A considerable number of practitioners did make an appreciable progress in a short period after they had started their self-cultivation career. But then their progress stalled or even somewhat receded. They could be likened to plants growing up in a greenhouse. Once they were transferred to an open-air field, they withered. Some practitioners did perform well when doing sitting meditation in seclusion for a stint of considerable length. In such an isolated state their progress had even enabled them to perceive “the Samadhi light” whenever their minds were deep engulfed with their meditative effort. But whenever the surroundings of their sitting meditation get somewhat altered, their performance in sitting meditation falters. I was told a story about a young Buddhist monk who had made remarkable progress in practicing sitting meditation. Anecdotes of his success on this score had been so vastly circulated that a young lady from the Western World signaled her wish for an interview with him. But when the young monk was informed that according to the Western etiquette the young Western lady must have a hand shake with him at the beginning of the prospective interview, he declined the interview outright. What did his refusal signify? It signified that his Samadhi Balai was not desirable. If, instead of making his self-cultivation effort and sitting meditation practice in seclusion, he had performed them in a social environment, he wouldn’t have displayed so weak Samadhi Balai. A practitioner who has gained a laudable power of mind control can remain completely casual in the presence of someone who seems superior to him and completely equable in the presence of someone who seems inferior to him. Buddhists are required to abstain from both non-vegetarian food and sex which, though being taboos for them all, constitute indeed a convenient guarantee for a Buddhist novice both to more easily and quickly wean from worldly mode of living and to concentrate on purging his mind and normalizing his behavior. But for an appreciably accomplished practitioner or for a practitioner who has acquired fairly good power of mind control, he should be able to rather calmly face a situation where non-vegetarian food or a human being of the opposite sex is involved; otherwise his accomplishment in self-cultivation or Samadhi Balai is bogus. Here I hope the above expatiation should not be so interpreted as to mean that a practitioner with a remarkable power of mind control is entitled to toy with a breach of the aforesaid taboos. To sum up, a practitioner with admirable Samadhi Balai is expected to behave quite exemplarily and normally even in a most tricky situation where breach of a taboo is almost irresistible. Every Chan practitioner is expected and required to propagate gospel of Buddhist liberation in the midst of the multitudes. Therefore he or she is expected and required to be in the midst of the multitudes for a considerable part of his or her time. In case a practitioner persistently tries to elude the company of a butcher, a non-vegetarian-food chef, or a human being of the opposite sex, what are we to expect of him or her?
If, by pursuing a self-cultivation career constantly in a social environment, a practitioner can succeed in not only doctrinally fully comprehending but experientially and firmly grasping the quintessence of sunyata (emptiness of self and dharmas)”, he or she can stay immune to vexations apt to bedevil such a practitioner as has little Samadhi Balai to recommend himself or herself.(From My Heart My Buddha)