In 1978, I was fortunate enough to meet our Venerable Master when he came to Malaysia. I also took refuge with him then. 1979 marked my first visit to CTTB and I have made numerous visits since. It was due to the compassion of our Venerable Master and his unceasing efforts in spreading the Buddhadharma to all beings that I had the opportunity to learn Buddhism. Through all these years, the Venerable Master and his left-home disciples served as a beacon—a guiding light—for my humble and modest cultivation, for which I am ever grateful. In 1990 I was part of an entourage which followed the Master to Europe. While having a conversation with the Master in France, I learned about the Master's vision to spread the Buddhadharma throughout the world by establishing monasteries in various parts of the world. It was the knowledge of this vision that prompted me to think about Australia as a potential location for a branch of CTTB.
I visit Australia often and realized that there was a shortage of monasteries in the Mahayana Chinese tradition. In my resolve to help the Master realize his vision, I started my search for a suitable piece of land. In 1991 I found a 53- acre piece of land. However, after we submitted a plan to the Gold Coast City Council, the restrictive conditions they set made it unfeasible to develop this plot of land as a monastery. I set forth to look for an alternative site and found the present 22-acre lot in 1996. Within four months, we were able to purchase the land, apply to the Council for rezoning, and obtain approval from the City Council. Building plans and environmental reports were subsequently submit ted and approved.
In the months following the proposal, Southeast Asia was hit by a severe economic crisis towards the end of 1997. My stocks and shares were badly affected by the crash of the stock and property market and almost overnight, my personal net worth was reduced to about ten percent of its pre-crash value. This financial crisis was a severe ordeal for me, and I was extremely worried that I might not fulfill my vow of building the monastery. Despite this setback, I remained focused and drew strength by praying earnestly to Guanyin Bodhisattva.
I sold the various properties that I had in Australia and together with the help and generous support of friends and fellow Buddhists, we continued to work towards the Master's vision. The original plan was scaled down and building began. I am now pleased to report that we have made a modest start with the completion of the basic facilities and amenities. Since April this year we have had nuns and monks from CTTB visit the place to give Dharma lectures. These lectures were attended and well-received by both locals and well-wishers from Singapore and Malaysia.
In July this year, with the visit of Reverend Heng Tso and Reverend Heng Yuen, I handed over the monastery to DRBA without any conditions and I am sure that the place will scale new heights in times to come.
Since I met the Master in 1978, his expedient teaching and guidance have influenced me to change my ways and lifestyle for the better. I have also learned the higher values of life in this material world. I sincerely hope that by establishing this branch of CTTB in Australia, many people as well as sentient beings will hear the proper Dharma and be able to similarly change their values and lifestyle. I wish for them to experience the benefits of the Master's teachings, without which I would still be lost in this samsaric ocean.
I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to all my friends who supported me during the trials and tribulations that I experienced while pursuing the fulfillment of my vows. In particular, I am grateful to Reverend Heng Sure for his advice and words of encouragement. Finally, I would also like to say that I am, and will always be grateful to the Buddhas, the Bodhisattvas, and the Venerable Master for showing me the way. Amitabha!
(Please see photos on back cover.)