The Bodhi Stand
Kuo Kung grew up in a suburb of Los Angeles, surrounded by the San Gabriel Foothills. Of her early family life, Kuo Kung says, "My parents are thoughtful and compassionate people who worked to the best of their ability to give us children exciting and wholesome lives, which is no small feat in the Dharma Ending Age."
When Kuo Kung was sixteen she had the good fortune to meet the Venerable Abbot while visiting her sister and brother-in-law, Kuo Shan and Kuo Li Mechling, in San Francisco. Of this experience she says,
This was the turning point in my life. I stopped being so frivolous and became more introspective. I liked to meditate at the beach where my parents had a house, and once I saw very clearly how all things are one. I soon realized, however, that no one was going to understand this experience of mine in the way that I had. Not only that, but that experience only lasted an instant. I saw the monumental task ahead of me of making the instant of realization a permanent state of mind, then trying to teach it to others.
All this happened very early in Kuo Kung's life and what followed were years of confusion in the throes of her youth. Still in high school, she was attending a "very demanding" private one, and her achievement in academic subjects there was not good. She excelled in Fine Arts, however, and since, the school had an excellent program, she received good training.
The next four years were full of the hardships of learning to be independent. She ran away from her parents into a relationship, which didn't last. Having very little education, she could not get good jobs and since she was still in school, she ended up working hard and long. Later she lived in New Mexico in the mountains north of Santa Fe in an attempt to learn weaving. Culture and language barriers proved too strong and she ended up back in the Bay Area at an art school. All this time, "I was relatively happy," she relates, "but Shih Fu never escaped my mind. I knew I would eventually need to return to him to learn how to find my self nature. What else is life for?"
In 1975 Kuo Kung attended the session at Buddharoot farm and took refuge with the Triple Jewel and bowed to the Venerable Master as her teacher at that time. She was also able to 'quit smoking without difficulty after that session.
In order to "mend her frayed relationship" with her parents that stemmed from her running away from home in her teens, she returned to live with then while she finished her degree in Fine Arts at Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles.
Kuo Kung now resides at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas where she is doing graduate study in Fine Arts at Dharma Realm Buddhist University College Ox Fine Arts under the guidance of Professor Flory Chowe.
"The benefits here are countless," says Kuo Kung, "and the environment fosters creativity. Through the compassion of the Venerable Abbot, I have stopped running away."