With thoughts of constant faith and joy in the Buddha
and a mind that never retreats,
One draws near to all Thus Come Ones;
This is the karma that should be done.
─Chapter Nine, Light Enlightenment,
Flower Adornment Sutra
We were interviewed and approved by the U.S. Consulate to emigrate to America on Guanyin Bodhisattva’s birthday. A month later, upon our arrival in the United States, my husband received his job on Shakyamuni Buddha’s birthday. With my strong faith and constant recitation of Buddha’s name, our goals in life are arranged accordingly. Whenever problems arrive, solutions unexpectedly follow.
After finishing my assigned paper during the early spring of 1991, I visited the fifth floor of the Central Public Library in downtown Los Angeles, where I came across Venerable Master Hsuan Hua’s name while browsing through some Buddhist books on the shelves. A book entitled
The Ten Dharma Realm Are Not Beyond a Single Thought caught my attention. I took it out and enthusiastically read the entire book.
One contemplates the three periods of time, which are boundless,
And studies those Buddhas’ merit and virtue
With a mind that is never weary:
This is the karma that should be done.
On that same day, I found three additional books: the
Shurangama Sutra, the Dharma Flower Sutra, and
Records of the Life of the Master. I yearned to deepen my understanding of the Buddha’s teaching, which I had never studied before. So, I checked out eight books and kept renewing them. I was enchanted by the Master’s explanation of every Sutra; the language is very easy to understand.
A true and actual Good Knowing Advisor
Is one whom the Thus Come Ones praise,
For it is because of his awesome spirit
That one gets to hear all Buddhadharmas.
─Chapter Twenty-four, Praises in the Tushita Heaven Palace,
Flower Adornment Sutra
One day, I decided to write a letter to Shr Fu. Although I waited in anticipation, I did not receive his response; I believe my conditions had not yet ripened. As my concentration in studying Buddhism deepened, I grew eager to see him personally. Surprisingly, a strange dream came one night. My father and I saw a tall monk in a yellow robe approaching and greeting us from a pavilion in an oriental setting. I introduced my father to Shr Fu, and we paid courteous respect to him. The response I’d hoped for came not by mail, but through a dream.
In March 1992, my parents came to visit us in America. We went to see Shr Fu at Long Beach Sagely Monastery, which was still under renovation, but we didn’t get a chance to see Shr Fu because he was occupied with his work. The sad look on my father’s face did not affect me, for my faith with the Buddha became stronger and I kept on reciting Buddha’s name endlessly.
The Good Knowing Advisor is difficult to see
and difficult to encounter
I was informed unexpectedly one day that Shr Fu would be giving a Dharma talk at Long Beach Sagely Monastery, and so I happily called my friend to give us a ride. The day before Shr Fu’s Dharma talk, I saw Earth Store Bodhisattva approaching me in my dream. When I woke up that morning, I became speechless and yet continued doing my regular morning recitation. The following day, my parents and I saw Shr Fu for the first time in our life.
On the night of January 16, 1994, at 9:32 p.m., a Dharma Master called and asked if I could go to Long Beach Sagely Monastery the next day because Shr Fu would be holding a Triple Jewel Refuge ceremony. I happily said
“yes” without considering whom I could get a ride with. Since my husband had to work and would not be able to take me to Long Beach, I called my colleague and inquired if he could give me a ride, explaining to him about the special occasion. He was very happy to comply and anticipated participating in the ceremony with me.
Unfortunately, in the early morning of January 17 at 4:20 am., a strong earthquake struck Los Angeles, the Northridge quake. I thought I had missed my opportunity to take refuge. Suddenly, I was overcome with chills and numbness. I maintained calm and quietly called Shr Fu to help me. My strength came back. I called my colleague and cancelled the ride, saying I couldn’t attend due to the power outage in the apartment.
Everything’s a test to see what you will do;
If you don’t recognize what’s before your face,
You’ll have to start anew.
I will never forget my colleague’s response over the phone, which was similar to the above quotation. I had never heard him speak like that, for he is a very quiet gentleman. He asserted sternly that he would attend the ceremony with or without me, regardless of the outcome of the quake, because such a special event does not happen all the time. His solemn words led me to reconsider. January 17, 1994 was a day to be remembered for Californians. It was a phenomenal day for me, for I took the Triple Jewel Refuge under the great sage of the West, Venerable Dharma Master Hsuan Hua.
I have the utmost admiration not only for the Master’s wonderful, spiritual response, but for his superb explanations of the Buddhadharma, which enable me to distinguish between proper and improper knowledge. For example, if you recite the Buddha’s name often, in times of sickness you will naturally meet a good doctor. When the doctor is inspired, he will naturally give you the right medicine. So when a doctor cures an illness, that is also the Buddhadharma. This is very true; I have had such an experience.
Four years ago, when I was throwing out the trash, I was bitten by a poisonous insect which caused my physiological condition to change dramatically. A red spot immediately emerged on my right arm, where I had been bitten. Due to my ignorance, I paid no attention even though the pain from the bite was persistent. Within minutes, the red spot began to swell up. I silently called Guanyin Bodhisattva for help and recited the Great Compassion Mantra to relieve my fear. I knelt before Guanyin Bodhisattva and told him everything was in his hands.
I found an outdated newspaper lying on the floor, turned the page, and saw a list of medical help. I randomly chose a doctor, without considering whether or not he would help me. To my surprise, he answered the phone personally when I called. I gave him my name and described the situation briefly. He did not ask many questions, but said that he would prescribe a medicine and asked me to obtain it at the drugstore immediately; otherwise, my chance of survival was uncertain. I told the doctor that I didn’t have medical insurance, and he did not even charge me.
That evening, I went to get the medicine with my husband. I fell asleep after taking the medicine. The following morning, I woke up at four as usual and did my morning recitation. The red spot had disappeared. Later, my husband and I went to see the doctor and thanked him for everything he had done.
In thought after thought, we have no doubt,
Guan Shr Yin is pure and sagely,
In times of suffering, agony, danger, and death,
He is our refuge and protector.
─The Universal Door of Guanshiyin Bodhisattva
(The Bodhisattva Who Contemplates the Sounds of the World.)
When every thought is sincere, every thought penetrates;
In silence, responses are quietly received.
When you reach the end of the mountains and rivers,
You are free to roam throughout the Dharma Realm.
──by Venerable Master Hua