I am a lazy and dull-witted disciple of the Buddha. Fortunately, I came upon the Venerable Master’s instructional talks and thus understand a bit about worshipping the Buddhas, reciting Sutras, and bowing in repentance. In order to repay the Venerable Master for the great contributions that he made to Buddhism, I am writing about my feelings regarding making obeisance to the Venerable Master, despite my poor literary skills.
Six years ago, I had an opportunity to cultivate with the assembly at Gold Summit Monastery in Seattle. I also joined them to attend the Bathing the Buddha Festival (Buddha’s Birthday) at the Sagely City of Ten Thousand Buddhas. I saw the Venerable Master sitting in the center of the Buddhahall and many people kneeling and bowing to him. The Master struck each person on the head with his hand as a gesture of bestowing aid. I stood and watched from a distance. When the people had all gone, the Venerable Master was still sitting there, and so I walked up, knelt in front of him, and bowed. The Master smiled at me and struck my head as well. A disciple beside me knelt down and asked the Master,
“Why did you hit him harder?” The Master smiled and struck him hard on the head. I reflected,
“The Master treats all his disciples equally, yet when our greed takes over, he is still very compassionate and understands us. That’s why he struck him hard.” Since I was carrying a camera, everyone told me to take a picture of the Venerable Master. I foolishly walked up in front of the Venerable Master and took his picture. When the flash went off, the Venerable Master looked at me and said I was taking his picture on the sly. He was smiling benevolently. I was so scared that I quickly knelt down and bowed to the Master, reproaching myself for being so discourteous.
The second time I saw the Venerable Master was a few years ago. Gold Summit Monastery had just completed the Jewelled Repentance of the Emperor of Liang, and the Venerable Master had travelled from California to Seattle to see us in the afternoon. Many people took refuge and received the five precepts that day. I also received the five precepts. I regard the Venerable Master as a holy monk who upheld the precepts and had exalted virtue. I am truly honored to have this eminent monk as my teacher. I hope that I will uphold the precepts well, learn from him, and increase my wisdom, so that I will be a Buddhist who observes the precepts.
The third time I saw the Venerable Master was during the Birthday Celebration at the Sagely City of the Dharma Realm last year (1994). Although I have only seen the Venerable Master three times, the Master’s biography and instructional talks have impressed me deeply. The Venerable Master was a greatly virtuous one who based himself on compassion, upheld the precepts rigorously, and gave himself up for others. Throughout his life, he propagated the Buddhadharma, taught countless living beings, and established a solid foundation for Buddhism in America. He introduced the Buddhadharma and traditional Chinese ethics to the next generation of young people. A clear stream now infuses this progressively decadent society. While the Venerable Master’s completion of stillness is a great loss to Buddhist disciples, we should not feel sad. Rather, we should transform our sorrow into strength. We should be even more united and follow the Master’s teachings. It’s easy to talk about the Master’s Six Great Principles─no fighting, no greed, no seeking, no selfishness, no pursuit of personal advantage, and no lying--but only if we can truly benefit from them will we not disappoint the Venerable Master’s great pains.
The Venerable Master’s false body is gone, but his Dharma body is eternal. He is watching everything we do. We must be even more vigorous in bringing the Buddhadharma to those who don’t know it, causing them to be inspired by the Venerable Master’s self-sacrifice for the Buddhadharma, take refuge with the Triple Jewel, and support the Proper Dharma, so that the seeds of the Buddhadharma will thrive and prosper in the West. I wish to use my feeble strength to encourage everyone!
Only with wonderful wisdom can one reach the other shore;
With a true mind, one naturally can merge with enlightenment’s
Dharma and analogy comprise the title of this Sutra,
which transcends the relative.
Empty of the characteristics of all dharmas
is this substance beyond words.
Non-attainment is its purpose and intent;
Its function is to eradicate the three obstacles.
The “butter division” is determined to be
the meaning of this teaching,
A Maha turning around: this is the Prajna boat.
From the Venerable Master Hua’s Verses without a Stand for the Heart of Prajna Paramita Sutra