from the Dharma Realm
HEART OF LIBERATION
On Sunday, August 4th, 1974, a Dharma
Gathering to Liberate the Living was held by the Sino-American Buddhist
Association at Berkeley Marina in honor of the anniversary of the enlightenment
of Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva. Hundreds
and hundreds of animals were purchased from slaughterhouses by Upasaka Kuo Kuei
Nicholson and other laymen and transported from the edge of death to the ocean
where they were set free in a colorful and traditional Buddhist ceremony. The
message: oppression, war, and killing can be rooted out without violence if we
respect the right of beings to live and be free, and liberate them. We can do
this by transforming our hostile, aggressive, and jealous thoughts into hearts
of compassion and peace, for in liberating other creatures, we liberate
on these pages are pictures taken at the Dharma Gathering for Liberating the
TO THE EDITOR:
August 5. Monday
Dear Dharma friends,
The Liberation of the animals was
really wonderful, extremely moving and inspiring.
May all beings be liberated! And may
the Immeasurable Buddha Dharma continue to spread.
AMERICAN BUDDHIST MONKS COMPLETE
Having done what no one has ever
been able to do before, on August 17, 1974, two American bhiksus (monks), the
first to be ordained on Western soil, completed an arduous trek which began at
San Francisco’s Gold Mountain Monastery and which took them l,150 miles up the
Pacific Coast to Marblemount, Washington.
Eleven months ago, on October 16, 1975,
Bhiksu Heng Ju, with the resolve of a Bodhisattva, vowed to undertake the
practice of bowing, with hands, knees, and forehead placed firmly on the ground,
at every third step all the way up the coast for the sake of world peace.
He was accompanied by Bhiksu Heng Yo, also
from Gold Mountain Monastery, who vowed to aid and protect Heng Ju and who
carried the supplies, joining in the bowing when he could.
Their practices included eating only one
vegetarian meal a day before noon and taking no food at other times. They also
perfected their meditational skill by resting at night in the lotus-meditation
posture and never lying down to sleep. These practices insure vigorous progress
in cultivation as they forge indestructible adamantine bodies.
During their trip the two monks rose and
broke camp before dawn, and Heng Ju began to bow, regardless of the weather; if
there was snow on the ground, he simply put his hands, knees, and forehead in
the snow. He continued to bow in the rain, in the mud, through the weeds, the
gravel, the thistles, and the roadside poisons.
As they bowed, Heng Ju and Heng Yo
perfected their self-cultivation, knowing that real spiritual skill, the
development of the entire individual--body, mind, and spirit--comes from study
of ultimately true doctrines combined with actual practice.
But most important, their work was
directed toward benefiting not only themselves, but all living beings. Heng Ju
took bitterness upon himself hoping that he might influence the Buddhas and
Bodhisattvas and all spiritual beings to take pity on our strife-filled world
and bring peace to all creatures. He endured suffering himself so that others
might not have to endure it. This is true cultivation, the ideal of the
Bodhisattva, which is simply to benefit others with no thought of receiving
benefit in return.
Heng Ju bowed from dawn until dark and the
two continued to work long into the night, studying and reciting Buddhist
scriptures by the light of a single oil lamp, or sitting in Ch’an meditation.
Their example of selfless determination has moved thousands upon thousands of
people with a message of peace.
will be welcomed and congratulated in festivities, which are open to the public
on September 15, 1974, at Gold Mountain Monastery, 1731 15th Street,
San Francisco, California.
On August 5 I had the privilege of
meeting two monks from your monastery on Highway 9 between Lake Stevens and
Arlington, Washington. I have forgotten their names; however, one was pulling a
cart and the other had been kneeling and bowing every third step on their
journey from San Francisco.
It was a very moving experience to
see and talk with these two men who reflected serenity along the busy highway. I
have enclosed a short poem I composed about the experience.
Seeing Two Buddhist Monks on the Road)
pound the road with a many-minded drumbeat
discordance through all living creatures.
Then the gentle
flutter of saffron robes in the wind.
And all the
noise of creation is muted by
thunder of Buddha.
A CALAMITY IS AVERTED AND THE MOUNTAIN IS INAUGURATED
Bhiksu Heng Kuan
The Venerable Master Hsuan Hua, Abbot of Gold Mountain, was invited by
students and teachers at the University of Washington to deliver instructional
Dharma talks at the University twice a day for three days, on August
19th, 20th, and 21st. He traveled to Seattle on the 18th of August, and was
accompanied while there by five of his Bhiksu disciples, including Heng Ju and
Heng Yo, who had just completed their remarkable sacrifice for world peace. The
Venerable Master took the opportunity of the invitation to speak at the
University located in Seattle to travel north to welcome and congratulate his
two worthy disciples in the completion of their vows. The Venerable Master also
planned to inaugurate the mountain at Marblemount, the future site of Cloud and
Dragon Monastery, during his stay in the state of Washington. The new monastery
takes its name from a dragon writhing through a cloud in a valley seen from a
mountaintop one night by Bhiksus Heng Ju, Heng Yo, and Heng Shou.
Because of the busy schedule of lectures
at the University, plans were made to travel to Marblemount, Washington, nearly
three hours north of Seattle by car, on the day after the lecture series at the
University was completed. Early in the week, however, the Venerable Master
announced a change in the schedule. On the last day of the lecture series, he
announced, we would travel to Marblemount after the morning lecture (which ended
at noon), eating our one meal of the day in the car while riding to our
destination. When we arrived, we would hold ceremonies to "open the
mountain," and then quickly drive back to the University in time for the
Although it seemed like an impossible
schedule, everyone followed in accord. On Wednesday afternoon, August 21st, the
Master, accompanied by five bhiksus and three laymen, traveled to Marblemount.
The bhiksus were Heng Ch'ien, Heng Shou, Heng Kuan, Heng Yo, and Heng Ju. The
laymen included Upasaka T. Pong, founder of the Bodhi-Dhamma Center, an
affiliate of Gold Mountain, and his wife Gwendolyn Pong.
I was one of the bhiksus accompanying the Master. When we
arrived, the second car had not yet appeared, and so I took a walk down the
mountain through the dense foliage toward the river, and saw smoke. Upon closer
inspection, I found that about 30 square feet of the forest had been consumed,
and would soon break out into a raging fire if we didn't do something. A
combined effort of bhiksus and laymen carrying water from
the river and turning dirt on the fire, along with support
from the local fire department, extinguished the blaze in about an hour.
If we had come to the mountain a day
later, as originally planned, instead of a dense green forest we would have
found only rocks and dirt. Everyone
bowed deeply to the Master and thanked him for saving the forest land.
The Master then inaugurated the mountain, and we returned
to Seattle just in time for the evening lecture. The lecture series in Seattle
was widely attended, and many people, in spite of their busy schedules came to
all the Master's lectures. Many sought interviews during the day with
the Master, and all were delighted to have the opportunity to hear the Dharma.
BODHI DHARMA CENTER
CENTER AND FUTURE SITE OF CLOUD AND DRAGON MONASTERY
On July 21, 1974, at a joint meeting of
the general membership of the Sino-American Buddhist Association Inc., and the
Bodhi-Dhamma Center, Inc. of Seattle, a proposal to merge the two organizations
was enthusiastically endorsed by a unanimous resolution to affiliate the Bodhi-Dhamma Center with the Sino-American Buddhist Association. The aim of the
Center is to provide a place for the study and practice of the Buddhadharma in
the Seattle area, including a city center and a mountain meditation center and
monastery to be constructed on land on the Skagit River near Marblemount,
Washington. The city center and mountain land are the generous donation of
Upasaka Takping Pong, founder of the Bodhi-Dhamma Center.
A fifteen member Board of Directors was
elected at the joint meeting including Venerable Master Hua as Chairman of the
Board; Bhiksu Heng Ju as Vice Chairman; and Upasaka Takping Pong as Vice
Chairman among others.