"What will I do when I grow up if I don't want to marry?" This was a question that bothered little Shramanerika Guo He Shi before she left the home life. Someone once told her that everyone has to marry and raise kids when she grows up. The child retorted, "I refuse to marry." Guo He Shi has now found the perfect answer to her question from those yesteryears.
Guo He Shi's parents are Vietnamese who often took their baby daughter to pay respects to the Buddhas. This child later attended weekly Chinese classes at Gold Wheel Monastery. Before moving to the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, Guo He Shi's neighbors warned her about stern monks and nuns. Once the young lady reached the Sagely City though, this perspective changed.
When Guo He Shi saw Bhikshus sing for an applauding audi ence at another temple, she thought it strange, "Why are left- home people this way?" Sangha members at the Sagely City are a bit different; they live a more pure life, Guo He Shi later realized. In addition, they're kind rather than severe. Thus, she told herself, "I will be a nun when I grow up." Little did she know that she would become a novice after only a year at the Sagely City's Instilling Goodness Elementary School.
She was so happy after witnessing a head-shaving ceremony for young Shramaneras (novice monks) that she wanted to join the monastic life. Another head-shaving ceremony was due in three months. After some twists and turns, her parents finally agreed to let Guo He Shi and her older sister leave home. The innocent Guo He Shi admitted that she only knew why she wanted to leave the home life after she became a nun—for the sake of birth and death and for living beings. She was glad to have made this decision on her own. This verse describes her perfectly:
A fruit (Guo) of candor born from the causal ground of truth;
A lotus (He) untainted emerged from past vows.
The master (Shi) embraces the compassion of heaven and
empathizes with people,
Vowing to sever ignorance—the root of birth and death.