I was born in a rustic village in Taiwan. While studying Chinese at Zhongxing University, I took two courses called "Dunhuang Studies" and "Survey of Buddhism." My professor assigned me the work of polishing my classmates' translations of Dunhuang writings into colloquial stories. Thus, my first contact with Buddhism was through literature.
My transformation from a mere student of Buddhism into a Buddhist practitioner took place in 1990, when I received the Precepts for the Deceased on behalf of my aborted baby and took refuge with the Venerable Master. The first time I saw the Venerable Master at the Laborers' Center in Kaohsiung, he seemed as familiar to me as a member of my own family. In my admiration for his compassion and his two great missions-Sutra translation and education, I wished to let more people know about the Master's Dharma. Thus, my friends and I edited two books, Springtime Lotus and Venerable Master's Dharma Talks.
Due to my declining health, I resigned from my job in 1996 with the consent of my mother-in-law, who was a sincere Buddhist, and became a volunteer teacher at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas. I remained at the City for three years.
I had originally planned to return to Taiwan in August 1999, and then to make a pilgrimage to Buddhist holy places in India and China. However, when I stopped over in Canada, I noticed that Gold Buddha Monastery in Vancouver needed volunteers for its Earth Store Session and Repentance of the Emperor of Liang. I decided to stay and help, and later went to Avatamsaka Monastery in Calgary to bow another Repentance of the Emperor of Liang, postponing my trip to Taiwan.
One day while walking down a street in Vancouver, I saw a newspaper photo of a high-rise that had been contorted in the massive earthquake of September 21st in Taiwan. "Hey, that looks familiar!" A closer look revealed that it was my apartment, where I would have stayed after returning to Taiwan. By staying to help out in the monastery, I had escaped a calamity.
According to my mother, a fortune-teller had predicted that a calamity would befall me around age forty. Remembering that gave me the chills. I am awed by the terrifying force of karma and praise the inconceivable power of the Buddhas' and Bodhisattvas' aid.