After my husband passed away in 1980, I raised our three children by myself. It was very difficult for me. In 1982 I encountered the Venerable Master’s Proper Dharma and felt I had gained a place of refuge.
The first time I was introduced to the Venerable Master’s Dharma was when a fellow cultivator gave me a copy of the Venerable Master’s biography. When I read it, my heart was filled with delight. Whenever I had spare time I would read the Venerable Master’s books. I also placed the Venerable Master’s image on the Buddha altar and bowed in homage to it. I really wanted to meet the Venerable Master, but my obligations to the home and children made it virtually impossible. So I wished every day that the Venerable Master would return to Taiwan to propagate the Dharma. I would certainly take refuge with him then...
In April of this year, the assembly recited the Great Compassion Mantra for the Venerable Master during his illness, requesting the Master to stay in the world. I felt very sad. I again thought I probably wouldn’t get to meet the Venerable Master.
A little later, the news of the Venerable Master’s completion of stillness came. My greatest regret in this life is that I didn’t get to see the Venerable Master in person. However, I am fortunate because I did see the Venerable Master and receive teachings from him several times in my dreams. At first I thought these dreams were a result of my constant and strong yearning to see the Venerable Master. As it is said,
“What one dreams about at night is determined by what one thinks about during the day.” However, ever since I came to the Sagely City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, it has seemed to me that all the inconceivable things that have happened were arranged long ago by the Venerable Master.
Ever since the Venerable Master’s Nirvana, every time I think of his leaving, tears roll down my cheeks, and I sigh that my blessings are so scarce and that I have no affinity with the Venerable Master in this life. The Venerable Master is truly inconceivable. He can cause someone who has never even met him to realize in dreams the kindness, compassion, joy, and giving of a Bodhisattva.
I had always wished to come to the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, but was never able to do so, because I worried that my three children would have no one to care for them. Once I went to the Yuantong Hermitage and saw a Dharma sister who encouraged me to go to the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas. After all the arrangements were made, I finally made it to the Sagely City without any problem.
Coming to the Sagely City is like entering another world. The woods here are secluded, pure, and tranquil. I feel as if I’ve returned home. Starting on the first day of my stay at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, all the things I’d wished for in Taiwan began coming true one by one. I received the Three Refuges and Five Precepts and formally became the Venerable Master’s disciple. My feeling of joy is truly indescribable. All of this happened after the Venerable Master had completed the stillness, but it seems as if it had all been arranged beforehand.
On the third day I went to No Words Hall to behold the Venerable Master. When I saw the Venerable Master’s peaceful countenance, what self-reproach and regret I felt! I’ve come too late to see the Venerable Master’s exemplary deportment!
Only by coming to the Sagely City in person can one truly and deeply sense the Venerable Master’s courage and greatness. Only a Bodhisattva could do what he has done.
On the twenty-eighth, when the casket was being carried, the assembly knelt and bowed on both sides of the path. I thought of what few blessings I had for not being able to personally serve a Good Knowing Advisor, and then I cried bitterly. The cremation ceremony was held in the afternoon, and the weather was extremely hot. Sincere laypeople went about offering wet towels and water to the assembly, making people feel that this Way-place is truly different from the others. As everyone knelt and the Venerable Master’s body was being carried to the cremation site, there was wave after wave of fragrance. I wondered where the fragrance could be coming from. Afterwards I asked a fellow cultivator if she had smelled it, and she told me it was a rare fragrance (not the usual kind found in the world).
Everyone was wondering if the Venerable Master’s ashes contained sharira. The Master had said,
“I don’t want to leave any traces in the world! I came from empty space, and I will return to empty space.” Who would have expected that after the bowing in the evening on the twenty-ninth, a Dharma Master would announce that the Venerable Master had sharira?! Everyone was ecstatic.
The Dharma session has concluded. Even though it was very hectic, I felt energetic and filled with the joy of the Dharma. I didn’t feel tired at all. I have gained tremendous benefit from this trip to the Sagely City. Each thing that happened seemed like a wordless teaching from the Venerable Master...
I have to leave the Sagely City on the thirty-first. I can hardly bear to go.
Nine times nine delusions stop, and the mad mind is put to rest.
When anxieties are quieted down, consider who was busy.
Now let go of the 84,000 afflictions.
The King of the Enlightened Nature will be at ease, unmoving.
The Guest-dust Verse by Venerable Master Hsuan Hua