Ngo Nhu Bich is a native of Vietnam who has been an English-Vietnamese translator at the International Translation Institute and at Gold Mountain Monastery for many years. As a credentialed teacher, he has taught English to adults at a state mental hospital. Every day he saw handicapped and mentally ill patients. These screaming, crying and laughing patients seemed to be possessed. He knew that although medicine and medical treatment could cure physical diseases, they have little effect on diseases due to cause and effect or karmic obstructions.
At forty-four, just a few days before Vietnam fell to the Communists, he fled to the United States, where he has been for twenty years. He has three sons and a daughter. He is a good and dutiful husband and father. In Vietnam, he had joined a group to recite the Buddha's name for the deceased and sick. He took refuge with Triple Jewel in 1986 and received the Bodhisattva Precepts in 1988. Having been through a war, he is especially appreciative of kindness. He often speaks of the kindness of parents which is as weighty as mountains, and urges others to be filial and respectful to their parents. He also says all our abilities are blessings which are not easily attained, even the ability to eat. Therefore, we should count our blessings and be grateful.
After taking refuge, he spent much valuable time searching for a teacher. Now he peacefully draws near this Bodhimanda, attending evening ceremony and lecture with his wife everyday, rain or shine. He often offers to the Buddhas the flowers he has carefully planted. Not only do he and his wife support the temple, they have deep appreciation and admiration for the monastic life.
Few people know that they also run a care center (see page 30). More than ten elderly residents live in the two houses of the center, established in 1984. Their tender care has given this center an excellent reputation. The residents have come upon the recommendations of other residents, relatives, friends, or doctors.
Nhu Bich says it is affinities which brings people together. This job gives them the chance to truly practice the Buddhadharma, to treat the elderly in an honest, heart-to-heart way. While the visible profits are limited, the feeling that the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas are always around, and the limitless warmth inside, are truly the greatest reward!