Bhikshuni Jin Xue came from the town of Dongshi of Taichung County in Taiwan. When she was three or four years old, her parents would take her to a local temple to bow to Buddhas and attend repentance ceremonies such as the Emperor of Liang’s Repentance and the Water Repentance. She thus came in contact with Buddhism at a very early age. But her parents did not have true faith in Buddhism nor were they vegetarian. From reading her husband’s Buddhist books, she gradually understood some Buddhist principles and saw how true they are. As an elementary school teacher, she had classes with at least 40 students or even up to 57 students, which left her very little time to read newspapers. One day she happened to pick up a newspaper and read that the Venerable Master was coming to Taiwan and would transmit the Three Refuges. The short announcement gave merely the time and location. She remembered it clearly and felt as if some force were compelling her to take refuge.
As she circumambulated and recited Amitabha Buddha’s name after the Taking Refuge ceremony, tears rolled down her cheeks. She told herself, “Stop, there are so many people here. This is embarrassing.” But another voice said, “How wonderful that I have this opportunity to take refuge! I’m going to cry no matter what!” She cried until her clothes were soaked. The next day she took her husband and her son to take refuge as well.
She did not understand why she had cried until she read the Venerable Master’s books. It was because her “good roots” had emerged; this happened to other people too. She read the Venerable Master’s
Instructional Talks and his Commentary on the Sixth Patriarch’s Platform Sutra, and the Dharma in these books immediately made sense to her. She called the Dharma Realm Buddhist Books Distribution Society (DRBBDS) in Taipei to order more books. The first one she ordered was the
Universal Door Chapter of the Dharma Flower Sutra, because she had always felt an affinity with Guanyin Bodhisattva. From then on she spent all her time after work reading these books, except when she visited her parents and in-laws on the weekends. She was already reciting the Great Compassion Mantra before she took refuge, and now she made a schedule for her personal cultivation. Her life was calm and fulfilling, yet she felt uneasy whenever she started thinking about where she would go after death.
One cannot escape from birth and death, and it is simply too dangerous to follow the pull of karma. How can one go on if one has no control of one’s destiny, especially after one has learned the Buddhadharma? How can one ignore the violent current under the deceptively calm surface of the ocean of life?
In 1989 the Venerable Master led a delegation to Taiwan to hold a Great Guanyin Dharma Assembly for Protecting the Nation and Quelling Disasters in Taoyuan County. Jin Xue Shi had to take four different buses to get there. After the session she decided to come to the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas (CTTB) to cultivate, so she started to accumulate some blessings by volunteering for DRBBDS on weekends and between semesters. She did whatever needed to be done—binding books, moving things, etc.—and was very happy about it. Her husband passed away in 1991, and in 1994 she took her son to CTTB to begin a new life. She enrolled her son in the Boys’ School and she taught in the Girls’ School. She also attended ceremonies in the Buddha Hall and worked in the kitchen. Time flew by and soon her son was eighteen. She had her head shaved a few days before his birthday, on October 24, 1999, the anniversary of Guanyin Bodhisattva’s and the Venerable Master’s leaving home. She received the name Chin Shan, and since then she has resolved to actively regain control over her birth and death from King Yama. She received her novice training in Gold Summit Monastery and Long Beach Monastery and in August 2002 she was ordained as Bhikshuni. She currently stays at Gold Wheel Monastery.
Before she had her head shaved, she asked her son for his opinion, and he said, “You spend all your time in the Buddha Hall, the school, and the kitchen. If you don’t leave the home life, what else could you do?” She no longer worried about him after that.