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蓽路藍縷話慈興 空谷回音憶上人(續)
Memories of the Venerable Master
The Toil of Building Cixing Monastery—Echoes of the Past (continued)

*比丘恆興師 比丘尼恆益師講於華嚴聖寺2000年9月25-27日梁皇寶懺法會
Spoken by Bhikshu Heng Sying Shi and Bhikshuni Heng Yi Shi on September 25-27, 2000, during the Emperor of Liang
Repentance Ceremony at Avatamsaka Monastery
*編輯室整理 Compiled by the Editorial Staff
*摩尼珠英譯 English translation by Mani Pearl

※ 小啟:本文上期標題「篳」字為「蓽」字之誤,「樓」字為「縷」字之誤,特此更正。

※ Correction: There were two mistakes in the Chinese title of this article in this last issue (the first and fourth characters). The correct title is given above.








The Master had another plan. After taking a fishing boat from  Aberdeen (neither the Star Ferry nor the Green Horse Bridge  existed then) to the Taio Pier, he made a bowing pilgrimage to  Cixing Monastery, making a full prostration every three steps  of the way. Normally, it took two or three hours to walk from  Taio Pier to the monastery. The Master bowed with the wish  that Cixing Monastery would soon be completed.

The buildings that were renovated to become Cixing  Monastery were incredibly dilapidated. The walls were gutted  with bullet holes; the ground was strewn with bones. The place  had been used as a base camp by guerrilla troops during the  Second World War. Large numbers of people were killed in the  battle that ensued when Japanese troops landed at the Taio Pier  and reached the site of Cixing Monastery, covering the ground  with bones. The place had not been cleaned at all after the war.  The Master spent much time praying for, and rescuing those  who had died in battle. Cixing Monastery is known for being  inhabited by ghosts. Residents of the monastery see ghosts all  the time. There are so many of them around that people can  barely walk. The ghosts like to play practical jokes on the  residents. For example, when someone uses the kerosene stove  or charcoal to start a fire for cooking, the match is often  mysteriously snuffed, when no one else is around. Thus meals  often take a long time to prepare. When the Master was at  Cixing Monastery, he often recited mantras in a certain direction.  When people saw the Master not saying a word, they knew he  was liberating ghosts.

There were numerous ghosts, but interestingly enough, the  Master told Heng Yi (at that time still a layperson), "Ghosts  are scared away as soon as they see you." Once during a Buddha recitation session, the Precepts for the Deceased were going to be transmitted and the Master asked Heng Yi Shi to write a plaque. Heng  Yi Shi said, "There hasn't been any death in my family. Why should I  write a plaque?" During that period, whether walking or going up the  stairs, Heng Yi Shi regularly stumbled and fell. The Master told her  that a very tall, large ghost was following her, but she didn't know  who it was. On the third day of the session, through the Master's aid,  she discovered that a relative of hers had gone to Hong Kong and died  of fever.

The construction began in 1949 and was completed in two stages  over three years. First, a hall for the Three Sages of the West (the  women's hall) was built on the west side. It had excellent geomancy.  After that hall had its opening ceremony, the Jeweled Hall of Great  Heroes (the men's Way-place) was built to its right, where the former  Guoqing Monastery had been. When that hall, a fine place for  cultivation, was completed in 1951, it was renamed Cixing Chan  Monastery. Heng Sying Shr comments, "Those who are not sincere  about cultivation are unable to remain long. Once, someone known as  the local Arhat left after staying only one night."

Since no one made offerings in the beginning, Heng Yi Shr had to  farm the land herself. She and an elderly person did it alone at first. Later there were nine helpers: three worked in the kitchen, three planted  the fields, and two did cleaning. After the opening ceremony was held Cixing Monastery began to hold Guanyin Sessions and Buddha  Recitation Sessions. Over a hundred people participated in each session.  There were Sutra lectures till ten o'clock every evening, attended by  laypeople in their forties and fifties who would walk up over a hundred  steps to reach the monastery. Cixing Monastery held ten to twenty  weeks of Chan sessions each year. Many Dharma Masters who had fled the Mainland cultivated there.

To be continued


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