I am grateful to the Venerable Master for the various teachings, both visible and invisible, that he has given me in my study of Buddhism on the great path of Bodhi. Even before I took refuge, I had read books and heard tapes of the Venerable Master’s Dharma talks, and I admired the Master for his style of
“directly pointing at the mind” and “prescribing medicine according to the illness” in propagating the Proper Dharma. When the Venerable Master held a Taking Refuge ceremony in Taiwan in 1990, I didn’t miss the opportunity. Though the Master had said he would not accept people who had already taken refuge with the Triple Jewel, I was greedy to benefit from the Master’s great vows and was aware of how difficult it is to gain a human body, to be born in a central country, to hear the Buddhadharma, and to encounter a wise teacher. I sincerely took refuge with the Venerable Master at a temple in Wugu.
I still remember that during a lecture given at the headquarters of the Chinese Daily, the Venerable Master said,
“Television is very harmful to us.” This statement startled me, and I didn’t quite understand it, but I had set my doubt aside then. Recently I sat in front of the television and didn’t get done any of the things I wanted to do. I suddenly understood the Master’s meaning then. I also remember someone asking the Master during that lecture,
“If I want to study Buddhism and also do well in my business, how can I do both?” The Master had said,
“You cannot have both fish and bear’s paw. [You cannot have your cake and eat it too.]” I have gained great benefit from this answer.
In 1991, after avidly reading some Buddhist books, I felt that if I didn’t emphasize practice as well as understanding, the more books I read─even if they were simple Buddhist principles─the greater my mental burden would be. Thus I decided to change my line of work. I transferred from the
“simple research and development department” to the
“complex business and sales department.” I wanted to understand: What are living beings? What are the myriad dharmas? What are greed, anger, and delusion? What are precepts, samadhi, and wisdom?
Two years passed, and at the end of 1993, I suddenly felt I should start reading the Mahayana (Great Vehicle) Sutras as explained by members of the Sangha. After reading The Buddha Speaks of Amitabha Sutra explained by Dharma Master Nanting and The Buddha Speaks of Contemplating the Buddha of Limitless Life Sutra explained by Dharma Master Daoyuan, and being filled with the joy of Dharma, I ran into a problem. Most of the Sutra commentaries available on the market used classical Chinese to explain the original classical Chinese Sutra text. Since my literary background is not that good, I didn’t know how long I could keep on reading the Mahayana Sutras. Later I happened to go to the Dharma Realm Buddhist Books Distribution Association, which I had never visited before, and my problem was solved. At the Association, there was a whole wall of bookshelves filled with the Venerable Master’s Dharma talks and commentaries on Sutras such as the Vajra Sutra, the Shurangama Sutra, the Dharma Flower Sutra, the Flower Adornment Sutra, and many other Mahayana Sutras. It was truly a great treasure trove. The Venerable Master used very simple, easy-to-understand language and principles to explain the essentials of the original text of the Sutras, which was difficult to understand. I reckoned that these would probably keep me
“filled with the joy of Dharma” for several years. I am grateful for the efforts of the Venerable Master and the Dharma Masters and volunteers at the Dharma Realm Buddhist Books Distribution Association.
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In April of this year, I went to the United States on business. On my way home, I spent three days of my vacation at the Sagely City of Ten Thousand Buddhas. This was the first time I noticed the adorned atmosphere when the fourfold assembly sincerely recited the Shurangama Mantra. After returning to Taiwan, I soon added the Shurangama Mantra to my morning ceremony. In these few months, I have deeply perceived its sublimity. At the Sagely City, I also sat in full lotus for almost twenty minutes for the first time, and it felt very comfortable, with no pain, no soreness, and no numbness. So now when I meditate at the hermitage of Venerable Weijue, I always sit in full lotus. I would like to express my appreciation for the sublime conditions at the Sagely City and for the guidance and care of the Dharma Masters and volunteers there.
When I received news of the Venerable Master’s completion of stillness, I thought of the well-known quote from the Elder Master Guangqin:
“No coming, no going, nothing happening at all.” Based on the seventh of the ten great vows of Universal Worthy Bodhisattva, to request that the Buddhas dwell in the world, I sincerely request the Venerable Master to ride upon his vows and return to the Saha world to teach us, these deluded ones, to cultivate and ultimately perfect our blessings and wisdom. I have deeply accepted the Venerable Master’s words of Dharma and the instructions of the Dharma Masters at his Way-places, and I have made a bit of progress. However, my false thoughts and attachments are truly too numerous, and I am greatly ashamed. The Venerable Master will forever be in my heart. I vow to receive and uphold the Shurangama Sutra in life after life, and I earnestly request the great assembly to read, recite, receive, and uphold the Shurangama Sutra or the Shurangama Mantra (the king of mantras), and direct the hearing inwards to hear the inherent nature. In addition, if we single-mindedly recite the name of the Buddha, single-mindedly recollect the Buddha, and single-mindedly acknowledge Amitabha Buddha’s Western Pure Land of Ultimate Bliss as our one and only refuge, we will surely be able to quickly destroy our ignorance and false thoughts and soon ascend to the supreme Western Pure Land of Ultimate Bliss.