漸漸的，我已可以把握身體的運作了，可是內心卻充滿了相互矛盾的感情。「天哪！」我不斷對自己說：「我幹過莫名其妙的事多啦，這樁事最絕頂了。」我在 Dolores 街向右轉，穿越 Market 街和 Safeway 超級市場的大廣場，朝向金門大橋方向前進。天亮時我到了田德隆區，城市漸漸甦醒過來了。我感覺到警察已跟蹤我幾個街口了。我想得出他們在想些甚麼。
中午，我拜到 Russian Hill 的頂部。許多人看到我，可沒人來跟我講話。他們張著嘴巴盯著我。一個駕白色大車的婦人，在十字路口的中央猛然煞車，驚叫：「天哪！」我盡量集中心念，無視外界騷擾帶來的苦惱，不停地拜著。可在我內心的情感與妄想交織之中，我聽見有微弱的笑聲。
中午用過慘兮兮的一餐——冷飯和路邊野草，繼續從 Russian Hill 拜下去。快傍晚時，我拜到了金門大橋前的小公園：我已拜了五哩。
高中畢業之後，我在美國太平洋的海軍潛艇部隊服役六年。我的潛艦 U.S.S. Rock 號曾去過太平洋各處的異域港口，我也趁機實現了許多最放蕩不羈的構想。我在狹窄悶熱的機房工作，維持重達三十噸的 GMC 柴油機與兩臺老式 Badger 蒸餾器的正常運轉。偶爾，我也潛水到這兩千噸鋼鯊魚的下面，進行非常有趣的探索或修理工作。我喜歡潛艦上的生活，可是在駛向岸邊的漫長的週末卻讓我沮喪。執行官的報告上可寫得明白：「Tim Testu（恒具俗家名）是艦上一寶，不過他在艦上的良好表現，卻讓他在岸上時的糟糕行為抵銷了。」
一次我和 Frank Messerli 夜裡享用夠了威士忌和 bennies（一種毒品）之後，就將菲律賓海軍上將的小汽艇偷了出來。出港時，發現有兩隻魚雷艇在後跟蹤我們。幸虧我們駛向淺水區，擺脫了他們。當我們把小船開回錨位時，看見大約有五十個人和幾個很生氣的軍官在等著我們。當時也不知船是怎麼開的，我們先是全速駛向錨位，直到最後才緊急後退。小船顫抖呻吟噴出一大股黑煙，攪亂了碧藍的海水。在離錨位幾吋時，漂亮地停了下來。岸上爆出狂熱的呼嘯聲，可那些軍官一點都不高興。當天，我們就被罰兩月禁閉。道是對惡作劇最平常的處罰。即便如此，我服役的記錄仍然良好，還得光榮退役呢！
之後，我回美國，正趕上六十年代末的混亂時局。我在大學讀了一點書，接著做過木工、鐵路修理工、港口潛水員，甚至還在跳上空舞的餐館幹過油鍋。（我可是在廚房裡，看不見外面的。）我這些都幹得不錯，可內心卻充滿了孤獨與沮喪之情。後來我吸毒、失業，交了一批惡友，幸好我終於擺脫了這些，也沒受到損害。在華盛頓州 Rainier 山腳下，我找到了一個無政府團體，在那裡可以不問世事。我在那待了六個月，直到那地方全給燒光了才走。
I didn't tell anyone about my decision to bow. I figured since it didn't involve anyone else, why talk about it? I didn't even inform the Abbot. One night in early October, after everyone was asleep, I packed up a bag with some books, food, and clothing, and went bowing out the door onto the sidewalk of Fifteenth Street. I would take three long strides, and then stretch down on hands and knees, bringing my forehead down to within an inch of the pavement. The cement was very cold. The streets were empty; it was dark and I felt quite strange. The bag, which weighed about thirty pounds, was a problem. On the third step, I would toss it ahead and then bow up to it. But this act of bowing was extremely invigorating; it was tremendous exercise! I bowed steadily in order to get in as much mileage and experience as possible before daybreak.
As I bowed along, I had the physical work pretty much under control, but my mind was full of conflicting emotions. "My God!" I kept thinking to myself, "I have done a lot of hard-to-explain things in my life, but this is going to take the cake." I kept bowing; turned right on Dolores Street, across Market Street, through the big Safeway supermarket lot; and headed in the general direction of the Golden Gate Bridge. At daybreak, I was in the heart of the Tenderloin district ghetto, and I could feel the city coming to life. I could also feel the presence of the San Francisco police, who had been shadowing me for several blocks. I could imagine what they would be thinking.
By noon, I had reached the top of Russian Hill. A lot of people had seen me by now, but none had talked to me. They mostly just stared, with their mouths open. One lady drove by in a big white Chrysler, and right in the middle of the intersection she slammed on the brakes and exclaimed in horror, "Oh, my God!" I tried to keep my mind as centered as best I could, and, ignoring the occasional pangs of embarrassment, I kept pounding the pavement. Somewhere down inside of me, beneath all the mixed feelings and scattered thoughts, there was a faint flicker of laughter.
After a miserable lunch of cold rice and some sidewalk weeds, I bowed down Russian Hill, and by late afternoon I made it to a little park just before the entrance to Golden Gate Bridge. I had bowed five miles!
I was quite exhausted, so I found a tree to lean against, and immediately fell asleep. Several hours later I awoke, but I didn't feel at all like the same person I had been earlier in the day. My body was wasted, completely drained of energy. I was filled with a silent terror. I had felt this terror before, but never quite so intense. I couldn't go on like this. I looked up at the little lake in front of me with the geese and all the beautiful shrubbery, and the happy couples strolling hand in hand along the shore. Wow! Thirty years old, and this is how far I'd strayed from reality! How did I get so estranged from ordinary life? And bowing for world peace! How was a lost soul like me going to help world peace?
As I sat there in my despair, dressed in Tang dynasty robes with a freshly shaven head, I contemplated my life. As a child in the Pacific Northwest, I was always the wildest kid in the neighborhood although I'd been born into a good family. And if I wasn't out raising the Devil, then you could find me in dreamland. There, in my flights of imagination, I would perform every heroic act then known to man. Yes, I had won major sports car races throughout the world. Innumerable times, I had whipped the high school ruffian and rescued his girlfriend the cheerleader. And yet, though my mind was in dreamland, I passed successfully through school with only a token effort.
After high school, I plunged into six years of submarine service in the Pacific with the U.S. Navy. My ship, the U.S.S. Rock, visited exotic ports throughout the Pacific, and I was able to actualize many of my wildest schemes. I labored in the very cramped and hot engine rooms, trying to keep thirty tons worth of GMC Diesels and two ancient Badger distillers running properly. On occasion I acted as ship's diver and performed some very exciting recovery and repair jobs down underneath that two-thousand-ton steel shark. I really enjoyed life in the sub, but those long weekends ashore were my downfall. The Executive Officers' report said it all: "Tim Testu is a genuine asset to the ship. His excellent service aboard is only offset by his horrifying conduct ashore."
There was the time when Frank Messerli and I, after a long night of whiskey and bennies, stole the Admirals' launch from the Royal Philippine Navy, and were well on our way out of the harbor before we noticed that there were two torpedo boats after us. Fortunately we outmaneuvered them by heading for shallow water. When we brought the little boat in to that pier, we saw about fifty men and several outraged officers there waiting for us. I don't know how we did it, but we came in to that pier at full speed, and then at the very last second, shifted into all back emergency. The little boat shuddered and moaned, emitting a big puff of black smoke and churning up the crystal blue water. It came to a perfect stop—just inches from the pier, and the men on the dock erupted in wild cheering. But the officers weren't at all happy, and before the day was over, we were sentenced to two months confinement. It was a typical escapade, but even so, I emerged from the service with a good record and an honorable discharge.
Afterwards back in the States, I blended with the clamor and chaos of the late sixties. I did a little college, and then later worked as carpenter, railroad mechanic, harbor diver, and even a fry cook in a topless restaurant (I couldn't see anything from the kitchen). I did well enough, but inside of me there was an overwhelming sense of loneliness and frustration. Eventually, I fell into drugs, unemployment, and bad company, but fortunately escaped unscathed and found my way to an anarchistic commune near the foot of Mt. Rainier in Washington. For six months, I didn't have a care in the world, until the whole place burned down.
By my twenty-fifth year, my dilemma was at its peak, but then by a stroke of luck, I ran across a little temple in San Francisco where the teachings of the Buddha were being transmitted to America. It was like walking into a cave of precious treasures. The cave was my own mind, and the treasure was the multifaceted Dharma. Most important, I had found a teacher with real ability. He was an elder Chinese Buddhist Bhikshu (monk) in the patriarchal succession of Chan Masters, and he had brought to America the whole range of Great Vehicle Buddhism: the Teachings, the Secret Doctrines, the Pure Land School, the Moral Precepts, and Chan. I saw in the Master a living example of the much-sought-after qualities of not only Buddhism but of Taoism and Confucianism as well.
During my first exposure to the Master, I was continually flooded with emotions of all kinds. In his teaching, he instructed us not to be moved or turned around by any kind of situation, but the direct, penetrating manner in which he dealt with my thoughts caused me to respond like an emotional faucet that's running first hot and then cold water. I was overwhelmed with love and respect for the Master. His wisdom, compassion, humor, tact, timing, and understanding of human nature, combined with his penetrating vision and other inconceivable spiritual powers, put him far beyond the scope of any teacher in America. There was no question about it.
Every evening, in a most orthodox and traditional setting, he gave instruction in the Dharma, and what we heard was unspeakably wonderful. There, in that little incense-filled room with thirty or so other people, I many times experienced states of joy and Dharma bliss that brought me to tears. For the first time I had met a person who totally understood me and who really cared about my spiritual welfare and was able to do something about it to the ultimate degree.
To be continued