More than two years ago, my doctor diagnosed me as having a deformed cerebral blood vessel and said that I needed surgery immediately. Otherwise, I would be in grave danger, maybe even losing my life. The odds of a successful operation were 70%. Before going into the operation room, I told my family that in case I become comatose or in any other emergency, they should play the tape of the Venerable Master chanting the Shurangama Mantra.
As soon as I went into surgery, my family started to play the Venerable Master’s chanting of the Shurangama Mantra and his Sutra lecture tapes. The surgeon told them that I might not recognize anyone and have no memory of them for 24 to 48 hours after the surgery. After 11 hours of surgery, I was sent to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and something inconceivable happened. Although I was unconscious, I clearly saw the Venerable Master in his yellow robes holding a walking stick come in from the door to my right (there were two doors in the ICU), followed by two men. He passed the nurses’ counter and walked toward me. After I became conscious, my husband and my sister told me that just before I awoke, I kept calling, “Shr Fu [the Master] is here; Shr Fu came to see me.” I became wide awake very quickly. I could talk to doctors in English, my parents in Cantonese, and my husband in Mandarin Chinese. I even told my brother to go home soon, because the parking fee at the Medical School was so high. Doctors and nurses found it strange that I could be fully conscious approximately two hours after such a major surgery.
Late at night, my parents, brother, and sister all went back home, and suddenly I couldn’t speak. This was because the surgery had been done very near to my vocal nerve. I was frightened but could yell out nothing but “Ah, ah, ah…” At my side, my husband asked me, “Do you want Shr Fu’s tape?” I could only motion “Yes.” Upon hearing the Venerable Master’s chanting of the mantra, I immediately regained my ability to speak. That night the same situation happened four or five times. As soon as the Master’s chanting was played, my speaking ability returned to normal.
One morning I woke up to find that I scarcely had any memory. I couldn’t remember my name; I couldn’t figure out what 1+1 was; I didn’t know my father’s name. I didn’t even remember Guanyin Bodhisattva’s name. I panicked! Fortunately I still remember that the Venerable Master told me that I had a very good affinity with Guanyin who has many hands and many eyes to rescue living beings from the sea of suffering. Although I was in bed, I told myself that I wanted to bow to Guanyin within. I bowed to her reverently in my heart. A few days later, I was suddenly able to recognize words again while walking down the hall.
When I was hospitalized, I kept telling myself that I wanted to check out quickly because the Venerable Master’s birthday was coming, and I wanted to go to Gold Mountain Monastery to bow to him. My wish was fulfilled and I was discharged before his birthday. However, because the stitches on my wound had not been removed yet and I couldn’t speak properly, I didn’t go to Gold Mountain Monastery. On the evening of the Venerable Master’s birthday, out of the blue I started chanting silently:
Homage to the permanently dwelling Buddhas of the ten directions
Homage to the permanently dwelling Dharma of the ten directions
Homage to the permanently dwelling Sangha of the ten directions
Homage to our fundamental teacher Shakyamuni Buddha
Homage to the Greatly Compassionate Guanshiyin Bodhisattva
Homage to the Venerable Master Hsuan, Noble Hua.
From then on, my speech returned to normal. No one could tell that I had had brain surgery, unless I told them.
When we are extremely sick and cannot find a good doctor, we are terrified and worried. Actually, the Venerable Master has already given us the most effective medicine to heal illnesses at their root. The medicine has already been prepared and is in front of us. It is a pity that living beings, pathetic as we are, fail to take the medicine on a regular basis and thus cannot escape from birth and death. During these many years, I have been thinking of repaying the Venerable Master’s kindness. I recall that on the evening of my commencement at Developing Virtue School, the Venerable Master instructed me to behave well. I think that following the Master’s instructions and putting his teachings into practice is the only way I can repay a tiny bit of his great kindness and compassion!