I’m a little ant who wishes to crawl beneath the feet of all living beings. I want to be a servant. I’d like to be lower than anyone else. In Manchuria I was called the
“Living Dead Man.” After coming to America, I’ve been called the
“Monk in the Grave.” Now I’m a nameless little ant, a little mosquito. Both when I’m alive and after I die, I don’t wish people to mention my name, because all names are unreal.
That’s what the Venerable Master Hua once said.
Back in 1976 when the Dharma Realm Buddhist Association’s Delegation to Asia arrived in Singapore, the Venerable Master Hua spoke to the Buddhist Youth Association. He said,
After I die, my disciples should cremate my body. My bones and ashes should be ground to a powder, mixed with flour and honey, and fed to the ants, so that I can create affinities with the ants. After they have eaten, I hope they will bring forth the Bodhi resolve and attain the unsurpassed Way. Now that I’ve given you instructions in advance, when the time comes, you disciples should follow them. I don’t wish to leave a flesh body for people to make offerings to. I don’t want people to build any stupas or memorial halls for me. I want to leave quietly, without being noticed. Sweep clean all dharmas; separate from all marks."
(September 10,11, 1976)
Five to six years ago, although the Venerable Master Hua had fallen ill due to the fatigue accumulated from constant overworking, he continued to propagate the Dharma in his sick condition, travelling to various Way-places both domestic and abroad. He didn’t see a doctor, didn’t take a rest, and totally disregarded his own health. It was only in September of last year (1994) that he collapsed from sickness and was sent to the hospital. At that time he made arrangements to have his will written. Due to the extremely sincere entreaties of his disciples, the Venerable Master continued to dwell in the world. Even when the suffering ordeal of single-handedly undergoing the sicknesses and pains of living beings’ karma reached the height of intensity, the Venerable Master Hua commented,
I wouldn’t use even a finger’s strength to help myself as I lie on the sickbed!
The Venerable Master Hua complied with the wishes of living
beings and compelled himself to stay in the world. Out of
compassion for his disciples, who were as yet unprepared to
bear the shock of their teacher’s death, he gave them one
final warning. On December 4–5, 1994, the Venerable Master
I want to tell you what to do after my death. All of you should be psychologically prepared, for I may depart at any time. Nothing is fixed. If I don’t tell you these things now, when the time comes, you will panic and not know what to do. Now I will tell you what to do after my death, so when the time comes, you won’t all have your own opinions.
The Venerable Master also said,
After I depart, you can recite the Avatamsaka Sutra and the Buddha’s name for however many days you would like, perhaps sevendays or forty-nine days. After the cremation, scatter my ashes in the air. Do not build any stupas or memorials for me. I came into the world without anything; when I depart, I still do not want anything. I do not want to leave any traces in the world!
I can’t be together with you all your lives. Every person has a time for coming and a time for going. Don’t be sad. Act the same way that you do in ordinary times. Resolve to apply effort diligently. The City of Ten Thousand Buddhas has its special hallmarks. The rule of eating one meal a day should be kept. Elderly people may eat three meals. Young people should eat a little less. The important thing is to cultivate. Do a good job of nurturing people’s talents and teaching the students. Everyone should get organized and run the schools well. The elementary school should be managed well, the secondary school should be managed well, and the university be managed well even more!
On April 7, 1995, the Venerable Master could no longer bear up and had to enter the hospital. About three days before, the Master was already extremely weak, and he said,
Right now I’m like two people. One is busily running around saving living beings. The other is this body lying on the sickbed, but I don’t care about it. I won’t help myself.
On June 7 at quarter past three in the afternoon, the Venerable Master Hua entered Nirvana. This unselfish, selfless, greatly compassionate father dedicated his inexhaustible blessings to the Dharma Realm, not keeping even as much as a needle or a blade of grass for himself!