When my daughter gave me a Buddhist magazine about thirty-five years ago, it was a turning point in my life. I pulled myself out from drowning in the five desires, became a vegetarian, and recited the Buddha's name and bowed to the Buddha all day long. Aside from working, I spent all my time in Buddhist affairs. When I was forty-five, I received the Bodhisattva precepts along with my mother. When the Venerable Master came to Taiwan in 1981, I joined the Taking Refuge ceremony and later participated in the cultivation at the Dharma Realm Buddhist Books Distribution Society. I also read the Master's instructional talks on various topics. After my mother passed away, I deeply felt that the Three Realms are a burning house and life is brief, and that the only meaningful thing to do is to diligently cultivate to seek rebirth in the Land of Ultimate Bliss. A year later I quit my job and went with three friends to a temple to devote myself to pure cultivation. After six months' experience of the monastic lifestyle, I considered seriously and, at the encouragement of my elders, decided to leave the home-life.
It is difficult to practice the Way in old age. Nearing seventy, I often wish to do many ceremonies but cannot find the strength. Fortunately, the Venerable Master Hua's wonderful talks have taught me how to contemplate my own mind and cultivate in accord with the Dharma. Among the limitless Dharma doors, I have chosen the practice of reciting the Buddha's name. Relying on Amitabha Buddha's forty-eight great vows, I hope to attain the Buddha-recitation samadhi in this very life, and to be spontaneously reborn in the Land of Bliss, so that I can see the Buddha when my lotus opens, and then return to this Saha land to extensively save sentient beings. I hope to repay the kindness of the Master and the Triple Jewel.
Experiencing states, discipline the mind and cast out habits.
Whether the states are good or bad, let no thoughts arise.
Arising from conditions, all things are empty and insubstantial.
Emptiness and existence are nondual, and the mind has no dwelling.
According with the conditions of fate, cultivate all practices.
When the mind is pure, the Buddha land is also pure.
The One True Dharma Realm is created by the mind.
The mind, the Buddha, and living beings are originally not different.
In cultivation, we must first get rid of attachments. If the mind is free of attachments, it remains pure and impartial, like a clear mirror. Then our inherent Buddha-nature will gradually appear, and our aspiration for Buddhahood will not be in vain. This is what I wanted to share with my fellow cultivators as an encouragement.