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《菩提田》

 

BODHI FIELD

盡你最大的努力!
TRY YOUR BEST!

接上期

Continued from the last issue

余錦明     文      by Helen Woo

我哭了很久,師父很慈悲對我說 :「你現在回來了。」接著師父問 我:「你姓什麼?」我說:「我姓 余」。他說:「從哪兒來的?」我說 :「從三藩市來的」。「你父親叫 什麼名字?」我就告訴他。啊!師 父原來和我父親是好朋友,由於我 父親對中國文化很有興趣,所以師 父來美後,他們便成為好朋友。因 我已嫁到洛杉磯,而機緣未成熟,我未能見到師父 ,其實遠在一九六二年,我父親就與師父相識,而 我竟要等到我父親過世後的一九七六年,才能見到 師父、皈依師父。

皈依之後,師父給我們授五戒,當時我又抽菸、 又喝酒。師父說:「皈依了,不可抽菸,菩薩不歡 喜抽菸,抽菸會把菩薩都薰走了。」所以我就不抽 菸,不抽菸對我不算什麼,因我本來就不喜歡抽菸 ,只是打牌時大家都抽菸,所以跟著抽。可是戒酒 對我十分困難,因從年輕時就愛喝酒,我先生一直 擔心我會變成酒鬼,所以我常告訴他:「你要感謝 並孝敬師父,因為他救了你與我的命。」若非師父 把我變成一個「正」人,我們的家庭與性命可能都 會沒有了。所以他總是十分感激師父,從前是天主 教徒的他,也成了師父的皈依弟子。

後來我就想:「如果我能戒酒」,那才算我真正 的開始,所以皈依之後沒多久,我就立刻停止喝酒 、抽菸了,我先生十分驚訝,無法相信,從那時起 我就開始改。改我的壞習慣是很不容易的事,但我 總記得師父的話,「Try your best!」(盡你 最大的努力)。後來,我就不再唱歌、唱戲與 跳舞了,漸漸地我不再和那些朋友出去玩了, 也影響了他們,儘量勸他們吃素,現在有很多 我們的那些朋友都變成了佛教徒,那些玩的朋 友,因為他們有各種不同的背景,我只有用行 動來感化他們。

但是,我就是無法吃素。從前去萬佛城時, 每到下午,我還會開車出去偷吃烤雞。我是如 何開始吃素呢?那時師父剛買了六街的舊教堂 ,準備裝修來當道場,同時恰好華青幫「金龍 大血案」發生不久,中國城素來就幫派糾紛不 斷,華青幫與祖幫兩大幫,在金龍飯店火拼, 殺了許多人,造成了很大的國際新聞。中國城 向來以觀光事業維生,如此一來,整個舊金山 中國城頓時成了鬼城,沒人敢去,大家知道華 青幫一定會反擊的,只是不知哪一天而已。

當時華青幫的老大,現在也是師父的皈依弟 子了。有一天,他們正到處找武器,一找找到 萬佛城附近。那天萬佛城正在作法會,華人很 多,我剛好在門口做招待,看見這一群年輕人 ,就熱情地招呼他們進萬佛城參加法會。那天 剛好有皈依大會,我不知道他們是誰,當他們 要求找師父時,我立即領著他們去見師父。我 心中還十分高興:這些人那麼年輕就知道學佛 來皈依。師父見著他們就問我:「妳知道不知 道他們是什麼人?」我說:「不知道。」他們 要求皈依,師父就神色嚴厲地問他們:「要皈 依可以,你們可以從此不殺人、不偷、不搶、 不劫嗎?」我心中正奇怪為什麼師父那樣地問 了那群人好幾次,而他們也都回答:「可以! 」於是師父就允許他們皈依。等他們走了,師 父即告訴我:「這群人是華青幫的。」師父居 然知道,而我卻不知道,還茫然地帶他們來找 師父。

正因為這一段因緣,師父不但改變了他們的 命運,也救了整個舊金山華僑社會。因為那時 「金龍大血案」使中國城陷入了困境,大家不 敢來,商店就無生意可做。

華青幫這群人皈依後,改邪歸正,就再也沒 有血案火拼之事發生了,於是中國城又逐漸興旺 起來,只是很少人知道真象。這群華青幫的人, 後來還曾到金山寺幫忙做了許多事。那時萬佛城 正在修山門,他們也負責這個工作。後來,他們 來六街幫忙整修,當我和果皋送飯去時,我發覺 他們居然吃素,我覺得很慚愧,連 華青幫的青年人都吃素,而我這大 姊跟了師父許多年,卻無法吃素, 心中十分不安。一天夜裡我驚醒, 似乎聽見自己或是觀世音菩薩跟我 說:「妳還沒吃夠呀?」我趕緊到 家中佛堂求菩薩;我很少求菩薩的 ,即使當我身體狀況不好,病痛不 已之時,我也頑強地認為這些是自 己的業障,要自己承受。這是我第 一次求觀世音菩薩幫助我決心吃素 。所以,第二天一早就告訴我先生 說:「從今以後我要吃素了!」他 還不信呢!還說:「你是『今天』 吃素吧!」那日正是金輪寺開光之 時(一九八三年元月二日)。

從那時候,我開始每日早晨在家中拜〈萬佛懺 〉,懺悔往昔之惡業。最難改的還是我的壞脾氣 ,從前每個月師父來洛杉磯講經,總是問我:「 妳有沒有發脾氣呀?」我到現在還在努力之中。

師父教導我們,是要我們從內心與自身改變, 不是從外求,如果我們連「人」都做不好,還想 成佛嗎?所以在我們日常的生活中之一舉一動, 都要警惕自己:「這是佛教徒應該做的嗎?我們 是不是師父的弟子呢?我們真的遵守了六大宗旨 了嗎?不爭、不貪、不求、不自私、不自利、不 打妄語了嗎?」

師父一生吃苦受累,都是為感化我們眾生,使 我們能離苦得樂,那我們就應該不辜負師父之苦 心,Try our best!(盡我們最大的努力!)師父 的高德及慈悲,能夠感化像我們這樣千千萬萬的 人,我們要拿出真心來精進,才不辜負師父的苦 心,才能把師父的精神發揚光大。

I cried for a long, long time. The Master said to me in a very kind and compassionate way, "Now you have come home." Then he asked me, "What is your maiden name?" I said, "Yu." He said, "Where were you originally from?" I said, "San Francisco." "What was your father's name?" I told him. Ah! My father and the Master were good friends! Since my father was very interested in Chinese culture, after the Master came to the States, the two had become good friends. However, since I had already married and moved to Los Angeles, the conditions were not ripe for me to meet the Master. In fact, my father had known the Master since 1962, and I had to wait until after my father passed away (1976) to meet the Master and take refuge with him.

After we took refuge, the Master transmitted the five precepts to us. I smoked and drank then. The Master said: "After you have taken refuge, you should not smoke again. The Bodhisattvas do not like people to smoke. If you smoke, the smell of it will drive the Bodhisattvas away." So I quit smoking. Not smoking was not a big problem for me because I never liked smoking. I just joined in with friends when we were playing mahjong. However, to quit drinking was very difficult for me because I had loved to drink ever since I was young. My husband always worried that I would become an alcoholic one day. So I always tell him, "You should be thankful and filial to the Master, because he has saved both your life and mine." If it were not for the Master who turned me into an "upright" person, our lives and our family would probably have gone down the drain. So my husband has always been grateful to the Master. Originally a Catholic, now he is also the Master's disciple.

Later on I thought to myself, "If I could give up drinking, I would truly be making a new start." So, not long after I took refuge, I quit both drinking and smoking. My husband was very surprised and could not believe it. From that time on, I started to change. It wasn't easy to change my bad habits. But I always remembered the Master's words, "Try your best!" I never again went out singing, drinking, and dancing. Gradually, I stopped going out with those friends. I also tried to influence them by urging them to eat vegetarian food. Many of those friends we used to go out with are now Buddhists. Since they came from a variety of different backgrounds, I could only influence them to change with my own conduct.

However, I still could not switch to a completely vegetarian diet. When I went to the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, I would sneak out for fried chicken every afternoon. How did I become a complete vegetarian? Well, at that time, the Master had just bought an old church on Sixth Street. He was about to start renovating the old building into a Way-place. That was right after the Golden Dragon Massacre of the China Youth gang. There had always been gang wars in Chinatown. Two large gangs, China Youth and Joe Boys, open fired on each other in Golden Dragon Restaurant and killed a lot of people. It made the international news. The economy of Chinatown had always depended on tourism, but with this news, the entire San Francisco Chinatown suddenly became a ghost town. No one dared to go there. People knew for sure that the China Youth gang would fight back, but they didn't know when.

The leader of the China Youth gang at that time is now the Master's disciple. One day, when they were searching for weapons, they came to the vicinity of the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas. The City was holding a Dharma assembly that day, and there were many Chinese attending. I was working as an usher by the gate. Upon spotting those young men, I warmly greeted them and led them into the City to join the Dharma assembly. The Master was holding a refuge ceremony. I didn't know who they were, but when they asked to see the Master, I was very pleased, thinking that they already wanted to learn Buddhism and take refuge with the Master at such a young age. When the Master saw them, he asked me, "Do you know who they are?" I said, "No." When they requested to take refuge with the Master, the Master asked them very sternly, "I will grant your request, but can you stop killing, stealing, robbing, and plundering from now on?" While I was wondering why the Master was asking them so many times, they all answered, "Yes," and the Master allowed them to take refuge. After they left, the Master told me, "Those young men are members of the China Youth gang." The Master knew! But I hadn't known; and in my ignorance, I had taken them to see the Master.

Because of that event, the Master not only changed the lives of those people, he also saved the community of overseas Chinese in San Francisco. After the Golden Dragon Massacre, Chinatown had fallen into a predicament. If people continued to stay away from Chinatown, there would be no business to do.

After the members of the China Youth gang had taken refuge with the Master, they reformed, and there was no more bloodshed or gunfights. Chinatown gradually flourished again, but very few knew what had happened. The members of China Youth later helped out with many things at Gold Mountain Monastery. At that time, the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas was building its mountain gate, and they went to take charge of the work. Later, they also came to help renovate the church on Sixth Street. When Guo Gao and I brought lunch to them, I discovered that these young people of the China Youth gang were all vegetarians. I felt very ashamed and unsettled, because although I had followed the Master for many years, as their big Dharma sister, I still hadn't become completely vegetarian. One night, I was startled awake, and I seemed to hear either myself or Guan Yin Bodhisattva say, "Haven't you eaten enough?" I rushed to the Buddha hall in our home and prayed to the Bodhisattva. I rarely plead with the Bodhisattva. Even when I am seriously ill and in pain, I still feel that these are karmic obstacles which I must endure. This was the first time that I sought Guan Yin Bodhisattva's aid to help me switch to an all-vegetarian diet. The next morning, I told my husband I was going to be a vegetarian from that day on, but he didn't believe me. He said, "You must mean you will be vegetarian for today." That was when Gold Wheel Monastery was having its Opening Light Ceremony (January 2, 1983).

From that time on, I started bowing the Ten Thousand Buddhas Repentance every morning in my home, to repent of the evil karma I created in the past. The hardest thing to change has been my bad temper. When the Master used to come to Los Angeles to lecture on the Sutras every month, he would always ask me, "Do you still have a temper?" I'm still working hard on this.

The Master teaches us to change from within, not to seek outside. If we cannot even become good people, how can we become Buddhas? Therefore, we have to watch our behavior in our daily lives. We must always be alert and ask ourselves: "Is this what a Buddhist should do? Are we the Master's disciples? Have we really observed the Six Great Principles of no fighting, no greed, no seeking, no selfishness, no pursuit of personal benefit, and no lying?"

Throughout his life, the Master has endured all kinds of bitterness in order to transform living beings and enable us to leave suffering and attain bliss. We should not disappoint our Master's earnest intentions. We should try our best! With his great virtue and compassion, the Master can transform multitudes of people like ourselves. Therefore, we must bring forth a true mind and vigorously cultivate, so that we can live up to the Master's hopes and cause the Master's spirit to flourish.

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