總記得師父的話，｢Try your best！｣（盡你
心，Try our best！（盡我們最大的努力！）師父
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.