Tran Van Trai was born in a
Buddhist family in Saigon,
Vietnam. He started going to the temple to bow to the Buddhas with his
mother when he was 11 years old. When he was in eleventh grade, his
family moved to a home near a slaughterhouse. He heard the screaming
and wailing of the pigs at night, and it broke his heart. It awoke in
him empathy and compassion toward all beings.
He moved to Canada in 1979,
after the communists had taken over
Vietnam. He liked to go fishing and play cards in his leisure time. In
1986, his wife joined the Buddhist Association of Calgary (which later
became the Avatamsaka Monastery). In 1987 the Venerable Master came to
Calgary to hold the opening ceremony for Avatamsaka Monastery. At that
time, he took refuge with the Master, became a vegetarian, and
supported the temple.
In 1989, the Venerable Master
appointed Guo Trai as a trustee on the
Advisory Board of Dharma Realm Buddhist University. One day, Dharma
Master Heng Sure told Guo Trai to go to the board meeting at the City
of Ten Thousand Buddhas. He hesitated because he had just bought a
house and had spent all his savings on the down payment, and absence
from work would mean no income. Dharma Master Heng Sure told him not to
worry and to just go to the meeting, so he did. After buying some
things at the corner store outside of the City, he had one dollar left.
On impulse, he bought a lottery ticket.
When he arrived home, the flood
of bills awaited him. In the midst of
his anxiety, he remembered the lottery ticket and called to find out
the winning numbers. Amazingly, all the numbers matched, except the
bonus number, which was a number higher. He would have been a
millionaire if the bonus number had also matched. However, he was happy
with the four thousand dollars he won, which helped him to pay off his
bills and get through the financial hardship. He donated the remaining
money to the temple.
The next time Guo Trai saw the
Venerable Master, he mentioned winning
the lottery ticket. The Venerable Master only smiled and said