THE BODHI STAND
Introduces Dharma Protector
UPASAKA KUO CHOU ROUNDS
Chou (David) Rounds was born on December 26, 1942 in New York City, the second
of three sons to Stowell and Carol Rounds. His father who was an attorney,
commuted to New York City by train, and was able to provide a secure and
comfortable living for his family. "Both my parents," says Kuo
Chou," lavished tremendous kindness and concern on us three boys."
Kuo Chou was raised in the Yankee intellectual tradition, grew up with Protestant morals, liberal social views, and scant training in religion as religion. He attended public schools until eighth grade when he was placed in a high-powered Connecticut boarding school for the remainder of his undergraduate training. He was also given the opportunity to pursue a fairly intensive musical education as a boy.
After prep school, Kuo Chou went on to Harvard University where he completed a major in English Literature. He graduated in 1964 with highest honors. He took a job with a New York publishing firm after graduation and began writing his first novel. One evening in 1966 there was a knock on his door and he opened it to find an Elderly Buddhist Monk standing outside. This was Kuo Chou's first meeting with the Venerable Master. Kuo Chou was taken aback by the unusual visitor. Kuo Chou was taken aback by the unusual
visitor. The Master explained to him that Kuo Jung (Ron) Epstein (one of Kuo
Chou's Harvard classmates) had given the Master his address. Kuo failed to
recognize the Master as his teacher at that time, but a seed was planted by that
Two major, events occurred in 1970 for Kuo Chou. One was the publication of his first novel, Coalitions The second event was the sudden sprouting of an old seed, which had been nurtured for several years by his growing wish to investigate Buddhism. That year Kuo Chou went to San Francisco and paid his respects to the Venerable Master, who was speaking the Dharma and lecturing the Sutras in a fourth floor cold water flat in Chinatown, chock full of young Americans who had come to hear the Dharma and stayed to hear more. The atmosphere was alive with the energy of people who were determined to turn their lives around. And at last, Kuo Chou was hearing simple, precise truths that explained the mundane and revealed the universal potential in all beings for irreversible transcendence, purity, and wisdom. Kuo Chou decided to move west.
The decision took two years to actualize and in the meantime Kuo Chou returned in 1971 to the newly established Gold Mountain Monastery to attend an intensive summer session. He became a disciple of the Triple Jewel during that session and in 1972 he moved west to draw near the Venerable Master. In 1973 Kuo Chou took the five precepts and by 1975, when his wife took refuge, he had become an active member of the Buddhist Text Translation Society. Although he was employed, first as a newspaper reporter and editor and later in public and employee relations for the local government, he finished his second novel, Celebrisi's Journey, in 1976. His editorial works for the Buddhist Text Transition Society include The Sixth Patriarch Sutra, The Sutra in Forty-two Sections, and The Surangama Sutra among a variety of others.
True to the purpose of the Buddha's teaching, Kuo Chou faithfully puts the dharma into practice in his daily life. He carefully maintains the Bodhisattva precepts which he received in 1976, and at present his daily practices include: recitation of the Surangama Mantra, 108 recitations of the Great Compassion Mantra, a weekly one-day fast, and cultivation of the forty-two hands.
Kuo Chou has this to say:
"It would be impossible to express the extent and the depth of the skill and compassion the Master has shown me in helping me towards peace of mind, useful work, and true freedom. Suffice it to say that my meeting with him and my subsequent discipleship have entirely transformed the course of my life. His work to preserve and transplant to the West the genuine Buddhadharma is the most important work being done in the world today. Who could fail to want to be a part of it and to assist in the work as one can? In the midst of this work he is constantly striving, with no thought of himself, to liberate his disciples of their difficulties and to lead them to enlightenment, no matter how difficult they make it for him. It is my wish to devote the remainder of my present life and all future lives to repaying the Master's kindness, to helping Buddhism grow and flourish again in the world, to helping other beings toward enlightenment, and to realizing my own karma in the Way.
CELEBRISI'S JOURNEY. A novel by David (Kuo Chou) rounds this book captures the reader. Celebrisi's search for a method to sustain his fleeting glimpses at a realm beyond the mundane; his karmic situation, self styled cultivation, and his gradual liberation are paced so one feels compelled to remain with him to the end of his search.
From the beginning when he says, "I tried...to explain to Margherita the feeling of being someone else and the feeling of the energy pouring out of my mind, since I figured it would be easier on both of us if she'd understand, but she didn't understand, because I didn't understand. She didn't want to hear, she just wanted me to stop all this terrible crazy talk, she just wanted this to be over with, so we could go back to where we were," through the point where Celebrisi discovers, "Reciting a single sound seemed to quiet the ordinary thoughts that always tramped across my concentration; the sound seemed to soothe them. When I recited it and then stopped, a silence without thought would last a long moment, then another, then another, and with each moment the energy burned harder and its stillness spread wider in my mind. I began to think I'd been wrong to assume that my concentration was developing the stillness instead it seemed the stillness must have always been there in my mind. Thoughts and emotions and the business of life had been hiding the stillness from me," to the end when he comes to grips with the question, "Who is Celebrisi?" the reader will probably not want to put the book down.
TEN THOUSAND BUDDHAS--TEN THOUSAND BUDDHAS--TEN THOUSAND BUDDHAS--TEN THOUSAND BUDDHAS,
At the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas in the Hall of Ten Thousand Buddhas is the 18 foot golden image of Kuan Yin Bodhisattva which will be dedicated this fall. Lining the walls of that magnificent hall will be ten thousand Buddhas now being sponsored by disciples of the Buddha and friends of the Dharma.
Anyone wishing to sponsor a Buddha (s) on behalf of himself will be commemorated on a plaque placed in that hall and many blessings will acrue to the donor. If one wishes to transfer the merit of sponsoring these Buddha images to one's friends, relatives, or associates, one's blessings will thereby spread.