UPASAKA KUO TZ’U YONG
Kuo Tz'u, whose lay-name is Yong Kok Keng, was born of Chinese parents on January 26, 1958 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. After completing his secondary education he went to Sydney, Australia, in January of 1977 to further his academic career at Randwick Technical College.
Kuo Tz'u became interested in Buddhism when he was fourteen years old and came across a quotation in his history book which said: "Suffering is the cause of ignorance, greed, jealousy, selfishness, hatred, and stupidity." He began to search for more Buddhist texts and decided to attend a Theravada Buddhist course sponsored by Jayanti Temple, a Thai temple. He finished first in his class.
Though he heard mention of Mahayana Sutras during the course, he had no access to them at the time. Finally after a few months, in February 1976, he was able to read The Sixth Patriarch’s Dharma Jewel Platform Sutra with commentary by Tripitaka Master Hsuan Hua. In the Preface to the Sutra he came upon the verse spoken by the Sixth Patriarch when he paid an unprecedented visit on Master Hua while he was cultivating filial piety in Manchuria a thousand years after the Patriarch had entered nirvana. His prediction of the number of beings taken across by the Master was
...endless, endless numbers, in abundance, abundance, abundance, abundance, endless abundance, abundant and endless—numbers incalculable as grains of sand in the Ganges River. This marks the true beginning of the Proper Dharma in the West.
Filled with joy upon reading the words of that prediction, Kuo Tz'u went on to the text and commentary and his bliss deepened as he found there so much inspiration to cultivate the Way.
A few months later when Dharma Master Heng Kuan was touring Asia, Kuo Tz'u learned more about orthodox Dharma practices and began his own daily cultivation.
As his meditation progressed, his personality changed and his understanding of the Buddhadharma gradually widened. Once again, encountering a sutra published by the Buddhist Text Translation Society, this time the Great Compassion Heart Dharani Sutra, he was profoundly moved when half way through his reading of the text, a rare fragrance filled his room--one not of this world.
Various spiritual experiences in his meditation caused Kuo Tz'u's faith to deepen. After only nine months in Australia he decided to go to Dharma Realm University to continue his studies, change his major, and give himself the chance to study under the Venerable Abbot's guidance at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas.
"I find that I'm really lucky to be able to draw near the Venerable Abbot and it is really a dream come true. While still in Australia, I had a dream in which an old Chinese man who looked like the sage Longevity lifted his arm, pointed a finger at me and said, 'You will be a disciple of Venerable Master Hua.'"Now, beyond becoming a disciple, Kuo Tz'u has taken the novice precepts. On the anniversary of Shakyamuni Buddha's birthday he received the ten precepts of a sramanera and the ten major and forty-eight minor Bodhisattva precepts-