All Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, Venerable Master, Dharma Masters, good advisors:
My name is Feng-chu Chang (Guo Feng) and I'm from Taiwan. This is my second time visiting the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas. I'm going to relate to you the story of how I took refuge with the Venerable Master and the responses I've had.
I used to be a kindergarten teacher, but I have now retired. The second day that the Venerable Master came to Taiwan to hold the Dharma Assembly for Protecting the Nation and Quelling Disasters, the mother of one of my students called to tell me about an auspicious portent seen in the sky on the first day of the session at the Chung-cheng Memorial Hall. The mother strongly urged me to go take refuge. Thus, my taking refuge was basically a passive act. When I saw the Venerable Master for a second time, speaking Dharma at the National Institute of Technology, I wept sorrowfully and could not stop. It was as if I had been reunited with a long lost relative.
After I took refuge, I received the Venerable Master's Dharma teachings in every issue of the Source of Wisdom, thus growing closer to the Master little by little. I never saw the Master again after his Dharma lecture at the National Institute, because I was too busy with meetings and correspondence to attend when the Master transmitted the Three Refuges and Five Precepts at Banqiao the next day, and I rationalized that the Venerable Master would come again. Thus, I missed my opportunity.
I paid close attention to every article in the Source of Wisdom and waited for the Venerable Master to return to Taiwan, vowing to join the volunteer team when he came. Soon I noticed that the Venerable Master was not well and would not come again. Some time later, I went to the post office and found a thick issue of Source of Wisdom containing news of the Master's passing into stillness. I was numbed with grief, feeling as if I had lost a close relative. I sat on the wooden mailbox and wept. I had no appetite for a long time afterwards.
Many people attended the Memorial Ceremony held in Banqiao. During the Ceremony for the Passing of Offerings, I knelt for three days recalling the Venerable Master's kindness, not caring whether I twisted or dislocated my back. Later I went to Amitabha Monastery in Hualien to attend an Amitabha Session. The Dharma assembly was sublime and wonderful, and everyone was very vigorous. During the silent sit on the third day, I heard the Master say twice, "The door by the stairs should be shut." I didn't know what door he meant, but when I opened my eyes at the end of the sit, I saw that the door beside me was ajar. Two other volunteers had been responsible for shutting the doors during the first two days, but on the third day they had returned to Taipei.
This time I came to the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas for the transmission of the Bodhisattva Precepts. When I first heard about the transmission, I prayed to the Master each time I bowed to him in the morning and evening, asking him to help me come to the City to receive the precepts. The day before my departure, my son in southern Taiwan became seriously ill. I left in a rush, without time for consideration. When I arrived at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, I felt a deep pain in my heart. 1 prayed to the Venerable Master to take care of things so that I could receive the precepts and my son could get well. There happened to be an Earth Store Session going on, and so I transferred all the merit to my son. I prayed daily to the Venerable Master to bless my son.
A few days ago my son called to tell me that he was better, not to worry, and that I could stay until September. I am reminded of one of the Venerable Master's Eighteen Great Vows, which says, "I vow that all wishes will be fulfilled." I have had endless responses from the Venerable Master, but I'll stop here for today. Amitabha!
Venerable Master's Dharma Words
Two requisites of cultivation are compassion and humility. We must be kind and compassionate to everyone. We must also be humble, not arrogant and not attached to the Four Marks (self, others, beings, life span). We must destroy all attachments before we can practice the Bodhisattva Path.