Even now, I still can’t believe that the Venerable Master has completed the stillness. In recent years, the Master frequently manifested sickness, but each time he recovered. This time I thought it would the same. Who would have expected such a shock? I remember the Master saying that if he lived to be a hundred years old, he would burn himself as an offering to the Buddhas. Last summer, the Master was in the hospital, but he still spoke the Dharma. Once he recited from the
Song of Enlightenment, “Walking is Dhyana; / Sitting is also Dhyana. / In speech or silence, in movement or stillness, my substance is at peace. / Even if I meet with a knife’s point, I am always completely tranquil. / If I am given a poisonous drug, I am still totally at ease.” I believe he was describing his own state. There was no time when he was not in samadhi; there was no time when he wasn’t speaking Dharma, even when he was manifesting sickness.
This time, when the Master was seriously ill, his disciples in Taiwan recited the Shurangama Mantra─the king of mantras, praying that the Proper Dharma would dwell in the world. After a month, those who hadn’t been able to read the mantra before could read it. Those who hadn’t been familiar with it became familiar with it, and those who hadn’t memorized it before could recite it from memory. After the Master completed the stillness, all the Way-places, following his instructions, began reciting the Avatamsaka Sutra, the king of kings among all Sutras, three times. I believe that after completing the recitation of this Sutra, his disciples will be able to comprehend the Master’s state and intent. If it weren’t for the compassion of the Venerable Master, I don’t know when the many lax and lazy disciples such as myself would be able to understand this profound, unsurpassed, wonderful, and great Dharma.
It’s certain that the Venerable Master can come and go freely as he wishes. There must be a profound meaning behind his decision to enter the stillness at this time. We should look into it carefully. Otherwise, not only will we let the Master down, we will probably regret it in the future.
I often consider myself very fortunate to have the great blessings to have drawn near this Bright-eyed Good and Wise Advisor who is difficult to encounter in millions of kalpas. I’m also deeply ashamed that I didn’t follow his teachings in time. I always procrastinated and wasted time, thinking there would be time in the future to do it. I hope the shock of the Venerable Master’s completion of stillness will wake up muddled living beings, so that they will be able to renounce what they could not renounce, cut off what they could not cut off, and bring forth the resolve. If at this time they still cannot bring forth the resolve, then probably even if a thousand Buddhas came to the world, it wouldn’t do them any good.
The Venerable Master was so deeply compassionate that it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to call him our
“Greatly Compassionate Father.” Our own parents are only the parents of our physical body in this one life, which will not be longer than a hundred years. The Venerable Master is the parent of our Dharma-body in life after life. The kindness of our biological parents can hardly match the greatness of the Master’s kindness and virtue. The wise one is gone, but his influence will last throughout history. In remembering the Venerable Master, we should truly resolve to carry on the Master’s mission to propagate the Dharma and benefit living beings. Only then can we repay a tiny fraction of the Master’s kindness.