I was born in Beijing, where I had never learned anything about Buddhism. After I graduated from Peking University in 1985, I came to the U.S. and earned a Ph.D. in physics from Purdue University.
Since the mid-80’s, there have been many changes in the general mood of the Chinese society, which significantly altered my views on the ideal of “benefiting the society.” As a result, I could hardly find any convincing patterns of thinking. My lack of a goal for living gradually formed a kind of pressure within, which forced me to search for a new life. I began to read a lot of books irrelevant to physics, on topics such as photography, history, and religion. In 1991, the word “Chan” in a book inspired my curiosity toward Buddhism. I began to read Buddhist books. I met many unforgettable good friends and my heart became filled with the joy of Dharma. In the same year, I took refuge in the Triple Jewel.
In 1993, a friend in our Buddhist society mentioned my name to the Venerable Master during their conversation. Later he told me, “The Venerable Master said that I shouldn’t follow your example, because you are of Small Vehicle capacity.” I was very surprised by this. At the end of the year, we had an opportunity to meet the Venerable Master. Two questions I asked were: “To end the cycle of birth and death, isn’t it enough to be an Arhat?” Answer: “In that case, one is only concerned for one’s own liberation.” “Bodhisattvas must devote themselves to saving living beings in life after life; isn‘t this suffering?” Answer: “Although we are not Bodhisattvas, we want to learn the Bodhisattva path in life after life. After one realizes the Way, one no longer experiences any suffering, just like an image in a picture.”
At that time, I realized that few people observed the five precepts, but I could not find any way to change the situation. Although my Bodhi resolve was still there, I became totally insensitive to the practice of the six perfections.
From several years’ experience, I realized the importance of practice in a Way-place and the difficulty of maintaining a proper livelihood in the outside world. I began to seriously consider coming to the Sagely City of Ten Thousand Buddhas. In September 1997, I came to the Sagely City as a volunteer teacher in the Developing Virtue Boys School. Here I can cultivate with good friends and comprehensively study the boundless Dharma treasures left by the Venerable Master. The Master once said, “In my opinion, the propagation of Buddhism should begin from education.” This Dharma door, searching for a middle way between my mind and an object as complicated as school, offers me abundant opportunities to learn. I also sincerely hope that more good friends will devote themselves to this work so that together we may adorn this corner of the Dharma Realm.