Born in Cambodia, Guocong (Albert) Choua has been very close to Buddhism ever since he was young. His family specialized in selling monks' robes, and there was a large Theravada temple near his home. In the summer when he was eight years old, his grandmother had him follow a Bhikshu on his almsround. When the Bhikshu's four-layer almsbowl became filled with food offerings from laypeople, little Guocong's duty was to carry it back to the temple. That was a very special experience for him.
At age twelve, he moved to Laos. One day as he was walking to school in the rain, he slipped and fell in a large street, and an army jeep drove over his right leg. Yet it felt like cotton brushing his leg, and he escaped unharmed. Without pausing to think, he hurried on to school. It was only later that he reflected and realized how serious the incident had been and became scared. The Buddhas and Bodhisattvas must have secretly blessed him!
1992 was a turning point in Upasaka Choua's life. He attened the Great Compassion Repentance and Liberating Life Ceremony at Avatamsaka Hermitage in Washington, D.C., and was filled with Dharma joy. He also realized that the Venerable Master's Six Guidelines are a supremely wonderful Dharma for living beings in the Dharma-ending Age.
In 1992 Upasaka Choua came to a Buddha Recitation Session at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas. Before coming, he had been bedridden for a week with a grave illness. On the first day of the session, his mind was chaotic and he had a deviant thought: "Don't believe in Amitabha Buddha. He doesn't exist." Just as he was about to lose faith, two pictures that he'd seen in Venerable Master Guangqin's Biography flashed through his mind and quelled the deviant thought. He was able to complete the session smoothly, and he took the five precepts. In 1995 he received the Bodhisattva Precepts at CTTB.
Upasaka Choua once had a dream in which Elder Master Guangqin lifted him and gave him a sound spanking, and then said, "OK. Now your karmic obstacles are gone!" Because of that, he deeply believes in the Pure Land Practice and recites the Buddha's name without cease, seeking rebirth in the Western Land of Ultimate Bliss. The Venerable Master Hua and Elder Master Guangqin are like two bright lamps guiding his practice. Under their guidance, he is confident that he is not far from home!