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Bodhi Mirror

       Ven. Master: Of the four great Bodhisattvas, which one do you want to learn from?
Disciple: Gwan Yin Bodhisattva
       Ven. Master: Fine. Your name can be Gwo Gwan, Heng Yin

採訪╱恆持法師 Interviewed by D.M. Heng Chr

The above dialogue with the Venerable Master describes how (how) Bhikshuni Heng Yin received her name. This was almost two years ago at International Translation Institute in Dharma Realm Buddhist Association in Burlingame.





回家後,她立誓要盡快返回聖城。同時,她的快樂生活也有了轉變而嚐到了一些苦味;直接者來自本身和他人的關係,間接者因感受到朋友不幸的痛苦經驗。因此她開始看佛教書籍,並且得到一個基木概念: 想要進入佛門,首先應該皈依三寶。那年暑假她到臺灣,把握住第一次的機會便皈依佛門。回家之後,稟告父母要前往萬佛聖城。在整理準備去參加觀音七的當日。她收到法界佛教大學的入學許可。

在聖城裡,一位法師的開示打動了她,「 阿彌陀佛是我們的大慈父,我們的真父親。而親生父母只在此生和我們有段暫時的關係。」恆音法師覺得這話頗有道理。她極幸運地能擁有慈祥而開明的父母,提供她安樂的生活。他們好布施,對美國教育福利深切關懷,在現實生活方面工作認真努力,也致力於崇高理想的落實。恆音法師說:「家父母比我優秀多了。我非常敬重他們的慷慨與悲心。」但是聽了法師簡明的言辭之後,她能以新角度看父母子女的關係,而不再擔憂眼前短暫地捨棄孝養的責任。觀音七結束,她打電話告訴父母,自己要留在城裡「試一個月。」 二個月後,她又再度把握第一次機會決志出家。出家需要父母同意書,而他們當時在香港,要聯絡上非常不容易。她鍥而不捨,打了許多電話才找到雙親。他們問: 「會不會太快了?」她回答: 「這是我所選擇的路,所以早比晚好。」 他們的簽字同意書傳真到聖城,恆音法師就在1991年元旦落髮。



Bhikshuni Heng Yin says, "Gwan Yin Bodhisattva gave me the courage to fulfill my resolve to the left-home life. Reciting her name always gives me peace and the strength to cultivate. With great compassion, Gwan Yin Bodhisattva contemplates the sounds of the world and uses a thousand hands and eyes to rescue living beings from suffering. This kind of selfless wonderful function is just the antidote for counteracting my selfish ego and arrogance. I vow to learn all the Dharma doors of Gwan Yin Bodhisattva, so that I can expediently gather living beings into the Buddhadharma. Especially now that the Buddhadharma has taken root in the West, we need to translate the scriptures into Western languages on a wide scale, so that Westerners can taste the full flavor of the wonderful Dharma."

How did Heng Yin herself meet up with the Buddhadharma? She was an A-student at the University of Texas who enjoyed all the ease that blessings can bring: keen intelligence, material abundance, extensive travel, and best of all a family that always seemed happier to her than any of the people she saw around her. Venerable Master Hua has said, "Good fortune is like a bank account: accumulated deeds make a store of blessings. But if you just spend your blessings by enjoying them, soon you will have none. To undergo suffering is to end suffering, for suffering which is endured with courage will never have to be endured again."

"I remember that the Master talked about how he bowed when he was young," said Heng Yin, when asked about the first lecture she ever heard the Ven. Master give. "He said that his arrogance and anger changed after he began to bow every day." That first lecture Heng Yin heard was in November of 1989 when the Ven Master and a delegation visited the University of Texas. There hadn't been a lot of publicity about the lecture and so the turn-out was not large. But, as the Sixth Patriarch put it, "One's own nature contains all seeds and with the timely rain they sprout." For as a result of that lecture, a Buddhist Group was formed at University of Texas and the membership quickly grew to thirty. The group is still in existence and growing, and some of its members have visited the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas.

Also as a result of that lecture, Heng Yin came to The City of Ten Thousand Buddhas the first time in June of 1990 for a week's meditation session: "There were many monks and nuns. Walking 'round and 'round the hall with them, I couldn't tell the monks from the nuns and I didn't speak to anyone the whole week, but I had a feeling I belonged there and that I wanted to be one of them."

Returning home, she made a vow that she would go back to the Sagely City as soon as possible. Meanwhile, her "happy" life had taken some turns and she began to experience the bitter taste of suffering, both directly in her relationships with people and vicariously through her less-fortunate friends' experiences. She began to read books about Buddhism. One primary guidance she found in that reading was: if you want to enter the Buddha's teaching, you must first take refuge with the Triple Jewel. That summer she went to Taiwan and, seizing the first opportunity, she took refuge. Upon her return, she informed her parents that she was going to the Sagely City. On the day she was packed to leave, preparing to attend a Gwan Yin Bodhisattva Recitation Session, she received her acceptance into the Dharma Realm Buddhist university.

One time in an instructional talk by one of the Dharma Masters at the City, she was struck by a comment: "Amitabha Buddha is the father of us all. He is our true parent. The parents who bore us have a temporary relationship with us in this life." That made sense to Heng Yin. She had been fortunate to have parents who could provide her with security and happiness. Her parents were giving people-people with a deep concern for the welfare of education in the United States, people who worked hard on the practical level and planned for the time when they could realize loftier ideals. "My parents are so much better than I am," exclaimed Heng Yin. "Their generosity and empathy win my respect." But with the simple explanation by the Dharma Master, she was able to see them in a new perspective, without fear of abandoning her filial duty. After the session she called her parents to say she was staying to "try it out for a month."

Two months later, taking advantage of another first opportunity, she decided to leave the home-life. But she needed her parents written consent and they were visiting Hong Kong. Although they were not at all easy to locate, Heng Yin persisted, making many calls, until she finally reached them. " Isn't it too soon?" they asked. She replied, "This is the path I want to take and so sooner is better than later" They faxed their signed permission and Heng Yin's head was shaved on January 1, 1991.

Having drunk deeply of both the blessings and the sufferings that are to be found in this Saha world, Heng Yin reacted decisively to the conditions that led her into the Dharma. Once she had shaved her head, she plunged into the mastery of written and spoken Chinese, studied the precepts and deportment along with her sister-novices and taught in the schools. She soon began to travel with the delegations to help with translation and also practiced giving instructional talks.

Recently, in the September 1992 Seventh Transmission of the Three Platforms of Precepts, Heng Yin was selected the serve as Leader of the Shramanerikas.


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