Kuo Ti was born in 1956 as Bui Anh Tri, the fifth among Mr. and Mrs. Bui Tan's
seven children. His father is a well-known secondary teacher in Danang, raised
in the traditional Confucianist manner. Mrs. Bui Tan is a dedicated and active
Buddhist philanthrope who devotes most of her time to helping raise funds for
temples and other social causes, in addition to her hours of worship.
his childhood years, Kuo Ti was accustomed to the family visiting temples once a
week. After the ceremony or lecture his family would share the dinner with the
Dharma Masters. Seeing Kuo Ti sit in the lotus position with such natural ease,
most people thought of him as becoming a monk later on. He was very different
from other children, never jealous of others because of their toys or candies,
always willing to share with his brothers and sisters. As he grew older, his
disinterest in materialistic things did not change, though he was living in a
well-to-do milieu. He devoted most of his time to philosophy and Buddhism. Love
and respect for his I mother grew, the more intense his pursuit of the
Buddhist teachings became. He often visited isolated temples.
In 1974, Kuo Ti left Vietnam and spent a year in Belgium participating in fund raising for hurricane refugees back home. He rejoined his brother in Canada in the summer of 1975 and took up the study of physiology. He was a good student with high academic standing but in a letter to his sister he confided that he found nothing valuable or eternal in life, and if not for his parents, life would not be worth living.
In December of 1976, on the occasion of his sister's wedding, all the brothers and sisters were reunited again for the first time since 1969. Having heard of Gold Mountain Monastery, they decided to take refuge since there might not be another occasion for all the brothers and sisters to do so. At first, Kuo Ti declined to go, claiming he was behind in his study for an upcoming final examination. In the end he did go but didn't take refuge. However after the refuge ceremony and the lecture, he told his brother and sister that he wanted to stay at the monastery. Thinking it a joke, they took the statement lightly, but as he remained firm in his decision, they didn't know how to react. They pleaded with him to finish his studies first; that there would always be time to go back to the monastery. But Kuo Ti stated that it was a chance in a billion in one's Lifetime to find someone like the Venerable Master and there were so many sutras to learn that he could not waste one hour. At his sister's request they met the Master who told Kuo Ti to finish his exams, take some time to think his decision over, and then if he still was determined, to come back to the monastery. Ten days later, after completing his exams, Kuo Ti entered the monastery. On Sakyamuni Buddha's birthday he took refuge, and on the Day of the Buddha's Rejoicing he left the home-life.
His mother was elated upon hearing his decision, since her aspirations have always been that at least one of her children would leave the home-life. His father was surprised by his son's decision, but was happy for him, since before entering the monastery Kuo Ti had written to his parents asking for permission to leave home, saying that he would follow his parent's wishes if they decided otherwise. He told them it was his primary wish and his own decision. He also told them that if he became a medical doctor he could only help a few in his lifetime, while by spreading the Dharma teachings, he might be able to cross many more souls over.
Sramanera Kuo Ti is now a student at Dharma Realm Buddhist University at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas. He maintains the schedule of a monk, rising at 3:45, participating in more than three hours of ceremonies and 3-4 hours of meditation per day, as well as joining the regular Avatamsaka Assembly to hear the Venerable Master's commentary on the Sutra of the Dharma Realm.
Lectures by the Venerable Master Hua on the Avatamsaka Sutra began on June 13, 1971, with the Preface and Prologue to the Sutra by T'ang Dynasty National Master Ch'ing Liang, and proceeded on to the Sutra proper. The Venerable Master has to date lectured through The Sea of Marks of the Thus Come One's Ten Bodies, Chapter 34. Each chapter represents a progressively higher state in coming to understand and penetrate the realm of all Buddhas. It is now possible to receive University credit for the lecture series. For details contact Dharma Realm Buddhist University, P.O. Box 217, Talmage, California 95481, c/o the Dean of the Hsu Yun College of Buddhist Studies.