Upasika Guoting Lu (continued):
Also this time something told me to try taking a vow of silence. Originally I thought not talking would be very uncomfortable and inconvenient. But after trying it, I felt a sense of purity, and what I thought would be uncomfortable turned out to be very free and comfortable, and I felt at ease.
Actually, I've had various impressions from this session, but I don't want to take too much time. This is my first time speaking on stage so I feel a little nervous. I'll speak more next time.
Guo Ching: (English translation by Bhikshuni Heng Yin Shi and Phoebe Kuo)
Venerable Master, Dharma Masters, and Greatly Virtuous Ones: My name is Guo Ching. I come from France. When we were changing planes in New York, they told us we had to go to gate 36. I said, "Oh, that is such a long way." Ever since I was little I haven't been healthy; I cannot even carry two bananas! I prayed to Guanyin Bodhisattva to let me arrive safely for the Guanyin session. Two minutes later, an airport car came by and there were exactly three seats for the three of us. They asked if we wanted a ride. I thought that was strange. They only asked us. They didn't ask older people who were having trouble walking. I was embarrassed. I asked the car to stop to pick up an elder who was also having trouble walking. She squeezed in the car along with the three of us.
When we got to gate 36, they told us, "This is not the right place; you should go to 26." I said, "Oh no! That's a long way back and the car is gone." I called out again. I was mumbling and they asked, "What are you doing?" I said that I was praying to Guanyin Bodhisattva. He uses his wonderful wisdom power to rescue all living beings in danger. All of a sudden, I saw that the car was still there. The driver said, "Where do you want to go now? I'll take you there." So he drove us over to gate 26.
When we reached the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, we felt apprehensive. I had come with two people who knew nothing about Guanyin Bodhisattva and nothing about the Guanyin session either. I forgot to tell them that they couldn't talk during the session. They had never meditated before. It was very hard for them. They had to endure it for ten hours each day. I thought, "Why am I so cruel? One of them has back problems and broke her leg once.The doctor said she can't do any strenuous work. The other one has problems with her knee." Nevertheless, she knelt and sat in meditation. Her knee is very fragile and the doctor said it is prone to break. Meditation is enjoyable for me. I kept wondering why they were restless and wriggling around during meditation. One of them fell asleep and snored while sitting. I was embarrassed. I prayed to Guanyin Bodhisattva, "Let them be able to make it through the seven days." One of them said, "I will never come to a Guanyin session again." I replied, "Don't say this so soon because you might be coming in the future."
On the second day, we came to the sutra lecture. Afterward, people were running during the Great Transference. I had had no idea about this. I said, "Oh dear, how am I going to run?" But amazingly, I was able to run all the way. Then when we were supposed to read the Great Transference, I said, "Oh no! I forgot my glasses." Although I know the Great Transference by heart, I wanted to be able to point it out to my two friends since they didn't know it. I prayed to Gwanyin Bodhisattva and for some reason I was able to see the words very clearly.
The Dharma Master has given me five more minutes to talk about Yang Si Hong, who came with me. Last year, we came together to the Avatamsaka Assembly in June 2000. Si Hong had many physical problems. She has a bone spur in the sole of her foot, and she had to get five shots when she went to see the doctor in France.Two shots are the minimum, but she needed five. She also needed surgery, but surgery cannot be done on the sole of the foot, because too much blood would be lost. She is also so heavy! Seeing her like this, 1 didn't know what to do.
We arrived at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas at midnight. I was so tired that I fell asleep in the car and didn't wake up until the driver said, "We've arrived at the City."And I said, "I feel ashamed of myself. When most people come, they do three steps, one bow. I came lying down in the car. I'll have to repay my gratitude when I come into the City.
The next morning, I told Si Hong, "This is the Venerable Master. You should bow to the Venerable Master and leave all of your health problems behind. Be vigorous and bring forth the mind to protect the Way place, and you will recover." I spoke to her in a casual way. On the second day, she suddenly came to find me and said that she was in a lot of pain because of her foot- -she couldn't walk. I asked her what had happened. She said there suddenly was a snapping sound from her sole, which felt like someone had broken it. I asked what was broken. She said the bone spur broke. It seemed to have disappeared, which was why she couldn't run, so I supported her in walking slowly.
The next day I asked her again, and she said the bone spur had moved up to the middle of her foot-from the sole to the toe. It had disappeared from where it was originally, and it never showed up again.This all happened when we first came to the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas; it was inconceivable.
On the way back, something even more inconceivable happened. We were on the plane after our tickets had been taken, and the luggage had been loaded as well. All of a sudden, they asked the two of us to come off the plane. Our luggage was already aboard the plane, but they told us to catch another flight even though we had no tickets or money! Then an airport worker wrote something on a matchbook, and spoke in English. "Turn left, stay to your right, and if you walk fast, you still have ten minutes. If you can catch that plane, then you will be able to leave." Oh no! She told us to hurry. I couldn't walk fast enough, so Si Hong said, "Never mind, you can't run." and pulled me along by my hand. We did not know the direction, but I heard a voice calling my name. So I followed in the direction of that voice. My money was in the luggage on the first plane. The second flight made a stop in Italy first. We had no money, no tickets, and no identification, but Si Hong was hungry so we stopped at a food stall in the airport. They asked for our names and then said, "You can eat for free!"
After we had eaten our fill, we boarded the plane. They served us no food or water on the plane. When we requested food, the flight attendant said, "You two don't have any food." She thought we were fasting and wouldn't even give us a drink of water! This really upset us. Si Hong kept on saying, "I'll never buy tickets from this airline again; their service is terrible." I was very embarrassed by her words and told her, "I'm grateful because we were in a rush to get tickets, and this was the only airline that was able to take us to the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas. In fact, I think I will buy tickets from them the next time we fly. How can you think that way?"
Later, after we returned home, we received complimentary plane tickets as a courtesy for the problems. I asked Si Hong if she received any, but she said she hadn't. I told her that was impossible: How come I had received a ticket and she had not? She went and asked the airline, and it turned out that she also had one, but it was still in the mail. She got hers a couple of days later. So this time our tickets to come to the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas could be said to be a gift from Guanyin Bodhisattva. Amitabha!
To be continued