English | Vietnamese


Sunday evening, December 31, 1972.

On Trying to Fly Too Soon

Ven. Master Hsuan Hua  


One of my monastic disciples, Guo Hu, wants to go and stay at a monastery in New York. What makes you think you can go there? They don’t allow just anyone to live there, you know. Especially you—if you’re alone outside, you’ll definitely break the rules. You won’t survive without someone watching over you. If you want to go off and live outside, fine—but wait till you’re enlightened. When I certify your enlightenment, you can go. Before you’re enlightened, if you go outside, you’ll just waste your time. What use is that?   

Your concern right now should not be with finding a place to stay where you’ll be provided one meal a day so you can keep from starving to death. Your immediate concern should be with applying yourself diligently to your studies and never slacking off at any moment. Only then will you have some success in the future. How can you expect to fly before your wings are fully grown? If you go off to live on your own, I know for sure that you will fall. You ought to know that, too.


[Editor’s note: Later, on September 9, 1981, the Master wrote a verse about this monastery.

Turn from the small and go toward the great.

Renounce the deviant and return to the proper.

Establish a great monastic community.

Get rid of superstitious practices.

Bring forth the resolve for Bodhi.

The disciple in question did go to New York and soon afterward went back to lay life.]


Timely Teachings page 127.