The Bodhi Stand Present


      "My early years were spent in a monastery, and now I have come back to live out my life on monastic grounds!" observes Dr. Grace C. Liu, Acupuncturist at the East-West Medical Clinic, City of Ten Thousand Buddhas. She relates:

When I was six years old, I lived with my grandmother in my
town, Fong-Hwa in Tzu-Chan Province, Mainland China.
It's because my
grandmother loved me so much that I stayed with her rather than my parents. One day my grandmother told me that we ere going to move to a monastery. I was so happy, because every time she took me to visit monasteries, which was often, I would find them glorious! We would meet many relatives, neighbors, and friends, bow to the holy golden Buddhas, share in a delicious vegetarian lunch, and do lots of interesting things.

I remember vividly the summer morning on which we made our move. My grandmother called me to get up very early and

dressed me in beautiful new clothes. She had gathered the items we would  need and several farmers had come to carry them for us. We were to go in a small car, pulled by a young man, and I was delighted when my grandmother invited me to sit right beside her. Along the country road I could see beautiful wild flowers—so lovely and sweet-smelling. I talked, laughed, and sang all the way to the monastery.

I was so badly disappointed! What a terrible monastery it was! I could not image it could
even be called a
"monastery" because no monastery I'd ever seen before looked like this one. The buildings had been burned and gutted by fire, the Buddhas all destroyed by
"anti-superstition people"--crazy ghosts, as my grandmother called them. I could not
understand why my grandma left her very comfortable beautiful home and moved into that
terrible monastery. I couldn't believe that I could stay there even one day; the only thing I 
wanted to do at that time was cry!

Years passed and when I was twelve my parents ordered me to return home to study at a junior middle school at the capital of the province. How very sorry I was to go, because I loved my
grandmother deeply and I also didn't want to leave the monastery. For by that time everything had changed. During those six years, the monastery had improved day by day until it was completely renovated. No one would have believed that an old woman like my grandmother could have been so bold as to offer her body and life and all her money to repair a destroyed monastery. But it truly happened!

By the time my grandmother was eighty
years old, she had completely restored
the monastery to its original glory.
Everyone could feel my grandma's spirit
in every inch of the land, in every
corner of the buildings. Even the
flowers could tell you how wonderfully
my grandmother had done!

Dr. Liu, obedient to her parents' wishes, finished her schooling and was graduated with an
M.D. in General Medicine from China-Fukien Medical College. Thereafter, she resided as
a physician and acupuncturist in a public hospital in Taiwan for twenty-seven years. She
married and raised her sons and daughter during those years.

      Following their move to America, the Liu's went to Gold Wheel Temple in Los Angeles to
pay their respects to the Venerable Master Hsuan Hua. Shortly after their first visit to the
temple, they asked to take refuge and bow to the Venerable Abbot as their teacher.
Hearing about the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, Mr. Liu was irresistibly drawn there. After several visits, the Liu's began making arrangements to move to the City. And soon. Dr. Liu, whose Dharma name is Kuo Ai, found herself returning to monastic grounds to make her home! No
disappointment greeted her arrival this time, for the City's clear atmosphere was exhilarating 
and yet somehow calming, the buildings were strong, well-kept, and lay in readiness, and the
plants and animals willing to share the abundance of this efficacious place with gentle friends. And yet there were some moments of anxiety, for Kuo Ai was keenly set on continuing
her practice of healing through the arts of acupuncture here in the West. How would she begin? 
Would people be receptive? Doubts plagued her in
those first weeks at the City. Determined to serve, in much the same spirit as her grandmother before her, she cast aside the doubts and
relied on mindfulness of Kuan Yin
Bodhisattva, the greatly kind and greatly compassionate
Bodhisattva of healing, to assist her. Under the auspices of the Sino-American Buddhist
Association, the East-West
Medical Clinic was established, and day by day Dr. Liu's patients
found comfort under
her skilled hands. They would describe their benefits to relatives and
friends and in this
way, more and more people came to receive treatments.

      Kuo Ai firmly believes in preventative medicine. One example of this is the way acupuncture can help people who wish to lose weight or to stop smoking. Much of the secret to the success of these treatments in Dr. Liu's case is found in the care with which she is attentive to each patient. She discusses with them the difficulties they have encountered when they have tried to quit smoking or to lose weight in the past. Once the patient describes these discomforts that accompany withdrawal from excessive food or from cigarettes. Dr. Liu treats the patient for these related symptoms at the same time she helps them directly cut off the habits of over-eating and smoking. Such compassionate regard for each patient's whole system takes time and patience which Kuo Ai willingly gives. Profit and fame, the pitfalls of many professional people, do not tempt her. She will sacrifice her own time for the sake of a patient's schedule; she will aim at healing the patients so they need not return for further treatments, rather than prolonging the cure in order to reap the profits of additional visits. She assesses the kind of illness a patient has and will tell them frankly if acupuncture is not an appropriate or even the most effective aid in each case. If it is not, she will refer them to other sources rather than treat them. She asks for less than minimum recompense for treatments which in large cities or in places familiar with acupuncture would cost double or triple. Forgetting herself for the sake of others, she relies on the strength and dharmas of Great Compassion to help relieve peoples' suffering and enable them to attain comfort.