宣公上人最後對弟子說，「今天這餐飯也不知大家吃飽沒吃飽？懂佛法才是真正吃飽了；沒懂佛法前，還要挨餓呢！」又笑對陳善謙夫婦說：「希望你們快搬來萬佛聖城住，follow me take suffering（跟著我吃點苦頭。）」弟子們一一頂禮，叩謝上人又攝影留念後才離去。
[Editor's Note: Mr. Chen's party of six went to the Sagely City of Ten Thousand Buddhas on Nov. 6 especially to call on Venerable Master Hua. However, the Venerable Master happened to be in L.A. Afterwards, they went to Long Beach Sagely Monastery and fulfilled their wish to see the Venerable Master.]
Mr. and Madam Chen said they were lucky disciples to be able to visit the Venerable Master. The Venerable Master exhorted the couple, who have known all kinds of worldly prestige, to waste no more time on meaningless things. Throughout the world, education is almost bankrupt, and he hoped they could help by coming to oversee the education at the Sagely City of Ten Thousand Buddhas. When Mr. Chen explained that he needs to look after his eighty-five year old father-in-law, the Venerable Master invited his father-in-law to live in the Home for the Elderly at the Sagely City. Through translator Mr. We Bwo-fu, the Venerable Master repeatedly urged the ex-Premier of Vietnam and his wife, who have such great affinities with Buddhism, to make good use of their prime years to work for the benefit of humanity. The Venerable Master also said education should be based on the spirit of the Chinese
Explication of the Function of Propriety in the Great Unity, which says, "I treat all parents as my own parents. I treat all children as my own children. The elderly live out their lives in peace, the middle-aged are well-employed, and the young are educated. Widows, widowers, orphans, and the solitary are all cared for." It is not easy to govern a country these days, and education must first be reformed worldwide. Students should be taught to cherish life, value the family, and love the country. Today's children do not know how to be people; if one wants the world to be good, the children have to be taught to be good people.
Mr. and Madam, Chen were eager to understand the situation of the Communist Party in Vietnam, and hoped the citizens would soon dwell and work in peace again. Venerable Master Hua told them, "The Communist Party will not last, for it goes against humanity. Its members are worse than bandits. When bandits commit robberies, murders and arson, they violate the law. But the Communist Party acts as if it had God's will, sharing the peoples' property, but not sharing its own. It will soon disappear both in Vietnam and China." Madam Chen asked whether China would recover faster and become stronger than even Japan after World War II, once her political system changes. The Venerable Master remarked, "The ethical philosophy of the Chinese is the world's foremost. Homosexuality on the part of both men and women now flourishes all over the world, and is moreover sanctioned by law. This is the kind of behavior which will cause countries to perish and bring the human man race to extinction. Homosexuals will not be able to remain in the world. Homosexuals are deviant demons on the loose. Any country which experiments with homosexuality will soon be finished. During the Ching Dynasty of China, there were many homosexuals, but not in public. Now homosexuality is legal in the West - this is absurd. In the
Book of Change it says, "One Yin and one Yang together make the Way. Exclusive Yin or exclusive Yang is sickness." Homosexuality does not accord with the Middle Way; it opposes the creative principle of heaven and earth. If it continues, nations and people will soon be finished." The meeting lasted until 10:30, when the Venerable Master Hua invited Mr. Chen and his party to share a vegetarian lunch with the left-home people in the Way-place. After the meal, the Venerable Master gave another profound lecture, reprinted below for readers to enjoy:
"This is the Way-place for people from all nations of the world to meet together. We should all learn the Buddha's great wisdom and not do stupid things. Buddha means an enlightened one, one who has true wisdom. What is genuine wisdom? It means that in every act, we abide by the rules. In Buddhism, we should make the Three Reflections and Five Contemplations while taking a meal. What are the Three Reflections? When you drink the first spoonful of soup, vow to cut off all evil. When you drink the second spoonful, vow to cultivate all good. On the third spoonful, vow to save all living beings. Every left-home cultivator should make these Three Reflections.
How about the Five Contemplations? First, consider the amount of work involved to bring the food to where it is eaten. While eating, consider the farmer's toil to plow the fields, sow the seeds, etc., before the food could be produced. Food truly does not come easily. Second, consider whether or not one's virtuous conduct is sufficient to accept the offering. Think about what virtuous conduct you have. Do I have enough virtuous conduct to eat this? Is it sufficient or insufficient? Third, guard the mind from transgression, of which greed is the principle cause. Prevent the mind from creating evil karma, and from doing wrong. Food should be eaten regardless of whether it is good or bad, fresh or stale. Fourth, properly taken, the food is like medicine, to keep the body from wasting away. Why do we eat? Because the body feels hunger. Food should be taken like medicine to cure the body of hunger and thirst. Fifth, this food is accepted only in order to accomplish the Way. It is only for the sake of achieving the Way that we eat; only then can we face the donors. Then we end the meal and transfer merit, chanting, 'They who practice making offerings will certainly obtain their reward. They who take delight in giving will later surely find peace and happiness.' Those who give in order to obtain joy, peace, and eternal joy will certainly get their wishes fulfilled in the future."
Mr. Chen expressed his profound gratitude for the Venerable Master's hospitality towards his family, and for the Dharma instructions. In the future he plans to investigate the Buddhist teachings more deeply, and wished the Venerable Master to enjoy health and to frequently turn the wheel of Dharma. The Venerable Master said, " Today I am not inviting you, and you are not inviting him. Everyone has affinities, so we all gather to share a vegetarian meal. It's not a matter of who is inviting whom. Today everyone is our own family; there are no outsiders. Not only are we all family, the whole world's people are our family. If we do not make so many discriminations, there will be no more wars. So it's said, 'Treat all beings the same; everyone is equal.' "
Others were also encouraged by the Venerable Master to express their feelings and create Dharma affinities with everyone. Madam Chen greatly appreciated the kindness of the Venerable Master and the hospitality of the other Dharma Masters. Her three-day visit passed quickly. Both at the Sagely City and at Long Beach, she gained much insight and benefit. She said the world is one family, and everyone is on the same footing. Everyone should work hard in their own job to bring harmony to humanity. Dharma Master Heng Tung said, "Although we may understand Buddhism at different levels, we must all walk the same road. All living beings have the Buddha-nature. We should cherish this human body. In Buddhism, when we take a meal, put on clothes, or do anything, we should first think of all living beings, and consider how to act in our daily lives to make the world a better place." Dharma Master Heng Je said that before meeting the Dharma, she did many confused things. But after receiving the Buddha's kindness and Dharma-milk, we should dedicate our talents and lives to benefitting others. To lead a truly meaningful life, we should follow the guidance of a wise teacher.
At the end, the Venerable Master said, "I don't know if everyone is full after this meal. If you understand the Dharma, you are truly full. Before you understand the Dharma, you have to go hungry." Then smiling, he said to Mr. and Madam Chen, "I hope you move to Sagely City of Ten Thousand Buddhas soon, and follow me to take suffering!" All the disciples bowed and thanked the Venerable Master, and departed after taking pictures.