I am a Roman Catholic priest of the Diocese of Santa Rosa, California, who is the Catholic Chaplain to Humboldt State University, and a lecturer in the Religious Studies Department. In 1987 an invitation to participate in
“The United World Religious Conference” at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas (CTTB) came to me. I had never heard of The Dharma Realm Buddhist Association, but since I was planning on attending a conference sponsored by the society for Buddhist-Christian Studies in Berkeley, I decided to stop in Talmage on my way. It was then that I met the Venerable Master Hsuan Hua and the members of the Sangha. In those last nine years we have shared many adventures together!
Twice each year I have brought groups of students from Humboldt State to the CTTB for an experience of cultivation in a Buddhist Way-place. I have given talks at the CTTB; The Translation Institute and at the Berkeley Buddhist Monastery. We testified to various boards in Mendocino County about the expansion of Dharma Realm Buddhist University─of which I am a member of the Advisory Board.
Master Hua was an overnight guest in my home, when he came to give a talk in Arcata, and made favorable comments about my collection of Chinese Art. He asked me to celebrate the Catholic Mass in the Buddha Hall, and was very proud that this was probably the only Buddhist monastery in the world where this happened.
I will miss his warmth and openness and our conversations in English. He welcomed me; encouraged me and was a good friend. There is a photograph in my office that is a daily reminder of the Venerable Master─one time he had me sit with him in his big chair in the Buddha Hall! His example and his memory should challenge all of us to ethical living; compassion; tolerance and a life dedicated to personal cultivation.
May he rest in peace.
The Rev. John R. Rogers, D.Min.