It was late autumn; the clear blue sky was decorated by a few clusters of white clouds. The light breeze gently blew in the 70 degree temperature, while dustings of frost were sprinkled upon the maples and other trees that were growing pea size fruits. The maple leaves and the medleys of fruits were turning from green to red, and the oak leaves had begun to fall. In contrast, the two golden-colored entrance gates were still shiny and aglow.
In the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, the Buddha Hall was brimming with faithful believers who sat upon the crimson-colored carpet, listening to the Venerable Master's instructional talk: "You are all seeds of the Buddha, who surely will be planted in the pastures that uproot suffering."
"The use of the Great Compassion Mantra is miraculously effective. Start by reciting the Ten Great Vows, then chant the Great Compassion Mantra 108 times or forty-nine times, and then make an offering of one cup of water. The Great Compassion Mantra can treat 84,000 kinds of diseases; neither Chinese nor Western medicine can cure karmic hindrances; only the Great Compassion Mantra is effective against karmic hindrances."
There is no discrimination of superior and inferior among medicines; as long as it cures the illness, it is good. The Dharma is neither excellent nor poor; as long as it meets the need, it is wonderful. The Dharma spoken by the Venerable Master is the Dharma which cures greed, anger, and delusion at their roots; all karmic hindrances take form from greed, anger, and delusion.
At two-thirty in the afternoon, the Venerable Master's attendant, lay disciple Guo Yin, came to summon my parents, my elder sister Shuyun Bai, and myself to Cottage Number 3 for a conversation with the Venerable Master. So my elder sister and I accompanied Mother and Father in going together.
Ding-dong! The door was opened by the Venerable Master's attendants, lay disciples Fengbao and Guo Bao.
"Third Brother, Third Sister-in-law, Jinxue, Shuyun, please come in!"
The Venerable Master, who wore a white sweater, was seated on a sofa, while Guo Yin, Fengbao, and Guo Bao stood on the right side of the sofa with their palms together.
Father and Mother placed their palms together to pay respect to the Venerable Master; my elder sister and I bowed three times in respect to the Venerable Master.
"Sit down," said the smiling Venerable Master, as he pointed to the two sofa chairs to the left, motioning to my parents to sit down and talk with him.
Father and Mother sat on the sofa chairs, while my elder sister and I knelt on the carpet to the left of our parents, facing the Venerable Master, with our palms joined together.
The Venerable Master spoke: "So? How has your health been recently? I've been very busy every day, so I haven't had time to go visit you."
"I am very well. From the time I arrived from the Mainland until now, you've constantly been concerned about me. Not only will I not die, I will not fall ill either. Another ten or eight years would be no problem." Father's ears were very deaf, but he could hear all the words spoken by the Venerable Master.
The Venerable Master asked my father: "We saw each other in 1958, do you remember?"
"I remember. I will never be able to forget it.
"In 1958,1 overexerted myself and was vomiting blood. Leaning on a walking cane, I could not do a single thing. One afternoon, I fell asleep while leaning against the leg of a table. I had a dream, in which there was word going around about a general meeting. At that time the Great Leap Forward Movement was going on, and every day a general meeting was held, so I went to the meeting auditorium. The auditorium was set up with chairs, but not a single person was there. I waited for a while, and then I saw you coming in through the door. You asked me, 'Third Elder Brother, you overexerted yourself?' I said, 'That's right!' You then said, 'Drink some Yellow Paper Money and you will get better.' I replied that nowadays the policy is to eliminate superstition, so how would one be able to find Yellow Paper Money? I then saw you reach into your shirt and pull out some Yellow Paper Money, which you burned. Handing me the ashes, you said, 'Third Elder Brother, drink this.' I took it and drank it. When I awoke, hmmm! I was well and no longer vomited blood.
"In 1965 I saw you once more," Father continued recollecting his story.
"In 1965, I again overexerted myself and vomited blood. I forced myself to stand up straight and walk about while leaning upon a walking cane. One afternoon, I had another dream.
"Leaning on the cane, I walked toward the south. As I walked, two high and steep mountains suddenly appeared before me, with two tiny foot paths, one leading straight up to the southwestern peak and the other going straight up to the southeastern peak."
To be continued