My school days stopped when I was fifteen and I began to help run the family-owned drugstore. In Nanjing, an Elder Master Ming Lyan, who had a collection of Buddhist Sutras, was going out travelling to learn the Dharma. A fellow cultivator introduced my father who was a Buddhist to him. Through his auspices, my father brought back his collection of Buddhist Sutras. This was the circumstance that lead to my study of Buddhism. Upon reading the Six Patriarch's Platform Sutra, I learned from its verses how to carefully contemplate one's inherent nature.
At seventeen, the Communists arose and our family situation changed rapidly. All kinds of problems arose and we had to face serious tests. It was like floating out alone in the sea, with endless horizon stretching out on every side. It was like a tiny boat shaking, and being on the verge of sinking... I felt totally hopeless. Whenever I suffered from worries and miseries, with the aid of the Bodhisattva, situations would change instantly. Fine weather returned to my life and a gentle breeze cooled me. The relief that arrived with the help of the Bodhisattvas felt pleasant and my spirits were uplifted.
After I took refuge with Elder Master Ying Che at Vairochana Monastery in Nanjing, my situation changed and so did my state of mind. When the body is at peace, naturally the Way will flourish. Though I still had to pass through a time of troubles, the adversity helped me along, just like the frost helped the plum to blossom proud and indomitable in the midst of the cold.
When I read the biography of the Venerable Master Syu Yun, I admired him very much but had no way to approach him. In 1959, I heard that he was staying at Mt. Yun Jyu in Jiangxi Province. I wrote him letters, and with the blessing of the Dharma, he sent me four letters. At the end of his correspondence, the Elder said, "I wish you, Humane One, will take good care of yourself and cultivate diligently." In that fall, I sent him another two letters and got no response. I wrote my resolve to leave the home-life in blood and submitted it to him. One week later, Elder Ying sent me an oral message that the Venerable Master Syu Yun had passed away.
I traveled all over the place in order to leave the home-life, two times to Tyan Tai, five times to Suzhou, and I also went to Nanjing as well as Chengjian, and yet got no results. In my fiftieth year, my initial resolve was fulfilled in Nanjing. At Shr Dz Ling (Lion Peak), my head was shaved by Dharma Master Ywan Lin. The next year I received the Three-fold Platform of Great Precepts at Ru Ri Mountain Temple in Jiangxi Provience.