The encounters in our lives are really mysterious and wonderful. I worked in a military agency in Taipei for twenty-three years. The work was serious in nature. It kept me busy and gave order to my life. Later I switched to working in a newspaper and magazine publishing company for three years. I was still very busy there and had no spare time for matters unrelated to work. My evenings were spent at social gatherings. Amidst tumblers and wine glasses, my life did not seem to have any connection with Buddhism. I had only some vague ideas about transmigration; for instance, I knew that if one did not do evil deeds, one could be reborn in the Western Land of Ultimate Bliss. As to Buddhist doctrines, my knowledge was limited to offering up incense to seek protection from the Bodhisattvas.
In early 1992, I learned by chance through a friend that the Venerable Master Hua was the founder of the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, Instilling Goodness Elementary School, and Developing Virtue Secondary School. I was also given the Venerable Master's Talks on Dharma and commentaries on Sutras. This gave me the chance to learn about the Buddhadharma and find out more about the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas and the schools there. I also collected information regarding all aspects of Buddhism. I was convinced that children who went to school in the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, with its orthodox Buddhism, would certainly not become bad kids.
Therefore, at the end of 1992, I decided to send my child to school at the City. In June of the following year, I put down all business and came to the City for a visit. That was the first time I had a chance to come in contact with the essence of Buddhism, and I realized that religion could give us the spiritual strength to establish our lives and settle ourselves. It is not a teaching that people are forced to follow. Rather, we are permeated with it in our daily lives. The spirit of orthodox religion makes possible the growth and perfection of our spiritual life. It provides children with the greatest wealth of life. Therefore, my decision was a positive one; the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas is surely the most wholesome holy place for attending school and learning Buddhism. At that time the Venerable Master was promoting volunteer teaching, and upon receiving Principal Chiang's enthusiastic invitation, I firmly made up my mind, after deep consideration, to give up my stable editing job and accept the invitation to become a volunteer teacher in early December. I plunged into the work of teaching and managing the school dormitory. I also furthered my contact with and study of the Buddhadharma.
In July of 1994, I took refuge with the Venerable Master. I am deeply fond of being permeated by this environment of pure, tranquil bowing and vegetarian food. This holy land is far removed from the worldly life outside the City.