What is Patience? What is Skill?

I always tell them: to suffer scolding is skill, to suffer beating is skill, not trying to get a bargain is skill, and enduring losses is skill. However, nobody knows how to use this kind of skill. You cannot show that you have this skill because as soon as you reveal it, it's not skill. As for enduring beating and scolding, this doesn't mean that the more my Master scolds me, the better. It doesn't mean that I should endure it shamelessly, not caring whether or not he scolds. If that were the case, then his scolding would just make me thick-skinned, and it wouldn't worry me. If you can endure being scolded by those below you, that counts as true endurance. But if you stubbornly endure scolding from those above you, that is not forbearance. You all are my left-home disciples, and it is natural for me to scold you and beat you. To endure that isn't really endurance. It's only enduring something you have no way not to endure. For example, if you can endure being rebuked or hit by someone below you; that really counts. We have to speak the truth here; we can't just be all mixed-up and say, "The more I can endure my Master's scolding, the better." The more you endure it, the worse you become. The more you forbear, the more you'll fall into the hells, because you have no shame and no remorse! And I'll tell you another thing: those people who left the home-life and subsequently returned to the lay-life will definitely fall into the hells. There is no compromise at all. So don't think that returning to lay-life is a good thing. In that situation, being alive is more painful than dying. Anyone who has returned to lay-life now regrets it.

Vajra Bodhi Sea, April 1993