I had the fortune of visiting the Venerable Master Hua twice in the United States. Coincidentally, the first time was on July 5, 1993, and the second time was on July 5, 1994. The Venerable Master said,
“These are opportune conditions!” In May of 1993, we learned that the Venerable Master Hua wished to carry out education in China and his first choice for a site was Jining, the hometown of Confucius and Mencius. This was the direct cause of my acquaintance with the Venerable Master Hua.
My two visits with the Venerable Master were arranged by Dr. John Tsu, a trustee of Kennedy University in the United States. During my contact with the Venerable Master Hua, I was left with a deep impression of the Master’s kind and friendly manner towards others, his profound and vast erudition, his penetrating views, and his full wisdom. While he was a Buddhist monk, he opposed superstition and emphasized inner cultivation rather than external seeking. While being a Buddhist leader, he advocated the elimination of sectarian views and an equal status for all religions. He could have gone into seclusion to cultivate his mind and nature, regarding the four elements as empty, but instead he had a compassionate spirit─he cared for the country and people, prayed that the world would put its weapons away and set the war-horses out to pasture, and contributed to the peace and well-being of humankind. Even though he lived abroad, he preserved his citizenship, going back to his roots. He cared about the educational system of his fatherland. He once said that for the sake of China’s education, he was willing to sacrifice his body and bones. He made
“no fighting, no greed, no seeking, no selfishness, no pursuit of personal advantage, and no lying” the principles of education and the basis for people to establish themselves on. He encouraged us to adopt his attitude that
“even without money, we can do the things that require money” in carrying out the work of education. We must teach young people to love their country, love their families, and cherish themselves. We must do some work for the country and set a good example for the young people.
I will never forget that after I paid a call to the Venerable Master in Los Angeles in 1993, when he found out I was going to stay one day in San Francisco, he flew back to San Francisco and arranged to have lunch with me at the Sagely City of Ten Thousand Buddhas. During our visit in 1994, he neglected his own sick condition and personally arranged our itinerary and accomodations. Every day he would call to inquire if we had rested well and if we were used to the living conditions. He showed the utmost concern for our well-being, down to the smallest details. I was even more moved when during our visit in America the Venerable Master decided to have the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas make a contribution of US$200,000 to Jining College and Baoxiang Monastery. It was the first time that Jining had ever received such a large contribution from overseas.
Although I am just a common Chinese person, I was treated with warm hospitality and kindness by the Venerable Master Hua, such a lofty and virtuous Sanghan. This is not due to my personal conditions. This is an expression of the Venerable Master’s deep sentiment and generous friendship for all Chinese people.
I feel boundless grief for the Venerable Master’s completion of stillness. We will remember him forever. He loved his country and valued Buddhism. He was devoted to peace and to saving the world and its people. His exalted state of selfless courage and his exemplary manner of doing things will be a model for the people of the world.
With kindness, compassion, joy, and giving, he was a hero who
saved the multitudes.
Without attaching to a single speck of dust, he purified himself
According with conditions, he truly practiced for the sake of
He perfectly attained the Proper Fruition and propagated the
Dharma as well.
All the destinies are different, with thoughts measureless;
The karmic results and minds are also not of one kind.
Up to and including the various differentiations of the root natures:
Upon first bringing forth the great mind,
Once can clearly see them all.
The mind is vast and expansive, equal to the Dharma Realm,
Without reliance and unchanging like space.
One tends toward the Buddha’s wisdom without any grasping,
And comprehends the limit of reality, without discriminations.
Chapter on The Merit and Virtue from First Bringing Forth the Mind, the Flower Adornment Sutra