萬佛城金剛菩提海 Vajra Bodhi Sea


Vajra Bodhi Sea: HomeMain IndexIssue Index




Look Far Into the Future and Fear No Difficulty--
Introducing Upasaka John Scroggs (Guo Zhan)

果安‧韓德生 編輯 Compiled by Joann Henderson
王青楠博土 中譯 Chinese translation by Qingnan Wang, Ph.D.

果霑生長於基督教基本教派的美國家庭。當他在巴黎和華盛頓大學攻讀哲學時,開始對佛教發生了興趣。當他隨西方最早的巴利佛典翻譯人之一的 Edward Conze 教授學習之後,再加上與 Epstein 教授(易果容居士)和上人其他弟子的不期而遇等因緣,讓他終於在1969年於三藩市見到了上人。之後他搬到了奧克蘭居住,到三藩市的金山寺聽上人講經。最後乾脆住進廟去,參加廟上的整修上作。當時,上人正洽購州立醫院(即現在的萬佛聖城),果霑和幾位法師一道斷食十八天,迴向功德。後來上人讓他看守萬佛聖城。1975年他皈依上人,受五戒及十重四十八輕菩薩戒。當時他並不完全認識其重要性。可一次在夢中,他見到自己是個嬰兒,在個充滿金光的大房間中,大家歡迎他加入這個新家庭。他知道真找到了家,於是全身投入為法界佛教總會服務。

在1986年到1996年,果霑暫時離城回去照顧父母;他們也曾在他住萬佛聖城期間見過上人。他每天誦楞嚴咒對治妄想,覺得和地藏菩薩的大願特別有緣,常誦其聖號。他得到的感應就是與父母的關係改善了,二老的往生都很安詳。他現在在萬佛聖城工作,他在附近的 Willits 有產業,也做房地產生意,因知世間法無常,所以並不執著在那上頭。「我有種預感,這個地方會出人預料地發展起來。上人教我如何做大床,20個床位、30個床位的大鋪。……這也是說我們培養獨立性很重要。」

果霑知道許多早年在萬佛聖城時,上人如何慈悲接引及療病的故事。雖然現在上人不在身邊了,也見不到他的鼓勵的音容了,但果霑覺得上人從未真正離開過,只要弟子們能堅持上人的教誨及戒法,就會度過興建大雄寶殿之類的難關。他知道上人總要弟子們人能「難行能行。」「……在我看來,我敢說這很難很難的。為了明白師父的教導,我花了許多時間去除障礙、習性的保護膜,及西方人的思維方式。我覺得,不能因為難就不做;開頭如果困難,結果或許會持續得更久。水到渠成 -- 因緣成熟時,自然就成功了。」

John Scroggs, an American, was raised in a fundamentalist Christian family. He became interested in Buddhism while studying in Paris, and at the University of Washington as a philosophy major. After studying with Professor Edward Conze, one of the first westerners to translate Sutras from Pali, his fortuitous associations with Professor Epstein (Guorong) and other disciples led him to San Francisco to meet the Abbot in 1969. He moved to Oakland and attended The Venerable Master's lectures at Gold Mountain Monastery, and eventually moved in to take part in remodeling projects there. At that time, the Master was negotiating the purchase of the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, and John took part in an 18 day fast with several Dharma Masters as an offering of merit and virtue toward that end. The Master then asked that he go to CTTB to watch over and protect it from vandalism.

In 1975, John took refuge with the Master and received the Five Precepts and the Ten Major and Forty-Eight Minor Precepts, without initially being fully convinced of their importance. But in a dream, he saw a big room, full of golden light. He was a baby, and everyone welcomed him into this new family. He knew then that he had found a real home and dedicated himself to working for the Association.

From 1986 to 1996 John took time out to care for his parents, who had met the Abbot while John was living at CTTB. Part of his practice was to recite the Shurangama Mantra everyday to curb false thinking. And feeling a special affinity for Earth Store Bodhisattva's vast vows, he recited his name. The response from this practice was his ability to develop a more humane relationship with his parents, both of whom died a peaceful death. He now works at CTTB. He is also developing property which he owns in Willits, but feels unattached to it, knowing that world conditions are unstable. "I have the feeling that this place is going to expand in surprising ways...the Master gave me instruction on how to build big beds...community beds for 20 or 30 people (each)...it is important for us to develop our independence, in a sense."

John has many stories about the early years at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas and the Venerable Master's compassionate guidance and healing presence. Although he misses his presence and encouragement, he feels that the Venerable Master has never really left, and that adhering to his teachings will get his disciples through difficult tasks such as building the International Institute of Philosophy & Ethics. He understands Shr Fu's admonition to always try to do the hard thing: "...it is extremely difficult. I can attest to that from my own background...it has taken me so long to get rid of the obstacles, the coverings and the habits...the way of thinking that is so common to Westerners, in order to understand what Shr Fu was about. But just because it is difficult, I don't think it shouldn't be done. If it takes a long time to get started, perhaps it will last a long time, once it has been established. As conditions ripen, it will happen."


法界佛教總會Dharma Realm Buddhist Association │ © Vajra Bodhi Sea