THE BODHI STAND
UPASAKA KUO LI EAGLESON
DREAMS COME TRUE AT GOLD MOUNTAIN
By Sramanera Heng Sure
Upasaka Kuo Li Eagleson's Dharma name means lapis lazuli. How he came by his name is one of the stories that are told around Gold Mountain to the amazement of all who hear them. Kuo Li is a prophetic dreamer. The Venerable Abbot of Gold Mountain has said that if lapis lazuli were not his Dharma name, Kuo Li would certainly be called "the fruit of a dream."
story of the name and the dreams that led to it began in 1971 in Omaha,
Nebraska. Kuo Li had a waking vision of a standing figure of a golden Buddha.
Later that year he dreamed of an elderly Chinese man on horseback who smiled and
pointed up a mountainous path to a monastery located on a craggy mountain peak.
The dreamer entered a room in the monastery, to find rich red and golden
brocades and an unusual flute. When he played the flute it suddenly transformed
into a white falcon.
In another dream this same Chinese man walked by an open-air caf6 where Kuo Li was eating. As the man approached, Kuo Li grew very still inside--the man drew near, smiled and said to him, "You eat too much!"
Not long after, seeking a new life-style. Lee Eagleson "hit-the-road" for two years, searching from Ohio to Oregon, drifting through emotional turmoil, turbid days of intoxication and general dissatisfaction with his life prospects. In 1974 he met Kuo Ying Brevoort, a supplier of Chinese herbs who produced a copy of the Venerable Abbot's biography. Kuo Li read it and experienced a remarkable flood tide of dreams, which peaked in November of that year. At Brevoort's farm Kuo Li encountered a photograph of the Master, which triggered an intense flow of emotion. He recognized the smile and the features as identical to those of the elder Chinese in his dreams of 1972.
Seizing on this unique co-incidence. Lee decided to take up residence in the drafty barn on the farm, and during the next five months had at least two dreams a week of the Master—some were instructional, some were spectacular. For example in one dream he envisioned the lecture hall at Gold Mountain as it actually is, with Dharma-protector Wei-t'ou Bodhisattva standing to the left of the Abbot's high seat as he delivers the nightly sutra lectures. Everyone in the hall listened in reverence with joined palms and strangely enough, Wei-t'ou Bodhisattva held a note pad and occasionally wrote down his observations of the assembly. Kuo Li had never seen a Gold Mountain Dharma assembly and the traditions here were completely unknown to him at the time.
Kuo Li read the Amitabha Sutra while at the farm and he took up the practice of reciting the name of Amitabha Buddha at all times: during the day while working and even during his sleep. Kuo Li found he could recite the Buddha's name in his dreams. Once in a dream a voluptuous demoness attacked him sexually but Kuo Li remained unmoved, his single-minded recitation halted the demon and subdued its evil intent.
After five months on the farm his dreams led Kuo: Li to Gold Mountain itself. With a strong feeling of purpose and destiny Kuo Li hitchhiked south from Oregon, walked through the door of Gold Mountain on July 27th, and took refuge one week later. Since then, his dreams have been coming up at a rate of dozens per month, as if to make up for lost time.
These were the circumstances leading to the curious matter of lapis lazuli, the Dharma name selected for Kuo Li by the Venerable Abbot. Long before the refuge ceremony Kuo Li selected a gift for the Master, a prized possession of small intrinsic worth but one with a great deal of significance to Kuo Li. It was a blue stone, a rough-hewn piece of lapis lazuli. Kuo Li decided without telling anyone else that since he was so attached to this rock it would make an appropriate offering to his new Master. The decision was secretly made and the ceremony took place. Kuo Li approached the Master after taking refuge with the Triple Jewel to present his gift and to find out the meaning of his Chinese Dharma name. He handed the stone to the Master and explained its personal importance, and identified it as a piece of lapis lazuli. He then asked, "What does Kuo Li mean?"
The Master said, "It's one of the seven precious things--lapis lazuli, of course--your name is Kuo Li, the fruit of lapis lazuli." Kuo Li was shocked and overjoyed--a feeling that persisted for days.
One week later, during a Kuan-yin recitation session, four people left the home life. The ceremony and the events surrounding it deeply touched Kuo Li. He resolved to stay at Gold Mountain and to cultivate the unsurpassed way of all Buddhas.
Since that summer, his seeds of Bodhi planted in the past have ripened, and Kuo Li has brought forth the firm resolve to leave the home life himself. He says, "The Master's kindness and compassion have won me over to enable me to make the first truly positive and strong commitment of my life."
Lead unerringly by his dreams to this new vision of reality, Kuo Li Eagleson will soon don the robes of a sramanera to devote his skills and energies to establishing and helping make flourish the Orthodox Dharma in the West. Truly a dream come true!
"In the future you will become a mayor by the name of
October 1975, all the candidates for mayor of San Francisco visited Gold
Mountain. As soon as Senator Moscone arrived at the door of the Monastery the
Venerable Abbot, who spoke not a word to any other candidate, said, "You
certainly will become mayor. I am now giving you a prediction: you will be San