I met a middle-aged laywoman, who is very supportive of the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas and the branch monasteries of Dharma Realm Buddhist Association. Whether or not the Venerable Master is here, her resolve to protect the Dharma has never wavered. She said, “The Venerable Master not only influenced me to learn Buddhism and to become a vegetarian, but also blessed my dog. Whatever I do to support the monasteries can merely repay a tiny fraction of the Venerable Master’s kindness.”
Over ten years ago, she heard that reciting the “Universal Door Chapter” evoked many responses and wanted to learn how to recite it. But whenever she wanted to cultivate, she encountered obstacles which either made her sleepy or made her so frustrated that she could not recite. She asked the Venerable Master for help, hoping that she could break through these obstacles. The Master replied, “You must become a vegetarian. Do not eat any more meat.” The Master also hit her on the head with his walking cane. She thought to herself, “Your beating me is useless. Even if you beat me to death, it is impossible for me to not eat meat.”
A couple days after she returned home, without knowing why, she no longer wished to eat meat. Not only that, she thought that vegetables were delicious and did not taste as bad as she had imagined. Subsequently, she became a vegetarian. The most wonderful thing was that when she recited the Universal Door Chapter, it went very smoothly. She felt like she could finish the Chapter in one breath. Reciting this sutra was no longer a headache for her. She even memorized it. She says happily, “Up till now, the sutra I can memorize the best is the ‘Universal Door Chapter.’ If I had known that this would happen, I would have begged the Venerable Master to be compassionate and hit me on the head a few more times so that my wisdom could come forth.”
At that time, she owned a dog. However, she did not treat her dog like a pet. Sometimes, she would not feed the dog for an entire day or would not give it a bath for a long time. When she was in a good mood, she would play with the dog. When she was in a bad mood, she would yell at the dog or even kick it a couple of times.
One day, the Venerable Master happened to pass by her house due to some other business. She and her family were home to welcome the Venerable Master. “I remember it very clearly. The Master’s left home disciples walked into my house first. My dog was wagging his tail happily and darting in and out around the Dharma Masters’ feet, sniffing. Once the Venerable Master showed up, the dog crawled on its belly toward the Venerable Master’s feet and kept nodding its head nonstop as if it were bowing to the Venerable Master. Everyone was shocked because they had never seen a dog act like this.”
She thought to herself, even though the dog was an animal, it knew enough to seize the opportunity to respect and bow to a wise teacher. At that time, she gave rise to compassion and asked, “Master, could you please bless my dog?” The Venerable Master did not reply, but she noticed that he was silently doing a mudra toward the dog.
A few months later, her family moved to Northern California. It was not convenient for her to raise a dog in her new house. Right when she was worried about how to situate the dog, her friend suddenly expressed an interest in adopting her dog. “This not only solved my problem but also changed the fate of my dog. Ever since the dog moved to its new home, the new owner has loved and cared for it very well. It has been upgraded from a common dog to a noble one. I truly believe this is because of the blessing from the Venerable Master.”
上人答問錄 Q & A with the Venerable Master
Q: Can you save demons, ghosts and goblins?
A: Living beings have their own karma. Some can be saved, but others cannot because of their heavy karma. I have been crossing over demons, ghosts and goblins everyday; however, many of them are not obedient and do not listen. Do I get upset when they don’t listen? No, I just try my best.
Q: What are spiritual penetrations? Why do people possess them?
A: When the spirit communicates and mutually penetrates, that is known as spiritual penetrations. After a person has cultivated for a long time, he can concentrate his attention and energy, so that his essence, energy and spirit are full. Then the person has spiritual penetrations and can foretell things. He can understand everything without having to be told. That is a kind of spiritual penetration.