Introducing Sramanerika Heng Ming

"I came to a session in April, 1976, to recite the Great Compassion Mantra. When it was over I went back to Southern California to get Josh, my son, and some stuff and move up to San Francisco and figure out how to cultivate. Josh became Kuo T'ou and went to Gold Mountain Instilling Virtue Elementary School. That summer in August I left the home-life. My father and mother have been very compassionate in accepting my life-style. Both of them have come out from Washington D.C. to visit and have had the opportunity to come to the temple and hear the Master lecture. My father's visit was during a session, so he got a chance to meditate some. He said it was a positive experience and that very few people get the opportunity or would think to take the time to meditate."

Heng Ming had spent a long time searching for the ultimate trip—the way to get out of what she'd gotten herself into—the way to end birth and death. She expresses these years of searching in a brief backward spiral back to birth.

"Before I came to San Francisco I managed a little motel in Leucadia for a while. Josh went to a Montessori school, and we hung out on the beach a lot. Not a whole lot was happening.

"We lived around Vista, Escondido for about a year before that, taking Actualism lessons in Valley Center. It's a kind of fire yoga school that works with light and color frequencies and probably a lot of other stuff, too, but I didn't stay there that long.

"Before that I lived in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and studied dance with Elizabeth Cogburn for a year. Before that I spent a year in the mountains. Josh was pretty young then and seemed to really enjoy it.

"Before that I lived with Ann Kirschner in Corrales, New "Mexico, where I first got into music and dance. Before that I lived in the DC area when Josh was a baby.

"Before I had Josh I went to school at the Maryland Institute of Art and studied painting and drawing. Two years before that I went to Accokeek School and lived with Lenore Straus, who introduced me to Buddhism. Before that I went to public school and couldn't stand it, especially high school.

"And earlier, it gets to the part about growing up at my parents' house. Mostly I wasn't too filial and still had a long ways to go to change in that direction. I was born March 1, 1950."

Tunneling out from birth for twenty-six years, Heng Ming finally stopped when she got to Gold Mountain. She had had enough disillusioning encounters with spiritual teachers who had ulterior motives or who had yet to personally transcend the world of desire. She had long since disagreed with those who told her Josh was too young to cultivate and who considered him a hindrance to Heng Ming's own practice. At Gold Mountain she found one of great compassion, deep wisdom, profound purity, and awesome virtue dedicated to the well being and enlightenment of all. She knew she was not being fooled. Josh, too, was accepted as a cultivator in his own right and has taken up practices, which appeal to him. (See Interview with Kuo T'ou on the next page).

      Heng Ming is training as a novice at the International Institute for the Translation of Buddhist Texts, where she studies to memorize the Surangama Mantra and Kuo T'ou studies to memorize the Great Compassion Mantra. She is also taking classes in Chinese and Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit.