In my search for the truth, I encountered numerous complications. Although I did obtain something, I always felt it wasn’t complete and ultimate. Fortunately, I later encountered Buddhism and was finally able to end my search. After taking refuge with the Venerable Master Hua, I began to inquire deeply into Buddhism.
Through a friend, I came to know of the Venerable Master Hua. However, at that time I wasn’t in any rush to go to Gold Mountain Monastery to meet the Venerable Master. It was not until one morning in the spring of 1989, that I dreamed someone was urging me to quickly go to Gold Mountain Monastery. I woke up in a fright, only to realize that it was a dream. I rushed to Gold Mountain Monastery. When I saw the Venerable Master, my heart lit up and I knew this Dharma Master was the teacher I had been searching for all these years. The Venerable Master concernedly asked about my recent situation and kindly pointed out where I had gone astray. I was suddenly overwhelmed with the feeling that I was a prodigal son returning home. This feeling welled up in my heart, beyond my control. This was probably because I lamented the fact that I was such a dull person unable to improve myself and a disgrace to my elders!
I had several other opportunities to draw near the Venerable Master after that, and I benefited greatly each time. The Venerable Master often pointed out with great precision the errors I had made, startling me greatly. Not only would I obtain treasured advice when I personally sought instruction from the Venerable Master, but the remarkable thing was that, even when the Venerable Master was lecturing to the assembly, I felt as if his words of Dharma were specifically aimed at my own situation! My fellow cultivators have often had the same experience.
Once when I walked out of Gold Mountain Monastery after seeking counsel from the Venerable Master, I saw a worker pushing a pig into the basement of a shop that sold roast pig. Suddenly, I seemed to see not a pig, but a middle-aged man. It gave me a big fright, and I understood why the Venerable Master so earnestly urged people to be vegetarian.
During the political fighting in Taiwan a few years ago, the slightest thing could have triggered an explosive crisis. The Venerable Master rushed to Taiwan and fasted for over a month. Such compassionate concern for people, such great self-sacrifice for the sake of living beings, is truly admirable.
The Venerable Master travelled throughout the world, making many contributions to the peace and harmony of mankind without letting people know. For instance, the Venerable Master commissioned the building of numerous stupas (pagodas) for housing sharira (relics) in India for the sake of world peace. Day and night without stop, he saved living beings, eradicated their karma, healed them of illness, and prayed for blessings on their behalf.
The Venerable Master’s greatest vow was to bring the Buddhadharma to the Western world. For several decades, the Venerable Master toiled tirelessly, training people in Buddhism, translating the Buddhist canon, founding schools and promoting education, and establishing Way-places in order to lay a foundation for the propagation of Buddhism in America a thousand years into the future. I have the highest admiration for the Venerable Master’s great courage and far-reaching vision. I feel supremely honored to be the Venerable Master’s disciple.
The Venerable Master’s explanations of the Buddhist scriptures are very easy to understand. He uses all kinds of examples, and yet his words are concise and to the point. He has changed the notion that worldly people have of the scriptures as being difficult to understand and has promoted an innovative method of propagating the Buddhadharma.
The Venerable Master’s greatly compassionate vows cannot be described in words:
“I vow that I will not attain the Right Enlightenment if there is even one being who has taken refuge with me and has not yet become a Buddha.” (the eighteenth great vow) He will only become a Buddha after all his refuge disciples have done so.
The Venerable Master often helped living beings to clear up their confusion and resolve their doubts. When those with abundant good roots hear the Venerable Master’s teaching, they immediately accept it with faith and earnestly practice it, and as a result things take a turn for the better. When headstrong disciples argue back and confuse the head and tail of things, they end up suffering the unpleasant consequences themselves.
The Venerable Master not only used his wisdom to dispel the worries and difficulties of ordinary people, he also offered wise advice on government to political leaders and high officials who came to seek his counsel. Sometimes the implications of the Venerable Master’s talks were too mysterious and deep for people to understand and accept, yet things would always turn out just as the Master had predicted.
The Venerable Master made many prophecies, and all of them came true. For example, he predicted the disintegration of the Communist bloc, the spread of AIDS throughout the world, and all sorts of natural and manmade disasters. In recent years the Venerable Master also predicted the outbreak of an epidemic a hundred times worse than AIDS, pointing out sternly that homosexuality would be the cause of this disease. Yet worldly people remain sunk in confusion and fail to awaken.
The Venerable Master upheld the precepts strictly throughout his life, diligently cultivated ascetism, sought the Buddhadharma above and taught living beings below, saving them from suffering and hardship. In my personal case, under the Venerable Master’s protective aid, my stupidity has decreased slightly and my peace of mind grows daily. In terms of the country, the Venerable Master has rectified people’s minds, reformed the trends, averted chaos and confusion, and brought peace and security to society. Those who have followed the Venerable Master should faithfully uphold the Master’s teachings, whether he gave them verbally or by example, and do their best for Buddhism in the hopes of repaying a small fraction of the Venerable Master’s great kindness.