"Opening the hand of Thought, Approach to Zen" (fragment)
I have people coming here every day to talk with me about their problems. There was one girl a while back who came in and just broke down completely. When I asked her what the problem was, she said she'd gotten pregnant. Apparently she had slept with some guy whom she didn't even know that well after having gone out and gotten quite drunk. I asked her how she felt about marrying him, but she said she didn't even care for him and couldn't consider it.
So what should she do? Well, I advised her to have an abortion. She agreed and I referred her to a friend of mine who happens to be a gynecologist. Of course, what I told her to do wasn't good. It was wrong, or, in Christian terms, sinful. Therefore, if she was going to pay for it in hell, then I would have to go, with her. That's something I had to fully accept the moment she came to me for advice.
When someone comes along who's completely at a loss as to what to do and asks for advice, as a bodhisattva you can't just say that you don't know, it's not your problem. That's just shirking your responsibility. Not having to take responsibility for what you say or do is the safest way out. But when someone's all mixed up, what choice have you but to be forceful in replying? What I advised her to do wasn't a good thing, and if later on she had had to suffer the consequences because of something I'd told her to do, then I would have to be willing to suffer those consequences with her. That's the kind of reasoning or resolve I felt I had to have to deal with that particular situation. Anyway, you should know that it's not enough for a bodhisattva of the Mahayana to just uphold the precepts. There are times when you have to break them, too. It's just that when you do, you have to do so with the resolve of also being willing to accept whatever consequences might follow. That's what issai shujo to tomo ni ("together with all sentient beings regardless of what hell one might fall into") really means.