Introducing the Eminent
Dharma Protector


Lee Shan-chih was born June 7, 1943, in Taiwan. While attending Soochow University in Taiwan in her early twenties, she fell ill and had to spend two years at home resting. During that time she began to investigate the Buddhadharma. She returned to the University and graduated in 1967 with a B.A. in Foreign Languages, which included primarily English. During the next three years while Shan-chih worked she delved more deeply into her study of

the Buddhadharma and was so moved by what she read that she decided to leave the home life and become a Bhiksuni. When she sought her parents' consent, however, they would not give it. Although her mother believed in the Buddha and often took Shan-chih to the temples to worship, she could not agree to her daughter becoming a Bhiksuni. Since Shan-chih was very close to her mother, she did not wish to leave the home life against her wishes, so she said no more about it. In her heart, however, she had not abandoned the idea.

      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' kindness.
      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.

          "It won't be easy," replied the Master.
     "I'm ready for it." said Shan-chih. Then she asked, "How shall I prepare for it?"
     "You can start by learning to eat only one meal a day," the Master told her.
     Actually Shan-chih had read many articles in various Buddhist Publications which told how the cultivators at Gold Mountain eat only one  meal a day and never lie down to sleep. She had wanted to leave home for a long time and had visited many temples and monasteries in Taiwan. She had decided that when she left home she wanted to do so in a place where the people really cultivated, and it was for this reason that she asked the Master for permission to come to Gold Mountain. She also wanted to learn how to translate Buddhist texts and knew that she could study that there as well.

      "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

                                           The end

-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.