All Dharma Masters and fellow cultivators: Good evening!
My name is Francis. I was born in Hawaii. Ever since I was born I've been going to a Buddhist temple with my mother who is from Taiwan. It was strange, when I was a child I could never sit still and do any recitation, not even the walking recitation. But now I can sit here or stand here and do recitation without any problem.
When I was 14 my father passed away and I lost myself for awhile. I made new and very bad friends. I stopped going to the temple with my mother. I went out every night and partied and smoked marijuana and drank alcohol. I knew it was wrong to do this. I just followed the crowd and did what they did. For awhile my mother thought she had lost her son, but she still had hope for me.
At 17 I started to return to my normal self. I went back to the Buddhist temple and repented. I was scolded very sorely by my Master but I knew I deserved it. But even though I changed, I would still go out at night and race on the freeway at about 120 miles per hour. I didn't fear my death or anybody else's. I graduated a year early from high school and attended college at the age of seventeen. During college I was a jeweler and made a lot of money, but I was still not happy. I didn't know why. I tried not to go out every night after school because I knew it was wrong. I was breaking the law racing at night on the freeway. I tried new things like going to dance club and playing pool and darts with people, but that still didn't make me happy.
One day my aunt sent me videotapes about this temple. When I got it I looked at the tape and said, "What is this?" and I threw it aside. Several days later when I had nothing to do, I watched it. And when I watched I could not take my eyes off it. I did not know such places existed in America. And I was truly amazed. After the videotape was over I would replay it over and over and I started thinking that I would like to go to this place. One day I found a book that was written by Venerable Master Hua at a temple in Hawaii. After I read this book I knew I wanted to go there. And now I am here.
I've been here about two months. I found that during these two months my mind is calm and I really like it here. Now I want to stay here to attend the Buddhist University. Why do I want to study at the Buddhist University? I've been a Buddhist for my whole life, but I have not really truly understood my own religion. So my plan is to really investigate Buddhism, even the Sutras and Mantras. I understand what the words mean, but I do not understand the meaning as to why they were there. I was also hoping to study the Sutras to the point of being able to understand them and translate them into English like the translators do here.
I enjoy staying here working and doing the ceremonies. It is something I never experienced before in my life. I think every person should at least experience this once. If everyone experiences this, there will be world peace. Amitabha.