What I really want to say about the Venerable Master Hsuan Hua, is impossible to say in words. We all know in our hearts what a rare being he was. I did not even know him well, and still, just by reading his books, listening to his tapes, and looking at photographs of him, I know that he was true in every way.
I have only been a disciple for a year and a half, but both my parents have been disciples for many years. I do not know what stopped me from becoming his disciple earlier. I guess I had to learn more about the religion my parents were promoting before I officially became a Buddhist. But actually I always knew it was the truth.
I had two dreams about Shih Fu. Other than that I haven’t had many experiences with him personally, but I consider these dreams as very important.
The first dream I had was after I had recited the Great Compassion Mantra very sincerely before I went to sleep. The dream was very clear; not like any other kind of dream I’d had before. I was in the Buddha Hall at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas.
Shih Fu walked by on my right and I faced him. He
did not say anything, but I knew he wanted me to
show him my breathing. So I carefully inhaled and
then exhaled. When I inhaled my breath was strong.
When I exhaled it was very shaky and unsteady. Shih
Fu was showing me that I needed to practice my
breathing. There was a second part to the dream.
Shih Fu stood before me and I opened my mouth. He
placed his pointer finger on my two bottom front
teeth and pressed down. I remember very clearly the
feeling of my teeth being pressed on my jaw. He then
took his finger out and said, “Ahh, you’re going to get sick.” I was not frightened or even surprised, just aware.
I was very grateful for this dream, but didn’t really understand the teeth pressing. Anyhow, I knew I should practice my breathing. I kept reminding myself that I had better practice, but never really did. I wouldn’t humble myself to practice something so basic. So I felt guilty. About a month later, I had another dream.
In this second dream I was also in the Buddha Hall at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas. Shih Fu was in the middle. A few other people and I were standing at the bowing cushions. Shih Fu stood next to us. We turned to face him. As he looked at me, I felt incredible shame; it was as if every part of me was covered in shame. The corners of my mouth slowly turned down and my head very slowly lowered. I felt nothing but shame. That was the entire dream. After I woke up I felt very fortunate that I was able to repent to Shih Fu.
I learned many things from these two dreams. (1) Practice breathing. (2) Be more aware of the mouth: eating and talking. (3) Don’t take what Shih Fu says lightly. These dreams made me more aware that I should not only try to understand what Shih Fu says, but also put it into practice.
Because of Shih Fu and my parents, I have become very interested in the Buddha Dharma. I feel very fortunate to have a good path to follow. Now the only thing left is to follow it!