My heart is saddened by the Venerable Master’s completion of stillness. I once had the idle thought,
“I hope one day I can leave the home-life under the Venerable Master.” I remember a line in the Venerable Master’s Instructional Talks:
“If I live to be a hundred, I will burn my entire body as an offering to the Buddhas.” I calculated that by the time my children grew up, the Venerable Master would still be alive, so I should still have a chance! When the Dharma-propagation delegation from the Sagely City of Ten Thousand Buddhas was holding a Dharma session at the Banqiao gymnasium in Taipei county in early 1993, one night a layman requested the Venerable Master to live to be at least 120. The Venerable Master had replied,
“I certainly won’t live to be 120. I’m very sorry, but I can’t follow your order.” I felt a bit depressed by that. I couldn’t help thinking of what the Venerable Master said in July of 1991 in the Hall of Ten Thousand Buddhas:
“Other people have already been here cultivating
vigorously for a long time. You are still behind,
unable to catch up!”
When I reflect carefully, I realize how truly profound the Venerable Master’s kindness is. I regret that I didn’t receive much education and am a poor writer. I cannot describe my experiences very vividly. However, I must share with living beings the moving deeds of the Master, and so I have written this memorial essay despite my inadequacies.
After taking refuge with the Venerable Master in 1988, I began respectfully reading the Venerable Master’s Instructional Talks. Every single talk was extremely precious and very easy to understand. They were also immediately applicable in my daily life, serving as standards for my thinking and conduct. When I read in the Venerable Master’s book,
“Anyone who wants to cultivate the Way must definitely take the five precepts and guard the pure precept substance as if guarding a precious mani pearl,” I wished to quickly take the five precepts. I read some books talking about the five precepts, and at the encouragement of Layperson Chai, I received the five precepts in September 1990.
The Venerable Master’s Dharma-words will live forever in the hearts of living beings.
On July 1 of this year, a layperson named Lin from the Dharma Realm Buddhist Books Distribution Association in Taipei said to me,
“The Venerable Master has completed the stillness, yet I don’t feel that he’s gone. What do you feel?” The Venerable Master’s compassion pervades all places. He has a verse:
He manifests in accordance in kind among living beings, revealing
the universal door.
Meeting face to face, we fail to recognize the Dharma King
as our relative.
Saving both those with and without affinities,
He compassionately lingers on, hoping they will turn their minds
Such a stupid person as myself is truly fortunate to have taken the three refuges and received the five precepts from the Venerable Master. This was possible only because of the Venerable Master’s vast capacity for saving living beings.
I remember my feelings when I received the certificate of Taking Refuge with the Triple Jewel; even now, I am still filled with the joy of Dharma. The certificate includes the Venerable Master’s Eighteen Great Vows. When I finished reading the first vow, which says,
“I vow that as long as there is a single Bodhisattva in the three periods of time throughout the ten directions of the Dharma Realm, to the very end of empty space, who has not accomplished Buddhahood, I too will not attain Right Enlightenment,” I was dumbstruck. How great must be the virtuous worthy one who made such a greatly compassionate vow! How could this be anyone but a Buddha or Bodhisattva coming back riding on the boat of compassion!
The Venerable Master’s fourteenth great vow says,
“I vow that living beings who see my face or even hear my name will bring forth the Bodhi mind and quickly realize the Buddha Way.” I remember when I read to the part in the
Instructional Talks where the Venerable Master advises us to receive the Bodhisattva precepts, I conceived the wish to take the Bodhisattva precepts. Now, I finally understand that this was the realization of the Venerable Master’s vow. Ah! This is how the Venerable Master’s virtue influences cultivators to vigorously advance on the Bodhi Way without rest.
I took refuge at Zhongxing Hall in Taichung (Taiwan). At that time the Venerable Master instructed us not to lose our tempers, not to play the lottery, and not to play the stock market. As the saying goes,
“Fighting involves the thought of victory and defeat; / Thus it goes against the Way. / One produces the thought of the four marks: / How then can one attain samadhi?” The Venerable Master also said,
“When we take refuge with the Triple Jewel, we take refuge not only with the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha, but also with the precepts.” The Venerable Master’s words are trustingly accepted by humans and gods. They are like a small electric shock, causing people to have self-awareness. I remember when I was an adolescent, I often lost my temper. When I grew older, I held my anger inside and liked to pick on others’ faults. Cultivation consists of changing these bad habits and faults. Fortunately, I met a Bright-eyed Good Knowing Advisor. From the Venerable Master’s books, I have gradually come to understand these principles:
“Truly recognize your own faults. Don’t discuss the faults of others. Others’ faults are just my own. To be of the same substance with all is called great compassion.”
“If you’re always looking at other people’s wrongs,
you haven’t ended your own suffering yet!”
The Venerable Master’s words and conduct are a model of cultivation for his disciples. The Master himself said,
“It is because of this that I am qualified to be your teacher.” The Venerable Master truly practices his teachings. As he said in the
Instructional Talks, “One who only talks without practicing is simply up to no good in Buddhism.” These are true words!
The Master’s expedients in teaching living beings transcend the limits of time and space. A week or so before the delegation from the Sagely City of Ten Thousand Buddhas came to Taiwan to propagate the Dharma, I dreamed of the Venerable Master. As soon as the Master got out of the car, he started to bow. When I awoke, I thought,
“Even the Venerable Master is bowing. I should bow, too. Otherwise, how will I ever be able to get rid my bad habits of self-attachment and pride? I should really bow more often.” On another night, I saw the Venerable Master in my dream, sitting in a chair with a kind expression. I asked the Master,
“I am not well-educated. There are so many Sutras; which Sutra should I start with?” The Master smiled and said,
“Why, the Vajra Sutra and the Dharma Flower Sutra!” There is a twelve-hour time difference between Taiwan and the United States. When it is nighttime in Taiwan, it is daytime in America. The Venerable Master, who was physically in America, allocated time to instruct me in my dream. Even though it was very brief, I am very deeply moved to see how the Master teaches and saves living beings without fatigue and without differentiating between day and night.
In order to enable living beings to end birth and death, leave suffering, and attain bliss, the Venerable Master patiently taught us that we must get rid of desires, subdue thoughts of lust, and sweep the filth out of our minds. We must diligently practice the Six Guidelines of not fighting, not being greedy, not seeking, not being selfish, not pursuing personal advantage, and not lying. I silently pray to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas to aid me in practicing the Venerable Master’s Six Guidelines.
Venerable Master, I am truly grieved by your leaving:
Master, Master, you came from empty space and returned to empty space, as if you neither came nor went. With honest words and direct
“blows on the head,” you lived only to teach and transform living beings. You nurtured our good roots and subdued the armies of demons, rescuing beings onto the Dharma ship. This is truly great kindness for those without affinities and great compassion of being the same substance with all. You looked through space without seeing the emptiness. Gazing upon the sea of Dharma, one becomes wordless. You proclaimed without proclaiming and transformed without transforming, leaving no traces, but a teaching for ten thousand generations.
Directing the light to shine within, Avalokiteshvara
Enlightens all the sentient beings; thus he is a Bodhisattva.
Thus, thus, unmoving; the superior one’s mind is at peace;
With total understanding of the ever-shining, he is host and master.
Six types of psychic power are an ordinary matter,
And even less can the winds and rains of the eight directions cause
Roll it up, and it secretly hides it away;
Let it go, and it fills the entire universe.
From the Venerable Master Hua’s Verses without a Stand for the Heart of Prajna Paramita Sutra