11月6日法會正式在 Wild wood 鄉村俱樂部舉行，上人在九位弟子行請法儀式後，開始主講「佛教與教育」，聽法人中不乏美國人；英文翻譯流暢，效果很好。上人講完法後還讓信眾們發問，一直到晚上九點半才結束。上人钁鑠的眼神環視著大家，看不出絲毫倦態。更叫弟子感動的是，當時我不知道上人是抱病前來的。
|※ 王珠慶(上人左手邊) 本文作者王竣邦(後排左，最高者)其夫人李淑媛(作者右手邊)
※ Wang Zhuqing (on the Ven. Master's left), the article's author Wang Junbang (the tallest one near the left end of the back row), and his wife Li Shuyuan (to the author's right.)
I was born to a Buddhist family. My father Guo Qing has been a vegetarian for several decades and is a devout Buddhist. When I was growing up, I was more or less influenced by Buddhist culture. More than ten years ago, I happened to read the book
Empty Cloud, which is a biography of the Elder Master Hsu Yun. I really admired the conduct and cultivation of this eminent Sanghan. The book's mention of Master Du Lun made a deep impression on me. That was the beginning of my affinity with the Venerable Master.
Several years later, one day, my uncle Wang Jinping asked my father if he knew an Elder Master Hsuan Hua in the United States. Although my father had believed in the Buddha for many years, most of the time he went to temples in Taiwan. Hence he had not heard about the Venerable Master. He answered, "I don't know him." Then my uncle told my father his causes and conditions with the Venerable Master.
My uncle related, "Someone who violated the Law of Negotiable Instruments in Taiwan came to America. He asked the Venerable Master how he could resolve his difficult situation. The Venerable Master told him to look for a certain Legislative Representative named Wang Jinping and said he would be able to help. However, this person only knew a Representative of National Assembly called Wang Zhongping. He did not know Wang Jinping. So he asked the Venerable Master again, "Venerable Master, do you mean Wang Zhongping instead of Wang Jinping?" But the Venerable Master insisted that it was Wang Jinping, Representative of the Legislative Yuan.
This person rushed back to Taiwan to find my uncle. He told him the causes and not long after, the matter was settled. Prior to this, the Venerable Master and my uncle had not met. Who would have guessed that while the Venerable Master was far away in America, he named and found my uncle in Taiwan.
In 1988, the Venerable Master came to Taiwan to propagate the Buddhadharma. An appointment was made for my father and uncle to have an audience with the Venerable Master. My father mentioned that we owned a bungalow in Liugui, Kaohsiung. He wished to offer it as a Way-place to the Venerable Master. The Venerable Master smiled, "Good!" Then the Venerable Master and his Sangha delegation went to Liugui and designated that bungalow a Buddhist Academy. My family and I took refuge with the Venerable Master and formally became lay disciples of the Master Du Lun. These happenings were all quite unbelievable.
※ Upasaka Wang Zhuqing greets the Ven. Master at the airport with flowers. Next to him are Bhikshus Heng Lai (tall) and Heng Bin (short).
Two years later, in 1990, my whole family migrated to the United States and settled in Rochester, which is near the Canadian border in upstate New York. Few Chinese people live here, and most of them are Christians. There is little opportunity to hear the Buddhadharma. Although I visited Buddhist temples in the surrounding area and tried to arrange for Dharma Masters to come to Rochester to set up a Buddhist Lecture Hall and establish Dharmic affinities with the residents here, I had to give up because the causes and conditions were not sufficient. It was not until 1993, when my father came for vacation and suggested, "Why don't you lookup the Venerable Master?" But thinking of how long and tiring it is to travel from the west to the east coast, I was not sure if the Venerable Master could make the trip. Then I thought, "Why not try? I won't hope for anything."
When I contacted the Venerable Master by phone, he consented to come. In order to fulfill the wishes of a few disciples who wanted to listen to the Buddhadharma, the Venerable Master was willing to travel from the West Coast to the East Coast. His sacrifice for the Dharma deeply moved me. How fortunate I am! How fortunate are the disciples in Rochester!
A planning committee for the Dharma assembly was officially set up in September and began various planning activities. Many friends and neighbors volunteered. We discussed every aspect--from the decoration of the Buddha Hall to transportation and hotels, requesting the Dharma, taking refuge, and so forth, trying to do an excellent job. One thing that bothered me was that there aren't many Chinese people in Rochester; I worried that no one would come to listen to the Dharma and we would let the Venerable Master down. But my father said, "If you are sincere, things will turn out well. As long as you are sincere in organizing the Dharma assembly, the dragons, gods and Dharma protectors would certainly help you to get people to come." Sure enough, on the day of the Dharma assembly, three to four hundred people came. It was a rare, grand occasion in Rochester. The power of the Buddha is boundless and inconceivable.
On November 6th, the Dharma assembly was officially held in Wildwood Country Club. After nine disciples requested the Dharma, the Venerable Master began to lecture on "Buddhism and Education." There were some Americans in the audience. The English translation was fluent and the effect was excellent. After the Venerable Master finished lecturing, he opened the floor to the audience for questions. The Dharma assembly finally ended at 9:30 p.m. The Venerable Master looked around with sparkling eyes. He showed no sign of fatigue at all. I was even more moved after I learned that the Venerable Master had come despite his illness.
Early the next morning, the Venerable Master visited the hospital quietly. After that he returned to preside over the ceremony for taking refuge and bestowal of blessings. More than a hundred people took refuge. The Venerable Master never paused to take a rest. Once the Dharma assembly was over, people would request a blessing or ask for instruction to clarify their doubts. The Venerable Master fulfilled their wishes accordingly. He did not show any sign of fatigue nor impatience. Everyone enjoyed the Master's spontaneous remarks, which were full of Dharma wit and humor.
The Dharma assembly ended at 4:00 p.m. Everyone returned home filled with Dharma bliss. The Venerable Master's Bodhisattva spirit of disregarding his own sickness for the sake of living beings was truly touching.
After the three-day Dharma assembly ended, the Venerable Master flew to Washington D.C. on the 9th. To save money he opted to take an hour's ride to Buffalo to take a local flight, which was cheaper. His attention to cherishing blessings and being frugal really made me feel ashamed of myself.
Although the Venerable Master came to Rochester for only three days to propagate the Dharma, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to attend upon him and receive instructions from him personally. To this day I clearly remember those instructions and dare not forget them. The Venerable Master passed into stillness in Los Angeles in 1995. I can only follow the teachings of my teacher and abide by the six guiding principles--no fighting, no greed, no seeking, no selfishness, no pursuit of personal gain, and no lying. I use these to encourage myself to be vigorous in the Bodhi Way. Only then can I repay the kindness of my teacher.