Continued from issue 52

Oct. 29 - Shortly before reaching Bodega Bay, I foolishly used some brightly colored leaves in lieu of toilet paper. They turned out to be poison oak, and the results of this encounter were disastrous. All night I was in agonizing pain. Nothing would stop the pain. All night I recited the name of Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva, the Bodhisattva who has made great vows to rescue living beings from their suffering. The reciting helped keep my mind off the pain. The next day we were unable to bow, and so we were just sitting by the side of the road wondering what to do when two big vans pulled to a stop next to us. It was the Abbot of Gold Mountain and several of his disciples. They had driven all the way from San Francisco to see us, bringing with them plenty of food, medicine, and clothing. We all sat down and held a Dharma assembly next to the bay. I forgot all about my pain. About the occasion, Dharma Master Yo writes: "The Master said to concentrate on bowing and not spend a lot of time talking. In this way, whatever samadhi power that is gathered will not be dispersed. He said that since we are new to the Dharma, we can easily be turned by mental states, so we should seek the aid of Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva." Just before they were ready to leave, I questioned the Abbot, "Last night I was asking for Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva to help me out a little, and today you "show up. Isn't that a bit unusual?"The Master replied, "That's nothing! Anytime you want, just give me a call; I'll be here." Then we were presented with a poem a piece, and instructed to memorize and recite them every day. (See issue #43 of Vajra Bodhi Sea for text of the poems.)

Oct. 30 - We bowed today but poison oak welts covered my body, breaking open and

      spilling pus all over.

Nov. 1 - Fortunately, Upasaka Kuo Tun Schweig and his family took us in for a couple

      of days. I took several showers a day and applied ointment to the rash.

Nov. 3 - We continued bowing once again and headed toward Jenner.

Nov. 5 - The rain was just terrible. Several times it just about brought us to a total standstill. All of our gear was drenched inside and out. Even our raingear did not prevent the water from soaking us from head to foot.

Nov. 7 - People in this area have advised us to forget about making the trip during this time of the year. "Come back in April," they say. The idea is tempting. There is a verse of praise in the Great Compassion Repentance ceremony which says: "Homage to the Bodhisattva Who Observes the Sounds of the World, perfect in miraculous merit, possessing the great compassion, who in one mind-body manifests a thousand hands, a thousand eyes, who from on high looks upon the Universe and protects and upholds living beings so that they produce the great thought of enlightenment. He teaches them to bear in mind the great spirit mantra. Grave offenses and evil ills, which bind the body, are caused to melt away. Samadhi is brought to perfection. All living beings can be caused to ascend the Buddha-ground."

Nov. 8 - Li Kuo Wei and his mother brought food. As we passed through Jenner, a 

     friendly old collie followed along.

Nov. 9 - Bowing along the Pacific coast now, high on the cliffs, gale winds blowing in off the sea. Last night in the tent we thought we were going to fly away. Upasaka Kuo Tun has come out regularly to bring us food, mail, and dry clothes. We are only making about 4 miles a day because of the weather. We are usually drenched to the bone.

Nov. 13 - Passed through Fort Ross and into Stewart's Point. Someone told us about a small Indian reservation 4 miles inland from Stewart's Point, where we would be welcome to stay. So after bowing all day, we found the road and started hiking in. Darkness set in and with it, a ferocious storm. There was no moon, and soon it became totally and absolutely pitch black. We were blindly walking up a lonely mountain road, with a raging creek on the left, and a steep defile on the right.  We could not even see our own hands in front of our faces, how much the less the road! At one point, Hung Yo strayed off the road and nearly went tumbling into the canyon. We fumbled around in the maddening rain and finally tied ourselves together with a piece of rope. I went along and felt each step of the way by scraping my boot ahead of me. Yo followed along behind, ready to brace for any unexpected falls.  Wondering if we'd live through this one, we suddenly saw a light; a truck was winding its way up the hill. The man gave us a lift the rest of the way to the reservation, but they would not let us stay. So we talked back down to Stewart’s Point and found an abandoned hut to sleep in


to be continued