Over the past thirty years, I've been busy only for myself. Indulging in pleasures, I never thought of doing anything good or virtuous. In confusion, I've unknowingly created boundless offenses. Certain conditions led me to encounter a certain religion, to want to cure people's illnesses, and to become vegetarian. Meanwhile, many strange experiences made me realize that there's more in the world than the eyes can see. After searching in several religions, I finally took refuge in Buddhism.
One day, upon reading the biography of Ven. Master Hsü Yün, I cried loudly, unable to stop. Later I read the Dharma talks and biography of Ven. Master Hua and thought, "How great if I could study under this Good and Wise Advisor!" Unexpectedly, the conditions ripened, and I went from Taiwan to the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas. I took refuge, received the precepts, and enrolled in graduate studies at Dharma Realm Buddhist Uni-versity, beginning a new life. Was this a dream or hallucination?
Starting afresh takes perseverance in practice. Through endlessly repenting and painfully facing and struggling with myself, I've washed away various past offenses and habits. I've asked myself, "Why did you say goodbye to those good old days and ask for all this suffering? You gave up your job in Taiwan to spend four hours each week commuting to the City to study, live in a simple house, eat plain vegetarian food, and rush alone in the cold to join the assembly for morning and evening ceremonies in the Buddha Hall." Fortunately, my wife gave her support and patience. These good conditions are not easy to come by.
After undergoing various tests, I received the Venerable Master's timely advice. One day as I reread the Sixth Patriarch's Platform Sutra, my mind suddenly opened up and I understood a bit of the meaning of "coming from the West"! I resolved to seek seclusion, and the Master kindly allowed my family to live at the City. In this pure, holy place, we'll wash away the karmic offenses which cover us.
Now, bathed in the water of Dharma, I don't worry about the future, but just do my best and accord with conditions. In every thought, I return to the Way. Whenever I think of the Venerable Master's aged figure, I am suddenly overcome with great shame and remorse. The Master's great compassion surpasses even my parents' kindness. Although I am a Buddhist, my heavy karmic obstacles prevent me from taking even a little bit of his burden; how can I ever repay the Buddhas' kindness?