Bodhi Stand

Vivian Henry, raised in a household that stayed together, by parents who cared and were concerned, nonetheless felt the impact of teen years in troubled times. Paced on many sides by what she terms "misunderstandings between living beings," she was acutely aware of suffering and could find no reasonable means to its solution.

After high school, she attended Western Washington State for a while, but eventually left to go fishing in Alaska to "make money to travel and somehow help people." But she soon learned that money was not the only ingredient needed. "Whenever I had enough money, I didn't feel right about going because I had nothing to offer. The life of a fisher person is not very wholesome and I got more and more confused."

Although Vivian knew that the way to help the world out of its problems had to do with compassion, she had no guidelines as to how such a quality could be developed and put to successful use.

Returning to Seattle, she again enrolled in school, hoping for an answer. During this time she contacted Kuo Chung Buck (see issue #108) who was living at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas. They planned by letter that Vivian could come to visit. As Vivian puts it, "My first impression was, 'Whew; Thank goodness they're straight!' I began to have faith in the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas...For ones something seemed so true and pure. I felt a tremendous sense of relief and the beginnings of renewed purpose grow in me."

As her understanding grew, Vivian, who took refuge and was given the name Kuo Yin, learned of the importance of being filial. Her father, a superior court judge, and her mother, attentive to their household, now enjoy Kuo Yin's respect and expression of her gratitude to them. And they must perceive in her the sincere concern for developing her own potentials including kindness, compassion, joy, and giving the object of her teenage search.

      Kuo Yin relates: "One of the first things I asked when I came to the City was, 'What can I do to help people?' The answer I got was, 'Just be a good person yourself and your example will shine on others. No more killing, stealing, lying, sexual misconduct, or taking intoxicants.' Well, this was the best advice I'd heard in a long time. It answered my question about how to change all the ignorance in the world that causes so much evil: I must start with myself and I was ready to hear that."

      Kuo Yin is a student at Dharma Realm Buddhist University and contributes her time and energy to do whatever job is at hand. She says, "There's no better place to cultivate true principle than the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas. Everyone here dedicates his or her life to helping themselves and helping others, saving themselves and saving others. I've finally come home and I've never been happier. I intend to stay!"