The Master's voice over the phone contained
no trace of anger as he repeated, "Be patient, be patient..."
On the first anniversary of the Venerable Master Hua's Nirvana, I cannot help but feel deep grief and melancholy. The Master devoted his entire life's energy to Buddhism. No setback could deter him as he established Way-places and taught living beings in the West. Once people took refuge in Buddhism and vowed to stop creating evil karma and to practice good deeds, the Master was willing to suffer in their stead for all their past offenses. With the spirit of Earth Store Bodhisattva, who vowed not to become a Buddha before the hells were empty, he touched the heart of every living being and influenced them to reform their faults and purify themselves by upholding the Six Guiding Principles
－ no fighting, no greed, no seeking, no selfishness, no self-benefit, and no lying. In this way living beings could escape the pain of birth, old age, sickness and death; become transformation bodies of Bodhisattvas; and ultimately attain great Nirvana.
Although the Master has departed from the Saha world, his vows and his willingness to go into the hells to save beings are deeply engraved in my heart, urging me to tirelessly improve myself and continuously follow the Master's teachings. Only in recent years did I come to know that the Venerable Master had received the Dharma from Venerable Elder Master Hsu Yun, thus becoming the Ninth Patriarch of the the Weiyang lineage of the Chan School, a Patriarch of the forty-fifth generation after the First Patriarch, Venerable Mahakashyapa.
When I took refuge with the Triple Jewel in 1979, it gave me a sense of security, although I did not understand much Buddhism at that time. Later, when I happened to read the Master's Instructional Talks, I was greatly inspired and hoped to one day be able to hear the Master's precious teachings in person.
In 1994 I was invited by the Canadian Martial Arts Association to deliver a series of martial arts lectures. During that time I was given the Master's kind permission to visit him. The Master's health was not good. He told me in his Manchurian accent,
“Why don't you come to the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas and develop your martial arts career? You can start an International Martial Arts Academy here.” This ordinary-sounding statement left a remarkably profound impression upon me. Even today it continues to echo in my ears.
The Venerable Master was an excellent teacher who taught living beings in subtle and imperceptible ways. I remember once when he called me on the phone and said, "I welcome you to the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas to leave home!" My heart warmed at his words, but later I replied in my ignorance, "I have my wife, children, and career, and I can't give them up yet..." The Master expediently said, "You can still come to the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas and take a look." The Master also arranged for me to attend his lectures at Gold Wheel Monastery and Long Beach Monastery, during which he transmitted the Forty-two Hands and Eyes of Guanyin Bodhisattva. This was a very beneficial experience for me.
What touches me even more is that shortly before he left us, the Master called me on the phone and earnestly admonished me,
I've been in America for several decades. It's not easy to get by in this country, so you ought to be patient...
I very foolishly replied in a loud voice, "I'm not just 'getting by' here. In China I was this and that..." Despite my rude reply, the Master's voice over the phone contained no trace of anger as he repeated,
“Be patient, be patient....”
When I think back to the many visits I paid the Master in past years, I can still recall very clearly how warmly he treated me and gave me guidance with a gentle smile. I will never forget those scenes. Today, on the first anniversary of the Master's Nirvana, I cannot help but shed tears as I gaze at the Master's picture.
This hypocritical mind leads me to commit ever greater offenses!
This deluded mind causes me to fantasize and daydream!
This mind of desires leads me away from the proper path!
Venerable Master! In the present age when human desires are out of control and profit is the only incentive, your teaching is desperately needed. Today, on the occasion of the first anniversary of your passing, I repent earnestly before you and hope you will return based on your vows to universally take across living beings.
Your unfilial disciple, Guosheng Tu,
at Avatamsaka Monastery, Calgary, Canada 1996