I graduated from the Taipei College of Technology, where I majored in architecture. Religion was totally irrelevant to me. As an avid reader, I occasionally read Buddhist books, but never related to the principles. When I read the Venerable Master's
Commentary on the Sutra of the Past Vows of Earth Store Bodhisattva, I was surprised to find it so easy to read. The words seemed to flow through my heart. Then I saw that the book was authored by the Venerable Master Hsuan Hua, whose name was unfamiliar to me. From then on, I could read Buddhist literature with ease, but had not yet truly encountered Buddhism.
In 1998 a karmic illness left my hands and feet aching and barely able to move. I could not lift my hand to write and had trouble walking. Neither Chinese nor Western doctors could treat my condition, and I suffered two years of utter misery. One day I read in a Great Compassion Mantra booklet that any ailment could be cured by water blessed by the mantra. I was skeptical, but being gravely ill, I decided to give it a try. I didn't know how to recite the mantra, so I acquired a taped version, which to my delight was recited by a disciple of the Venerable Master Hua. I drank the water after reciting the Great Compassion Mantra over it along with the tape, and incredibly enough, I was healed! If I had not experienced it myself, I wouldn't have believed it. I resolved to take refuge with the Venerable Master.
In 1990, I finally took refuge with the Master at the Chiang Kaishek Memorial Hall, along with tens of thousands of people. After taking refuge, I continued to live blindly and aimlessly. It didn't occur to me to go to the Master's Way-places. I began to practice only after the Master entered Nirvana. The first year, I recited the
Vajra Sutra seven times every day without fail. Later, I also recited the
Shurangama Sutra over twenty times. After a delegation of the Dharma Realm Buddhist Association visited Taiwan in 1998, I began attending Dharma assemblies at the Dharma Realm Buddhist Books Distribution Society in Taipei.
In the past five years, the Master has not given up on me, but has guided me step by step along the path. This year I have realized my vow of visiting the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas. This visit has allowed me to understand the Master's magnanimous heart, his ecumenical view of religion, and his compassionate response to prayers. I have also seen the greatness of Buddhism, and I feel like the prodigal child who has returned to her kind father's embrace.