In 1979, Upasaka Guan Guo Cheng escaped from Vietnam and settled down in a small town in Alberta, Canada. Born in Saigon, he grew up in bloody surroundings. His father was a butcher who ran a barbecue business and died in his fifties. Raised in such circumstances, he had no choice but to become a cattle butcher after immigrating to Canada. It was not until nine years later when he met the Venerable Master Hua that he put down the butcher‘s knife for good, but by that time he had already taken the lives of many creatures.
When he heard from a friend that the Avatamsaka Monastery was only two hours’ drive away in Calgary, he was so pleased. He had always wished for a monastery in Calgary, and he was willing to move from the small town into Calgary if there was one. His wish finally came true, and he was able to draw near a monastery of the Proper Dharma.
In 1990, he came to the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas (CTTB) for the first time and participated in the Jeweled Repentance before Ten Thousand Buddhas. The buildings and houses seemed so familiar to him, as if he’d been there a long time ago. The pure sounds of Sutra recitation also sounded familiar as they echoed in his ears, washing away his mundane worries. Once when he encountered the Venerable Master, his heart was filled with fear. Later the Venerable Master compassionately tapped him on the head three times, and it was as if a heavy burden had been lifted; he was no longer afraid of the Master.
He returned to CTTB for the Great Water, Land, and Air Dharma Assembly in 1992 and took refuge. Since then he has gradually entered the Sutra Treasury and developed his wisdom.
When disciples celebrated the Venerable Master’s birthday at Long Beach in 1993, Upasaka Guan stayed there for ten days. The Master kindly exhorted him to stop killing; he woke up and changed his bloody profession. Now he is a vigorous cultivator and a bus driver who helps out the monastery.
One year he wanted to renounce the home life. He went with his wife to Avatamsaka Monastery and requested to have his head shaved. However, all the Dharma Masters were opposed because he had three young children to take care of, and he went home disappointed.
Upasaka Guan is very clear about his future. He hopes to complete his worldly responsibilities soon and come to CTTB to concentrate on his cultivation. Only in a pure environment can he extricate himself from the ocean of karma. He hopes everyone can “put down the butcher’s knife and quickly become a Buddha.”