March 18, 1973 | Sunday evening
On Fulilling Monastic Responsibilities
Ven. Master Hsuan Hua
Today about thirty people took refuge. Guo Su is getting more and more ďintelligentĒ to the point that he doesnít even know how to handle the refuge ceremony. If you donít even know how to handle such a ceremony, how do ever expect to be a qualified well-rounded practitioner of the Path? Your cultivation cannot be one-sided. You should be well-rounded and know how to do everything. Take, for instance, playing the Dharma instruments. In China, the monks and nuns do not look at the books or music while they play the instruments. They have the score clearly committed to memory, so they do not have to look at books. So much time has elapsed, and some of you are still looking at the books when you play the instruments. And not only that, you play them wrong on occasion. Although playing the Dharma instruments is not a very important thing, nonetheless, you should play them properly. For example, you led the new refuge disciples in bowing to the Buddhas, but you did not do it properly. I was not very pleased when I heard the chanting. Besides, I waited fifteen minutes upstairs for you to finish your bowing. Maybe it was twenty minutes. I waited up there, but I could hear their bowing and it sounded more and more awful. The sound was very short. I donít know whether you were bowing alternately, or having people bow only on one side, or having everyone all bow together at the same time. But the sound was very short and abrupt. I donít know whether you had time to actually make a full bow. The interval would have allowed people only time enough to lower their heads, and then people on the other side would get up and sing. Maybe you simply sang but did not even make a full bow. That will not do.
Timely Teachings, pages 134 - 135.