All Dharma Masters and laypeople:
Today, we gather here and participate in this Memorial Ceremony for the Venerable Master. All of us are extremely sad. The Venerable Master left home at the age of ninteen. In order to propagate the Buddhadharma and enable the Buddhadharma to flourish, he lived in Hong Kong for many years and visited many countries in the world. For the sake of spreading the Buddhadharma to all parts of the world, he came alone to the United States in 1962, spreading the Buddhadharma to the West, enabling many Americans to understand the Buddha’s teaching. The seed of Buddhadharma has been deeply planted in everyone’s mind ground.
The Venerable Master was very simple, hardworking, and thrifty, and endured much hardship all his life. For example, he could wear one robe for many years. And the pair of shoes he wore when he entered stillness had been worn for several years. From these incidents, we can infer that the Venerable Master was indeed very thrifty.
It has been thirty-three years since the Venerable Master came to America. After much hardship, toil, sweating, and bleeding, he established a total of twenty-seven Wayplaces, and gave many Dharma talks and Sutra lectures. Several years back, the Venerable Master fell ill, but he continued to give Dharma talks and Sutras lectures. Many people were not aware of this situation. When he left the home life, He made eighteen great vows, including one in which he vowed that he would stand in for and suffer on behalf of all living beings. As a consequence of this vow, he endured much sufferring during his life.
In 1986, the Venerable Master went back to China and visited his hometown, after having been away for nearly sixty years. His relatives in China had the opportunity to see him for the first time. I have been to America several times. On the fifth of July, 1994, I came to America again with my wife. At the end of July, the Venerable Master fell ill and was hospitalized in Los Angeles. We visited him many times at the hospital. The Venerable Master was very friendly and kept talking to us. I would address him as randpa’ during our conversations. In October of last year, during one of our conversations, the Master told us that he sometimes felt great pain in his left shoulder. I said,
“Grandpa, I hope you get well soon. I am willing to stand in for you and take all your suffering.” The Master told me not to make such promises, for whatever we say might come true.
“If you were to fall sick, who would take care of you?” He advised us to study the Buddhadharma well. He said that it is no easy matter to live one’s life, and that one should aspire to be a good person.
On the twenty-fourth of March, we visited the Venerable Master again. The Master was very ill then, lying on the bed and unable to even sit up. He also had difficulty talking to us. The Venerable Master held my hands tightly for a long time He did not let them go. He said that although he was so ill, he had not asked anyone to inform us about his illness, because he didn’t want us to worry about him. On the seventh of April, the Venerable Master’s condition worsened, and he was hospitalized again. For the two months from that day until he passed away on the seventh of June, we and the other Dharma Masters nursed and took care of him.
Although the Master’s physical body has left us, his strict discipline, precepts, rules of deportment, and the Six Guiding Principles will remain forever. The Venerable Master propagated the Buddhadharma and committed himself to the Buddha’s teaching for his entire life. He made important contribution to the Buddha’s mission, and his spirit will remain forever in our memory.
The Venerable Master, Grandpa, may you rest in peace!
Thank you. Amitabha
He knows the minds of living beings, without the thoughts of living beings;
He penetratingly understands Dharmas without having thoughts of Dharmas.
Although there are differences, everywhere he is without discriminations,
As he travels to all the millions of nayutas of kshetras.
With the treasury of the wondrous Dharmas of limitless Buddhas,
He accords, contemplates, and enters.
He knows all living beings’ basic practices, and
Reaches a place like that of the World Honored One.
Chapter on The Merit and Virtue from First Bringing Forth the Mind, the Flower Adornment Sutra