In 1988, I took refuge with the Venerable Master Hua in Taoyuan, Taiwan. Before I came into contact with the Buddhadharma, I didn’t know what the truth was. It was only after taking refuge in Buddhism and studying the Sutras that I realized the Buddha had come to the world to teach living beings to awaken to the eternal truth of the universe.
Before I took refuge, I had been quite opinionated and tended to look down on others. I had created a lot of bad karma with my body, mouth, and mind. When the members of the delegation led by the Venerable Master spoke the Dharma at the Taoyuan Gymnasium, none of their speeches satisfied me. When it was the Venerable Master’s turn to speak, I harbored the same attitude of contempt.
My eyesight has always been normal, and I’ve never had to use eyedrops or anything. But at that time, it was as if I had a cataract, for I saw that the Venerable Master’s eyes were very large and his face was very mean-looking. I rubbed my eyes with my hand and took another look at the Venerable Master: This time he appeared normal. But after a while, it happened again─the Venerable Master’s eyes were huge and his expression was very fierce. At that time, I didn’t realize the Master was manifesting the angry appearance of a Vajra spirit for me to see. After the lecture was over and everyone was preparing to take refuge, the Venerable Master said,
“If even one disciple who has taken refuge with me has not become a Buddha, I will wait for him to become a Buddha before I become a Buddha.” What a magnificent vow! On my way home after the Dharma session that day, I decided to go take refuge with the Venerable Master Hua on Sunday.
I rode my motorcycle to take refuge on Sunday morning. I had thought I was early, but everyone else had arrived even earlier and was already reciting the Great Compassion Mantra. After the repentance, bowing, refuge-taking, and lecture, the Venerable Master earnestly reminded every disciple to be a good person. At the end he said,
“Today you’ve taken refuge with me, and I will
take upon myself all the offense karma you
created in the past.”
Venerable Master! You took on the offense karma of your refuge disciples, and so you became ill. Because your disciple has not worked hard to repent of his karmic hindrances and to vigorously cultivate, you have manifested illness and left us early, in order to allow us to wake up right away!
Greatly kind and compassionate Master! Out of concern, you admonished me and every living being who has taken refuge with you to make us advance towards the Great Bodhi Way!