My Dharma name is Qua Nguyet, and I was born in Vietnam. In 1986, during a trip to San Francisco for treatment of my chronically aching knees, I heard that at Gold Mountain Sagely Monaster, there was an old Dharma Master -- the Venerable Master Hsuan Hua. So I went over to pay my respects. I asked, "May I take refuge with the Venerable Master?" The Venerable Master remianed silent and did not reply, except to tell me to go bow to the Buddha Hall. Several hours latter, the Venerable Master came in to transmit the refuge to my daughter and me.
After returning to Calgary, I did not take my medicine as the doctor instructed. Instead, I began following a vegetarian diet. After becoming a vegetarian, my entire person felt much more relaxed at ease. Not long afterwards, my knees stopped aching. In 1987, Dharma Realm Buddist Assocoation founded Avatamsaka Monastery i Calgary. The Dharma Master in the monastery encouraged everyone to be vegetarian and memorize the Shurangama Mantra. I practiced as the instructed, memorizing the Shurangama Mantra five phrases at a time. During breaksat work, I read sutras and chanted mantras in the classroom. One night, while reading the
Wonderful Dharma Lotus Flower Sutra, I smelt the fragrance of flowers.
I like to practice the teaching of the Pure Land. The Venerable Master once said that everyone of Amitabha's forty-eight vows was meant to liberate living beings. If you are mindful of the Buddha, then the Buddha is in your mind. It is as simple as that, and one can attain the Buddha Rcitation Samadhi. There is no need to study its meaning, for that would be superflouus, creating trouble for oneself because there is nothing to do.
I like to share with everyone a personal response from participating in the Avatamsaka Dharma assembly. During the Dharma assembly, one dayduring the morning recitation a lamp on the Abbot's table caught fire, and sparks shot everywhere. A yellow butterfly flew out from within the sparks. After the fire was put out, the butterfly flew into the statue of the Buddha.
In 1990, I received the Five Precepts. In 1995, I received the Bodhisattva Precepts. Someone asked me if I wanted to leave the home life, because it would be the last time that the Venerable Master personally shaved the heads of those leaving the home life. I expressed my willingness to the Venerable Master, but the Venerable Master said that I still have (mundane) debts to pay. Therefore I am presently still a layperson.