The Bodhi Lectern

Upasika Ch'en Kuo-yun was one who lived amidst the Buddhadharma for a long time before she recognized its wonder. Though her husband had been a serious cultivator for many years, she, herself, had never tasted the Dharma's flavor.

However, not long ago Kuo-yun developed a hard lump in her throat, which effected her larynx, and soon her voice was nothing but a whisper. The doctors (and she went to see many) all agreed that it must be removed and urged her to have the operation soon. Although the word "cancer" was never mentioned to her, she knew that's what it was and so did her family. But because her husband understood a great deal of Buddhadharma, he didn't agree that an operation was the best method. He said to her, "It is because of karma that you have created in the past that this has happened to you now. There is a Great Master lecturing in Taipei at present the Venerable Abbot of Gold Mountain Monastery in San Francisco. Why don't you go and take refuge with him and ask him to give you some water blessed with the Great Compassion mantra to drink?"

Though Kuo-yun was very skeptical, she went to the lecture and found it interesting. It was very strange, but the sight of the Master brought tears to her eyes. So she did take refuge, and also drank some water blessed with the Great Compassion mantra. The first thing that happened was that gradually her voice returned. When she went back to see the doctors, they found that the hard lump had softened and dwindled in size. The doctors found it difficult to believe that she hadn't received any treatment other than water, albeit blessed, but Kuo-yun knew it was just the water that had made her better.

      The lump gradually dissolved until it disappeared, and her voice returned to normal. Her husband urged her to do something to help the Buddhadharma in return.

      So now Kuo-yun has come to the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas to help propagate the Buddhadharma in America. As Director of Chinese Studies for Instilling Virtue School, she lends her eighteen years of experience as a principal of a kindergarten to setting up a Chinese Studies program for elementary school children. In addition to her advisory work, Kuo-yun spends several hours a day in the classroomóboth teaching Chinese to Instilling Virtue School students and learning English herself at Dharma Realm Buddhist University. What is more, she participates in ceremonies at Joyous Giving House daily and always attends evening lec≠tures on the Dharma.

      Kuo-yun enjoys her work with children, for she realizes that since the future lies in their hands, it is essential to help them build a firm foundation now. In her teaching she emphasizes the importance of repaying one's parents' kindness and of respecting one's teachers and elders.