I must admit that my husband and I are most fortunate to be able to encounter the Proper Buddhadharma in this lifetime. We are both most grateful to all the Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, Patriarchs, and Sages in the world systems of the ten directions and the three periods of time. Our gratitude also extends to the Venerable Master Hsuan Hua for his great works and to his disciples for translating the Buddhist Sutras into English for people like us.
We are both Buddhists by birth. However, it was only in 1994 that we read some very interesting books on Dharma talks given by the Venerable Master Hua. Later, we started to investigate Buddhism in depth and to try to get more books from the Sagely City of Ten Thousand Buddhas in the U.S.A. We were greatly shaken and much awakened by the simple messages the Venerable Master gave as he tirelessly spoke the Dharma despite his advanced age and deteriorating health. We began to see and realize that all these years, we had been living our lives in vain and wasting all our valuable days away just like fish in evaporating water... Where is the joy?
We would like to let the whole world know that we are indeed fortunate to be among the rare few who have visited the Sagely City of Ten Thousand Buddhas. We also participated in and completed the Ten Thousand Buddhas Jewelled Repentance from April 17 to May 10, 1995. When we first heard of the repentance ceremony from our Dharma friends, we were very excited but did not know the true significance of the ceremony. Only after the first day of bowing about 400 times to the Buddhas and reciting their names with each bow did we realize how compassionate the Buddhas are in using every means to save sentient beings. By doing this ceremony, we became more mindful of the Buddhas and had the chance to reflect upon ourselves directly. Always remember: the Buddha shows us the way, but it is we ourselves who need to hurry up to walk the middle path; nobody can do it on our behalf. Do no evil, practice all good deeds, and purify the mind; this is the Teaching of the Buddha.
As human beings who have the ability to read and write, we must not casually waste our precious time away and fail to heed the Buddha－the Greatest Teacher on earth. We should give ourselves a chance to increase our knowledge and find out more about his Teachings with an open mind. "One's greatest enemy is oneself." This is absolutely true indeed. We hardly ever find faults with ourselves, but instead we usually criticize others and find a scapegoat whenever problems arise. It is very rare to find someone who is willing to admit his own mistakes readily and openly.
Before encountering Buddhism, I was a very hot- tempered and temperamental woman. There was never a peaceful moment in the family. I was always finding faults with everyone except myself. Life was miserable for the whole family, and I was unable to find any peace and happiness. Finally, my husband realized that he was unable to tame me on his own and decided to turn to Buddhism for help. With the aid of two very valuable Buddhist books－Herein Lies the Treasure Trove, Volumes I and II, both my husband and I gained tremendous insight on how to cope with our lives. Very quickly, we realized our mistakes and awakened to the principle of impermanence. We continued to read and investigate, and we ordered more books from the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas. After much reading over a period of about nine months, much to the amazement of my mother, in-laws, relatives, and friends, I totally reformed--I have become a more patient, calm, tolerant, understanding, and cheerful woman.
In my personal experience, reading and right understanding of the true principles of the Buddha's fundamental teachings is very important. Reciting the Great Compassion Mantra in the morning and evening helps a lot, too. Also, mentally reciting Amitabha Buddha's name helps us to be more patient with ourselves and others. By practicing these methods, my husband and I have become more mindful and blissful than ever before. We have discovered that true peace and happiness is priceless, and the wonderful thing is that you do not need to spend any money to experience it. It's free! We are still doing this every day. This is just our little encouragement to readers--we hope everybody will find peace within themselves. Please do not seek outside for comfort, which is not as reliable as the bliss found within oneself. By writing this article, we hope to encourage more people to quickly seek the light of wisdom within themselves, just as we have done, instead of blindly following hearsay and being led astray, sometimes unknowingly, by unethical people or circumstances.
Our only regret is that we did not have enough good blessings to personally meet the Venerable Master Hsuan Hua, but we are most content to be able to learn the true principles of Buddhism through his teachings. Although the Venerable Master has completed the stillness, we feel he is still very patiently looking after us. Therefore we should strive on to find happiness and to end our own sufferings quickly. We are deeply indebted to him, and mere words cannot express our gratitude and admiration for his great works and the example he set in this lifetime to educate the world with selflessness and unsurpassed wisdom. Shifu, being able to address you in this way means so much to me. I vow that in all my lives to come, I shall follow you and your teaching. In life after life I shall adhere to your Six Principles of not fighting, not being greedy, not seeking, not being selfish, not benefitting oneself, and not lying. Only in this way can we repay the Venerable Master's great compassion.
May all living beings resolve themselves on the Bodhi Way and attain rebirth in the Western Pure Land in this life time. Namo Amitabha Buddha!