It all depends on our ability to
appreciate and understand it with our minds.
Sometimes we are greatly transformed by the experiences in our life. Although the Venerable Master's physical body is gone, his Dharma body exists forever, roaming through the Saha world.
Nine years ago when I first arrived in the United States, I was under a lot of pressure as I tried to adjust to the new environment, language, and people. The Master gave me a lot of encouragement and support. His kind eyes and precious words of Dharma helped me through those hard times. Whenever I encounter difficulties, the Master's image appears in front of me to speak Dharma to me.
One night I was driving in the snow around eleven o'clock. I had just gotten off work and wanted to rush home. In order to save time, I didn't bother to turn on the heater to clear the snow from the windshield. Instead, I just cleared a hole on my side of the windshield and started driving. Within a few minutes, I saw bright lights ahead of me and thought it might be a response from holding the Great Compassion Mnatra. The light then moved right in front of me. Upon a closer look, I realized it was coming from a police car. As the road was covered with snow and there was no way to tell where I was, I followed the police car and parked behind it. The police officer said, "I've never seen anyone driving under such circumstances－your front view is limited to a small hole, and you can't see to the sides or to the rear at all." He gave me a ticket for reckless driving.
I sat there in the car, feeling frustrated, and didn't feel like driving away. The policeman waited for me for a while, and then got out of his car impatiently and cleared all the snow off my car so I could leave. As I pulled onto the road again, I couldn't help grumbling: "How could I get a ticket when I was reciting the Great Compassion Mantra? " I was very upset. Later the Master told me, "Because you were reciting the Great Compassion Mantra, Guanyin Bodhisattva came to rescue you. Had the policeman not found you, you could have fallen into the lake on theleft side or the ditch on the right side of the road. Either case would have been worse than getting a ticket."
I confirmed the Master's words on my way to work the next day. That really inspired me, and my resentment towards the policeman was replaced by gratitude. I felt deeply repentant for having blamed the Bodhisattva.
People often feel that practicing Buddhism, reciting Sutras, and holding mantras is simply a way to buy insurance－to make sure nothing goes wrong in our lives. After this incident I realized that everything can be looked at in a positive and a negative side. We need to evaluate the overall situation instead of giving rise to ignorance and affliction.
Several years later I was in another car accident while taking my mother home from the dentist. A truck hit the left side of my car and dragged it for several feet. My car was totally ruined, and we could have been seriously injured. However, my mother and I were both safe and sound. When it happened, I had been sincerely reciting Guanyin Bodhisattva's name and praying that everything would be all right. I also recall that I was very scared. I didn't complain about that accident, but instead felt grateful to the Master and to Guanyin Bodhisattva for protecting us from danger.
I used to be very passive and timid, but after taking refuge with the Master and listening to his Dharma talks, I was no longer afraid of adverse situations. The Sutras say, "Everything is created by mind." Whether it is a mundane or trancend affair, it all depends on our ability to appreciate and understand it with our minds. The Master always said, "A bad teacher is also a good teacher." "Everything is a test to see what you will do. If you don't recognize what's before you, you'll have to start anew."
I remember once when, at Gold Buddha Monastery in Vancouver, the Master said he would like to take a walk by himself. I thought to myself, "Does the Master want to go amuse himself? Is he planning to take a walk or go window shopping?" Later I realized how ignorant it was to think that way. The Master walked around the block in order to create affinities with living beings and to alleviate their bad karma and plant Bodhi seeds in their minds－seeds that would eventually grow into Bodhi trees.
When I found myself in adversity, the Master helped me to stand on my own feet; when I was sad and frustrated, the Master changed my perspective in life. I hope the Master's disciples will have the Master's all-encompassing spirit and his kindness, compassion, happiness, and giving. I hope they will bear the Master's teachings in mind and practice them. Last but not least, may the Master's compassionate vows and the wisdom of his Dharma-body guide us towards the great Bodhi Way.