by Bhikshu Heng K'ung
This evening I put all my clothes in the washing machine, added a little soap, and then discovered the machine was coin-operated. So I pulled all my clothes out of the wash and put them in a five-gallon bucket to soak overnight...with the exception of a change of clothes, including my only robe, which I washed by hand so I will be able to take a bath tomorrow. Now it is 10:00 PM and we have just finished the Sutra lecture. The robe should be dry in time for morning recitation and the rest of the clothes by bath time...maybe 10:00 AM.
I just sat down to meditate till midnight, but decided that to meditate without my robe might cause a god to be offended. So I uncrossed my legs, walked across my cell, picked up some paper, walked back, sat down, and recrossed my legs with the intention of writing a few words about the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas.
The magic of Wonderful Enlightenment Mountain captures the mind and holds it in place, causing one to consider what needs to be considered, and to let pass what can pass without passing by again. Trees of every kind and species abound throughout the grounds. They remind one of the vast multitudes of living beings of all races who will one day accomplish the Way, many of whom will do so on these very grounds. Sitting in the summer sun, the pores open to welcome a summer breeze. The breeze is the Buddha's teaching, cooling and soothing the heat of afflictions. Open your pores and enjoy.
The cell where I sit as I write is 8' x 12' and the walls are concrete and about three feet thick. The ceiling is a good tour feet higher than my head when I stand, and I am over six feet tall. The floor is concrete and the door is wood. It you are built the way this building is built, you already have developed your Vajra-indestructible-Body and you need not come here. Otherwise, sitting in dhyana in a cell such as this might give you encouragement. There are 284 other cells some bigger, some smaller, with toilets and sinks, and some without toilets and sinks. If you eat food you may as well have a toilet and sink. If you don't eat food there is no need for them.
Four hours from now I will walk down the hall, open a large door, and walk into the center of a large courtyard—a courtyard which is square in shape because the building which surrounds it is square in shape. There I will gaze at the heavens and water a few plants before attending morning devotions in the large hall on the second floor of this building. The A-frame roof of this magnificent hall reaches all the way to the heavens, being the highest point of this structure. I cannot say for sure if other buildings in the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas are higher because, although I have been here for some time, I have yet to visit them all. I may not have visited all the buildings, but I have heard stories about them. They say there are Buddha halls, Pure-Land halls, Ch'an halls, university classrooms, school rooms, houses for families, shops, bedrooms; cafeterias for people who like to eat; libraries for people who like to read; and gymnasiums for people interested in T'ai Chi or weight-lifting. There are pine forests for people who like to walk, and even a firehouse for people on fire. I am not joking: the firehouse has been serving as an interview headquarters for people interested in moving here. Those folks are usually quite hot with the passion and anxiety of the work-a-day world. They come here to cool off, and Wonderful Enlightenment Mountain is here to cool them off--to show them how to pour the bucket of wisdom-water over their own heads.
On the one hand this valley is so still and quiet one almost forgets the need to meditate, and on the other, in a place such as this, meditation is so delightful one cannot remember to do anything else.
Originally when I was asked to write a few words about my impression of the place I thought that the task was too difficult; but because my robe is hanging up to dry I have written a few words, and now, because it is midnight, I must close. My days are long and hard: to survive on less than four hours sleep is a not-yet-realized goal.
The Triple Realm is a burning house devoid of any peace.
In what place can one peacefully abide?
The Thus Come One showed to me the meaning of True Suchness:
The Demon is thus, thus, and the Buddha is also thus.
Upasaka Li Hsieh He," from The Collected Poems, Songs, Gathas,
CALENDAR OF BUDDHIST CELEBRATIONS
The Birthday of
Buddha of Antiquity