UPASIKA HO KUO HO
Upasika Ho Kuo Ho was born on August 8th, 1914, and raised in San Francisco along with her four brothers and four sisters. Although her parents were not Buddhist, her good roots eventually led her to take refuge with the Triple Jewel and become a devoted protector of the Dharma.
Prior to 1963, while she was employed in Chinatown, Upasika Ho and some friends with whom she worked began to visit various temples and associations in the San Francisco Bay Area, looking for a place where they could study, practice, and bow to the Buddha. They sought a temple with which they had affinity.
Their search eventually led them to the Buddhist Lecture Hall where Upasika Kuo Ho met Upasika Tan Kuo Shih, founder of the Lecture Hall, who taught her about the Buddhadharma, invited her to cultivate there, and told Kuo Ho about her teacher, the Venerable Master Hua, who was in Hong Kong. Kuo Ho had visited many temples, but after meeting Kuo Shih and hearing of the Master's imminent arrival in America, she went to the Buddhist Lecture Hall more and more often. One night she had a dream about two Buddhist monks. One of them, who was unusually tall, spoke a few words to her. She awoke, unable to put it together clearly, but realizing that in the dream she had been trying to decide from whom she should receive the Triple Refuge.
Not long after, on the day of the Master’s arrival in the United States, Kuo Ho was present to pay her respects. She and four others (including Huang Kuo Ren and Lee Kuo Ch’ien) soon became the first to take refuge with the Master, a very tall Buddhist monk by Chinese standards, on American soil.
From that day on, Upasika Kuo Ho has been extremely devoted to serving her teacher and comes several times a week to Gold Mountain Monastery to worship the Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, and Patriarchs, to make offerings to the Sangha, and to listen to the lectures on Dharma. She always takes special care to support meditation sessions, recitation sessions, and the Master’s Dharma assemblies.
Upasika Kuo Ho’s extraordinary devotion to the Triple Jewel rests on a foundation of filial piety, which she has practiced throughout her life. During seven and a half years when her father was on invalid she served him day and night, attending to his every need, and patiently endured the ill humor which often accompanies the pain of old age and sickness. After his death she arranged a Buddhist funeral for him, including the recitation of sutras and mantras, sponsored a vegetarian memorial luncheon, and established a plaque in his memory at the Monastery. She annually observes that day with offerings to the Triple Jewel, and sponsors a vegetarian meal for the Sangha.
Upasika Kuo Ho is warm hearted, as her name (, harmony) suggests, and always greets everyone at the Monastery with a smile and a pleasant word—taking special steps to make guests feel welcome and to ask after those who are sick. But in the face of thanks she simply replies with a smile, "I just do the best I can."
AN ANNOUNCEMENT OF SPECIAL INTEREST
On its fifth anniversary of publication, Vajra Bodhi Sea will publish a special commemoration edition. This issue, scheduled for the spring of 1975, will be twice the size of a regular issue. It will contain articles, stories, translations, poems, biographies, and other items of interest from all over the world.
Contributions to this issue are welcome. Members of the Sangha, laymen, scholars, adepts, and students are encouraged to contribute. Any material of interest to students of the Buddhadharma will be considered. It should be submitted prior to November 15th, 1974.