Universal Worthy Bodhisattva's Verse of Exhortation goes, This day is already done. Our lives are that much less. We're like fish in an evaporating pond. What joy is there in this? We should be diligent and vigorous, as if our own heads were at stake. Only be mindful of impermanence and be careful not to be lax.
This verse awakened Heng Jiang Shr, whose family for three generations had mostly followed the Yiguandao religion. Living in the mundane world, he felt like a bug wandering aimlessly in a basin without being able to leave it. As an ancient verse says,
Not knowing enough to seek for a good future, We only know how to create evil causes. We take the five rebellious acts and the ten evils as our peers, And the three poisons as our relatives. Alas! How stupid we are to toil in vain, Indulging in idle thoughts all day long.
In 1991 he led his wife and children to take refuge with the Venerable Master Hua. Not long afterwards, he awakened to the meaning of the line, "Taking refuge with the Buddha, I vow that living beings will bring forth the unsurpassed Bodhi mind," and has constantly pondered it ever since. Thinking that he should "vow to cut off evil and cultivate good, and resolve to save all sentient beings," he made up his mind to renounce his worldly wealth and bid farewell to his family. He cast off the fetters of worldly life and became a monk under the Venerable Master Hua in 1994. Afterwards he was sent to Long Beach Monastery to help take care of a group of young novice monks.
After leaving home, he has urged himself on with the Master's instruction: "The teacher takes you in the door, but you yourself have to cultivate. You must end your own birth and death. No one else can do it for you." He also honors the Master's great vow of perpetuating Buddhism and promoting education based upon the Proper Dharma." He is especially careful not to disobey the fervent instructions the Master gave when he was ill: "Encourage the young novices to concentrate on cultivation; recite Sutras often; meditate diligently; put an end to greed, hatred, and stupidity; and diligently practice precepts, samadhi, and wisdom. Only by doing so can they open the door to wisdom." While teaching and taking care of the novices, Heng Jiang Shr also worked on transcribing the Master's explanations of Mahayana Sutras.
In the summer of 1996, he returned to the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas to teach at the Boys' School. He has various responsibilities and works hard without complaint. He humbly says that he has few talents and shallow knowledge, and that all he can do is work honestly and vigorously to tame his mind, break through the demonic net of love, and sever the bonds of incorrect views. Having suffered for "being a blind man misled by the blind," he has now awakened from his delusion and resolved to take the Buddhas' will as his own, to follow the Master's vows, and to point out a level and broad path to all beings: Casting off the fetters of worldly life is the only way to perpetuate the wisdom of the Buddhas.