tzu said,

My life has a limit, and knowledge has no limit.
Using that which is limited to fathom what is unlimited is exhausting indeed.

Even then, most people have an insatiable craving for knowledge. However, if you haven’t dealt with this question of birth and death, then no matter how much you learn, you will forget it upon your death. Take yesterday, for instance; you can’t even remember what you did yesterday, so how can you remember what went on in your past life? People may go into elaborate detail learning the sciences and philosophies, yet when they die, they can’t take it with them. Let’s take language. Of the hundred-fifty major languages in the world, for instance, you may learn a hundred and forty-nine. Right as you are ready to master the last one, it’s time for you to go. When you come back the next time, you would have forgotten, so you’d have to start all over again.

Therefore, it is much better to have real control over your birth and death. That’s being truly free. You can live as long as you wish, or when you become tired of this body you can go off to rebirth instantaneously with complete mastery. So, don’t be satisfied with a little accomplishment – aim for wisdom that is boundless.

People revolve in the six paths and have absolutely no control over their destinies.

Out of the horse’s belly, into the donkey’s womb.
How many times have you paraded before King Yama?
From Shakra’s palace on high,
You end up at Yama’s oil vat.

Every person carries on his back a ‘shadow’ of what he was in his past life. If you were a tiger in your past life, there’ll be a shadow of a tiger. Whether you were a wolf, a person, a god, and goblin, or a fox-spirit—all is revealed by the shadow you carry behind your back. Only people who have opened their five eyes can see this. But, of course, even if you can see, you don’t go around disclosing other people’s secrets. You can’t say, ‘I know you; you were such and such an animal in your previous life.’ You can’t do that.”

The audience is delighted. This is a teaching of the ordinary and the fantastic, deftly spiced with rippling mirth. Truly, if people have heard Proper Dharma, how can they resist coming back for more.

In closing, the Abbot says,

“After I leave Malaysia, many people are going to scold or bad-mouth me. They don’t dare do it yet, but as soon as I leave, you’ll see what I mean. As for those of you who have taken refuge under me, don’t beat those people up with clubs – rather, bow to them. If they say that you Master is a demon king, you should bow to them most respectfully and say, ‘Yes, you’re right, my teacher is a demon king. And now I, a disciples of the demon king, wish to bow to you who are not one,’ then everything will be okay. In Buddhism, don’t be afraid to take a loss, don’t go looking for a bargain, otherwise you will not be a good Buddhist disciple. Being willing to take a loss just means being willing to benefit others. If I am of some value, then let people make use of me a little. It’s okay.”

Dream

It is an age of intense spiritual awakening, occurring some time in the near future, anywhere between five to fifteen years from now.

Ch'an Meditation is in vogue, the hottest item on everybody’s lips. Thousands have streamed to the main Ch'an Hall at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas to investigate the immemorial discipline of looking into their own minds. The hall, which is several stories high, is itself a consummate work of art, a blend of Eastern and Western styles, combining the aesthetic contouring of the Orient and the practical and streamlined effect of Western technology.

Massive red-lacquered pillars arise and fan out in symmetrical profusion, graceful and stunning against the ivory-colored walls. Airy and well-lit verandahs surround the hall and the entire building is spacious and cool. Thousands of Ch'an students from all over the world flock to practice, attending the regular Ch'an sessions, eagerly absorbing the Sutra lectures, drawn by the irresistible light of Dharma. A giant translation project of the entire Tripitaka (the Buddhist cannon) is in progress. The printing, publishing, disseminating, and teaching of the material are all happening in a drone of happy, buzzing excitement. Everything becomes engulfed in a vibrant, thriving atmosphere, as we witness the renaissance of all manners of “proper” spiritual discipline and arts, long believed to be obsolete or dead.

As if on a giant screen, one can see the wide network of Ch'an centers mushrooming all over the country, as well as in all cities of the world. At each of these centers are positioned Sanghins or lay people, amply qualified to teach the disciplines and particularly tailored to the residents’ cultural needs. People are tuning into themselves, trading in their sports cars, televisions, drugs, and toys for the more perennial enjoyment of seeking solutions within their own minds.

Reversing the Hearing to hear the self-nature,
And with that Nature realizing the unsurpassed Path.

During the morning meeting I bring up the dream.

“Of course it will happen, you can be sure of that,” the Abbot affirms with a smile. “In a while, Ch'an will become the most opportune dharma-door for people of this age. Just wait for the causes and conditions to ripen, and everything will fall naturally into place.”

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