Upasika Kuo Huan Leong

By Bhiksuni Heng Yin

Mrs. Fanny F. Leong is today a happy, healthy woman. To look at her, one would never imagine that, a decade ago, she nearly lost a bout with death, with the scourge of cancer, in fact.

      A native San Franciscan, Kuo Huan Leong was raised a Buddhist in the style traditional to Chinese-American families. She was taught the value of hard work and filiality. She married and bore one son and one daughter. In July of 1963, she went into the hospital with severe hemorrhaging, and that night was told by doctors that she had cancer and would be operated on the following morning.

      She related, "Although I was not in pain, I was convinced that I would die. In those days, if you got cancer, you had very little hope of living. But I desperately wanted to take refuge with the Buddha and I told my husband that I would not die until I had done so.”

      She remembered that her sister’s friend, (another disciple of the Venerable Master Hsuan-hua), Ho Kuo Ho (see VBS #48), had recently taken refuge with a Buddhist Master recently arrived from Hong Kong. Although it was very late at night, she called her sister and asked her to find out from her friend the address of the Master. When she had the address, she begged her husband to find the Master and bring him to the hospital to administer the Three Refuges to her before her death.

      Mrs. Leong's husband arrived at the small temple the Master Hsuan-hua was occupying at that time on Sutler Street, knelt and asked for his help. The Master, who doesn't like to become involved in other people's business, refused. But Mrs. Leong's husband continued to implore the Master, over and over again, begging him to only go to the hospital and receive his wife as a disciple. The Master continued to refuse Mrs. Leong's husband continued to kneel and stated his determination not to get up, but to remain kneeling, until the Master would agree. Finally, when he had been kneeling for several hours, the Master had no choice but to agree and he headed for the hospital.

Kuo Huan relates, "When I saw the Master, a feeling of intense relief and happiness flooded me. It was very late at night and when he entered the room, I knelt and told him, "Now I can die in peace. If you will let me take refuge, I can give my life to the Buddha. I do not have much time left; I am so relieved that you have come."

"I did not beg for life," she relates. "I did not ask him to save my life. My only wish was to become a Buddhist disciple." The Master agreed to accept her as a disciple. He recited mantras and performed mudras to help her. He instructed her to recite the Great Compassion Mantra one hundred and eight times a day and to recite the name of Kuan Yin Bodhisattva, which she did.

The following morning, after the operation, the doctor told her that the tumor had been removed, and there was a 98% chance of recovery. Everyone was surprised--everyone but Kuo Huan, who knows the power the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas and Sages have to help living beings who are suffering. "Without the Master's help," she says, "I could never have been that brave."

The Master visited her in the hospital every day during her month-long stay. And each time he came he recited mantras for her and encouraged her to be sincere in her recitation and cultivation. She was given a clean bill of health.

Her faith in the Master and the Triple Jewel and her miraculous recovery influenced her husband and her sister and her sister's son, as well as her own son and daughter, to also seek refuge in the Master. The Master picked a day, and administered the refuges to them all. Later on, her mother-in-law took refuge. Soon her young grandson, Andrew, will become a disciple as well.

She continues to recite the Great Compassion Mantra and the name of the Greatly Compassionate Kuan Yin daily She also recites The Lotus Sutra, The Amitabha Sutra, and worships the Buddha at her household shrine. Although prior to her illness, she had studied the teachings of Taoism, the Master explained to her that Buddhism's scope encompassed that of Taoism, and went far beyond. Where Taoists may preserve the body and gain long life, Buddhists can transcend the Wheel of Birth and Death forever! Understanding this, she studies Buddhism diligently.

In addition to being an efficient homemaker, she is a dedicated Dharma protector, and never fails to bow to the Buddhas each morning when she rises.

      Perhaps it was her extreme sincerity and devotion to the Buddhas, the fact that she cared more about "belonging to the Buddha" than she did about her own life, that evoked the miraculous cure. The Master doesn't ordinarily concern himself in other people's business, but sometimes...let us say the power of the Way on the part of a sage and the power of faith on the part of the disciple can work miracles. From the above, it's plain that such "miracles" are not simply relegated to obscure stories out of the distant past--things that happened long ago to people we never knew in a far away land we have never seen—but they can happen here, today, in San Francisco, in San Jose, anywhere the affinities coalesce to create them. In that sense, they are not in the least "miraculous"—they are very ordinary. Kuo Huan is only one of thousands of good people in Manchuria, in Hong Kong, and in the United States whom the Master has helped. Her story is only one among many. But she has chosen to share it with us to help us "open our eyes" to the wonder of the Buddhadharma, and gain a deeper recognition of the Master's compassion.


Sino-American Buddhist Association

San Francisco, California

    First of all, I express my heartfelt respect for a sincere appreciation of the wonderful work the Sangha and laymen of Gold mountain Monastery continually do for the benefit of all beings. The transmission of the precepts, for example, is an event filling me with joy and adding to my conviction that the Buddhadharma eventually will take firm roots in the West. In order to get there however, common efforts are necessary, and I regard "Vajra Bodhi Sea" as an important link in this respect. This magazine proved to be abundant in inspiring food for thought for me from the very day I first received it. I also thank you for the other publications which are executed in a meticulous and delightful manner...

Sincerely yours in the Dharma,

Gao Ming-dao

Taiwan, ROC