Ever since I was young, my sister always encouraged me to be a vegetarian. She told my brothers and sisters a story that all animals around us often are our immediate relatives from past lives, so we should cherish and be compassionate to all of them.
Even though I was born in a country at war, and have seen many army trucks full of coffins, many neighbors' sons die in combat, and my cousin died in the battle zone where she had moved to stay close to her husband who was a soldier, none of the above incidents struck me as much as the death of my grandfather. My grandfather was a very severe person, who was difficult to live with. He wanted all of his sons and daughters to offer him money, so that he could save it in the bank. When it came time to spend money, he was stingy. He even bought a coffin and a grave site in preparation for his funeral. When the fall of Vietnam came in 1975, all my family moved to U.S.A. Soon after, my grandfather fell and broke his femur bone, and went to the hospital many times. His health gradually deteriorated, and he finally died in the hospital. I really felt sad for him that all the money he had saved with such effort was useless! He could not take any material things with him. The only thing, that would follow him after death were the results of the good and bad deeds he did. During his funeral, a Dharma Master was invited to recite the Earth Store Sutra. In my brief understanding of the story, I sincerely respected Earth Store Bodhisattva for his filial compassion for all living beings and drew a picture of him. This was the beginning of my affinity with the Buddha. Afterwards, my sister often took me to a Chinese temple for worship. In 1980, my sister drove me to the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas for the first time. Then a few years later, she left home at the City. In 1989, I asked the Ven. Master's permission to leave home, too. And in 1991, I was fully ordained.
After leaving home, I have deeper affinities for further investigating the Earth Store Sutra. Earth Store Bodhisattva's great vows say that for countless millions of eons, he will rescue living beings who are suffering in the hells for their offenses. Only when they have all become Buddhas, will he himself accomplish Right Enlightenment. I hope that everyone can follow the instructions of the Earth Store Sutra, and become Buddhas soon.