To the Venerable Master Hsuan Hua's attention;
Please reflect on this kindly with your wisdom:
Jr Jen (True Wisdom) heard that it is not convenient to send letters to the Venerable Master; therefore, someone carried my past few letters to you. Now I would like to take this opportunity to say a few more words. Please compassionately understand and forgive me for disturbing your purity.
Venerable Master, your books of Dharma-talks, commentaries to the Sutras, and biographies that propagate the Dharma are widely distributed in this country (China). They are so moving that everyone who hears about you praises you.
At present, Buddhist books are not yet allowed to be published openly in this country. Buddhist or not, whenever people are fortunate enough to borrow these books from lay people, they get inspiration from them. Many people take refuge with the Triple Jewel because of the enlightenment attained from your instructional talks. The great advantages of the books hold several surprises: people don't expect the principles in Buddhism to be so convincing and respectable; they don't expect Buddhism, scoffed at as superstition, to still be inspiring people everywhere to enlightenment; they don't realize that the fundamental theory emphasizes enlightened awareness. They don't realize that sometimes the meanings of enlightenment and superstition, of wisdom and stupidity, can easily get reversed. Moreover, they don't expect that only through cultivation according to the Dharma can a person achieve real enlightenment and ultimate liberation. Because of all this inspiration, even non-Buddhists have resolved to take refuge with the Triple Jewel.
Venerable Master, there are inexpressibly many Buddhist books that serve a similar function; your words however, are most plain and easy to understand. Young intellectuals are able to understand them right away. The stories of your propagation of the Buddha-Dharma are most outstanding, touching, and successful, and thus they are most powerful in transforming living beings.
People have discovered that although Buddhism has declined in the East, it is now rising in the West. Jr Jen has heard regrets like these: "In America the Proper Dharma is dwelling; we are, however, in the Dharma Ending Age." The propagation of Buddha Dharma in the United States, with the aid of all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, you have done completely on your own, over thirty years, with diligence and hardship. Thus you are regarded as the most successful and exemplary among we who have received the transmission of the Dharma from our kind and Elder Reverend Master Hsu Yun.
People infer that if Buddhism can be introduced throughout the United States, the country most advanced in science and economics, most powerful in military strength, the land that serves as an example for the world, then it is possible to have a new world in which there are no wars and no suffering, a world where Buddhism prospers. Venerable Fellow Brother, you are the one we are counting on! Our best wishes for the health of your Dharma Body. Dwell long in the Saha World, continue your endeavors of propagating the Dharma and benefiting living beings, and turn the great Dharma Wheel so as to bring Buddhism to all of America and all the world.
This writer lives in another country and has an entirely different situation. Beginning in 1957 the Dharma of the Lin Ji School was transmitted to me from our kind Reverend Master Hsu Yun. It was extremely difficult for me to practice pure conduct. We experienced almost every kind of human suffering in the world. Well, that wasn't entirely bad, since it gave me a chance to cultivate ascetic practices. Therefore, I was able to not retreat. Environmental conditions do influence our study of Buddhism, and from the point of cause and effect, everything we experience has to do with our past karma. Therefore, I have been constantly repentant.
Although in this country we cannot openly conduct ceremonies, conditions have turned better for religious activities in recent years, under protection of the law. Especially in the past few years more and more people have realized that in terms of solidity of a country's political force, the security of society, the development of production, the advancement of science, and the establishment of civilized behavior, Buddhism brings no harm to the country. On the contrary, it bestows many good points. Therefore, religious freedom has become more and more widespread.
Those intellectuals who have not heard Buddhadharma for several decades now gain a fresh feeling from it, and it is even easier for them to believe in it (like the several surprises mentioned earlier.) So there are more and more intellectuals taking refuge with the Triple Jewel and becoming Buddhists.
With the instructions and blessings of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, the writer has been able to endure manifold sufferings during the past decades. Surveying the world, we have reached a time for Buddhism to flourish. In order to repay the kindness of the Buddhas, I made a resolve to print Buddhist Sutras. In this beginning stage, although difficulties still exist, the work is in progress, with the blessings of all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. From 1990 till now, we have distributed seven hundred complimentary copies of the Great Means Expansive Buddha's Flower Adornment Sutra. Furthermore, we made available the Great Nirvana Sutra and Vajra Sutra .
When I told the public about my vow to print a million sets of the Great Means Vast Buddha Flower Adornment Sutra, I categorized their reactions into three views and two attitudes. The three views were: a) the vow is inconceivable, b) the vow is a great lie, c) few people will read that many Buddhist Sutra books and therefore this vow shouldn't be made.
The two attitudes were: 1) delighted to help, and 2) won't support this job. The writer thinks it is natural to hear these three views and two attitudes, and so he does not have to pay them serious attention. The resolve has come from my mind and I will put it into practice. In advance it is difficult to see clearly; to know the conclusions we must wait for later. As long as I live a single day in this world, I will print a Sutra on that day.
Now we are printing Chinese Sutras; in the future it might be in other languages as well. Whenever the one million sets of the Flower Adornment Sutra are completely printed, my resolve will be fulfilled.
There is a great difference between the sutra printing of the writer and that of businessmen. Businessmen are printing for money. With the money, they can repeat the printing and sell them again. They make a profit on each edition. As for this writer, I rely totally on the donations of the Four-fold Assembly. Donations of money make the Sutras available, and afterwards they will be given away. Such will be the case next time. Money comes from the Ten Directions, and the Sutras will go to that same place as well. My hands will always be empty. My path will be most difficult, but in such a way I will create the conditions for a true cultivator.
Greed is peoples' most serious fault nowadays. If we don't eradicate it, we won't be able to learn from the Buddha or become enlightened. By printing Sutras to create affinities with people we can counteract our stinginess and greed. A true cultivator at any time is a great field of blessings. He offers a chance for the multitudes of living beings to accumulate blessings.
I know, Venerable Master, your principles are to not beg for alms, to not climb upon conditions, and to do your best to accord with conditions without changing. This writer greatly admires these ideals. However, I still have heavy karma and weighty obstructions, and many afflictions burden me. Therefore, I make this great true vow, and hope that should it be fulfilled, I may purify this vow. In order to perfect this resolve, I have to apply another principle. That is to say, at least during the first several years, in the beginning stages of printing the Sutras, I will rely upon the strength of people and the Buddha, and when the causes and conditions ripen, everything will be just as I wish it to be.
During the whole process of accomplishing the printing of the Sutras, with the blessings of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, there will be a lot of people, who come forth more and more to cultivate merit and virtue, to transform stinginess and greed, and to cultivate blessings and wisdom. Among them, there will be people who can have no signs of a self, others, living beings or a life span, and who will accomplish the Way by practicing all good deeds. During this process, there will be more and more people who are able to hear the Dharma, to the point that Buddhism will pervade every family and will be followed by everyone, so that the Dharma-ending Age will turn into the Age of the Proper Dharma. These things are all the proper business of living beings. I myself do nothing but make a resolve.
I am taking the opportunity of my friend's visit to his relatives in the United States, and I troubled him to bring this letter to you for your information. While I am in this world I wish to see my fellow brother at least one time, and I have confidence that this wish will be fulfilled.
I wish reverently that your life span will last as long as the Buddha's, that you will pervasively shine the Buddha's Light, and constantly turn the Dharma Wheel.
A cultivation-companion whom you have never met, a fellow brother from Syi An's Wo Lung Sz (Reclining Dragon Monastery)
Shr Jr Jen
Bowing in respect
Nov. 9, 1992