In general, the various stewards and prefects, including the cook, should maintain a joyful mind, an elder's mind, and a great mind whenever they perform rituals or engage in work.
So-called joyful mind is the spirit of happiness. You should consider that if you were born in a heaven, you would be attached to pleasures without cease and would not be able to arouse the thought of enlightenment. Practice would not be feasible. Even less would you be able to prepare meals as offerings to the three jewels! Among the myriad dharmas, the most revered and precious are the three jewels. The most superior things are the three jewels. Indra cannot compare. A wheel-turning king does not equal them. The Rules of Purity says, "Revered by the world, it is an excellent space outside [worldly] things; pure and detached, the assembly of monks is best."29 Now we have the good fortune to be born as human beings and to prepare the food that these three jewels receive and use. Is this not of great karmic significance? We should thus be very happy.
Again, you should consider that if you were born into the realms of hell, hungry ghosts, animals, anti-gods, and the like, or born in circumstances where you suffered from one of the eight difficulties, even if you sought to cover yourself in the power of the sangha, your hands would naturally be unable to prepare pure meals as offerings to the three jewels. Relying on that painful physical form you would receive pain and be bound in body and mind. Now, in this life, you have already prepared those meals. How happy a birth! How happy a body! It is the good karmic result of kalpas vast and great. It is merit that cannot decay. When you prepare food and cook it you should do so with the aspiration of taking tens of thousands of births and concentrating them into this one day, this one time, that you may be able to bind together in good karmic result the bodies of millions of [past] births. A mind that contemplates and understands things in this way is a joyful mind. Truly, even if one takes on the body of a wheel-turning holy king, if one does not prepare meals as offerings to the three jewels, in the end it has no benefit. It is only of the nature of water, froth, bubbles, or flames.
So-called elder's mind is the spirit of fathers and mothers. It is, for example, like a father and mother who dote on an only child: one's thoughts of the three jewels are like their concentration on that one child. Even if they are poor or desparate, they strongly love and nurture that single child. People who are outsiders cannot understand what their state of mind is like; they can only understand it when they themselves become fathers or mothers. Without regard for their own poverty or wealth, [parents] earnestly turn their thoughts toward raising their child. Without regard for whether they themselves are cold or hot, they shade the child or cover the child. We may regard this as affectionate thinking at its most intense. A person who arouses this spirit is fully conscious of it. A person who cultivates this spirit is one who truly awakens to it. Therefore, when [the cook] watches over water and watches over grain, in every case he should sustain the caring and warmth of child-rearing!
The great teacher Shakyamuni, moreover, apportioned twenty years of his lifespan as a buddha to assist us in this age of the end of the dharma. What was his intention? It was simply that he valued the spirit of fathers and mothers. A tathâgata is utterly incapable of seeking any reward or seeking any riches.
So-called great mind is, in its spirit, like a great mountain or a great sea: it has no partiality and no factionalism. Lifting an ounce, it does not consider it light; hefting a stone, it does not consider it heavy.30 Being drawn by the voices of spring, it does not wander into the swamp of spring. Although it sees the colors of autumn, it has nothing whatsoever of the spirit of autumn. It contrasts the four seasons against the backdrop of a single vista. It views pennyweights and ounces [of silver] within the context of a single system of measurement.31 As an emblem of this sameness, we can write the character "great". You should know the character "great". You should study the character "great". If the cook Jiashan had not studied the character "great", he would not have spontaneously laughed his single laugh and would not have saved Taiyuan.32 If Ch'an Master Guishan had not written the character "great", he could not have taken a stick of firewood and blown on it three times.33 If the Reverend Preceptor Dongshan had not known the character "great", he would not have been able to instruct the monk by raising "three pounds of hemp".34 You should know that the great teachers of old were alike in their study of the character "great" in connection with the diverse phenomena of this world. Now, too, there are those who freely make a great sound, expound the great meaning, complete the great matter, connect with great people, and accomplish karmic conditions of this one great matter. How could abbots, stewards, prefects, and monks in training entirely forget these three kinds of mind?!