Bhikshuni Heng Sheng:
On Saturday evening of the first week of the Repentance
Before Ten Thousand Buddhas, I began to feel extremely
uncomfortable. Later, when I went to the restroom, I found
that my urine contained blood, and I started to have an
uncanny feeling about this. I had been in the massive
earthquake in Taiwan on September 21st last year. At that
time, people (including myself) didn't dare to go to the
bathroom. Being afraid of the quakes, I held my urine. As a
result, many people showed symptoms of bladder infection.
Before I came to the U.S in January, a doctor gave me some
medicine, but I finished it in February and didn't take that
type of medicine any more.
Being out of medicine, I didn't know what to do. I thought:
"Be patient for a while; maybe it will stop tomorrow." But
by the next morning, my condition became so severe that I
almost passed out. I was playing the Dharma instruments
during the ceremonies, and I would stand for a few hours at
a stretch, not daring to go to use the bathroom or to take a
drink. Consequently, my condition worsened until I couldn't
even go to the Buddha Hall anymore.
But I kept enduring the pain. I felt as if my body had split
into multiple pieces: the neck became one piece, the chest
another and my waist still another, etc... I now begin to
realize the agony of mental illness. Later on, I went to the
Buddha Hall wearing a scarf, a sweater, a few layers of
pants, and carrying an umbrella and a water bottle. I looked
like an old lady. A Dharma brother saw me and asked, "Do you
have a problem? Going around with an umbrella on a sunny day
like this?" Actually I didn't open the umbrella; I used it
for a cane.
So, half walking and half dragging myself, I went to the
Buddha Hall and prostrated before the Three Sages of the
Avatamsaka and the Venerable Master. I was thinking: "How
should I repent?" Flashbacks of my youth came to me. I
remembered how I liked to eat fish; I used to cut them into
pieces, even scraping off their scales. When fried, they
were crispy and fragrant. Also, since my work involved
experimentation, we often dissected animals to grow
bacteria. Because of the competition, we racked our brains
and thought of all kinds of experiments to do. When I think
of it, I really killed countless living beings.
Furthermore, my family had opened a rice mill and there were
lots of mice. How did we kill the mice? The methods we used
were really cruel. My mother would use a certain kind of
mouse trap that would snap down and slice in half any mouse
that ran over it. The smaller mice could still get away, so
we used sticky paper to catch them. Of course, I was also
involved, so I not only did it myself, but taught others to
do so too. I not only taught others to do the same, but
rejoiced to see it done.
I also enjoyed torturing tumblebugs, I used to tie their
feet together and then let them fly away. To the dragonflies
I was even more merciless, I pierced their bodies with
blades of grass strung them together. I also used hooks to
catch frogs. As for chickens, I cut them into pieces and
then ate their corpses. Ah, it's really too cruel to see!
Such was the karma I created in the past.
When I was young, I was really naughty. Every time I went to
play in the mountains or by the streams and rivers, I would
steal fruit from the banana groves or guava orchards nearby.
I also stole lotus flowers from Zhongxin Village. My
grandmother would leave some of the fruit on the trees in
our own orchards so that she could offer them to spirits and
gods in July. I would be naughty and pick those fruits to
eat, and then run to hide under a big tree when she came
after me with her bamboo stick, making her angry.
Thus, I kept repenting and thinking: "Offenses arise from
the mind, and must be repented in the mind. It takes the one
who ties a knot to untie it." I revealed all these faults of
mine and told the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, saying: "I'm
wrong, I'm willing to change myself and begin again."
Afterwards, I drank some Great Compassion water and rubbed
it all over my body once. That evening, my condition became
better, but I was still afraid of going to the bathroom or
drinking. I still had to go at some point, so I went the
next day and there was no more blood.
The Venerable Master had given us a lecture before about how
if we want to improve the world, we need to first change
ourselves. By coming to a Way-place of the Proper Dharma to
study Buddhism, people can change themselves. That's why he
said: "All natural and man-made disasters originate from
the karma of killing. The key to averting disasters lies
within the mind of each of us." The reason the world is in
such a terrible shape is because our hearts are not good. We
must work on the root of things.
Mrs. Chen Ling-Fang from Taiwan
I want to talk about a small response. A day or two after
the Repentance Before Ten Thousand Buddhas began, somebody
asked me, "Are you going to stay and bow the Repentance of
the Emperor of Liang which will follow this session?" If I
were in Taiwan, this would have been impossible, because I
needed to work. But over here, I really want to stay and
bow. But because the time was uncertain, I booked a plane
ticket for the 12th to go to Seattle.
After I booked the plane ticket, I had a dream. I dreamt
that the Venerable Master was going to give a lecture and
there were a lot of people; the Venerable Master was walking
in from the outside, and I was just going out. The Venerable
Master said, "You're leaving this early?" I replied, "No,
Master, I'm just going to take a walk and have a look
around." So I turned around and came back.
I saw that the Venerable Master was walking up a small
stairway, and from his gait one could tell that his legs
were ailing. Then The Venerable Master passed me an
envelope. I opened it to take a look. One side of the letter
was written in Chinese, and the other side was English. My
English name was written on the English side, but I didn't
have time to look at the contents.
After I woke up, I thought, "Why did the Venerable Master
pass me a letter written in both English and Chinese?" Then
it all came back to me, because I had a false thought the
day before. When Dharma Realm Buddhist University presented
Professor Tom Macmillan with an honorary doctoral degree, I
thought to myself, English Sutras are really just too hard
for me. I am almost 50 years old, and by the time I learn
English fluently, I will be in my 70's or 80's, or maybe
I'll die before I can finish my studies, so I thought that
this was utterly impossible.
Also, as the quote says, "In the Yangtze River, the waves in
back push the ones in front." When I see the excellent
performance of the translators at CTTB, I admire them from
deep down in my heart. And so I thought, I'll leave it to
the next generation; they will fulfill my wish. Later when I
saw this letter in my dream, I pondered it and realized that
the Venerable Master was truly kind and compassionate—he was
The Venerable Master's kindness, compassion, wisdom, and
expedience are really everywhere. I believe that all of you
have the same feelings as I do. Since the Repentance of the
Emperor of Liang was being held and the Master had asked me
in my dream, "You're leaving this early?" I decided to stay
for the whole Repentance. Other than bowing the repentance
to eradicate my bad karma, I will also pray for world peace
and peace in the Taiwan straits.
Mrs. Miao Yun from Canada, Saturday, May 6:
I've always wanted to come to CTTB, but due to certain
reasons, I couldn't come. When I finally came this time, I
wanted to pay my respects to the 10,000 Buddha statues and
find out exactly what they look like. The first thing I did
when I entered the Buddha Hall was to pay my respects to the
statues. Wow! Why are the statues smiling like this? Their
lips seem to curve upward. I kept thinking, "Why is it that
the statues are so adorned?"
The Buddhas also spoke Dharma
to me, which I heard very clearly: "Be mindful of your six
sense organs in every thought." I replied, " Yes!
mindful of your six sense organs in every thought." I
replied, " Yes! Yes! I know, I understand." This went on for
a few days, making me feel extremely happy. And those smiles
were just ineffably ineffable! Also, every time that I
repented and made vows, I would smell a fragrance. I don't
know how many times that happened. One day, I caught a cold
and suffered a runny nose while bowing. Thinking that this
didn't look so nice, I requested some Great Compassion water
to drink. One sip of the water made my nose stop running
immediately. That was also an ineffable experience. I've
come to a treasure trove, but have I obtained any treasures?
Well, getting rid of all my garbage and defilements, and
being reborn in a lotus in the Buddha's Pure Land, is the
response that I need the most.
To be continued