in a Buddhist family, Long Hwei often heard her mother speak about the
Buddhas and Bodhisattvas and about how they benefit all beings. Long
Hwei remembers, "As a child my nature was such that although I wasn't
familiar with the qualities of kindness, compassion, joy, and giving,
per se, nonetheless I liked to help people, even to the point that I would
take the things I liked most and give them to people who liked them
equally as well.
"My mother and I often went to temples to bow to the Buddhas and hear the Sutras lectured. Without question, I was a Buddhist disciple from early on. When I was thirteen, at my mother's suggestion, I went to P'ing Dung City to Dung Shan Buddhist School to study Buddhadharma. The lifestyle at the school was monastic; there were no worldly distractions, and it was a clean and quiet place. I learned that in Buddhism it is from the Three Non-Outflow Studies of precepts, samadhi, and wisdom that we obtain true peace. With true peace comes the highest wisdom.
"After three years of the Buddhist lifestyle, I was quite accustomed to it and knew that if I lived my life in this way, It would be of benefit to me and I could genuinely support the Buddhadharma."
Seeing so much compassion used in the acting out of Buddhist principles. Long Hwei wanted to offer her efforts to that cause. She enjoyed the social services offered by her Temple to the people of her village, who for the most part, struggled for a livelihood and many of whom were orphaned or widowed. But, feeling that her experience was not yet sufficient to the task. Long Hwei decided to leave her temple and come to the United States to the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas.
Arriving in 1978, she took to the practices and way of life at the City with eagerness and appreciation. Of the City she says, "It is truly a holy ground; a pure place in which to cultivate the Way. Its flowers, trees, and birds enhance my thoughts of compassion and the people at the City encourage me and act as my Good Knowing Advisors so that I can progress with ease in my study of Buddhism.
"The City of Ten Thousand Buddhas is benefiting society in helping to reveal that people's natures are fundamentally good; that all people have the capacity for great compassion. The goal of people here is to take on others' afflictions until they have no further afflictions and to reach a state of peace when all beings have also found peace. Such awesome spirit can get rid of the world's evils and save people. It is the process of taking yourself and others across the sea of suffering until society is in harmony and people are in accord."
"Life at the City has many advantages. One of which is that people live together in harmony and with an attitude of forgiveness, rather than indulging in arguments and faultfinding. The chance to develop this attitude which brings reason and kindheartedness into balance will be of lasting benefit to me.
"Further, the City provides a place to repent and reform for past bad deeds. With the potential for good recognized as universal, everyone has an equal opportunity to change for the better."
In conclusion, Long Hwei says, "The Buddha Way is the highest. And, as a Buddhist disciple, I ask myself what responsibility I should take. The answer is the same for us all--to increase the Seeds for Buddhahood and to see to the continuation of the Buddha's wisdom-life."
CALENDAR OF HOLIDAYS, 1979
April 11 full moon; Great Master Ch'ang Jen's Birthday (3/15 lunar)
April 12 Birthday of Cunti Bodhisattva (3/16 lunar); Honoring Venerable Master Hua.
April 13 Great Master Ch'ang Chin left the home life (3/17 lunar)
Apri1 26 new moon
April 29 Manjusri Bodhisattva's Birthday (4/4 lunar)
May 3 Sakyamuni Buddha's Birthday (4/8 lunar)
May 10 full moon; beginning of Sangha's Summer Retreat (4/15 lunar)
May 23 Medicine King Bodhisattva's Birthday (4/28 lunar)
May 26 new moon (5/1 lunar)
June 7 Ch'ieh Lan Bodhisattva's Birthday (5/13 lunar)
June 9 full moon (5/15 lunar)
June 24 new moon (6/1 lunar)
June 26 Wei T'ou Bodhisattva's Birthday (6/3 lunar)
July 8 new moon; Great Master Ch'ang Jen's Enlightenment (6/15 lunar)
July 9 Honoring Venerable Master Hua (6/16 lunar)