當我剛看上人講解的《楞嚴經》時，一晚我夢中好像被個危險的東西追著，我穿過海洋，大概是跑到美國來了，因為我到的地方很像萬佛城的大悲院和喜捨院 -- 迴廊、建築物什麼都像。
The Venerable Master and all friends in Dharma:
Fifteen years or so ago, I didn't know anything about the Buddhadharma. However, the idea came to me: "You must find the path that you walked upon in the past." I was puzzled.
Around 1981, my younger brother introduced to me a book called
A Simple Explanation of the Shurangama Sutra. I did not understand it, but I felt it to be the path I was looking for. Since then, my mind has settled down. Later, I found the Dharma Realm Buddhist Text Distribution Association and obtained from them
The Source of Wisdom, The Venerable Master's Instructional Talks, and many other books. I related the lessons from these books to my children like stories, spicing them up with my own "flavoring", and the kids savored them. During that time, the Dharma Realm Buddhist Association did not have a branch monastery in Tainan, so for nearly a year, we went to a local temple and recited the "Amitabha Sutra" and the name of the Buddha. We enjoyed this very much.
In 1988, the Venerable Master came to Taiwan to transmit the Three Refuges and the Five Precepts at the Proper Enlightenment Monastery in Tainan. I went with my husband and children to take refuge with him. Up to that time, I had not thought about becoming a vegetarian, but after taking refuge, I told my family: "From today onwards, I will not cook meat for you any more." Thus we all became vegetarians, and gradually I gained deeper insight into the Buddhadharma as taught by the Venerable Master. I had read some books by other Buddhists or Dharma Masters, but I could not read beyond a few pages even if they were works by renowned Dharma Masters. The Venerable Master's Dharma alone appealed to me. When I first started reading the Master's explanation of the
Shurangama Sutra, I had a dream. In it, I was being chased by something threatening. I ran along a path that cut right through the ocean. I think it meant that I came to the United States, because I arrived at a place where the corridors and the buildings resembled the Great Compassion House and the Joyous Giving House at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas.
In 1990 when the Venerable Master returned to Taiwan again, my father was critically ill. I made a vow to the Bodhisattvas to do volunteer work and transfer the merit to my father, so that he could recover. The Venerable Master had spoken of the awesome, beneficial powers of the Great Compassion Mantra. At that time I did not recite the Mantra. But when I bowed the Great Compassion Repentance, I was moved: "Guanshiyin Bodhisattva is so compassionate! Every day, I will recite the Great Compassion Mantra one hundred and eight times."
In 1996, I came to the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas where I was "tricked" into teaching Chinese. They described it so wonderfully. "You look like a teacher! We are in dire need of teachers!" I was overjoyed to hear these words. However, on the first day, I was shocked by the students. Some of them were lying on the ground and some were slouching in their seats. It was not like a class at all. I thought, "How can this be?" But I tried to emulate the Venerable Master. "We must be compassionate and impartial towards all people as we wait for the right conditions to educate them." And it is the Great Compassion Mantra and the Venerable Master's teaching that guided me to continue. Amitabha!
※Editor's note: Chin-En Shi was known as Upasika Guo-Lan Lin before. She became a novice nun at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas on Sunday, December 10, 2000 during the celebration of Amitabha's Birthday. Her daughter, Shramanerika Chin-Yi Shi, had become a novice nun earlier and is currently doing translation and first-draft layout for this journal.