Kuo Lyau was born in 1959 on September 3rd in Ithica, N.Y. When he was about two years old his parents, sister, and older brother, and he moved to California where he has lived ever since.

"During junior high school I developed a strong Interest in Christianity and attended Bible study and Christian Youth Groups at my church. At that time I was considering becoming a priest, as my grandfather was and my uncle is."

By high school, these groups became more like social events and Kuo Lyau's interest turned to worldly pursuits. At sixteen, he learned about the Venerable Abbot of Gold Mountain from his piano teacher, who was a disciple of the Master. Upon first hearing about him, Kuo Lyau relates, "I knew I had to go see him. Seeing the Abbot for the first time made a deep impression on me. We were circumambulating at Gold Mountain Monastery and one time when I passed the stairs at the back of the hall I looked up. There he was, in a blaze of red and yellow robes, with his deep, penetrating eyes looking right through me. My eyes widened with astonishment, and out of awe, I slowly turned away as a big smile broke on my face. An unexplainable and incredibly deep faith in him is the main reason I got interested in Buddhism."

After that first encounter with the Dharma, Kuo Lyau began trying to observe the five precepts. He notes the positive effects vegetarianism had on him. "I feel much better for having stopped eating meat, and I notice a big change for the good. My false thoughts have quieted down tremendously, and I feel much more relaxed and calm. In this way especially, vegetarianism 1s beneficial to the practice of meditation. It 1s also a lot less violent in many respects."

Kuo Lyau learned the Great Compassion Mantra, began memorizing the Surangama Mantra, took refuge with the Master, and then moved to England. Schoolwork and activities kept him busy, but he slipped back into some of his old bad habits. Although he maintained his vegetarianism, he began to drink again. "It didn't go on for long, however, because every time I drank I felt more and more obtuse, like being shut in a small brick box very closed 1n and dull. So because of this and moral support from a Buddhist friend 1n California, I stopped drinking for good."

Kuo Lyau was eager to return to California, so he finished his schooling there, and on a day venerating the Abbot, August 1, 1977, he took the five precepts. Shortly after, he took the eight lay precepts. After attending the summer Amitabha Buddha Recitation Session at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, he started eating once a day and reciting and cultivating regularly.

Intent upon memorizing the Surangama Mantra, Kuo Lyau says, "Learning Mantras is very difficult. Just meeting with them in this life is incredibly hard. One must be firm in one's resolve, and be specific about the time of day to study and the number of lines to learn, and then do it, because proper mantras are so efficacious that when one tries to learn them, all kinds of obstacles arise to interfere, not the least of which are one's own procrastination and laziness."

"By mid February of 1978, Buddhism had become a very important part of my life, so I decided to move to the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas to work and go to school. I very much enjoy attending Dharma Realm Buddhist University." Kuo Lyau takes a fu.11 course of study, including Chinese, English, Buddhist Studies, and Life Skills and Community Service. "The work study program which I'm doing is very balanced. But the major aspect of both the City and the University is that they are established to benefit all living beings everywhere. They aren't established to make money or to be famous, but are based on a strong foundation of selfless work to help others and benefit the world."