September 28, 1973, Friday evening


105. On Cherishing Blessings

Ven. Master Hua    




Everyday I find a teacup lid, but no teacup. Why? Where is the teacup? Did it grow legs and walk off? If you canít even take care of teacups, what good are you? What if I gave you a building? Youíd probably let it fall into the ocean. There is also the matter of the bookmark. It has a definite place where it should be in the sutra, but sometimes it ends up in a different place. I donít know if someone wants to read the sutra, or if they want to steal the bookmark but donít quite dare to.


You should realize itís not that your teacher is attached to teacups. Itís just that you canít go around losing things. [Editorís note: Also, the teapot was found burnt in the kitchen.] How could you treat the teapot like that and expect not to ruin it? Weíre not smelting steel here. Weíre not setting up a foundry as in China ís Great Leap Forward. That kind of steel-forging wonít work.


Do you all know that today one of my disciples boiled the teapot dry? Was anyone told? Did you all know about the teapot when I asked and yet none of you told me about it? Why did none of you tell me?


Thereís also the matter of leaving lights on. I have told you over and over again that people must turn out the lights when they are not in a room. But every time this particular disciple is not in her room, she leaves the light on. Iíve noticed this myself many times.


We cultivators must be careful in all respects not to squander our blessings. We need to nurture blessings in every possible way. For example, when you let the pot boil dry while you are boiling water, you are squandering blessings. Not turning off lights is the same. Blessings are successfully cultivated through progressive, bit-by-bit accumulation. If you fail to pay attention, you wonít have many blessings.


Furthermore, none of you bothers to amass blessings in the best place possible. Who would have expected that Professor Hsieh would grab the blessings of our second floor by cleaning the lavatory there. I doubt if anyone has ever cleaned that lavatory before, but today, our professor helped us clean the toilets.


I, too, like doing that kind of work. After I became a novice, I specialized in cleaning toilets. Even while I was still a layman, whenever I went to a monastery, I would clean the toilets for them. I did whatever work others were unwilling to do. It doesnít take long to perform such a task. One can finish the job quickly. Now Professor Hsieh has cleaned up our lavatory on the second floor. No doubt youíre waiting for me to clean the third floor. I can probably make time for that tomorrow. If Upasika Hsieh had not cleaned the second-floor lavatory, I would have forgotten about this job. But when she volunteered, it reminded me of my work in the past. I should continue to do what I did as a new novice and a layperson, and clean the toilets. Donít you agree?


Timely Teachings