I kept crying as I recited Amitabha Buddha's holy name.
I thought, I'm just a lost child who has gotten himself into a mess,
turning his back on enlightenment to join with the dust.
Meeting the Venerable Master has been the greatest honor of my life. It's also the greatest treasure I have gained.
When I met the Master, he said one sentence that acted like a tiny piece of stone put inside an oyster's shell. I was the oyster, and he put that tiny piece of stone inside for me to polish. Fortunately I was able to polish it, and so now I am able to see all of you and study Buddhism with you.
What stone did he give me to polish? After I took refuge, someone suggested that I meet the Master. I replied that I didn't have any questions to ask. "You can ask the Master for a blessing," he said. So I signed up and went up to the third floor to see the Master. When I asked for a blessing, the Master hit me on the head three times and said, "What heavy karmic obstacles!" As I went downstairs, I thought, "I haven't committed murder or arson, why did the Master say my karmic obstacles are heavy?" I was totally unaware of the karma I created by indulging in a life of eating, drinking, and partying. It's truly frightening when I think of it now.
In 1988 my wife and I travelled to the United States and stopped by the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas. When we reached the front gate of the City, I didn't feel like entering, but since I had already gotten that far, I forced myself to go in. Also, my wife would have missed seeing the Master if I didn't go in, so we went in together.
When we were bowing to the Buddhas, all the bad and stupid things I had done in the past kept surfacing in my mind, and there was no way I could stop them. In that instant, I thought, "Since I've come for the Jewelled Repentance of Ten Thousand Buddhas, I might as well repent of them all!" However, even though I repented before the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, it still didn't work. Finally, I took out a small pad and wrote a list of my bad habits: "First, I must change this and that... Second, I must go home and become a good
person..." By the time I finished, my mind had settled down.
I had prepared eight questions before coming to the City, but strangely enough, even though I didn't have a chance to ask them, the answers came either when I was listening to the Sutra lectures or when I was reading, and they fully satisfied me.
Later, I kept crying as I recited Amitabha Buddha's holy name. I thought, I'm just a lost child who has gotten himself into a mess, turning his back on enlightenment to join with the dust. Amitabha Buddha is like my father, welcoming me with open arms, but I got lost and now I'm all filthy. The realization that I'd been away from my father for a long time made me cry.
Because I had never experienced such purity of mind as I did at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, I began visiting the City every year. Seeing the greed, fraudulence, and struggle for fame and profit in our society, I wanted to give up my business and move to the City. I prayed to the Master and to Guanyin Bodhisattva to grant me this wish. In 1994, my whole family moved to the City, where we have lived and worked as volunteers up to today.
I feel that the couplet written on both side below of the Master's picture is totally true:
His kindness and compassion cross over all;
Believers are liberated and perfect the Right
Transforming beings wherever he goes,
his spirit remains intact;
Those who venerate him obtain blessings and
awaken to the Unproduced.
Even though I am so defiled and messed up, the Master still wants to save me; he is very compassionate and hasn't given up on me. I have been saved and I have been able to turn back from confusion because I believe in him. Although we haven't attained Right Enlightenment yet, all living beings have the Buddha nature and can become Buddhas.
The Master is present everywhere, crossing over living beings. My wish was granted as a result of paying homage to the Master. To awaken to the Unproduced means to end birth and death. I used to be very conceited and unafraid of cause and effect. Now that I understand the law of cause and effect, however, I think we must be very careful, especially about becoming conceited. I feel the only important thing in this life is to end birth and death; anything else would be just a product of petty cleverness, nothing special.
I hope we can all follow the Master's teachings and refrain from all evil for our whole lives.