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