t the age of ten, I happened to see a Wesak Day (Buddha’s birthday) parade. The following day, some friends invited me to go to a Buddhist association to study Buddhism with them. I was deeply interested in the Buddhist class and attended it every week. I started from their beginners’ class and went all the way through the advanced class. I spent a total of five years there, thus developing a deep affinity with Buddhism.
Later, I continued to participate in Dharma sessions to listen to the Dharma, recite Sutras, recite the Buddha’s name, and so on, and I discovered that the more I studied Buddhism, the more I liked it. I would be especially joyous whenever I saw the members of the Sangha (the monastic order); boundless respect would spontaneously come forth. I thought to myself, “One day, I want to be like them, to leave the home-life. That is the only path I want to walk.”
After I graduated from school, with the Master’s kind and compassionate acceptance my wish to shave my head was fulfilled. After I left the home-life, I felt as if I had begun a new life. Like a newborn baby, I was steeped in the cultivation of the monastery every day, learning little by little. Every day we recite Sutras, bow to the Buddha, listen to Sutra lectures, and do work following a fixed schedule. At the beginning, there was nothing exciting about it. However, I realized the subtle wonder after some time; as it is said, “The ordinary mind is the Way.”
Under the teaching and guidance of a good and wise advisor, I slowly recognized the ugly side of myself. It has been my burden since countless kalpas. It causes me to be dishonest, insincere, and thus unable to attain peace and happiness. Fortunately, I have encountered the proper Dharma in this life, allowing me to learn to change evil to wholesomeness and to practice the kind, compassionate, selfless spirit of the Bodhisattva. I deeply believe this is a path of great brightness, to which worldly pleasures cannot compare. If I do not take the first step, when will I be able to return to the original source?