My coming to America is completely due to the Venerable Master’s kind encouragement and teaching.
I tried four times to get a visa in 1991, but each time I was turned down for no apparent reason. In 1992, I continued to seek (I knelt before the Venerable Master’s photograph and prayed every day). Before coming to America, one day I suddenly dreamed that the Venerable Master sent a Bhikshu who was undergoing a formal repentance ceremony to tell me,
“The Master is very upset. He says you shouldn’t keep making phone calls to him.” When I woke up, I saw that it was three o’clock in the morning. The dream had been extremely clear and I pondered over it for several days. I wondered why a Bhikshu who was in repentance had been sent to tell me. Aha! It finally dawned on me that it was because I usually didn’t hold the precepts or follow the rules. Even though I hadn’t left home yet, I’d already entered the Buddhist Academy, so I should hold the precepts and be very orderly. The
“phone calls” in a dream didn’t really mean phone calls, but
“telegrams” sent by the mind. From this, we can know that the Venerable Master is aware of everything and is at all times teaching living beings according to their potentials.
Last year some of my classmates were thinking of coming to the United States to attend the Venerable Master’s birthday celebration. My Dharma-brother asked the Venerable Master whether I could come as well, and the Master replied,
“Yes!” I was extremely happy, thinking that I would certainly be able to come to America this time. Whenever our Dharma-brothers wanted to come to America, as long as they received the Venerable Master’s permission, they would be able to get a visa. Therefore, I didn’t even consider the possibility of failure as I single-mindedly went to apply for a visa. Very unexpectedly, I was turned down again. I began to doubt the Venerable Master’s words then. I didn’t understand why I was the first one to fail after the Venerable Master had said,
“Okay.” Faced with that kind of test, I couldn’t face the situation. I didn’t know how to deal with the future. I felt lost and confused. If I couldn’t come to America to take the precepts, what point was there in leaving home with the Venerable Master? Thinking like this, I became very sad and fell sick again. I requested a leave of absence from the temple in order to nurse my health. Although I didn’t call the temple during that time, I started feeling a bit uneasy, because while it was easy to take care of my physical body, my Dharma body needed the water of Dharma in order to grow.
Finally, I couldn’t wait any longer and so I called the temple. The person there just happened to say,
“When the Master heard that you were turned down for a visa, he himself said over the phone,
‘She shouldn’t be like that, giving up on herself so easily! All she needs to do is recite Guanyin’s holy name more!’” Hearing that, I plucked up courage and went to apply for a visa yet again. This year, one of our Dharma-brothers who returned to Taiwan from America helped us prepare a great deal of material, so we were all able to get visas without any problem. I’m very grateful for her support and help, and also for the help of my Dharma-brothers in Taiwan.
At all times, the Venerable Master uses skill-in-means to help us grow in our cultivation of the Way. For example, seeing such a stupid living being as myself, he used this matter to teach me a lesson. In trying to get a visa, I overlooked one point─
“being helped by others is not as good as helping oneself.” I always depended on others to help me get my visa. It never occurred to me that it would be more reliable to depend on myself. This incident also made me see that we always hope others will recite the Buddha’s name to help us be reborn in the West, instead of reciting the Buddha’s name ourselves to obtain rebirth in the West.
From my childhood all the way till now, I have always been dependent on others. When I was little, I relied on my mother’s recitation of the Buddha’s name to bring us protection... Now that I’ve grown up, I rely on the Venerable Master’s compassionate aid. I haven’t taken responsibility for myself at all. Thus, the Master perceived my disposition and taught me to understand that I should always rely on myself. There is hope only if I make an effort myself. This time when I went to apply for a visa, I recited Guanyin Bodhisattva’s name with great concentration instead of looking here and there and being distracted, and so I passed the test and got my visa. From this experience, I have learned to grow up and be independent.
Later, when the Venerable Master completed the stillness, I was able to face it more calmly. In my opinion, it is ordinary people with their ordinary flesh eyes who discriminate whether the Venerable Master is present or absent. The important thing is that the Venerable Master’s spirit is saving living beings in every minute and second, without ever resting. He has not renounced us. As it says in
“White Universe,” the Venerable Master truly “spares
no blood or sweat and never pauses to rest.”
All the myriad creatures come forth from the Tao.
One who gains the Way personally touches the magic;
Awaken completely to your deepest, fundamental identity,
And when one penetrates, all alike connect.
──by Venerable Master Hua