在一天傍晚講法時上人宣佈了我的想法，屋裡一陣寂靜。當他說：「恆具為了和平，要拜一千哩」時，我感覺很欣慰。他說話那樣有權威，好像在保證我的成功一樣。從那以後我進入了極好的精神狀況，周圍的人似乎也為此高興。我得到各種鼓勵、食品、帳篷器具等等。比丘恆由，俗名 David Bernstein，（美國）羅得島州人，願意和我同行。
It soon became obvious that the Master somehow had access to all of our petty little thoughts: past, present, and future. He rarely left his little room in the back of the temple, yet he always knew what was going on, and it all came out in the lectures. His manner of speaking was very penetrating, cutting through the crap and getting down to the problems that we constantly seemed to create for ourselves. Sometimes there would be scoldings. "I'm not scolding you; I'm scolding your ghosts," he once said. But most of the time was spent carefully explaining the ailments of the grasping, calculating mind, and showing us how to cure ourselves.
During my first year of studying Buddhism, I worked part time as an orderly at the Jewish Home for the Aged in San Francisco. Seeing all the suffering, sickness and death there gave me a very strong impression of the vanity of self-centered existence. I saw very clearly that, although we people of the West have a great flair for life, we have no idea how to prepare for a dignified exit from this world. We have a thousand false values ingrained in us which we cling to desperately right up to the last minute. Buddhism, I found, could help prepare us for this important transition. After a year as a Buddhist layperson, I shaved my head and became a novice monk. A year later, in 1972, I became a fully ordained Bhikshu, a Buddhist monk.
Living in the monastery, I went through a lot of changes. I began sleeping sitting up and eating only once a day. I was surprised to find that these "ascetic" practices were not as difficult as they seemed, and as time progressed they became more natural. I think that is why in the Chan School there is a saying: "Bitter practice, sweet mind." There were others in the monastery who cultivated much harder than I, some eating only raw vegetables, some not touching money, some following other difficult practices; but we all studied the Sutras--the sayings of the Buddha--and there was plenty of time devoted to meditation and the work of daily life. In late 1970, we moved to an old brick mattress-factory in the Mission district, which we converted into what is now Gold Mountain Monastery.
And now, after three years in the monastery-having already left my family, my jobs, and my old future—I'd left the monastery and my teacher as well, to make some strange bowing pilgrimage in quest of some impossible goal. Sitting there in a state of quiet terror in the little park by the Golden Gate Bridge, I couldn't imagine why I had even started out in the first place. I picked up my bag and dragged my weary bones back to the monastery.
I slipped right back into my regular routine. No one had even noticed that I'd been gone. I tried to work up an interest in the activities at the temple, but my heart just wasn't in it. I kept thinking about that one day of bowing. Despite all my false thinking and doubts, I had still gone a very real five miles! And there was something about that experience that was impossible to describe, but which felt like it was reaching to the core. It didn't take long before I decided to take another crack at it.
This time, however, I decided to be a little wiser and a little less mysterious. I revealed my intentions to the Master, and requested his opinion and help. The Master was at first interested, and then delighted with the idea. He gave me encouragement, and I could feel myself begin to overflow with what in Christianity is called the "Holy Spirit." The Master said that the best way to understand the Dharma is to undertake difficult practices. "To do what no one else can do, to be patient when no one can be patient, this is what it's all about!" He recommended that I wait two weeks and start on October 16. Then one evening at the Dharma-lecture, he announced my intentions, and an awesome hush fell over the place. When he said, "Heng Ju is going to bow a thousand miles for the cause of peace," I really felt wonderful. He said it with such authority that it seemed like he was guaranteeing it to be a success. From that point onward, I entered into a very fine state of mind and everyone else seemed to be delighted with the idea, too. I received all kinds of encouragement; offers of food, clothing, camping equipment, etc. And Bhikshu Heng Yo, alias David Bernstein of Providence, Rhode Island, offered to come along to act as a protector.
This journal is a record of our daily thoughts and actions while involved in bowing for world peace. It has been polished up and rewritten from the original log that Heng Yo so meticulously kept during the entire trip. All of the events were real, and none of the names have been changed. Only the perspective has changed as we look back on the trip from the point of completion.
Speaking for both myself and Heng Yo, we would like to transfer any merit we may have acquired from this journey to living beings throughout the universe, hoping that they may quickly obtain the absolute, perfect enlightenment.
To be continued