Elders, Great Virtuous Ones, Dharma Masters, Laymen:
After we five had taken the Shramanera, Shramaneriki, and
Bodhisattva precepts here in America, and spent some time
cultivating, we met with an opportunity to go to Hai Hui Monastery
on Taiwan to take the complete precepts, and to seek out Good
Knowing Advisors. We traveled in both Taiwan and Hong Kong, but Good
Knowing Advisors were hard to find; many said that they were just
common people in this the Dharma-ending Age, thereby excusing their
lack of cultivation. We are fortunate to have met Good Knowing Advisors.
To excuse oneself from cultivating because one
assumes oneself to be common, and the age inappropriate, is a grave
mistake, and everyone should be clear about it. "Dharma–Ending
Age" does not mean that the Dharma ends,
for Dharma is constant and eternal. It is only on the part of people
that there can be a "Dharma-Ending Age". To excuse oneself on the
grounds that one is a common person is to forget that Shakyamuni
Buddha was once a common person. Basically people are neither common
nor sagely, for it is what they do that makes them what they are. If
there is true cultivation, this "Dharma–ending Age" becomes an
Orthodox Dharma Age, as common people cultivate and become sages.
The differences lie in the mind of man, not with the Dharma. One
confused thought and one is a sentient being; thought after thought
confused, and thought after thought, one is a sentient being. One
enlightened thought, one is a Buddha; thought after thought
enlightened, thought after thought one is a Buddha.
In America the Buddhadharma is just beginning,
and we three Bhiksus and two Bhiksunis wish to cultivate the proper
Dharma. Western people have been severely influenced by many
off–the–path doctrines, and as a consequence there has been no real
study or knowledge of the Buddhadharma up to this time. Our
understanding of this is shallow, and we would like Good Knowing
Advisors and Mountain Elders to have compassion for us and to help
us. The Buddhadharma does not discriminate between Chinese and
American; all people are equal. Now there is a beginning, and the
Buddhadharma in the West will become immeasurable and unbounded,
causing all people to awaken and understand, obtaining the
fulfillment of Buddhahood.
Our stay in Taiwan and Hong Kong was the
meeting of Eastern and Western Buddhism. We were warmly received and
wish to extend our thanks to all those who aided us in our travels.
On Dec. 14th we returned to San Francisco. A
few days after our return we held a Seven-Day Recollection of the
Buddha Session, immediately followed by a Seven-Day Meditation
Session. Now we have organized a Buddhist Text Translation Society
and spend eight hours every day translating texts. In addition to
our regular cultivation the schedule is rounded out by nine Dharma
Meetings each week, during which the Sutras are expounded. These
meetings are held every night from 7:00 until 9:00, and on Saturday
and Sunday from 12:30 until 2:30 p.m. We welcome all who wish to
help us with this work in any way they are able.
Heng Chien, Heng Ching, Heng Shou,
Heng Yin, Heng Ch’ih
In November 1969, one
hundred seventy men and women received the complete
Bhiksu and Bhiksuni precepts at Hai Hui Monastery near
Keelung, Taiwan, Republic of China.