Hu Xiang-qi was born in Taiwan. Her
ancestors were natives of Shandong. Her parents were not
religious. She and her siblings were all Christians. Before
she was ten, every time she went by a monastery she enjoyed
sniffing the smell of incense.
When she went back to Taiwan from the
United States in 1989, her younger sister taught her the
Great Compassion Mantra, which she was able to recite
immediately. She also began to recite the Heart Sutra and
the ten small mantras. That was her initial encounter with
Buddhism. Although she didn't really believe in it, she had
wanted to ask some Dharma Masters to come to her house to
speak the Dharma. The Dharma Masters told her, "It would be
better to set up a Buddhist association and request Dharma
as a part of this group." Consequently she established the
Louisiana Buddhist Association in the garage of her house in
New Orleans. She then invited nearby Dharma Masters to give
In the summer of 1991, she received a
packet of books of the Venerable Master's Dharma talks. She
offhandedly began reading them before going to sleep.
Typically, she would fall asleep as soon as she began to
read at night. However, that night, she read until sunrise.
She was curious and decided to pay the City a visit. She
came and participated for one week in a Buddha recitation
session in 1991 and took refuge with the Venerable Master.
From then on, she began to circulate the Venerable Master's
books and tapes. She came to the Buddha recitation session
again in 1992 and got to hear the Venerable Master speak in
person, after which she made a vow to follow him in studying
Buddhism for the rest of her life. She observed the Leaving
Home ceremony held at Long Beach Monastery in 1994. She had
longings but didn't dare to think any more, fearing that
they would erupt and become uncontrollable.
On October 28,1999, she acquired a church
building. The Buddhist Association finally had an official
place! The association members re-furbished the place and
personally made the simple yet elegant furniture and
cushions. In November, they invited Bhikshus Heng Lai and
Heng Lyu to visit. For Thanksgiving of 2000, they invited
Bhikshunis Heng Liang, Heng Jen, and Heng Yiu to speak the
Dharma and lead the Great Compassion Repentance. For
Thanksgiving of 2001, they again invited Bhikshunis Heng
Jen, Heng Jhuang, and Heng Bing to speak the Dharma and lead
the Great Compassion Repentance. Many people attended those
supreme feasts of Dharma.
The Louisiana Buddhist Association was
successfully established, and its members decided to invite
Dharma Realm Buddhist Association to manage it. Guo-qi also
decided to retire after her job was done. She moved to the
City of Ten Thousand Buddhas and stepped into Jyun Kang
Vegetarian Cafe, where she now does whatever needs to be
done, including chopping and washing vegetables, preparing
ingredients for the cook, and so on. She considers it an
opportunity to train herself and change her temperament. She
knows that temper can block the spiritual path. Without
taming one's temper and soften¨ing one's character, one
cannot advance in one's spiritual practice.