恆念生死苦 家成身退 易求善果
本陷兒女陣 心歇戲散 別擇高枝
Bhikshuni Heng Ben Shi from Tainan was born on November 19, 1929, ordained in 1989, and passed away on Thursday, December 28, 2000, at the age of 72. She left behind over twenty sparkling and translucent sharira [crematory relics], jade green in color.
As a child, Heng Ben Shi would accompany her relative to the temple to bow to the Buddhas. As an adult, she bowed to the Buddhas and recited Sutras on a daily basis.
She and others were responsible for founding Dharma Realm Buddhist Books Distribution Society in Taipei, which began to publish the Venerable Master's Dharma talks and propagate the Proper Dharma, establishing a strong foundation for the Dharma Realm Buddhist Association. Such merit will long endure. When she heard the Dharma during the Venerable Master's visit to Taiwan in 1988, her faith deepened and she bowed to the Venerable Master as her teacher, receiving the Dharma name Guo Zhi (Fruit of the Branch). She came to the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas in 1986 to attend the Jeweled Repentance Before Ten Thousand Buddhas and was inspired to leave the home-life. However, she dared not apply because the Master once said that he would only accept college graduates as left-home disciples, and anyone else had to graduate from Dharma Realm Buddhist University first. She hesitated, feeling that her education was insufficient.
When she told the Venerable Master her concern, the Master said, "It doesn't matter; I'll set up a sweeping university for you to attend." He put her in charge of cleaning and tidying the yard around his residence, she shaved her head and received the monastic name Heng Ben (Constant Root)—"When the root is sturdy, the branches flourish." She concentrated on making her roots firm. She enrolled in the "sweeping university," and the more she studied, the happier she became. She voluntarily expanded the campus of her university, everywhere planting shrubs and flowers—her favorites being peonies, roses, and night-blooming cereus. She wanted to turn the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas into a splendid flower garden and a Land of Ultimate Bliss on earth.
On Dharma Sister Ben's Return to the West
Constantly mindful of the pain of death and rebirth,
She raised her family and then retreated
To seek another, wholesome fruition.
She fell in the trap of parenthood.
The play ended when her mind stopped.
She then reached for a higher branch.
Respectfully written by Vajra Bodhi Sea Journal, The City of Ten Thousand Buddhas
Having been educated during the Japanese occupation, Heng Ben Shi was fluent in Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, and Taiwanese. She was a diligent worker, amiable and gracious, always with a warm smile on her face. Acting as guest prefect after leaving the home-life, she received visitors, tended to the ill, helped those in difficulty, and spoke Dharma at opportune moments for participants in Dharma sessions. Having been inspired to leave home during the Jeweled Repentance Before Ten Thousand Buddhas, Heng Ben Shi derived much benefit from the practice of repentance. Others could hardly bear to see her suffer when she dragged herself to attend last year's Jeweled Repentance despite being ill.
Heng Ben Shi not only received visitors at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, she received Dharma Realm Buddhist Association's delegations on their visits to Taipei. Everyone remembers her cordial hospitality. May Heng Ben Shi be reborn in the Land of Ultimate Bliss, then return by the power of her vows.