August 2, 1974 (Friday evening)

2.6 On Criteria for Entering Monastic Life

Ven. Master Hsuan Hua


In the future I won’t casually accept people to enter monastic life. I definitely won’t accept people who have no patience and are up to no good.  

People who enter the monastic life have to be able to endure what others cannot endure, and yield what others cannot yield. They cannot be selfish and seek to benefit themselves, thinking only of themselves and never of others. One of my disciples is always coming to the monastery and making everyone upset so they become unable to apply effort in their self-cultivation. That shows a very bad character. And how can he demand that the monastery provide him with a private apartment when he has only recently become a monk? That’s the worst kind of behavior. Even so, I’m willing to let him have his way. That’s because I want to see if he can reform. Cultivators should not crave comfort. If they do, they won’t be able to cultivate the Path.

Those who want to cultivate the Path have to first learn forbearance, and then learn samÁdhi. They have to bear what they cannot bear, and be in samÁdhi when they cannot be in samÁdhi. They cannot be stubborn. No matter how stubborn they may have been before, they now have to learn to be compliant and gentle. They cannot have a temper. Otherwise, even though they have become monks, they will not be able to realize enlightenment. If they cannot realize enlightenment, then not only will nothing good come of it, but there is the possibility that they will fall into the hells, which is very easy to do.  

In the future, I will not casually permit people to become monks. I will examine and observe very carefully anyone who wants to enter the monastic life.

Timely Teachings Page 142