Elder Upasaka Lin Foxian, born in Fuzhou,
China, at the end of the Qing dynasty, is now nearly ninety.
The ending of the dynasty, the Sino-Japanese war, and the
Nationalist-Communist struggle took place during his
lifetime. While the Chinese populace suffered from internal
conflict and foreign attacks, he lived through this period
of chaos in peace.
When Upasaka Lin was a child, he often watched his mother
worship Guanyin Bodhisattva. In 1986 he began to read the
Venerable Master's Dharma talks and commentaries on Sutras,
as well as to participate in Dharma assemblies. When the
Venerable Master went to Taiwan in 1988, the Elder Upasaka
went to pay his respects. When the Master learned about
Upasaka Lin's name, he nodded over and over. [Note: Foxian
means "Buddha first"]. Upasaka Lin immediately took refuge
with the Venerable Master and received the five precepts.
After returning home, he followed the Master's instructions
without fail and made ten thousand bows to the Buddhas over
several days. From then on his faith in his teacher never
failed and he recited the Buddha's name ceaselessly.
Upasaka Lin has had a perfect marriage. As a young man, he
worked in Gansu Province. At that time the Sino-Japanese war
broke out. His fiancee was faithful to their engagement and,
following her father's instructions, she made the long
journey from Fuzhou to Gansu to get married. Ever since then
she did her best to fulfill her role as wife.
In 1945 Upasaka Lin moved to Taiwan and worked for the
Taiwan Sugar Company. In the following year the February
28th Incident occurred. One night, several vagrants broke
into their home and made two gashes on his head with a
knife. His wife tried to protect him with her own body,
warding off their knives with her hands. A colleague heard
the noise and came to the rescue. Both the colleague and the
doctor were Taiwanese.
In recent years Taiwan has been troubled by ethnic clashes.
The Elder Upasaka reasons that the Buddha is compassionate
and saves all living beings. If everyone believed in the
Buddha and did not discriminate between self and others,
there would be no ethnic conflict and our society would
become harmonious. Having lived for nearly a century and
experienced both the joy and sorrow of human affairs,
Upasaka Lin feels very old. "Advance with vigor, as if
saving your own head!" By being mindful of the Buddha, one
is sure to get to see Amitabha Buddha.