I feel that the Master was conscientiously
mindful of us
in everything we did and said.
In 1995, the month of May was colder than in other years. In the past, when I went to school around this time of year, my sweat would be a sign of the hot summer soon to come. This year, however, it was always cloudy and sometimes there was a light drizzle. Once when I was driving home from school, I looked up at the cloudy sky and thought,
“Maybe it’s so cool because the Master is recuperating in Los Angeles and the dragons have come to protect him!” However, I never would have known that during the last week of the spring quarter, I would hear the shocking news of the Master’s passing into stillness. My heart painfully laments the loss of our great teacher. With deep regret I think of how I squandered my life and didn’t follow the Master’s teachings well after I had taken refuge with him.
Soon after I took refuge, the Master was
going to Taiwan to propagate Dharma. My mom, second eldest
sister, and I rushed to the airport to bid him farewell. But
as we got delayed, I drove as fast as I could, hoping the
plane would be delayed so we wouldn’t miss the Master. I had
a lot of questions to ask the Master, so I was anxious to
get to the airport sooner. When I arrived, the Master was
just about to step into the boarding gate. I hurriedly bowed
to him and only got out the words, “Shifu (Master)...” I couldn’t continue, because there were so many things in my mind and on the tip of my tongue. Then the Master said to me in English,
“Do your best.” That answered all the questions I had wanted to ask. I just couldn’t believe what I heard. As I stood in awe, Dharma Master Heng Sure noticed and repeated the Master’s words. It then dawned upon me that the Master already knew what my questions were. His words gave me the confidence to courageously confront all my problems. This goes to show how inconceivable the Master’s practice and wisdom were.
Possessing few blessings and heavy karma, I did not have the chance to draw near to the Master to cultivate good roots, nor was I able to follow his teachings to foster virtue. Nevertheless, I feel that the Master was conscientiously mindful of us in everything we did and said, fearing that we would step in the wrong direction. I think others have similar experiences. The Master, in his talks, always pointed out the offenses that Buddhists should take care not to commit. Sometimes I am stunned to hear it, because I think, “Didn’t I just do that not too long ago? No one but myself knows about it. How did the Master find out?” That has already happened twice, leaving me feeling both thankful and faithful.
When I related these incredible occurrences to my mother, she told me that many years ago, when we had just moved to America (I had not yet taken refuge, but she and my second sister had), our family had financial difficulties because my father’s business was not doing well. When my mother asked the Master to bless the business, he told her to recite the name of Guanshiyin (Avalokitesvara) Bodhisattva. My mother said,
“But I’m already reciting it.” The Master replied, “I told you to recite it, so just recite it.” After my mother went home, she recited Guanshiyin’s name every day, and as a result the business went smoothly and successfully. To this day, my mother is very grateful for the Master’s compassion.
Incidents such as this are too numerous to mention. The Master’s kindness to his disciples goes beyond such events, for he is the savior of our wisdom and spiritual lives. I grieve to think of how he continuously gave talks and lectures even when he was ill. The Master’s spirit of sacrificing his body and life to spread the teachings in the Dharma-ending Age makes me reflect deeply. Such indefatigable vigor sets an example for all beings. Besides feeling gratitude and admiration, I shall endeavor to eliminate my own ignorance. I can’t be lazy if I want to repay the Master for all his hard work.
I shall never forget the Master as a model of kindness, compassion, and total spontaneity. His frankness enabled him to be direct without fear of offending others. He followed the principles without bending them. He taught us incessantly about the Way to a proper practice and life. I shall always remember this in my heart and not dare to forget it.