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                                                          Memories of the Venerable Master



                               比丘尼恒貞 講於萬佛城大殿,2001年3月31日星期六晚
                                     SPOKEN BY BHIKSHUNI HENG JEN IN THE BUDDHA HALL
                       ON THE EVENING OF SATURDAY,MARCH31,2001

今晚想跟大家一起分享一件事。昨天是懷少節,從禮拜一開始,禮拜二、禮拜三我就陸陸續續跟學生講懷少節的節目,和須注意事項。因為一次講完學生不會記得,所以我分幾天按事情輕重跟學生慢慢交待。每一次在結尾我都跟她們說,「在萬佛聖城做事 ,大家心裏要有準備,隨時都會更換的。我現在這樣講,但臨時可能又換了樣。」每次我都這麼交待一句。  

很多小孩在我們這裏讀了一、兩年後,都非常清楚我們做事的方式。但是在禮拜四,有一位老師非常費心訓練孩子們怎麼招待客人,結果昨天懷少節時,八點半客人陸陸續續來了,坐滿差不多三分之一的座位。有個西方女孩,是我們的學生,就在那裏哭得好難過。我不知道怎麼回事,趕忙過去問。她講,「我負責的學生都來了,但是不夠好幾個位子。」她哭得好難過;我說這沒什麼 ,趕快去搬椅子就是了。  


從我出家後,上人一直在訓練我們什麼事都要準備隨時有變化。記得剛出家時,上人說,「妳們要在戒壇住五年受訓,才可以受比丘尼戒。」所以那時有很多「五年計劃」─ ─《楞嚴經》五年計劃、《華嚴經》五年計劃、沙彌尼訓練五年計劃,安排得好好的 。可是三、四個月後就有了大變動,我們一半的人到北部去開佛學院,上人也不講在北部要待多久;後來又有一部分人到溫哥華和西雅圖去創辦佛學會和佛學院。因為大師兄跟我們講過,所以我以為大約會在北邊待兩年,把佛學院辦起來,沒有想到幾個月後,一輛萬佛城來的巴士,把我們又載回來聖城受比丘尼戒。所以上人在走前,給了我們不同的課,告訴我們不要執著,這是對我們全體的訓練。

剛出家一個多月,我還在學校教書,一天有機會跟上人講話,我說,「師父!我們的學校辦不好。我心裏覺得我們的學校該是怎麼樣子,結果不是。」講完,我以為上人會跟我說該怎麼樣怎麼樣辦。結果上人回我一句,「一百年也辦不好。」 很多時候我們問上人什麼事該怎麼做,上人有時不答,有時只答一句,「盡心就好。」

記得出家幾個月時,有次大師兄跟我說,「師父說我們要去亞特蘭大弘法。」我就開始等,一直等等等,等了一個月也沒消息,心想大概取消了。隔了大概五、六個月 ,一天我到總辦公室,上人正跟人講話,那人講,「那我就下個禮拜再來看您。」上人說,「哦!下個禮拜我要去亞特蘭大。」我在旁聽了,說,「師父,我們下個禮拜就要去亞特蘭大? 」這是第一個驚奇。我以為取消了,沒想到一個禮拜後我們就去了。





Venerable Master and all fellow cultivators, Amitabha!  
Tonight I want to share something with everyone. Yesterday was Cherishing Youth Day, and on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday I had I gradually talked to the students about the Cherishing Youth Day program and the points needing attention. If I say everything all at once, the students can't remember it all, so I divided the matters up according to their importance and spent several days speaking to the students about them. I would always say to them at the end, "When preparing for things at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, everyone should always be ready for some last-minute changes. I am saying it's like this for now, but later on everything could be changed." I would always tell them this every time.

Many children, after studying here for one or two years, are very clear about the way that we do things here. However, on Thursday, there was a teacher who spent a lot of time and effort to train the children in how to welcome the guests. But during Cherishing Youth Day yesterday, the guests started arriving at eight-thirty, and they took up about one-third of the available seats. One of our students started crying miserably there. I didn't know what the matter was, so I hurried over to ask. She said, "My students all arrived, but we are still short of many seats." She was crying and looked very unhappy. So I said that this was not a problem. Just hurry and get more chairs.

According to this girl, she thought that if we set up a hundred and four chairs, then a hundred and four people should come, and not one more; she didn't know what to do once more people came, and started to cry right there, just because there weren't enough seats.

I remember the Venerable Master was always training us to be prepared to face changes in whatever we do, ever since I left home. I especially remember that when I first left home, the Venerable Master said you have to live in the Precept Platform for five years, and go through a training period of five years before receiving the Bhikshuni Precepts. So I remember that there were many plans at that time, called Five-Year Plans-The Shurangama Sutra Five-Year Plan, the Flower Adornment Sutra Five-Year Plan, and the Shramanerika Training Five-Year Plan. All of these Plans were laid out clearly. But about three or four months after our leaving home, there was a big change: half of us had to go north to start a Buddhist Academy, and the Venerable Master didn't tell us how long we would have to stay up north. Later some Dharma sisters went to Canada and Seattle to set up a Buddhist Society and Buddhist Academy. Because the elder Dharma sister had told us so, I thought that we were going to stay about two years up north, until the Buddhist Academy was set up. But unexpectedly, after a few months, a bus came from the CTTB and took us back to the Sagely City to receive the Bhikshuni Precepts. So before the Venerable Master left, he gave us many different lessons, telling us not to have attachments. This is training for all of us as a whole.  

I remember about a month after I had left home, I was teaching in school, and one day I had the chance to speak to the Venerable Master. I said, "Master! Our school isn't set up well. In my mind I know what this type of school is supposed to be like, but the reality is different." I told the Venerable Master this way. I thought the Venerable Master would tell me how to do this and how to do that, but the Venerable Master replied, "It couldn't be set up well in a hundred years."  

Many times when we ask the Venerable Master how to do things, he would not reply, or he would say, "It's good enough if you do your best."    

I recall that a couple of months after I left home, one day a Dharma sister told me, "The Master said we are going to Atlanta to propagate the Dharma." So I started waiting. I waited and waited, I waited for a month and there still wasn't any news. I thought it was canceled. About five or six months later, I went to the office one day and the Venerable Master was talking to someone there, who said, "I'll come to see you next week.” The Venerable Master said, "Oh! Next week I'm going to Atlanta." After overhearing that, I said, "Master, we're going to Atlanta next week?" This was the first surprise. I thought the Venerable Master had canceled the trip, but unexpectedly, we went there a week later.

I recall that the airline tickets were scheduled for us to stay in Atlanta for four days. We arrived in the afternoon, and began speaking Dharma that night. I went with a Bhikshuni and two Bhikshus. During the Dharma talks at night we sat at both sides of the Venerable Master. After the ritual for requesting the Dharma, the Venerable Master looked over at the women's side; I thought he wanted us to speak first. But the Venerable Master took one look at me and asked, "What are you doing here?" "I'm here to speak Dharma!" "You and Heng Chia go to the small room in the back.”  

I did not what he meant. Why did we have to go to the small room in back? All the things that I had prepared did not get used; I just retreated to the small room. The audience did not know what we were doing either; they just saw us stand up and leave.  

~ To be continued




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