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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


第二晚,我跟那位師兄準備好要跟小孩講的內容後--頭天講的是孝道--就在後面等,沒上講臺去。上人叫人來叫了,「上人問妳們兩個去了哪裏呀?」「師父不是叫我們去教小孩嗎?」上人說,「沒有啊!今天妳們講法。」 我出家後的前七年,都在萬佛城的廚房煮大鍋菜(編按:不放油、鹽等調味料的素菜湯)。記得一次觀音法會,一位師兄弟叫我做總行堂,她說,「今天觀音法會,妳去齋堂做總行堂,不要在廚房裏了。」往年法會時,廚房都是忙得一塌糊塗,所以那次我們就講好,一定要在大眾進齋堂前,把所有的東西都準備好。


十點半,齋堂外面來了一輛車,下來的是麥可﹒楊(國新),我們就知道上人來了。上人走進齋堂,我心想上人看到我們什麼都準備好了,一定會很高興。我看見上人跟麥可﹒楊講話,聽不見講什麼,只見上人用拐杖東指西指。然後麥可﹒楊跑過來說,「師父說妳們這樣擺桌子,根本就是錯的。哪有人四張桌子連在一起?這麼長,一個人要從頭走到尾,想從中間插過去都不可以。 上人說桌子跟桌子之間一定要有空間,要分開。」那時男女生都走了,我就跟一位居士一起搬;先撤椅子,再把桌子跟桌子之間拉開。我一直看時間,很緊張,好不容易桌子都拉開了。








We went to the small room in the back, opened the door and saw about twenty small children playing and watching television. They were the children of the audience- their parents had come to listen to the Dharma, so they placed their children there. I don't know whether the Venerable Master already knew, or if they had arranged it that way. In short, the Ven. Master gave us a big lesson that time.  

The second night, my Dharma sister and I had prepared a lecture for the small children-we had talked about filiality the first night. We didn't go onto the dais, but waited behind it. The Ven. Master told a layperson to call us over. He said, "Where did the two of you go?" "Didn't you tell us to go teach the children?" The Ven. Master said, "No, you speak the Dharma today."

The first seven years after I left the home-life I lived at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas cooking vegetable soup. I remember during a Guanyin assembly a Dharma sister called me to be the Head Server. She said, "Today is the Guanyin Dharma assembly, you go outside to be the Head Server, don't stay in the kitchen now." Our kitchen had been extremely busy for the past few years, so that time a few of us agreed to finish all the preparations before the great assembly arrived.

I then arranged the tables and chairs outside in the way we do now, four tables together in one line. I remember that there weren't enough people to help, so I walked around outside and saw five boys from the boy's school hanging out with nothing to do, so I called them over to help out. When I had finished everything outside it was just ten-twenty. I thought, "This is great! I finished everything by ten-twenty!" When I looked in the kitchen, they were all done too. We even had time to sit down and take a rest!

At ten-thirty, a car came to a stop in front of the Dining Hall. Michael Yang [Guo-xin] got out and then we knew the Venerable Master had arrived. The Ven. Master walked into the Dining Hall, and I thought he would be very happy once he saw that we had everything ready. I saw the Ven. Master talking with Michael Yang, pointing left and right with his walking stick, but I couldn't hear what he was talking about. Then Michael Yang came over to me and said, "The Master said the way you placed the tables is all wrong. Who would link four tables all together? It's so long that one person has to walk along the whole length of the tables, and can't cross to the other side. The Ven. Master said there needs to be space between the tables, you need to separate them all." By that time the boys and girls were all gone, so I worked with a layperson: first all the chairs were taken out, then the tables were separated. I kept on looking at the time, and was very nervous; finally the tables were all arranged properly.

Upasika Yang then went to ask the Ven. Master if the tables were all arranged correctly now? The Ven. Master then walked with him up to the front. At that time the Shramaneras' seats were arranged to be the last row of the great assembly, and the plates were all filled with food; the chopsticks, and fruit were all placed properly. The Ven. Master said to move the Shramaneras to the first row, so we moved them to the front. The funny part, was that we were running when we moved the food, and the oranges were rolling all around the plates, so in order to prevent the fruit from falling off, Upasaka Yang and I looked like we were doing an acrobatic performance. We just barely had enough time left after finally moving everything. When the Ven. Master saw what we had done, he was very unhappy: he said, "Who told you to arrange them there? I told you to take them up to the first row on the platform" What the Ven. Master meant by the first row was behind the Bhikshus, so we moved the dishes from down below to the platform. By then Upasika Yang had already left, so I had to move the bowls and plates and everything else by myself, and I could only arrange them sloppily, because there wasn't enough time.  

By this time the kitchen was in a state of panic too. The kitchen was supposed to have someone come out to place the spoons, but the Dharma siser placed a whole stack of spoons and chopsticks in my hands. When I received them, I concurrently heard, "Namo Fundamental Teacher, Shakyanumi Buddha .... " Dharma Master Heng Sure came in the door! I clean forgot what I was supposed to do, all I could do was to say, "This is terrible, this is terrible," and I discovered that the Venerable Master was standing by my side, laughing heartily.

Later there would be many different situations, and the Venerable Master would always tell us that you imagine many things to be one way, but in reality they are not like that. So if something uneexpected happens, and you become tense to the point of being bad-tempered, or start to create bad mouth karma, this is due to not having much samadhi power . Worldly matters can't be predicted, everything has a different cause, and you have to do things according to their cause. Cherishing Youth Day this time passed with many obstacles. On the surface, everything seemed very smooth, but there was much training within.

The Thousand Buddhas Repentance Ceremony is almost here; it will be the time to reflect on ourslves. Amitabha




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