The Venerable Master toiled every minute and second, travelling from
place to place, forgetting himself for the sake of the Dharma.
The Venerable Master state was the state of theFlower Adornment Sutra.
·The Venerable Master knew only
that there were others; he didn’t know that he had a self.
·When the Venerable Master was
being a “monk in the grave” in San Francisco’s Chinatown after he had
just come to America, he would sometimes go to the garbage dump and
take out vegetables to eat. He didn’t feel there was anything bad about
it. The Venerable Master said, “Cultivators shouldn’t eat too well. If
they eat too well, they won’t cultivate.”
·The Venerable Master has a
compassionate heart. He completely knows and perceives the sounds of
sadness, sounds of grief, sounds of suffering, sounds of resentment,
sounds of sighing...even the shedding of a single tear of living
beings, and even when they are more than 84,000 miles away. The
Venerable Master hears their sounds and rescues them from suffering.
·The Venerable Master said, “As
long as I am in San Francisco, I will not allow San Francisco to have
an earthquake!” When a major earthquake occurred in San Francisco in
1989, the Venerable Master was in Taiwan, toiling nonstop to hold a
Dharma Session for Protecting the Nation and Quelling Disasters (he was
also undertaking a complete fast at the time). The Venerable Master was
very concerned about the living beings in the earthquake zone, so he
immediately returned to America. Three days later, he flew back to
Taiwan to continue giving his blood and sweat to protect the nation and
·For more than ten years,
regardless of the wind, rain, or hot weather, the Venerable Master
would travel once a month from San Francisco to Gold Wheel Monastery in
Los Angeles to propagate the Dharma. The car that the Venerable Master
rode in was battered, old, and had no air conditioning. Although his
robes would be soaked with sweat after the uncomfortable journey, he
never once complained. When they passed through Coalinga (where cows
were slaughtered), the Venerable Master would get out of the car, face
the several thousand cows who were doomed to be slaughtered, and recite
for them, compassionately saving them and enabling them to leave
suffering and attain bliss.
About half a year after Gold Buddha Monastery was founded in Canada,
the Venerable Master started going to Los Angeles only every other
month. After Gold Buddha Monastery opened, in order to save the money
it would have cost to buy a plane ticket, the Venerable Master would
travel by car for eighteen hours to Seattle, and then ride for three
more hours the following day to reach Vancouver. After propagating the
Dharma there for several days, he would then travel by car back to the
City of Ten Thousand Buddhas. During those trips, except during his one
meal at midday, the Master didn’t even drink water. It was very
difficult. That was how he travelled between the Sagely City of Ten
Thousand Buddhas and the various Way-places, undergoing great suffering
·The Venerable Master toiled
every minute and second, travelling from place to place, forgetting
himself for the sake of the Dharma. Over the years, I have seen the
Venerable Master travel for over ten hours without even taking a drink
of water. Wherever he went, as soon as he arrived at the Way-place, the
Dharma Masters there would bow to him and then immediately report to
him on various matters. Sometimes this would go on for several hours,
and there would still be endless temple matters and personal problems
that required his immediate attention. The Venerable Master didn’t even
have time to eat, much less to take a rest. Yet I never saw the Master
complain once. He always bore the toil and the complaints, setting an
example with his own conduct. He didn’t pay any heed to his body. Every
day he exhausted himself like this.
·The Venerable Master often
reminded us not to let our time go to waste. No matter how exhausting
or long the journey was, the Venerable Master would always rise early
the next morning. Sometimes he would start working at two or three
o’clock in the morning.
·No matter where the Venerable
Master was, whether he was in the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas or
somewhere far away, he would never ask a layperson who lived outside
the City to drive him somewhere.
·In April of this year (1995), I
had an opportunity to visit Cixing Monastery—the Venerable Master’s
Way-place at Lanto Island in Hong Kong. From Hong Kong, I rode on the
ferry for one hour, then took a one-hour bus ride, and finally climbed
the mountain for an hour, before reaching Cixing Chan Monastery hidden
deep in the mountains, where no trace of human dwellings could be seen.
I think back to the time when the Venerable Master was constructing the
monastery. For the sake of feeding the workers, he would take the ferry
to Hong Kong to buy rice and then carry the heavy bags of rice over his
shoulder and walk back up the steep slopes to the monastery. The
Venerable Master’s laborious pains can still be seen all about the
monastery today. I cannot help feeling grieved and deeply moved!
·The Venerable Master not only
fasted for world peace, he frequently also refused to eat when his
disciples were stubborn and disobedient, lost their tempers, or got
into arguments. He would blame himself for lacking virtue and failing
to teach his disciples well.
Although the Venerable Master appeared stern, his heart was gentle and
warm. He silently took care of every person.
·Each of the Way-places of the
Dharma Realm Buddhist Association is characterized by the constant
turning of the Dharma wheel. Whether there are many people or few—even
if there aren’t any—lectures on the Sutras are held every day. If there
is one day the Sutras are not lectured, that day people should go
without eating. When the Venerable Master spoke the Dharma, he
penetrated it deeply yet expressed it in very simple words. His words
were straight to the point. He employed skillful expedients and had
ocean-like wisdom. After listening to the Venerable Master’s talks,
each disciple would say, “Today the Venerable Master was talking about
me!” The Venerable Master spoke the Dharma in such a lively and
humorous way that his disciples were never able to doze off during his
·The Venerable Master
remonstrated earnestly with his disciples, giving instructions in their
ear or telling them to their face, teaching them, “Don’t give up on
yourself! Everyone can become like (the sage-emperors) Yao and Shun!”
·In the Way-place, the Venerable
Master set up strict rules and taught his disciples to concentrate
single-mindedly at all times and diligently cultivate. One’s eyes
should not look around at random. One’s mouth should not indulge in
meaningless conversation, idle chatter, or irrelevant talk, as these
are a waste of time. In order to avoid obstructing the Way, one’s mind
should not try to exploit conditions or curry favor from anyone.
·When the Venerable Master
explained the Lives of the Patriarchs, he frequently exhorted us to go
against the mainstream, to be brave candles in a strong gale, heroes,
and outstanding people. Where should we begin? By applying effort while
we are walking, standing, sitting, and lying down; while we are eating,
wearing clothes, and sleeping.
·The Venerable Master was both a strict teacher and a kindly father.
Although he appeared stern, his heart was gentle and warm. He cared
infinitely for his disciples and silently took care of every person.
·What upset the Venerable Master
most was to see his disciples lose their tempers.
·One night, during a Sutra
lecture in Wonderful Words Hall, not a single left-home person was
willing to go up to the podium and lecture. After the lecture was over
and people were leaving Wonderful Words Hall to return to the
Buddhahall, the Venerable Master knelt down by the doorway and watched
the assembly walk out, reproaching himself sternly, bestowing a
wordless teaching. I don’t know how many people realized what great
lengths the Venerable Master had gone to.
·The Venerable Master had great
wisdom and handled all matters without conscious deliberation,
resolving all problems at once.
·The Venerable Master’s memory
power was astounding. As Layman Zhou Guoli recalls, during the nine
years that the Venerable Master explained the Flower Adornment Sutra in
the 1970’s, he was able to recite the text in a clear voice, without
missing a single word and without looking at the book.
·The Venerable Master was the
most carefree person I have ever met. He was truly able to “sweep away
all dharmas and separate from all marks.” He didn’t have any attachment
at all, unlike us ordinary people, whose every thought is about: “What
I have done, what offering I made in a certain month of a certain year,
what I..., I..., I...”
·The Venerable Master’s state
was inconceivable and ineffable. No matter how much I write, I will
never be able to finish. It’s impossible to truly express the Venerable
Master’s great kindness, great compassion, great joy, great
renunciation, great courage, great wisdom, great conduct, great
strength... The Venerable Master’s state was the Flower Adornment
State. Only through constant reading of the Flower Adornment Sutra with
a calm mind will we be able to recognize our extraordinary teacher. The
most fortunate thing in my life is that I have been able to encounter
the Venerable Master and frequently draw near to the Venerable Master
in this Dharma-ending Age.