Today we had a large group of Vietnamese people come, students from Humboldt State, and as it was a weekend day, various visitors from near and far.
This year we’re able to go forward towards our goal, building a large complex including a Buddhahall on the east portion of the City of 10,000 Buddhas. This will be a bright light that will attract many more living beings, and a much more diverse group of living beings than ever before.
It is said that the Buddhadharma arises from difficulty. Look at how difficult it was for the first Patriarchs in China. Rivals tried to poison and kill the Fir st Patriarch Bodhidharma, and forced the Sixth Patriarch into hiding. I mention this just in case we run into difficulties and trouble as we try to build our new Buddhahall. We’ve already experienced a great deal of difficulties just to get to this point. We’re not just putting up a building but trying to propagate the Proper Dharma in the Dharma Ending Age.
Now I will tell you a story of how a Bodhisattva enables living beings to uncover treasures buried in the earth. At various times people have said, “Well, you must be doing what the Venerable Master wants you to do.” I think many disciples thought at one time or another that they were doing what the Venerable Master wanted, only to find out the Venerable Master did not approve.
Here’s my story: When we first bought the City of 10,000 Buddhas, after a few years, the power failed. Well, we looked around and found out that there was some wire in the ground that had gone bad and we put in a request to the abbot so we could buy some wire. The Venerable Master approved the request for the wire even though it was very expensive. We got the wire and put it in the ground. We connected everything back together again so we could start our electricity. A few years later the power went out again. We looked around, found where the wire had gone bad, put in a request and fixed the problem again. So it went for the first ten years at the City of 10,000 Buddhas. When the power went out, we requested wire, put it in and fixed the problem.
One day, ten years after the City of 10,000 Buddhas was established, the power went out again. We looked around and found out there was a section of wire that had blown apart from the high voltage. We figured out how much wire we needed and submitted a request to the Venerable Master. Well, at that time I thought that was what the Venerable Master wanted us to do--put in a request for wire and go ahead and put the new wire in. Someone who spoke Chinese went in and talked to the abbot and then came back and told me what he’d said. The abbot said, “I’ve bought enough wire. I’m not buying anymore wire. You fix this without buying any wire.” I could hardly believe what I heard. I asked the translator, “Is that what he really said?!” I was stunned. I didn’t know if we would ever get our electricity back. In this stunned state, I looked around, thought about our situation and said, “Well, there’s a little bit of wire that I’ve seen coiled up in a manhole in the ground.”
That was only 20 or 30 feet of wire. We needed 300 feet of wire. I went and opened up the manhole and pulled out the wire anyway. I pulled out 20 or 30 feet; that’s as far as I got. The other end was stuck in the ground. That wasn’t the end of the wire; there was more buried in the ground there. I tried to figure out where the rest of the wire was. Since some of it was buried in the ground, maybe there was a little bit more wire we could use and take over to where we wanted to do the repair.
We looked around and we found a section of road where the asphalt had been cut up and then repaired, directly in line with where this wire was. But we couldn’t figure out where it went from there. There was just this one zigzag portion. This was across from the Precept Hall to the north of the Precept Hall. It went toward the Precept Hall and that’s as far as we could figure out where it went. We kept looking around. This was an unusual wire. As it turned out, this was a special high quality, high voltage wire that the state hospital had put in. We found another manhole that had the wire going into the ground. This manhole was down by the substation where the power came in. We found out later that before the state hospital closed, they had planned to put in a new switching station across from ‘I’ building. The state hospital had closed down before they had a chance to finish these plans.
As it turned out, this wire went all the way from the substation to across from ‘I’ building. We still didn’t have enough wire. We needed some wire to go from the manhole by ‘I’ building to the nearest manhole in our high voltage system.
However, we looked around by the substation and found a length of wire down by the substation. It was meant to go from the substation to a nearby pole. As it turned out, this wire was just long enough. It turned out that just at that time, we had a crew of four or five people, all of whom could work on the high voltage system, many more people than we had before. This was a good time for us to connect this high voltage wire to our power system. The place where the power had gone out was the road that goes around the hospital to the north and west, close to the wetland.
In the winter, water pours out of the manhole in a fountain; it gushes up from the hole in the manhole. That’s how wet that area is. This was not a good place to run high voltage wire. We abandoned that section because we had the new wire, and we never used it again. It took about a month but we restored the power.
We bought splices and other supplies but we didn’t buy any wire. That wire that we used was in excellent condition. It would have been extremely expensive to buy that wire. It was truly a great treasure that we found in the ground. And so, when people say, “Well, I think this is what the abbot wanted us to do,” I think of this story. His state was inconceivable. I don’t think anybody really knew what the abbot wanted them to do. Amitabha!