最親愛的法友們！你們不要像我一樣浪費時間，不要像我一樣愚癡，到老才學道，也不要像我從前那樣，光知道找錢。奉勸大家盡你的力量去找正確的路；這正確的路不是高速公路，是真正的道路，是佛道 -- 佛的教導，就像昨天中午方丈和尚說的，這正確的道路是在我們心裡頭，而不是外頭的101號高速公路。
First, I'd like to thank the staff at the City for inviting me to talk today. Second, I'll like to bow to all of you because you were my parents in the past and will be Buddhas in the future. Tonight, I'd like to tell you who I am and how I struggled to find the way of the Buddha's teaching.
My name is Thiet Nguyen and my Dharma name Ming Jiang. I'm 68 years old. I received a Doctorate of Science in Civil Engineering at the University of Washington in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1984. I am married and have five children who are all grown up. After I got my first bachelor degree in Science in Civil Engineering, I started my own business and became very rich. Unfortunately, in April 1975 when South Vietnam collapsed, the Vietnamese Communists confiscated all of my properties, which were worth about ten million dollars. I also lost my father, who died in jail in 1984.
In the midst of misfortune, my entire family was tremendously fortunate in being able to escape Vietnam two and a half years after it became communist. We reached the United States in 1978. I was totally destitute and had to start all over. During the day I worked fulltime as a civil engineer, and at night I continued my studies and earned a Masters and a Ph.D. In 1984 I started teaching. Through hard work, our family now has a comfortable life in the United States.
I have always felt frustrated and suffer as if I am missing something. My mind keeps wandering like a monkey, jumping from branch to branch and from tree to tree. I have struggled a lot to overcome this serious problem. Later, I knew that I badly needed the Buddha's teaching to help me out.
In the past two years after retiring from the University, I have traveled all over the country, to cultivate, to learn, and to practice the Dharma and the Buddha's teaching wherever it was offered. I traveled from east to west, from north to south. I have learned from Burmese, Tibetan, Thai, Sri Lankan, Vietnamese, and Chinese monks.
In this respect I have also struggled a lot. I have worked hard to find the true way and true teachers who can teach me the right method to cultivate and to reach my goal. This is the third time I have come to CTTB [the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas]. The first time, I led a normal life at the City because there was no session going on. The second time, I learned meditation, and this time I have learned recitation.
I have a hard time understanding Chinese, but over here I feel so comfortable and peaceful. Being here has helped me a lot. I strongly believe that one day, with my sincere vow from the bottom of my heart, my dream will come true. The following is my daily schedule:
4 hours of Sutra recitation, including repentance
2 hours of meditation
108 recitations of the Great Compassion Mantra
10,000 recitations of "Namo Amitabha"
bowing 1,700 times
My dear Dharma friends! Do not waste time like I did. Do not be as stupid as I was or wait until you're old like I did. Do not look for money like I did. Try your best to find the right way but not Highway 101. Find the Buddha way, the Buddha's teaching, as the abbot said yesterday. Go to the end of the right way, but not Highway 101. May all beings be happy and peaceful. Amitabha!
Now we have a couple of minutes. If you have any questions about me you may ask.
QUESTION: How do you get to know about CTTB?
ANSWER: This is a very good question. I didn't know this place even after I came many times because my children are staying here. One day my child gave me a flyer about a meditation session here. At that time, I called this place and asked them to send me an application. They sent the application to me by fax. The next day I sent it back and asked to stay for three days. Unfortunately, there was no session then. I didn't get any answer, but flew here anyway because it was in my schedule. I met the abbot and his assistant and they allowed me to stay. And I was so happy and peaceful living here for three days. At that time, it was 103 degrees but I didn't feel it at all. I'd like to add one more thing. At that time I knew nobody here and at the last minute before I left to fly back home, I went directly to the abbot's office to ask him about meditation, because there was no session going on. I had to learn something before I went home and he so kindly talked to me for about ten or twenty minutes.
QUESTION: Could you please tell us about what you learned from the other Buddhist monasteries that you have visited?
ANSWER: This is a long answer, but I'll make it brief. Actually, I took refuge in 1962. Don't laugh at me, but I forgot about the teacher, the temple, and the Buddha, and I went looking for money. That's why I ask you not to waste time looking for money but now I try my best. I challenge you. In this country, Buddhism appears to be strong and flourishing because many Americans and foreigners try to learn Buddhism. Since they are so materialistic, they want to cultivate in order to find peace of mind. And there is one way to help them, which is to go back to the Buddha's teaching. But our Master said that out of 10,000 monks and nuns, it's very hard to find a real one. We have to know that. We have to go back to our house and not look outside. Do not go down Highway 101. Actually, the Americans and the foreigners have helped me to return to the Buddha's teaching. Amitabha!