The Scripture of the Fo...


The Scripture of the Founding Master

Chapter Thirteen: On the Order


The Founding Master said, “Establishing a new religious order in any age, it is beyond question that its doctrines and institutions should be fundamentally superior to those of the past. However, if one lacks colleagues who will widely utilize its doctrines and institutions, it will also be difficult to succeed. Therefore, in the Buddha of the past's dispensation, he had ten chief disciples among his twelve hundred followers who, along with becoming exemplars for the people according to their respective capacities, were the first gladly to receive and put into practice whatever the Buddha taught, thus encouraging others and demonstrating exemplary behavior in every respect. Hence, thanks to the spirit of those ten disciples, people gradually were influenced by their edifying power and were led ultimately to form the great congregation on Vulture Peak.
“Now, let me give some examples of how those ten disciples edified others. Suppose there was someone in the congregation who committed a wrongful deed but reprimanding the person directly would only produce a counter-effect; then two or three of those ten disciples would discuss the matter quietly among themselves. One of them would purposely commit the same offense and another witnessing the event would severely reprimand the offender. The offender would then meekly confess his mistake, gratefully promise to repent, and subsequently correct his mistake. The real offender would then implicitly repent and rectify his mistake silently. Such were the actions of the ten disciples and the expedient means they used for edification. Furthermore, in order to guide people, in some cases they would pretend not to know what they really knew, or to have done wrong when they actually had done right. They might appear greedy when they really weren’t, then gradually shift to a state free from greed. They might pretend to be lustful, then shift toward freedom from lust. Thus, like parents raising their children or hens brooding over their eggs, they demonstrated all kinds of acts of loving-kindness and compassion, so that both the Buddha’s work of deliverance became much easier, and the masses of people were more easily edified by the right dharma. How honorable, then, were their loving-kindness and compassion and how grand their merit? Therefore, in pursuing a life within the congregation, you must always model yourselves on the conduct of the ten chief disciples and become guides and key figures in establishing this order.”