The first anniversary of the Venerable Master's Nirvana is almost here. This disciple feels like an orphan. Every time the Master's visage appears in my mind's eye, I can't stop my tears from falling. Alas, how paltry our blessings are, that a Bodhisattva appeared for so short a time in the world. The living beings of the Saha world have lost their teacher who served as a guiding ferry and a bright lamp in the darkness.
The Vajra Sutra says, "All appearances are false. If one sees appearances as nonappearances, one sees the Thus Come One." In cultivation care should be taken not to become attached to appearances. The physical body is subject to decay. The crucial thing is to emulate the Master's noble spirit and to study the Dharma treasures the Master left for us. They are endless for the taking and inexhaustible in their use; these are the true Dharma.
The Master's physical body may be gone, but his Dharma body and his spirit remain. The Master once said,
If you fail to cultivate vigorously, even if
Shakyamuni Buddha were beside you, he wouldn't be able to save you.
It's really true. Therefore, we disciples of the fourfold assembly should clearly remember this, transform our grief into strength, and follow the Six Guiding Principles that the Master upheld throughout his life: no fighting, no greed, no seeking, no selfishness, no pursuit of personal advantage, and no lying. At all times we should reflect: "Have we put the teachings into practice? Or is what we recite and listen to one thing, and what we do another?"
With the Venerable Master's lifelong virtuous conduct, his noble spirit, and his compassionate teaching of living beings, he appeared in the Dharma-ending Age like a clear stream in the turbid world, and his contributions to Buddhism will endure for countless generations. When the Master expounded the Sutras and spoke the Dharma, it came straight from his inherent nature. He could skip eating for a day, but he would not miss a day of speaking Dharma. As long as he had a single breath in his body, he would explain the Dharma, speak the truth, and do true deeds to bring forth wisdom in foolish and deluded beings and lead them on the path to Buddhahood. I myself became a Buddhist as a result of reading the Master's Dharma talks.
Out of pity for the living beings of the Dharma Realm, the Master made eighteen great vows. By virtue of these vows, evenpeople with only a hairsbreadth of good roots can have their wishes fulfilled.
The Venerable Master is the greatest of doctors;he took the suffering and hardships of all living beings upon himself and healed countless strange illnesses, allowing beings to leave suffering and attain bliss. I feel very ashamed and selfish, for I gave all my sicknesses to the Master and enjoyed happiness myself. The Master's kindness is so immense and difficult to repay, and I fear my debt is entirely too great. In the past, the Master was always most pleased to see his disciples cultivating diligently. If I don't cultivate well now, how will I ever face him?
Throughout his life, the Master strictly kept the precepts and practiced austerities. He devoted his energy to propagating the Dharma, promoting free education and volunteer teaching, and translating the scriptures. With total selflessness, he transformed the lives of innumerable people. We, his disciples, should, in repentance and gratitude, work together to carry on the great work that the Master began. We should spread the Master's compassionate teachings by serving as personal examples, perpetuating the spirit of "sparing neither blood nor sweat and never pausing to rest." Then we will be the Master's true disciples. I sincerely believe that the Master will soon return on the power of his vows.