The Venerable Master Hua, founder of the Sagely City of Ten Thousand Buddhas in California, U.S.A., came to Taiwan for the first time in February of 1974 to propagate the Buddhadharma, bringing delight to living beings. It was an extremely successful occasion. Through the introduction of Yaoxian, our second daughter, my wife and I were honored to meet the Master and have him visit our humble home. He accepted us as disciples and gave us the names Guozhuang and Guoyan. We took refuge with the Triple Jewel and began worshipping the Buddhas and sitting in meditation. I composed a verse based on the pattern of
“Night Rain at the Junction of the Xiao and Xiang Rivers” in memory of the occasion. The Master asked me to read it aloud to the assembly during the Dharma session. The verse goes,
Human desires run rampant; calamities fill the skies.
Living beings bob up and down in the sea of iniquity.
I wish to ascend to the other shore, but I lack a boat.
Fortunately, there has been an opening in the clouds.
Moistened by the mist, the Dharma ship travels eastwards.
Propagating the Buddhadharma by day and by night,
his merit is eternal.
Dwelling in a remote corner of the world, I would wake up at
midnight and worry about my plight!
Yet now, having taken refuge with the Triple Jewel,
my heart is comforted.
As for learning, I will begin again from the very first step.
To foster wisdom, I will devote myself to cultivation.
From now onwards, may the Master’s vast kindness
And the Buddha’s grace aid those of the same mind.
My whole family immigrated to America in 1979, and we lived in Ukiah, the city near which the Master founded the Sagely City of Ten Thousand Buddhas and Dharma Realm Buddhist University, for seven years. My wife and I meditated and worshipped the Buddhas at the Sagely City, and were deeply influenced by the Master. This was especially because my second daughter and her husband, Dr. Epstein, have raised their family as vegetarians and are sincere and devout Buddhists.
It has been over thirty years since the Master came to America to propagate the Buddhadharma. Living beings have benefited by his kindness as he extensively taught and transformed them. He founded as many as twenty-seven Way-places in such countries as the United States, Canada, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Malaysia. He directed the translation of the Chinese Buddhist Canon into various languages and then saw to its extensive circulation. This is a monumental contribution to the propagation of the Buddhadharma. The Master’s disciples come from all over the world; he taught all without discrimination. The Master’s disciples have made many trips to visit the monasteries of mainland China, and Sangha members from mainland China have also come to the Sagely City of Ten Thousand Buddhas to co-host Dharma sessions in exchange. The Master even donated funds to Jining College and Baoxiang Monastery in Shandong Province, China.
The Master had a thorough understanding of Chinese culture, history, and literature. Not only was he a religious leader, he was also an educator and a literati worthy of our respect and emulation. If he could have lived a few more years, his contributions to mankind and the world would be even greater! When I heard the Master had completed the stillness at three o’clock on June 7 in Los Angeles, I was deeply grieved. I have briefly written down what I know of the Master to express my endless grief.