Bodhi Stand Presents
Kuo Sse first met the
Venerable Abbot in 1977, when along with her mother, who was ill and eager for
a pure vegetarian meal, she went to Gold Wheel Temple, which happened to be
close to their home.
"When we arrived at the temple we saw the Abbot dressed in yellow robes, sitting on a chair facing the door. We didn't know how to bow; all we knew to do was palms together and nod. We had arrived early, so we just stood there, gazing around at everything; the Abbot remained seated. After about five minutes, more people arrived and they bowed to the Abbot—kneeling down, touching their heads to floor, and placing their hands by their heads, palms up.
My heart was so moved; I'd never seen anyone bow before, and I felt as if an electric shock went through my body. I thought to bow, but didn't."
With the meal offering ceremony—the sounds of the wooden fish and the bell, the chants, and praises—Kuo Sse was moved again, and again. In April 1978, Kuo Sse's entire family took refuge with the Triple Jewel.
Kuo Sse's mother's illness continued. On May 7, 1978 Kuo Sse's brother made a vow to print The Past Vows of Earth Store Bodhisattva Sutra, transferring the merit and virtue from this deed to their ill mother. Their mother passed away the following day.
"Just before the moment of her death, my brother said to her, 'Mom, don't be afraid. If you want to go home, the Master will take you home.' Upon hearing this she passed away in peace."
Through the experience of her mother's suffering from illness, old age, and finally death, Kuo Sse awakened to the truth of suffering. "When it's your time to die, no one can keep you here. I began to wonder about the true meaning of life. With the loss of my mother, I underwent the suffering of being apart from those you love."
And so, she began to study Buddhism. "I felt so lucky to have a teacher like the Abbot who faithfully came to Gold Wheel Temple each month, tirelessly turning the Dharma Wheel with infinite patience."
In July, 1978, Kuo Sse came to the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas to attend a Kuan Yin Recitation Session: "Reciting the Great Compassion Mantra and the name of Kuan Shih Yin Bodhisattva gave me strength and energy and a deep faith. I felt that the Abbot is like Kuan Yin Bodhisattva, come to this Saha world to cross over living beings. I returned to Los Angeles with a heart full of happiness and blessings. From then on I recited the Great Compassion Mantra every day."
Kuo Sse relates that in July, 1979, some inconceivable events occurred to her:
"One night, I dreamt that the Abbot was transmitting the Dharma. Simultaneously, in the dream, my hands formed a series of gestures and my mind recited the Great Compassion Mantra. The hands went on to count 1, 2, 3...42, and then started over again. The next time the Abbot came to Gold Wheel Temple I asked him about this dream. The Abbot said it was the Forty-two Hands and Eyes of Kuan Shih Yin Bodhisattva."
"Then, in November, 1979, I attended the Opening of the Light Ceremony with my sisters at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, and at that time we received the transmission of the Forty-two Hands and Eyes. The events that occurred at the Opening of the Light Celebration opened my mind and extended my viewpoint."
On December 28, 1979, Kuo Sse made the decision to reside at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas and to contribute her body and mind to the propagation of the Proper Buddhadharma for the benefit of the world.