His teachings, by personal example and by words,
reverberated through my mind.
On June 7, at dusk, I got a call from a Buddhist friend informing me of the Master's completion of stillness. My first reaction was, "How could it be possible?" Suddenly, my mind was thrown into confusion. That night, several Buddhist friends and I rushed to the mortuary to pay our last respects to the Master. While walking and reciting Amitabha Buddha's name, I recollected bits and pieces of what I had learned from the Master since I took refuge with him in 1989. His teachings, by personal example and by words, reverberated through my mind. I could not stop my tears.
Anyone who encountered the Master had a great deal of respect for him. Even non-Buddhists could feel the Master's awesome deportment and virtuous conduct. The Master's dignity was not pretentious. Rather, it came naturally as a result of his strict observance of precepts. The most admirable thing about the Master was that he always taught by example. He set an example with his own actions, such as eating one meal a day, always wearing the precept sash, and not lying down to sleep. All his disciples look upon him as their model. Through his infinite wisdom, he reconstituted the five precepts into the Six Guiding Principles, thus capturing the essence of the precepts and making them easier to understand and accept in this modern age. The Six Guiding Principles (no fighting, no greed, no seeking, no selfishness, no pursuit of personal advantages, and no lying) point directly to the maladies of the current time. The endless wars in eastern Europe and the sufferings of extreme deprivation are due to the greed, anger, and stupidity of key political leaders. If they could have heard the Master's teachings, such catastrophes might have been avoided.
The Master's every speech and lecture could be likened to the spring breeze and the nourishing drizzle. I have had the good fortune of helping with the typing and editing of the Gold Wheel Monastery Newsletter. Each word of the Master's replies to questions was awesome and admirable. Sometimes, his dialogues resembled the Chan stories of old, leaving people to ponder deeply.
Once, when my husband was doing poorly in his studies, I went to ask the Master for advice. I will never forget his reply. He said,
It's because of your big temper.
At the time, I wasn't ready to accept his admonition. Being very egoistic, I questioned how a person's temper could affect other family members. Many people overlook the fact that good naturedness leads to prosperity. How could things go smoothly at home if we lose our temper every day? This is common sense, yet it took me several years to realize it. What I lacked were the skills of inner reflection and self-examination.
Throughout his life, the Master never exploited conditions, solicited alms, or asked for anything. The only alms he solicited were his disciples' bad tempers and habits. He wanted us to give them up so that we could attain Buddhahood earlier. Yet, despite his vast compassion, we deludedly held fast to our habits and shortcomings, and the Master's strenuous efforts to help us might have seemed in vain. The Master often admonished us,
The fire of ignorance easily burns down
An entire forest of merit and virtue.
He wanted us to be patient and yielding, to be in harmony with the rest of the world, for only then can we make progress in our cultivation.
Though the Master has completed the stillness, he has left us an abundant treasury of wisdom, which will benefit us endlessly in life after life. In grateful remembrance of the Master, we should bring forth the Bodhi mind. Taking his eighteen great vows as our model, we should work to propagate the Dharma for the benefit of all beings, and urge each other on so that we can all realize Buddhahood together.
Proclaiming the Avatamsaka state, opening the Shurangama Platform,
and upholding the precepts, he transmitted them to students of the future.
The thousand-year tradition is thus perpetuated; the Sangha and the laity adorn
the ten thousand Buddhas in the Hall of Ten Thousand Buddhas.
Transforming in the spirit of wisdom, hosting assemblies of salvation,
and establishing Bodhimandas, he created affinities with the multitudes.
Who can know the hardships that he underwent? His merit and virtue are monumental;
he rescued beings throughout the worlds of the ten directions.
By unworthy disciple Sun Guoxiu in the Unicorn House at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas,
on the last day of the eighth intercalary lunar month, 1995