The extreme agony and pain the Master was undergoing
for the sake of saving living beings.
When the Venerable Master was convalescing in Los Angeles in the summer of 1995, he continued to explain and transmit the Forty-two Hands and Eyes to disciples, disregarding the toll it took on him. We were extremely fortunate to have the Master personally teach us this Dharma. Although we were not very clear about the Master's health condition at the time, I remember how Master's hands trembled as he struggled to raise a glass of water to his lips and how he constantly wiped the sweat from his face. We didn't realize the extreme agony and pain the Master was undergoing for the sake of saving living beings. No difficulty, no matter how great, could deter his great resolve to cause Buddhism to flourish.
The Master once casually told everyone that he was late for class because he had vomited several times after lunch. He totally disregarded his own health when it came to teaching living beings. He never rested as he propagated the Dharma, promoted education, and established temples everywhere. He never uttered a word of complaint despite the tremendous suffering he endured.
The Master was able to live up to every word he spoke. He said,
With great compassion rescue all, sparing neither blood
nor sweat, and never pause to rest.
And indeed, throughout his whole life, he taught limitless numbers of beings. He fulfilled the wishes and bestowed blessings and aid on every person who sought from him or took part in the Dharma sessions. Yet when his illness was at its most critical, he said to those beside him that he would not use a finger's strength to help himself. He was willing to bear and suffer any amount of pain.
One of the eithteen great vows the Master made was to take the sufferings of living beings upon himself. He silently practiced his vows, taking our offenses and karma upon himself without our knowing. His selfless spirit of forsaking himself for the Dharma touched the hearts of countless stubborn living beings.
Those of us who are fortunate enough to be the Master's disciples received immeasurable kindnesses from the Master. One layperson who has opened his spiritual eyes reported that due to the Master's lofty virtue, wherever he went there were Dharma-protecting gods and dragons lined up on both sides of the road making obeisance to him.
I remember that in November 1994, the Master held a Leaving Home Ceremony and transmitted the Three Refuges and Five Precepts at Long Beach Monastery. Before the ceremonies were over, the Master told everyone,
The teacher leads you in the door, but you your- selves must cultivate. If you don't cherish the teaching and cultivate well, then even if Shakyamuni Buddha personally transmitted the Dharma to you, it would be of no use. I hope you all will try your best! Otherwise, there will be a lot of hard times in store for you.
Being a very ignorant and dull-witted person, I didn't understand the Master's meaning. I thought I could take it easy and rely on the Master up to the Master's 100th birthday, when he would burn his body as an offering to the Buddha. I hardly expected that the Master would, for the sake of teaching living beings, renounce his life so soon and depart by the power of his vows.
In order to repay the Master's kindness, let us urge one another to respectfully study and diligently practice the innumerable Dharma treasures of wisdom the Master has given us. If we cultivate seriously and vigorously uphold the precepts, I believe that the Master's Dharma body will always be with us. Let me share one last sentence of the Master's with everyone:
The generals do not dismount, but hasten forth on their
Let's go forward together on the path to Buddhahood. The Master is waiting for us to become Buddhas. May we all meet again in the land of the Buddhas.
Throughout inconceivable kalpas
Vigorously cultivate all practices
In order to cross over all living beings.
This is the Great Immortal's strength.
Flower Adornment Sutra, Chapter Nine, Light Enlightenment