THE BODHI STAND
Introducing the Eminent
She went to America to continue her studies at the University of Rhode
Island. She graduated in 1972 with an M.A. in Educational counseling, and
returned to Taiwan where she cared for her mother and father. In the summer of
1974 her mother passed away. Shan-chih deeply mourned her passing and became
more determined to leave the home life so she could truly repay her parents'
In the winter of 1974 Shan-chih read in the newspaper and in Buddhist journals that the Venerable Abbot of Gold Mountain, San Francisco, had been invited to Taiwan to lecture. She went to hear him on the last evening of his lecture series on the "Pure Conduct Chapter" of the Avatamsaka Sutra. After the lecture Shan-chih approached the Venerable Master and asked if she could come to study at Gold Mountain.
"Most of all," she said, "I want to find a place where people are devoted to actually practicing Buddhism. I'm not vigorous, and I know that unless I find vigorous people to follow, I will soon have a downfall and retreat in my cultivation. After talking with the Master I began to practice taking only two meals a day, eliminating the evening meal, so that by the time I arrived at Gold Mountain it was not so difficult for me to eat only once a day."
During the summer of 1974 Shan-chih's father passed away, and she realized that it was now possible for her to fulfill her desire to leave the home life. With this goal in mind, she came to Gold Mountain in the early autumn and on November 17, 1975, took refuge with the Triple Jewel, received the five precepts, and bowed to the Venerable Abbot as her teacher. Her Dharma name is Kuo-ching "Fruit of Quiet."
The members of the Gold Mountain community were very happy to welcome her. In the short period of her residence at the International Institute for the Translation of Buddhist Texts, she has already become an invaluable member of the Buddhist Text Translation Society
-From the Venerable Master Hua's lectures on the Avatamsaka Sutra.
Let's look at the causes and effects of the past, present, and future. It is said:
If you want to know the causes from lives past
Look at what you're undergoing now.
If you want to know the effects in lives to come
Look at what you're doing now.
If in former lives you planted a seed, this life you reap that fruit. If you plant a good cause you reap a good result. If you plant an evil cause you reap an evil result. If you plant neither good nor evil causes, you reap neither good nor evil results.
If you want to know what's going to happen in the future you should look at what you are doing now. If you do good things now, in the future you will reap good fruit. If you do evil things now, in the future you will reap evil retribution. You yourself make cause and effect; it's not made for you by Buddha’s and Bodhisattvas. Yet other religions say that such and such a God rules over all. This is a grave error. It's like walking: when you want to go east you turn east, and when you want to go west, you turn west. It's up to you. Cause and effect are also like that.