Living beings’ blessings are scarce indeed! They were unable to influence the foremost Sanghan of this age, Venerable Master Hsuan Hua, to stay in the world. The Venerable Master dedicated all the blessings and happiness that he ought to have received to all living beings of the Dharma Realm. At the same time, he vowed to take upon himself all the misery and hardships of all living beings of the Dharma Realm.
The Venerable Master’s illnesses were the sicknesses of living beings. When the Master entered Nirvana, living beings’ blessings came to an end. From now on, everyone can only seek blessings on their own by upholding the Master’s earnest instructions, following the Six Guidelines, and resolutely maintaining the tradition of the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas with the hope of keeping the Proper Dharma in the world and averting the disasters that threaten mankind.
It is difficult to obtain a human body, difficult to get to hear the Buddhadharma, and difficult to encounter a Good and Wise Advisor. How fortunate I am to have obtained a human body that is replete with all its faculties, to have heard the Buddhadharma that is the Proper Dharma of the patriarchs’ mind-transmission, and to have met a Good and Wise Advisor who would be difficult to find in a hundred million kalpas─the Venerable Master Hua.
I still remember the afternoon of November 8, 1988. The Venerable Master was propagating the Dharma, turning the Dharma-wheel in Taichung. Stubborn and headstrong, I arrogantly went to see what it was all about. The place I stood was right in front of the Master’s Dharma-seat. When I first gazed upon the Master, I was using my ordinary person’s mind to behold a sage. I had not one whit of respect, yet the Master regarded me kindly. After a while I wanted to leave, but it was so crowded that I couldn’t walk out. I had no choice but to participate in the Dharma assembly.
I didn’t realize it was a ceremony for taking refuge (for I had never taken refuge before). Against my wishes and in total bewilderment, I ended up taking refuge. Thinking that the conditions must have ripened without my realizing it, I slowly calmed down. However, I still couldn’t accept the requirement of bowing ten thousand bows (because in Taiwan we hadn’t heard of this). When I received the certificate for taking refuge in January of the next year, I eagerly opened it and looked through the pages. When I read the Venerable Master’s Eighteen Great Vows, I was dazed for a long time. Looking back over my life, I became aware of my extreme confusion, stupidity, and offenses. How could I use an ordinary person’s mind to regard a sage, not showing the slightest respect? Immediately a wave of great shame, remorse, and repentance washed over me, and I cried.
Later I absorbed myself in reading the Venerable Master’s Dharma talks, and the Master’s virtue, compassion, and vows won my complete respect. I congratulated myself for not having missed the opportunity that came to me. In twelve days, I completed the ten thousand bows and was instantly filled with the bliss of Dharma. After that, I began bowing 150 bows every morning as a source of Dharma-food.
In 1990 I took charge of the family-run company, which had been seriously in debt for over ten years. On September 3, right at the height of the company crisis, the Venerable Master came to propagate the Dharma in Taichung. I joined the team of volunteers helping the Dharma assembly. With the Master’s advice and invisible aid, the crisis that had been threatening our family was finally and inconceivably resolved. The heavy bank loan was taken care of satisfactorily, and I was freed from the loan insurance payments that I had been making for over ten years. This also freed me from the retribution of becoming an ox, horse, or camel in my next life.
In the beginning of 1991, I began to blindly practice sitting in full lotus with my stiff forty-year old body. Because I didn’t have any skill, I injured my kneecaps. I went to the doctor to seek treatment. Not only was there no improvement, the doctor told me that if I insisted on sitting, I’d probably become handicapped. Because I wanted to be able to sit in full lotus, I continued practicing despite the pain. On April 11 in the early morning when I woke up from a deep sleep, I opened my eyes and saw the Venerable Master wearing his sash and sitting in full lotus in the air beside my bed.
Although I was conscious and could move my eyes, my limbs couldn’t move at all. The Master gazed kindly at me with a smile. As I was lying there on the bed, he took my right hand, put it on top of his head, and pressed the back of it with his right palm. In an instant, the energy from his palm penetrated down to the place of injury. Suddenly I felt an aching soreness. Then the Master rose into the air and vanished. I grabbed the clock next to my bed and looked: It was exactly 4:28 a.m. When I got up and sat in meditation, I discovered that the injury was healed and I could sit in full lotus.
On April 23, I went abroad for the first time, on a pilgrimage to the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas. I had an inconceivable encounter at the customs, which I later reported to the Master. The Master’s comment was,
“When your mind is sincere, there will be a response.” I concluded that it hadn’t been a mere hallucination. On April 28, when I bid farewell to the Venerable Master, he emitted light from his arm and aided me.
Some people in my family caused trouble for the Master by not paying up their debts, thus letting down the Master’s kindness in helping them earlier. In order to prevent them from making a mistake in cause and effect, although it was painful to me, I decided to resolve the matter through the law on November 6, 1993. In May of the following year, when a certain layman went to the United States to celebrate the Master’s birthday, the Master told him to give me a verse. The verse said:
You sent a letter to me from a thousand miles away only for
the sake of a wall.
What does it hurt to yield three feet to the other party?
The Great Wall is still around today,
But where can you find Emperor Shi of the Qin dynasty?
When I realized that the Master wanted me to be yielding and to use virtue to deal with people, and that he was telling me that we cannot take anything but our karma when we leave, I suddenly felt carefree. I stopped the lawsuit. Each of us has to take responsibility for our own cause and effect. This dissolved the family tragedy.
February 15 of this year (1995) was my mother’s 85th birthday. She took refuge with the Master in 1990. She has been reciting the Buddha’s name and been a vegetarian for over thirty years. Due to her advanced age, she was weak and prone to sickness. Her heart was failing and she had to use a pacemaker. That morning I recited the Earth Store Sutra and transferred the merit. In the afternoon my left-home sister Shi Changwu led the assembly to bow the Great Compassion Repentance. In the evening we recited the Buddha’s name and transferred the merit. When everyone was reciting the Buddha’s name single-mindedly, it occurred to me that I should take pictures to remember the occasion. After the film was developed, there was one photo showing a picture of the Venerable Master on the altar, and the Master’s eyebrows were emitting light. In another picture of the Master that is kept in our bookcase of Sutras, the Master’s body was emitting light. After that, my mother’s health gradually improved. It was truly inconceivable. It was proof of the matching couplet written next to the Master’s picture:
His kindness and compassion cross over all;
Believers are liberated and perfect the Right Enlightenment.
Transforming beings wherever he goes, his spirit remains intact;
Those who venerate him obtain blessings and awaken to the
In order to practice his Eighteen Great Vows to liberate all the living beings in the nine Dharma Realms and cause them to attain proper enlightenment, the Venerable Master sacrificed his physical body to shoulder the karma of all living beings. He practiced the Bodhisattva Way, hoping to enable living beings to leave suffering, attain bliss, and end birth and death sooner. To cause the Buddha’s proper teaching to dwell in the world, he forgot about his own life, endured all kinds of slander, and destroyed the evil to reveal the proper. Furthermore, he dedicated himself to the task of translating the Buddhist canon in order to reform the trends of the world and resolve the crises of mankind. He often reminded people about the importance of education and of the eight virtues of Chinese culture (filiality, brotherhood, loyalty, trustworthiness, propriety, righteousness, incorruptibility, and a sense of shame). At the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, he established Instilling Goodness Elementary School, Developing Virtue Secondary School, and Dharma Realm Buddhist University. He dedicated himself to the great task of education. The Venerable Master’s vows and compassion equal those of the Buddhas. He is a great Good and Wise Advisor who is difficult to encounter in a hundred million kalpas. He is the parent of our Dharma-body. My grief is as deep as if my own parents had passed away. I vow to follow his instructions and practice his teachings. I also vow that to the end of time, I will be able to listen to his teaching of the proper Dharma and cultivate in accord. I hope this can pay back a tiny fraction of my Master’s kindness. Amitabha.
Ashamed, repentant, grateful, and unfilial disciple Guo Hui
bows with utmost sincerity
June 16, 1995