Introduction: Records of the High Sanghans
You should think it over, whether or not you want to imitate the High Masters. Do you want to be a high monk or would you rather imitate a low monk? Do you want to imitate a monk who is neither high nor low? Do you want to imitate a holy monk or a common monk? Do you want to imitate a vigorous monk or do you want to imitate a lazy monk? Each of you should consider this. You should not just listen to these records and let them pass by like wind blowing by your ears. If you do, then I have spoken in vain. On the other hand, if you can imitate these high monks with their sounds, appearances, cultivation, samadhi, and Precept power, then you can cast yourselves in their mold and they will serve as living models. In this country, I believe there are many high monks, Sagely monks, many vigorous monks, and many monks with inconceivable spiritual penetrations. Because if there are not these, then I fear there will not be even any common monks. In the beginning of the Proper Dharma in America, you should be leaders for people. Don't consider yourselves useless. Don't think that slacking off a little won't matter. That's not the way it is.
As for laymen, they should be like Vimalakirti and Anathapindada. When I lectured the Vajra Sutra, I told how Anathapindada used his own gold to cover the earth and build a monastery. Be like him. Be like Vimalakirti, who was a layman with spiritual penetrations greater than those of the great Arhats. He was able to out-talk the brilliant Shariputra and others like him. You should use your true heart to protect the Triple Jewel. In this country there must be both laymen and Dharma Masters of such lofty quality.
- Venerable Master Hsuan Hua,
Records of High Sanghans p. 145 - 146.