The Record of Water and Mirror
Turning Back Heaven



Translation and Commentary by Disciple Bhiksu Heng Ching


     Han Li Chung, who used the pen name Hsu was a nephew of the Sino-Russian War hero, Brigadier Han Kuang Ti. Upon returning home after studying in Japan, he assumed the position of head of the county government. His wife had planted very many good roots in past lives, and believed in the Proper Teaching. On seeing the Master’s light, she went to pay her respects to him.


     Seeing the Master’s light is an idiomatic expression meaning “to hear of one’s reputation.” The same espression is used later in this book.


     Afterwards, she felt the Master sitting above her head every day, and returned to inquire about the causes and conditions which produced such a phenomenon. The Master replied, “In as past life you took refuge beneath my seat and upheld my Dharma atop your head. Your heart and mind were respectful, sincere, and earnest in making offerings to me and therefore you now have this feeling.”

     Mr. and Mrs. Han Li Chung heard this teaching and they were very happy. They vowed to take refuge with the Triple Jewel and establish a temple. The construction of San Yuan (Three Conditions) Temple depended on their work. With their efforts and support the work was completed.

     The Master, in accord with his karma, manifested the appearance of a sickness. His entire body erupted with boils and he neither ate, spoke, nor opened his eyes for ten days. His disciples were all alarmed and frightened, but their hands were tied and they had no way to help. Mr. and Mrs. Han Li Chung knelt and would not stand up. They wept painfully for three days and nights during which time they asked the Master to dwell in the world and not enter into Nirvana. As a result, the Master’s sickness was cured without medicine.



      Hsun Cheng Mao of Hsin Wu Village had practiced filial piety, and his behavior and virtue were greatly respected by everyone. He and the Master Ch’ang Jen were fellow cultivators and were often seen together. People all called him “Old Cultivator Hsun.” Hsun Cheng Mao had a younger brother named Ch’eng Kuan who did not believe in the Buddha. The Japanese had built a military complex at P’ing Fang Chan and his younger brother worked in a factory there.


      The military camp at P’ing Fang Chan was a top secret bacteriological and chemical warfare center. It was located next to a railyard and was so carefully guarded that passing trains were required to pull blinds across the windows when passing by. The surrounding area for several miles was closely guarded as well. Three Conditions Temple was located about half a mile from the entrance to the camp.


      Once several boxes of nails were stolen from the factory, and the Japanese suspected that the Hsun boy had taken them. They immediately arrested both him and his father and severely tortured them by forcing water up their nostrils. When they were full they were made to vomit. Each time they passed out they were revived. Such torture was extremely difficult for both the father and son to endure.

      Suddenly, they saw the Great Master Ch’ang Jen and Old Cultivator Hsun standing at their side holding beads in their hands and reciting NA MO 0 MI T’O FO. Soon there was no pain and they were quickly released. They immed­iately rode a cart to the temple and bowed their thanks. They now believed in the Buddha, took refuge, and maintained vegetarian eating. Who indeed would say that the Buddhadharma is conceivable?


      Upasaka Li of Hsing Ling Kou was thirty—five years old. He had been married for over ten years without having a child. With utter sincerity he bowed to the Master. Wishing to obtain a good son, he vowed always to protect the Bodhimandala and make an annual offering of way provisions in the amount of five tons of wheat and twenty thousand silver dollars.

      The Master said, "Good. You have produced this great good mind, and on your behalf I shall seek from al the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas of the ten directions for your wish to be fulfilled. But it is still necessary for you to make heroic progress in doing good, to be vigorous, and thereby obtain spiritual protection."


      It should be noted that while offerings are of some benefit, the Master clearly pointed out that it is essential to practice and do good. If one tries to obtain benefits through giving while continuing to lead an improper life, he will obtain no advantage and in addition will be unable to avoid the karmic retribution for his misdeeds. It is impossible to buy one’s way out of anything.


      Mr. and Mrs. Li requested to take refuge with the Triple Jewel, and for the rest of their lives ate pure food. Within a year they obtained an auspicious child of above average intelligence. When he was able to speak, he recited the Buddha’s name constantly, and like even more to burn incense and bow to the Buddha. He was especially respectful to the Sangha.

      I, (the author), went to the Li household many time. The child was exceptionally warm and sincere and always gave me food and kept me overnight. After several days I would start my travels again. This shows that his good roots from former lives were thick, and in the future he will probably be a great Dharma Protector.

The Sino—American Buddhist Association, Gold Mountain Monastery, and Vajra Bodhi Sea extend their appreciation to the Jewish Home for the Aged, and to its Executive Director, Sidney Friedman, for invaluable assistance and support, and the donation of much needed equipment to run the new Gold Mountain Monastery. We would also like to thank Mr. Pat Tougher and Mr. Ed Boudewyn for their friendly advice and help. This giving and protection is a gestrue of the Bodhi mind; the meritorious virtue is vast and boundless.