每天，他都對著我微笑，笑容裡蘊藏有無盡的大悲。當我一抬頭，看到他那慈祥的眼神與和靄的表情時，一種安心的感覺頓使我覺得溫暖踏實多了。彷彿他正在向我說“Everything is okay.”(一切都好)他常說的老話。
受到內心的驅動，我開始幫圖書館作系統分類和目錄編排。一天，我忽然得到這麼一句話：「弘法不僅僅只是講法，要緊的是要弘揚正法」。「佛經流通中心」圖書館是在1999年由幾名開路先鋒發心創立的，懷著希望這個圖書館的系統編類能日臻完善的願心，我和姊姊都加入了館務義工陣容。我們只期盼，藉著自己在這個領域的專才，也能儘量幫助宣揚 上人的教化給許多人知道。那麼，在感恩 上人先度了我們的同時，我們能這麼做，也等於替 上人圓滿他度眾生的心願了。
In my room, a photograph of the Elder Venerable Master Hua hangs on the wall, right in front of my study table.
Each day, he smiles at me with his great compassion, and when I look up into his kind eyes and gentle expression, a sense of peace warms my heart. He seems to be saying his favorite verse to me “Everything is okay.”
I have been reading his commentaries of Buddhist Sutras for the past one year, and held a high esteem and deep respect for this great man, who, single-handedly, was able to propagate the proper Dharma from the East to the West. How profound are his merits and virtues, without which, the Sacred Land of the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas (CTTB) would never have been founded. With his power of compassion, millions of living beings, especially those in the lower realms of existence, can be crossed over by him,
and his many good disciples and followers, after him.
I developed an interest in Buddhism in 1995 when I was deeply in trouble and running around to temples in search of help to overcome my problems. Subsequently, I begin to understand that God, or rather, the Buddhanature is not somewhere outside, but rather, inherent within each and every one of us, regardless of color, race or religion. It has always been, and will ever be, but due to the many offenses we have created over so many lives, past and present, our own Clear Mirror Wisdom becomes obliterated by the dust of afflictions.
As an English educated person, it will take me a long time to understand the Chinese Sutra texts. So in January last year, when my sister chanced to come across a copy of Master Hua’s “An Introduction to Buddhism” at a vegetarian stall in a market place, I was very excited. What stood out to me in this small but important booklet are these words of his: “It is important to find the
right teacher.” Something struck a cord in me, and immediately, I knew, I would have to find him.
It is true that it is not easy to find Buddhist Sutras in English and although I have read some others, the interpretation by the Buddhist Text Translation Society – U.S.A. (BTTS) is clear and precise, literally word for word. I then decided to make a trip to Buddhist Books Distribution Centre (BBDC-Singapore). The experience I had when I first visited the library section was a feeling that at last, I have found a treasure chest. Displayed neatly on the shelves are the Dharma treasures. But, what a disappointment when I learnt that this great man is no longer with us
in this world. Yet, I also know, I have finally found the correct path that will lead me back
Over the next few months, I joined in the BBDC activities whenever I could find time. There are many good wise advisors, who taught me some of the “Shoulds and Shouldn’ts” that we have to observe while in a Way-place or attending a recitation session, and so forth. There are many Upasakas and Upasikas to whom I am grateful.
I began to have an inner urge to help with the library system and cataloging. One day, I envisioned this message: “It is important to propagate, not just Dharma, but the
Proper Dharma.” My sister and I volunteered our services in the library project, in the hope to perfect what was already a hard task undertaken by the very few pioneers in BBDC, who did their best in the initial set up of the library system three years ago in 1999. We just pray that in lending our expertise in this area, we too, can help to expand the teachings of the Master Hua, to as many people as possible. Then we would have done the Master a service to fulfill his vow to cross over living beings, as we thank him for having crossed us over first.
Along the way, I read more and more of the English Sutras and obtain an even greater understanding of the profundity of what the Lord Shakyamuni Buddha taught us. Alternating among Sutra reading, listening to tapes on Dharma talks and learning the mantras, I also delve into past issues of
Vajra Bodhi Sea (VBS). It was here that I seem to have forged a bond with this Great Master. Through reading articles on the Dharma news and happenings at CTTB and other Way-places that the Master had set up, I sometimes felt like he was talking directly to me. I remember the first time I came across his poem “Monk in the Grave,” tears welled up in my eyes and suddenly I felt a lump in my throat. Thinking perhaps it was the meaningful and touching words that made me cry, I brushed my tears away.
As I went through month after month of the VBS journals, I seemed to be re-living the events that happened at CTTB, as if I were present in some of the events, witnessing all that was happening. In deep contemplation, it was as if the Master were in front of me too, speaking his Dharma lectures…and sometimes, I had this feeling that I had actually been his disciple in my past or last lifetimes, so, very naturally, I called him “Shr Fu Shang Ren” (Venerable Master) in my heart, despite the fact that I never had the chance to meet him in person in this present life.
As CTTB grows, I seem to grow with its happenings, and it is as if Shr Fu has been giving me Dharma lectures over these years. Then suddenly, when I reach the issues of 1995, I have a sinking feeling in my heart, for I know I will read the events of his demise. The connection is deep, and there seems to be a dreadful feeling, yet, I never expected the outpouring of emotion which swept over me on December 21, 2002 (Amitabha Buddha’s birthday), just as I turned to the page that showed a full-page photo “In Memory of the Master.” Tears just kept flowing down my face. It was as if I was also present during his “Entrance into Stillness.” At that moment, a huge sense of loss filled my whole being, a sense that we can no longer see him in the physical body. Even though this event happened seven years ago, it was as if I too had been present at the Memorial Ceremony, mourning and shedding silent tears together with the many followers present that day.
Reading his last words to us, comforting us and telling us not to be sad when he leaves, I felt an even greater loss…the loss of a Bodhisattva’s great compassion. In his life time, he was able to manifest and cross over so many living beings. Even though we read about compassion in the Sutras, somehow, it only seems real when we come face to face with a true experience, and even though I read his books, and try to adopt a truly compassionate attitude towards all living beings, sometimes it is not easy in this world. Hence, to hear him reminding us not to be sad after he leaves, made me feel even sadder. After all, we are still human beings, still with outflows. I cried and cried, as if grieving for the demise of my own father, whom I lost when I was only three years old. In my heart, Shr Fu is like the father I never saw. Yet, he taught me what the Buddha taught, and through his merit and virtue, I have managed to find the proper path that will ultimately lead me to end birth and death and attain enlightenment so that in time, I too, will also be able to enlighten others and help to cross them over. This is my first small vow now.
So, to Shr Fu, if I may address you in this way now. Shr Fu, looking at your photo with my palms together, my body, mouth and mind purified, with eyes closed, and with a sincere heart, I wish to say “Thank You” to you for lending me your wisdom and compassion. Ever in respect and gratitude to a Great Master, I remain, a very humble layperson, waiting for the right opportunity to take refuge in the Triple Jewel.
Namo Amitabha Buddha!