I would kneel before the Venerable Master's picture to ask for his blessing so I could get a good night's rest, because I had so much work the following day and could not afford to collapse. The Master knew my agony and often appeared in my dreams in teach me. In one dream, the Master drank from a glass of water, which he then handed to me. Although the glass retained its form, it was shattered to bits. I pondered for a long time, trying to fathom the Master's message in that dream. An insight finally came to me after many trials and tribulations: Was the Master telling me to let go? When I was worried about poverty, I dreamed of the Master and two Dharma Masters laughing and chatting in front of a broken brick wall and an old-fashioned hearth. They weren't depressed by their apparent poverty; in fact they were in high spirits. I had knelt in front of the Master intending to ask for his blessing, but at that point I couldn't say a word. I realized as long as we are not poor spiritually, poverty is not that devastating. I ought to face my debts and pay them happily. With that attitude, I was much less afflicted.
I criticized my parents for being too attached to my brother, but refused to admit that I often made the same mistake. When I withdrew the last of our savings, I was torn between conflicting loyalties to my parents and to my husband and children. It was a difficult choice. The Venerable Master came to me in a dream. The moment I became aware that he was trying to tell me something, he was standing in front of me. He struck the top of my head heavily with the incense board. I was totally refreshed and my mental torment ceased. Chronic illnesses also went away. The Master had eradicated my heavy karmic obstacles. It is difficult to describe the numerous responses I've had similar to this one. The Master often spoke of how sincerity brings a response that intertwines with the Way, a truly incredible phenomenon.
The first time I saw tears streaming down my elderly father's face, I suggested that my parents bow to the Venerable Master every morning and evening, recite the "Repentance Text" and the name of Guanshiyin Bodhisattva, and wear a miniature book of the Shurangama Mantra with the Venerable Master's photo. Seeing how my attitude changed from one of "I've done good all my life; how could this happen to me?" to recognizing my own faults, my parents and several close friends who had known nothing about Buddhism began to sincerely worship the Buddhas and recite the Buddha's name without cease. Letting go of our frustration and worries, we smiled and relaxed. Although we have lost our wealth and are deeply in debt, we are no longer afraid or worried. We will simply do our best to repay those debts. Looking back today, I feel the deep, vast kindness of our Teacher. We have gained so much more than we lost. It has finally dawned upon me that the Master's very ordinary advice to me fourteen years ago actually revealed my entire life destiny. However, the secrets of heaven cannot be said too explicitly; how could I have known?
Although the Venerable Master does his best to save us, alas, our karmic obstacles are too heavy and our bad habits too deep. When the retribution for evil arrives, we suffer terribly. Fortunately, the Master has given us numerous methods to leave misery and attain happiness. When we truly acknowledge our own faults and sincerely change ourselves, the Master will certainly pluck us from the sea of suffering. The Venerable Master is none other than the Thousand-Handed, Thousand-Eyed Bodhisattva Who Observes the Sounds of the World, who stands in the middle of the Jeweled Hall of Ten Thousand Buddhas. His million transformation bodies listen to the cries of beings in distress, and go out to save them. He has given away all his blessings to living beings, and wants to take all their miseries upon himself. If we fail to diligently practice precepts, concentration, and wisdom, we will only create more trouble for our elder Teacher, disappointing him after he has so sincerely come to our aid and patiently instructed us.
My Son Robert Lee
About four years ago, my eight-year-old son Robert participated in a Shurangama Dharma Assembly at Yuantong Hermitage for the first time. He was so upset at not knowing how to recite that he broke into tears. Heng Chywan Shr went over to cheer him up and encourage him. As he was trying with great concentration to recite the Shurangama Mantra after lunch, three bright rays of light resembling sunlight suddenly appeared over the Mantra booklet. The light lasted several seconds, disappeared, then reappeared. After the lights had flashed several times, Robert could recite the Mantra and even follow the assembly to recite it at a high speed. After the Dharma assembly, he was filled with Dharma bliss. Sincerity brings a response; the response intertwines with the Way—inconceivable!
My Daughter Tiffany Lee
Last year my seven-year-old daughter Tiffany attended her first Guanyin Session at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas. The first day of the session, she unexpectedly decided to take the five precepts and participate in the full seven days of the session. The first time she saw the "racing" circumambulation in the Great Transference at the end of the day, she thought it was so funny that she couldn't help laughing. It was only after circumambulatingmore than once around that she was able to concentrate on reciting the sagely names as she walked. At that point she saw Guanyin Bodhisattva, celestial maidens sprinkling flowers, and myriad large and small Bodhisattvas seated on lotus daises all around. The halo of Guanyin Bodhisattva was larger and brighter than the sun. The Bodhisattva held a scepter and smiled at Tiffany, telling her to be filial to her parents. The Bodhisattva's voice was soft and clear; it was the most pleasant voice she had ever heard.
Re-Encountering My Grandfather in the Rebirth Hall
My maternal grandfather passed away thirty-two years ago. Back then we didn't know any better, and our whole family, young and old, lingered around him in deep sorrow, weeping and begging him not to leave us. Through the years, many relatives saw the old man in their dreams, always reluctant to leave his children and grandchildren. Four years ago, we set up rebirth plaques for my maternal grandfather, my uncle (my mother's sister's husband), and my cousin at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas. When a Dharma delegation from the City came to Taiwan, we received the Precepts for the Deceased on their behalf. Before receiving the Precepts, we did as the Dharma Masters instructed and told the deceased of the benefits of taking precepts and encouraged them to recite the Buddha's name and cultivate. Afterwards, several relatives saw the deceased appear in their dreams to bid them goodbye.
Last year, when I attended a Transference of Merit in the Rebirth Hall upon arriving at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, I was surprised to see my grandfather there with a kind smile on his face. He was seated on a lotus dais, cultivating with great dignity. I was moved to tears by the sight. For the next two months, I saw him every time I went to the Rebirth Hall for the Transference. The night before I left the City, my grandfather walked with me back to my dorm after the evening mantras, as if he could not bear to part with us. In recent years my relatives have seldom dreamt of these three deceased members of the family. Having had such sublime experiences, I am deeply grateful to the Master for compassionately saving them from suffering so that they may experience bliss and cultivate in the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas or the Land of Ultimate Bliss, or be reborn in the three good paths.