One day, a local inspector sent an individual to their door to collect taxes for the local defense fund. Gu Bing-mei brought forth eight dollars from the twelve dollars she had just earned from arduously harvesting and selling a bunch of sweet-potato leaves. After he left, pity made him come back to return her money. He himself contributed eight dollars for her.
Wishing to enlarge the house, they continued to excavate the mountain. With no raincoats, they were drenched by the heavy rain as they worked. The rain turned the soil to mud, making the excavation easier. One day Gu Bing-mei climbed on top of the cottage roof to fix it, and accidentally fell to the ground and landed between two large stones. Although she fainted, she was not hurt. Her two daughters hugged her, crying in alarm. After a long time she revived. Clinging to one another, they wept pitifully. At that time a cowherd heard them weeping, and reported it down in the village, but no one ever came up to investigate.
Another time Gu Bing-mei worked too hard, and suffered a heatstroke, and the two girls were also ill. Inside the cottage, they grieved and moaned, but with no one to care for them, even finding water to drink was a problem. Finally Gu Bing-mei suffered an emotional breakdown. Muttering insanely, she seemed to be talking with ghosts and spirits. Luckily, her younger brother Gu Deng jyun took her and the girls home to get medical care for several months, until they recovered.
That autumn, a fierce typhoon carried away the roof of their house. The three women could only huddle under a blanket in the dark night. Weak, afraid, and oppressed by the hunger and cold, their only hope was to use the last bit of money left by Dr. Lyou Yung-shou. Unfortunately, the bills had been devalued until they were as worthless as the paper they were printed on! They began climbing the mountain barefoot, gathering materials to repair their house. Later they wove sandals out of hemp ropes left in the graveyard where they had been used to lower coffins down. Not being used to wearing them, they tripped and fainted. Gu Bing-mei's eyes formed cataracts, which are still there today.
In 1954, upon receiving news from Dr. Lyou Yung-shou, who had been in Japan for twelve years, living a tranquil and secure life, the three women felt a mixture of hatred and hope. They themselves were still living in the run-down house. The neighbors now helped them build a Buddha-hall with clay tiles, wooden pillars, and nails, and mixed clay and rice straw as mortar. Working non-stop day and night, Gu Bing-mei's backache worsened, and was only cured a year later. In their spare time, the three women would haul loads of stones up the mountain.
Starting at age sixteen, Mei Jing worked two years as a servant and cook in the home of the doctor in Mei Nung, Su Tyan-fu. Before turning twenty, she also began to work full-time for the family of Jung Lin-fa, farming and working in the fields. Though it was tough, her steady income helped her family and enabled them to eat their fill. One time she climbed the mountain to gather firewood for curing tobacco. They first tied off the top of a tree and pulled it over, but the tree sprung in another direction, suspending Mei Jing in mid-air for quite some time before she was rescued.
On June 23, 1957, Mei Nung suffered an unprecedented deluge, followed by a landslide and a flood. The valley was turned into a lake and thirty-six people died. Their house was destroyed, but the five other laborers on the hillside and their Buddha-shrine escaped harm. The three frightened women moved down the mountain to live at Good Transformation Hall. In addition to working to feed themselves, and ascending the mountain to bow to the Buddhas, they also began construction at another mountain site. After two years, they moved back onto the mountain, started constructing the tiled Western Hall, and poured the foundation for the Buddha Hall. The following year, they felt more at ease as they moved into the completed Western Hall. In 1961, they began building the three rooms of the Buddha-shrine in front of the property. It was funded by their own savings, the contributions of local devotees, and a large donation from Lyou Yung-shou in Japan. The project was smoothly completed. In March of the following year, the image of "Ju Sheng Niang Niang" was installed, and a banquet held in honor of the occasion was attended by thirty tables of guests. The day marked an end to twenty years of tribulations.
Two years later, on National Day, Dr. Lyou Yung-shou travelled back home as an overseas Chinese. After a twenty-one years, husband and wife now saw each other again for the first time. Dr. Lyou's brother Lyou Au Shang brought Mei Jing and Mei Hwei to greet him at Pine Mountain Airport. The two daughters were filled with resentment for the cruelty of their father. The doctor walked off the plane and father and daughters stared at each other, neither side daring to say hello. Heavy at heart, yet excited, he stood speechless before his daughters. The next day when Dr. Lyou reached the mountain, Gu Bing-mei came out to welcome him. Dr. Lyou had nothing to say, but the tears poured down his face. Many local people ran up the hill to take in the spectacle.
Before he left, Dr. Lyou left NT$30,000 with the mother and girls, as a token of his esteem. Mrs. Gu and the daughters used the sum to build a bowing pagoda, and also connected electric power to the temple. The neighbors chipped in to make up the difference. Now that Blessings and Wisdom Temple and the dwelling quarters were complete, their living conditions were also better. In 1964 they began selling flowers they planted around the temple. Four years later, with the financial help of Dr. Lyou, they paid NT$150,000 for three and a half hectares of agricultural land in front of the Gwang Shan Hall to boost their income. In 1970 with the proceeds from the sale of bamboo and flowers, they built a fully equipped guest hall.
In 1973 Dr. Lyou Yung-shou came back again and made another cash gift to improve their lives. Before Spring Festival of 1975, for the convenience of the many tourists and pilgrims, the mother and daughters joined their strength to repair the little road that led up to the temple. However, some people dug up the road and rolled boulders in the path. At that time, some local students ardently took up their cause. They resolved the matter by simply reciting the Buddha's name. Five years later, the county government built a road to the public cemetery below the temple to improve transportation. From the forest at the foot of the mountain, it passed by the right of the Lin's house, and climbed straight up to Blessings and Wisdom Temple. In 1980 the county and town governments allocated funds to blacktop the road, which today is a convenient thoroughfare.
During the Spring Festival of 1979, Dr. Lyou Yung-shou returned to Mei Nung to see his family. He attended the traditional "Vegetarian Feast to Welcome the Spring" at Blessings and Wisdom Temple, along with Lin Yi-rung, Wen Tsai-syin, Lin Tsang-sheng, Mr. and Mrs. Lyou Dwan Ren, Gau Tyan-syang, and others. Seeing the temple flourishing, Dr. Lyou felt that some of the debt that he owed his family had been redeemed. On October 25 of the following year, committees for organizing and managing the monastery were established. Gu Bing-mei was named the Abbot, Jung Lin-fa the Host, and Chi Syou-you the Vice-host. Thirty-seven members joined the board with Hwang Syin Ren as the Chairman. A banquet held on the thirty-sixth anniversary of Blessings and Wisdom Temple was attended by an unprecedented eighty tables of guests.
In 1981 they used NT$100,000 of the surplus income of the Management Committee to build a flood control dike to the left of the hall. It was smoothly completed in three years. Later, when huge rainstorms flooded the area, the dike held fast and protected the buildings, attesting to its stability.
The truths of heaven and sagely teachings of the Buddhas are revealed by righteous actions. The world and the mind are each governed by their own impartial justice. As we recollect these forty-odd years of experiences, we don't dare turn our heads around, as the past is already gone, and the future is still far off. We hope that Blessings and Wisdom Temple, and Mrs. Gu and her daughters, under the concern of all of society, and the protection of the Buddhas, will continue to develop and progress.