I took refuge with the Venerable Master in Hualian, Taiwan, in October of 1989 when the Master returned to Taiwan. In the twinkling of an eye, several years have passed, and yet I am still stupid and confused, lazy and ignorant. I am still ceasefully committing evil, burdening the Venerable Master with my countless heavy offenses. Even though I know that the Venerable Master’s hundreds of thousands of millions of transformation bodies are ever present in the world, I wish I could trade my own offense-laden, ordinary person’s body for the Venerable Master who was like a kindly father.
＊ ＊ ＊
When the Venerable Master returned to Taiwan in 1989, he lectured at the Hualian Stadium the first day. After the Dharma lecture, many people lined up to bow to the Venerable Master. Since I had not prepared an offering for the Venerable Master, I didn’t dare go and bow. Instead, I walked to the exit in the back of the stadium and waited to send off the Venerable Master and other Dharma Masters. When the Venerable Master and other Dharma Masters walked past, I bowed my head to the ground. When I raised my head, I discovered that the Venerable Master’s feet were two to three feet long. I’d never seen such large feet and wondered,
“Oh! How can the Venerable Master’s feet be so huge?” When I looked up at the Venerable Master, he seemed to be extremely tall, probably ten or twenty feet tall. I’d never seen such an awesome high monk. This sight is still very clear in my mind.
There’s another inconceivable thing: One day it was pouring rain. After work, I put on my raincoat and was in a hurry to ride my motorcycle to hear the Venerable Master’s lecture. I seemed to have forgotten my tape recorder in my rush. I looked around and couldn’t find it in the motorcycle’s storage compartment, so I rushed back home to get it. I looked all over the house and couldn’t find it. I was very anxious, and it was already past seven o’clock, so I thought,
“Forget it! I won’t look anymore!” I hurriedly left on the motorcycle. When I got there, I got off the bike, took off my raincoat, opened up the motorcycle’s storage compartment, and the tape recorder and tapes were all there. I was greatly relieved, and quickly walked to the door on the left side of the Buddhahall. Even before I could seat myself properly, I heard the Venerable Master say,
“Don’t do things in a rushed or nervous way. You should be neither too fast nor too slow.” Ah! He must have been talking to me! I was filled with gratitude!
No matter how many doubts I had, I would always find a clear response in the Venerable Master’s lecture. One time, after the Venerable Master had given a talk, many people surrounded the Master and were asking questions. I was next to the altar bowing to the Buddhas, and I thought to myself,
“I’ll bow to the Venerable Master from here!” When I bowed and rose, I discovered the Venerable Master smiling kindly, standing right in front of me in the hallway outside the Buddhahall.
The Venerable Master strictly observed the precepts and possessed exalted virtue. I am truly fortunate to have taken refuge with the Venerable Master. When I was still a beginning student of Buddhism, a friend gave me a set of the books
News from True Cultivators. It was through these books that I discovered there was such a wonderful teacher in the world.
As a reward for ten years of service at the Hualian Farmers’ Association, I was given a chance to travel abroad on May 8, 1990. By coincidence, the trip was to be twelve days in the United States. When I saw San Francisco on the itinerary, I contacted the Dharma Realm Buddhist Books Distribution Society in Taipei to ask if there was anything they needed me to bring to the Sagely City. I thought of how fine it would be if I could stay in the Sagely City for a full twelve days. However, due to my heavy karmic hindrances, my wish could not be realized and I went to the Sagely City for only one day.
On May 8, 1990, the trip began smoothly, and we stopped in Hawaii at around 7:30 a.m. on the first day. After a recent great rain, Hawaii’s air was clear and refreshing. We stayed there for three days. The tour guide explained that there were three good things there─good air, good climate, and good water. I thought,
“It’s a pity such a fine place lacks the Venerable
Master’s Dharma. The Master’s Dharma is the only
thing that’s missing.”
On the evening of the tenth, we arrived in San Francisco for a stay of two nights. I left the tour group because I wanted to go to the Sagely City on the second day. I first went to Gold Mountain Sagely Monastery (I’d already contacted the Dharma Masters there). Even though I didn’t know the language, I met very helpful and friendly people on the way and so I was able to reach Chinatown easily. A gentleman helped to carry my luggage off the bus. I paid the fare and left, not knowing if I was supposed to pay a tip. When I turned around, I saw a sign with the words
“Gold Mountain Dhyana Monastery” right above me. I was already at the door of monastery. I was overjoyed!
Carrying my things and walking up the stairs, I felt as if I were returning home. After signing in at the front desk, I turned over the things for the Sagely City to the Dharma Master and went to bow to the Buddhas. Following the Dharma Master’s directions, I went around the corner and there was the Venerable Master sitting in front of me. I felt as delighted as if I were seeing my father again after a long time. There’s no way to describe my feeling. My tears welled up, and I knelt on both knees and bowed to the Venerable Master.
The Venerable Master kindly said,
“Okay! Please get up! What are you crying for?” Disciple:
“I don’t know.” I didn’t even dare to lift my head to look at the Venerable Master. Venerable Master:
“Tomorrow at eight o’clock in the morning, I’ll be taking a plane to Hawaii.” What a coincidence. Venerable Master:
“What’s your name? What kind of work do you do?...” I answered the questions one by one. The Venerable Master told me the general schedule of the October 1990 Dharma Propagation Tour in Taiwan, and introduced the Dharma Masters from Baojie Monastery of Wugu, Taipei, who were present. Venerable Master:
“Do you want to go to the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas?” Disciple:
“Yes!” Venerable Master: “Do you want to stay there?” Disciple:
“Yes!” Venerable Master: “Then you can stay there!” He immediately asked the Dharma Master to arrange for someone to drive me to the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas. Venerable Master:
“You’ll be going to the Sagely City after lunch.” Before I left, the Venerable Master said,
“Hope you have a good trip!”
When we reached the Sagely City, I saw the majestic front gate, the secluded environment, the simple buildings, and the peaceful and serene atmosphere. Inside the dignifed yet simple main Buddhahall, ten thousand adorned Buddha images lined the walls.
The Dharma Masters at the Sagely City spoke in such a gentle, friendly manner. They behaved with dignified decorum and were not casual in the least. I found them to be very thrifty, saving every small piece of paper and string. The schedule of ceremonies and work was tight, yet orderly, and no time was wasted. The fourfold assembly of disciples at the Sagely City of Ten Thousand Buddhas set a good example for me to follow.
I had not signed up for lodging, because I was leaving the Sagely City after the evening ceremony. Right before leaving, I vowed that I would definitely come back.
In 1990, when the Venerable Master hosted the Dharma Session for Protecting the Nation and Quelling Disasters, I joined the group of volunteer workers. I had originally been assigned to welcome the Venerable Master and other Dharma Masters at the airport and see them into their cars, and then go directly to Qingliang Monastery in Taichung to make preparations. After the Venerable Master and other Dharma Masters had already been driven off, the volunteer workers went to their assigned cars. At that time, one of the volunteers said to me,
“Just get in this car.” “Is it going straight to Qingliang Monastery?” I asked. She said,
“Don’t worry! Just get in.” When I got out of the car, we were at Baojie Monastery in Wugu, Taipei. The Venerable Master was also there. Thus I was able to follow the Venerable Master’s delegation to Daxingshan Monastery, Qingliang Monastery, and Kaohsiung. The Venerable Master travelled from place to place, forgetting himself for the Dharma, teaching living beings and benefitting the multitudes without rest. The blessings of living beings are truly fine! Truly great! My heart was pained to see the Venerable Master’s fatigued and haggard body.
＊ ＊ ＊
Around July 7 or 8 of 1995, my sister called and told me an inconceivable response she’d had: About a week before, she had not felt well, but seeing the doctor and taking medicine had no effect. She had sat and thought,
“Nothing seems to work. I wonder if my sister’s Master can help.” As she was thinking this (in the afternoon), the vision of a Buddha appeared in mid-air in her backyard and told her,
“Don’t eat meat, and you’ll get well.” My sister had already planned to stop eating meat, but she hadn’t been able to put it down. This time, she really stopped eating meat and then got well.
There have been many, many other inconceivable responses and teachings...
On the sixth day of the lunar new year in 1995, Laywoman Zhang returned from the Sagely City and told me,
“The Dharma Master at Gold Mountain Sagely Monastery spoke of you: That year, the Venerable Master had been waiting especially for you at Gold Mountain Monastery. The Venerable Master wanted you to stay at the Sagely City, but you didn’t.” (I stayed only for one day.) I was deeply affected by Laywoman Zhang’s words. What blessings and virtue did I have to deserve such concern from the Venerable Master? Now that the Venerable Master has left us, I deeply feel how heavy my offenses are, making me unfit to leave the home-life. In order to repay the Venerable Master, I vow that in life after life to the end of time, I will follow the Venerable Master, enter the path of cultivation as a pure youth, deeply enter the Sutra Treasury, and protect the Proper Dharma. (I already have my own family.)
After the Venerable Master’s completion of stillness, the fourfold assembly of disciples honored the Master’s final instructions and recited the
Flower Adornment Sutra for forty-nine days. The entire
Flower Adornment Sutra is a portrayal of the Venerable Master’s life and conduct:
He completely knows all dharmas and meanings.
In order to benefit sentient beings, he diligently cultivates.
The myriad wholesome conducts cultivated by a Bodhisattva
Are immeasurable, uncountable, and of all different kinds.
He distinguishes and knows all of these,
And dedicates the merit to benefit beings.
With wonderful wisdom he constantly contemplates
The ultimate, vast, true and actual principle.
Pitying all living beings,
He brings them to reflect properly upon the actual Dharma.
With his spirit of sacrificing himself for the sake of the Dharma, the Venerable Master was a singular example of resoluteness, endurance, diligent frugality, and honest sincerity in the contemporary Buddhist world. Throughout my life, I shall honor the Three Principles, Six Guidelines, and the principles of education that the Venerable Master established. All my life, I shall work energetically to propagate the proper Dharma and cause the Venerable Master’s Dharma to pervade worlds as many as grains of sand in the ten directions throughout the past, present, and future.
The Gatha of Speaking Dharma
The mother of heaven and earth is called the originator of the Way of Nature.
The sun and moon are both bright and move in orbit.
The basic substance of the myriad things is also like this.
Its creations and transformations are infinitely wondrous.
──by Venerable Master Hua