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Dharma Master Lyu, all Dharma Masters, and all laypeople:
T oday I received the Abbot’s instructions asking me to meet with everyone tonight and talk about the development of my relationship with the Venerable Master Hsuan Hua. However, because of my advanced age, I cannot speak clearly, so I hope all of you will forgive me.
A little earlier Abbot Heng Lyu gave me a copy of the memorial collection in honor of the Venerable Master Hsuan Hua. As soon as I opened the book and began to read, I realized that the Venerable Master’s merit and virtue are extremely great. He made a great contribution to this world. His state cannot be expressed in words. He certainly was a great Bodhisattva who came back riding on his vows.
Ever since June 7, 1995, when we received the news of the Venerable Master Hua’s Nirvana, many Buddhists in Shanghai, China, have felt extremely sad. On that day, at the Yuan Ming Lecture Hall we happened to be commemorating the Anniversary of the late Elder Dharma Master Yuan Ying. Two to three thousand people were present, and they all heard this sad news. So right in that Dharma Assembly, we began a memorial ceremony for the Greatly Virtuous Elder Master Hsuan Hua. Two to three thousand people recited the Buddha’s name in the morning in memory of the Venerable Master Hua. After lunch, we also held a universal bowing session in memory of the Venerable Master. On that day, many Buddhists who had come to the Yuan Ming Lecture Hall to attend the Dharma Assembly all participated in the memorial ceremony for the Elder Dharma Master Hua and in the bowing ceremony.
That day was just as Chairman Zhao Puchu of the Buddhist Association of China described in his telegram of condolence: “It’s as if the ship has sunk in the sea of suffering, and the eyes of humans and gods have been put out.” We all felt extremely grieved.
The Venerable Master said when he was alive, “I came from empty space, and I will return to empty space.” This is also the essential meaning of the Vajra Sutra. I hope all the Dharma Masters and laypeople who are present will remember in their hearts these last words of the Elder Dharma Master, “I came from empty space, and I will return to empty space.” At all times and places, do not be apart from the Elder Dharma Master’s last teaching. It should always be inseparable from you, just as when you used to draw near the Elder Dharma Master.
What does it mean? It means that empty space is vast, great, and perfect, pervading the entire Dharma Realm. None of us can be apart from empty space. We rely on empty space to exist in the world. Without empty space, we wouldn’t be able to exist. As disciples of the Elder Dharma Master, we often received teachings from him, and we should remember in our hearts all the things he said. If we do that, then at all times and places we will be able to see the Elder Dharma Master as if he were right in front of us.
The Elder Dharma Master also said some other things after that sentence. He said, “The mother of all Buddhas is the Flower Adornment Sutra”; “The wonderful function of the proper Dharma is the Shurangama Sutra”; and “The Tathagata’s Dharma is the Proper Dharma Eye Treasury.” What is the meaning of these last three statements of the Elder Dharma Master? He hoped that everyone would spend more time reciting, reading, and studying the Flower Adornment Sutra, which is the mother of all Buddhas and can give birth to all the limitless Buddhas. So, the Flower Adornment Sutra is the mother of all Buddhas. To perpetuate the proper Dharma, use the Shurangama Sutra. What principles does the Shurangama Sutra discuss? It talks about very fundamental principles. If we want the proper Dharma to stay forever and never decline, we can spend more time studying the Shurangama Sutra. The Elder Dharma Master talked about many “no’s.” I hope everyone will remember for their whole life the six no’s that the Elder Dharma Master spoke about—no fighting, no greed, no seeking, no selfishness, no self-benefitting, and no lying. I also hope everyone will spend more time studying the Flower Adornment Sutra and reading the Shurangama Sutra. The mother of all Buddhas, the wonderful function of the proper Dharma, and the tradition of Buddhism—everyone should remember these in their minds. Even though the Elder Dharma Master Hsuan Hua has already passed away, his teachings and his words of Dharma are still very much in the world. Much of the work that he has done is still in the world. I hope that all of you Dharma Masters will unite under the leadership of Dharma Master Heng Lyu, Dharma Master Heng Sure, and your elder Dharma-brothers, so that you can propagate and expand the Venerable Master’s endeavors, causing them to become ever more flourishing with each passing day. Only then will you not be ungrateful for the Elder Dharma Master’s bitter toil. His numerous achievements have been passed on to you.
I was not very well prepared for today’s talk. I just opened the memorial collection and skimmed through the essays. Those statements of the Elder Dharma Master are extremely important. They are truly the Tathagata’s Proper Dharma Eye Treasury. They are the genuine truth. I hope everyone will cherish these words of the Elder Dharma Master in their hearts forever. Then we will never be away from the Venerable Master’s teachings for a moment. At all times we will be remembering the Venerable Master’s wishes. Among his Eighteen Great Vows, the last one is that all his vows will be fulfilled. If all of you can follow this, then the Venerable Master will truly obtain the full strength and complete support of his disciples in realizing his Eighteen Great Vows.
Due to the limited time, I will not say too much. My friendship with the Elder Dharma Master goes back many years, and it cannot be summed up in a couple of sentences. I think all of you have seen or heard about our friendship of many years. How did I come this time? I received repeated invitations from Dharma Master Heng Lyu, and so despite my busy schedule in Shanghai, I was determined to come to the Sagely City of Ten Thousand Buddhas to bid farewell to the Elder Dharma Master, to pray that the vows he made will be fulfilled, that the ceremonies will be orderly and splendid, and that everything will turn out well. Thank you all. Finally I’d like to thank Dharma Master Heng Lyu, Dharma Master Heng Sure, and all the Dharma Masters who are present. Thank you, everyone! Bye-bye. Sayonara!
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A lofty Sanghan came to America to create good causes
Whether old friends or new acquaintances, everyone liked to draw near him.
He crossed the vast ocean to propagate the holy teaching.
He flew to a distant foreign land to spread the pure sound.
In Tathagata Monastery, people cultivate in accord with the Dharma;
In the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, the myriad things flourish.
The perfection of his merit and virtue will shine in the pages of history.
His great deeds that will endure for a thousand autumns illuminate the present time.
The bell and drum are struck at Wonderful Enlightenment Mountain.
In the town of Talmage, there was an eminent Sanghan.
The Venerable Elder To Lun's compassion was earnest.
The Shramana Hsuan Hua's kind vows were profound.
Opening the door of extensive giving, he hosted the Water Land Ceremony.
With an assembly open to all without restriction, he benefited sentient beings.
His vast, great vows are as deep as the sea.
We hope that, riding on his vows, he will return to save living beings.