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他那時的觀念局限於西方，在以後的六年中，他曾跟隨過的人包括基督教存在主義 Paul Tillich、 Paul Lee 教授，心理學家 Jerome Bruner、 Richard Alpert 和Timothy Leary。他曾在歐洲、北非四處旅行，有一段期間在法國巴黎大學獨立研習。1965年為哈佛大學社會關係系心理學組榮譽畢業生，獲學士學位；他的論文「我在這裡：精神分裂症起源之推測」享有很高的榮譽。這段時間，他在一個精神病院患者福利委員會做事，在麻省理工學院當研究助理，領取國家科學基金會心理研究津貼，還擔任許多其他研究的職務。
果容居士回到舊金山後，於1967年12月皈依三寶禮上人為師，依教繼續求學。他從政府拿到大筆的國防獎學金，到華盛頓州立大學讀書，在 Hellmut Wilhelm 教授、 Edward Conze 教授，和 Leon Hurvitz 教授指導下做事；1969年8月拿到中國語文系碩士學位。
Editor's Note: This article is reprinted from the November 1970 issue of
Vajra Bodhi Sea (then an English-only publication) for the benefit of Chinese readers. Upasaka Kuo Jung received his Ph. D. degree from the Buddhist Studies Department of the University of California, Berkeley, and has taught at University of California, Davis. He currently teaches at San Francisco State University and the Institute of World Religions in Berkeley. His daughter Shari is working on her Ph. D. in Religious Studies at Stanford University, and his son Andre is a junior at Developing Virtue High School at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas.
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Upasaka Kuo Jung, known as Ron Epstein, long ago realized that it would be nearly impossible for him to attain an understanding of the deep principles of existence on his own, and consequently decided to search out and study with the erudite and controversial thinkers of the time. His view was limited to the West, and during the next six years the men with whom he studied included the Christian existentialist Paul Tillich, Professor Paul Lee, psychologists Jerome Bruner, Richard Alpert, and Timothy Leary. His wide travels in Europe and North Africa included a period of independent study at the University of Paris. In 1965 he received a degree with honors from the psychology branch of the Social Relations Department at Harvard, and received high honors on a thesis entitled 'I Am Here-ness: Speculations on the Origins of Schizophrenia.' During this period he also served on a committee concerned with the welfare of patients in mental hospitals, served as a research assistant at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, held a National Science Foundation Stipend for psychological research, and served on numerous other research staffs.
In the midst of this heavy schedule of study and research he came to realize that the Western attitude toward mind is inexact and superficial in the literal sense of this word, and that he had exhausted the potential of the West in his search for a teacher. His research and experimentation at Harvard had evolved into an interest in the study of certain consciousness realms wherever they might be found. Discouraged in his search for a teacher, he decided to learn Chinese as fast as possible in order to understand firsthand the philosophical and religious writings of China. He took up studies as a graduate student in the Department of Chinese, San Francisco State College, and at this time began his practice of meditation at the Zen Center in San Francisco.
Not much later he met Tripitaka Master Hsuan Hua and began meditating occasionally at the Master's place, listening to Dharma although he could not, as yet, understand Chinese. One day as Kuo Jung sat meditating with the Master, he became aware of a bright light radiating from his own center, a dazzling light which grew until its brightness obliterated everything.
When Kuo Jung reappeared, he realized that the Master had caused this experience, and he knew that he had found his teacher. The Master advised him to improve his understanding of Chinese, and shortly thereafter Upasaka Kuo Jung left this country for the Far East. For more than a year he traveled, studied, and interviewed Bhikshus and laymen in Taiwan and Hong Kong, and spent an important part of his time in mountain monasteries and retreats. His efforts caused him to recognize that the Master had encouraged his travels not only so that he could study Chinese, but also so that he might recognize the right Buddhadharma. Upasaka Kuo Jung returned to San Francisco and took refuge with the Master in December 1967. Advised to continue his studies, he accepted a large National Defense Fellowship from the government and enrolled at the University of Washington, working under Professors Hellmut Wilhelm, Edward Conze, and Leon Hurvitz. He received his Masters degree in Chinese Language and Literature in August 1969.
In spite of his numerous undertakings, Upasaka Kuo Jung has fixed his attention on the accomplishment of a complete understanding of Buddhism. His devotion to this end is manifest in effective 'skill in means' by which he has successfully opened the path for a great many people to study and cultivate Buddhism. Under the guidance of the Master Hsuan Hua at the Buddhist Lecture Hall in San Francisco, Upasaka Kuo Jung has completed new translations of the
Amitabha Sutra, the Heart Sutra, as well as a commentary on the
Heart Sutra written by the Master Hsuan Hua. The latter is nearly ready for publication. He is presently working on the
Shurangama Sutra and an explanation of this Sutra by the Master. He assists the Sino-American Buddhist Association in translating other works, such as the
Sixth Patriarch's Sutra, the Lotus Sutra, the
Great Compassionate Heart Dharani Sutra, and others, all with commentaries. During the last year he has aided the Assembly by making spot oral translations of the Master's explications of the Sutras, often translating five times each week. In addition, Upasaka Kuo Jung has delivered lectures on the
Heart Sutra, and is presently speaking the Shurangama Sutra for Buddhists in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Over the past few years he has attended four weeklong Chan sessions and two meditation and sutra study sessions, one 96 days, and the second 84 days in length. Upasaka Kuo Jung is married to Upasaka Kuo Han born Yau-sen Liu, also a disciple of the Master Hsuan Hua, and a native of Hunan, China. Kuo Han grew up in Taipei, Taiwan and received a B.A. from National Cheng-chi University. She has engaged in postgraduate studies at Golden Gate College in San Francisco.