In the spirit of one who admires the Way, I drove my father and my sister-in-law from San Francisco to the Sagely City of Ten Thousand Buddhas in 1986. At the Sagely City, the dignity of the Hall of Ten Thousand Buddhas, the Venerable Master’s great vows:
“Freezing, we do not scheme. Starving, we do not beg. Dying of poverty, we ask for nothing,” and the upright appearance of this eminent monk won my boundless admiration.
During the Threefold Ordination Ceremony in 1991, I again went to the Sagely City, where I met the Venerable Master for the first time and made three bows to him. Afterwards I searched for many years, but it was only in 1994 that I had the affinity to take refuge with the Venerable Master at Long Beach Sagely Monastery. It took me a full eight years to turn from an admirer of the Way to a Buddhist disciple.
After that, I saw the Venerable Master several more times. The Master’s gaze was like a torch or a powerful searchlight. I usually lowered my head in shame and didn’t dare to meet his gaze. The Master’s arresting presence, his unselfish compassion, his wise words of Dharma which stem from a total understanding of all worldly affairs, and his awesome demeanor have shaken me up and caused me to ponder deeply.
Just when I, this dullard, wished to deepen my understanding of the Buddhadharma and to practice the Master’s wonderful Dharma-door, the Master renounced his life and departed.
In the middle of June, I followed the vehicle carrying the Venerable Master’s casket back to the Sagely City of Ten Thousand Buddhas. When I was gazing at the Venerable Master’s face in No Words Hall, an indescribable feeling of bitterness welled up inside me: Now that he is gone, in which life will we be able to meet again? I looked up at the Venerable Master’s portrait, and it seemed to speak the Dharma wordlessly, telling me that everything is like a lightning flash or a spark of fire, temporary and illusory; the world and this body are ultimately just like reflections of flowers in a mirror or the moon in water─they will vanish in an instant!
“I vow to take upon myself the sufferings and hardships of all living beings in the Dharma Realm.” With his thin and feeble body, the Venerable Master took upon himself the inexhaustible miseries of living beings. Such unselfish, selfless, greatly compassionate, and greatly kind Bodhisattva conduct and vows have
“light exceeding that of the sun and moon, and virtue surpassing the limits of outer space.” The Dharma the Venerable Master has handed down to future generations will
“leave blessings for those in the world and in the heavens; proclaiming and transforming like the sun shining everywhere.” The Venerable Master’s greatly compassionate vows have adorned the Buddhas’ Pure Lands and brought limitless and boundless living beings to accomplishment.
“The affinities of Bodhisattvas are affinities with living beings in suffering.” We hope the Master will one day, from the Buddhas’ Pure Land, ride upon his vows to return to the Saha World to cross over sentient beings on a vast scale.