So That People May Be Delivered

-Narrative of Wong Sung-chee
told by Kuo-fook
Malyasia, 1979
Continued from issue #121

8/24/78 Thursday afternoon, Malaysian Buddhist Association, Penang.

There were over a thousand who took refuge with the Triple Gem. The Venerable Master received them as  disciples. Sung-chee was one of the many. That evening, he returned to Sungai Petani, feeling extraordinarily happy. That night, he retired to bed as usual. Below is Sung-chee's own account...

...It was a bright day. I was in the middle of a vast desert, with no vegetation. I moved around without having to move my legs; just sort of floating above the sand.

After some time, I saw a lonely tree, which appeared to be a Bodhi tree, right in front of me. "Strange! Of all the things, only a lonely Bodhi tree," I thought.

I was going to move past the tree. That instant, a lot of "beings" appeared on the tree, so many that "they" were standing even on the leaves.   All of "them" had orange brown complexion and were bareheaded. They could be distinguished into "males" and "females."

The "males" had a head of unkempt hair of medium length, not reaching the shoulders. They were tough bodied, bare chested, and had fearsome faces. The "females" were dressed immorally and acted in a similar manner. Some more, in front of me four "ma1es" stood stationary in space, like me. One of these, who looked like the leader said harshly (in Mandarin Chinese) "This way, you cannot pass!"

"Well," I thought, "You don't let me pass, that's all right, I'll just go back." Just when I turned around, a lot of "females" appeared to block my way back. "They" were acting more immorally than ever. Fear arose in me. I was surrounded. Just as suddenly, I recalled, "It was just this afternoon that I took refuge with Shih-fu!"

The Venerable Master appeared! Shih-fu was standing slightly the left of the "males" and was adorned with Earth-Store Bodhisattva's Kashaya. In his left hand he held the crooked staff and in his right hand he was holding recitation beads which glowed. Shih-fu was gazing at the recitation beads and was moving them one after another. I could see that Shih-fu's lips were moving but could not hear anything. A little while passed and Shih-fu looked up and smiled at me. I smiled and forgot whatever things were around me for that instant. Then Shih-fu returned his gaze to the recitation beads. I had forgotten my fear as well. Then all those "beings" gradually receded further and further away and eventually disappeared, leaving me, the Bodhi tree, and Shih-fu. Shih-fu again looked at me and smiled. Again, I smiled in return. Then I sensed that someone was standing just behind me, but I was not frightened. I turned around. There was no one. When I looked in front of me again, only the Bodhi-tree remained! Slowly and consciously I woke up and felt extremely peaceful.

-Sung-chee’s narrative ends-

8/28/78 Monday. Sungai Petani, Kedah.

The Venerable Master and the Delegation stopped over at Sungai Petani. There was a Buddha Dharma lecture by the Venerable Master that evening. The hall was full and overflowing! After the lecture, the Venerable Master descended from the platform, got seated and allowed many people to pay reverence. Below is Sung-chee’s account:

I approached Shih-fu, revered and then to Shih-fu briefly the encounter with those "beings" and asked whether Shih-fu had indeed appeared to save me. Shih-fu smiled but did not answer. When I asked again, Shih-fu said, "You can tell them," (meaning the people in attendance at the Dharma assembly).

I answered in the affirmative, but thought that I would reveal this in the next weekend Dharma assembly. By then, people were crowding around to revere Shih-fu, those who had done so were moving out of the hall, and the members were clearing the chairs. I moved away intending to help the members. Then one of the members of the Delegation approached and touched me on my shoulder, saying (in Mandarin Chinese) "Shih-fu is calling you."

I approached Shih-fu and Shih-fu smiled and said, "You can tell them now," and signaled Dharma Master Kuo Jing (Heng Tao) to hand me a microphone. So, over the loudspeakers, I told the experience of how Shih-fu had saved me.

That very night another dream episode happened: It was evening about 6 p.m. I was on a bus on the way home (to Smiling).

The bus stopped at a bus stop. I got out and immediately discovered that the seventh house in the block, counting from the bus-stop, was vacant; its front door and walls were missing, except for two rows of chairs extending outwards from the inside of the house. It was my friend's house. What's this? What's the occasion?" I was puzzled. I approached the house and stood outside it and had a clear view. The chairs were arranged one row on my right and one on the left. In the center of the house was something that appeared like a beautifully decorated high seat. Above the high seat was a glowing orb golden in color, very bright, lighting up the whole house but not hurting the eyes. Behind the high seat was something like a wooden wall and seemed to have a Bodhi tree painted on it. I could sense that someone was sitting on the high-seat (that orb of light) and speaking something but could not make out who and what.

Then I could see six women seated on the left hand side in the chairs and felt a lot more people present as well. My father was also there! I could see him seated on a chair on my right hand side, inside the house with many other men. I turned to the woman nearest me and asked, "what is the occasion? All these many chairs!"

She replied, "Today, Shih-fu is coming to speak the Sutra." On hearing this reply, I naturally understood that it was the Venerable Master she was referring to and not any other Dharma Master. I wondered how come Shih-fu would come to this remote place. (Smiling was not on the schedule and the Delegation did not pass through it.)

She added, "Shih-fu is not here yet."

"I will go back to bathe and eat and then return." I said.

While I was having dinner I asked my mother, "Who is coming here? What is the great occasion?"

"Some Dharma Masters are coming here," she replied. Soon, I heard a commotion outside and someone was calling, "Hsuan Hua Dharma Master is here!"

Immediately I went outside and crossed to that houses and stood outside it, the view was the same as previously described. But this time, I heard voices sounding just like the recital of the "incense offering." However, I just stood outside and waited for Shih-fu to arrive. On the other hand I had a strong feeling that Shih-fu was already inside the house (that orb of golden light above the high seat).

It was late and I moved to the side of the house, still waiting. Just then Shih-fu walked out of the house. Shih-fu was adorned with the usual Earth Store Bodhisattva kashaya, staff, recitation beads and so forth. Shihfu saw me but did not smile to acknowledge me, he just kept walking towards the first house on the block (where the bus stop was.)

I ran up to Shih-fu and begged, "May Shihfu be compassionate and speak the Dharma to deliver beings here in Semiling?" Shih-fu stopped, smiled, and said, "No need to say that much, were you not saved just the other day?" Suddenly I realized that indeed it was true! He was referring to the encounter with those "beings." Then Shih-fu disappeared.

Again consciously, I gradually woke up, and everything in my room was as usual.

Later, I recalled that while the Venerable Master and Delegation were in Kuala Lumpur I received a photograph of Shih-fu from Brother Khoo. I framed it and from that day on have made obeisance to it. The first time I lit incense and bowed before it I silently wished, "May the Venerable Master go to Smiling and speak the Dharma there so that people may be delivered."

Thus ends the series of episodes that occurred to Upasaka Wong Sung-chee.