Bhikshu Heng Hui is eighty-five years old. He was born in Zhong County in Sichuan Province, China. This county's residents were simple and sincere folk who farmed the countryside. During Heng Hui Shi's youth, the Japanese invaded China. He decided to join the army to repay the country and became a military police officer. He went through the war with Japan and the civil war with the communists. As the government lost one place after another, he followed the troops retreating south. Eventually, they arrived at the southernmost part of China, Yunnan Province, where the government arranged for planes to take them to Taiwan to settle.
Bhikshu Heng Hui still remembers very clearly the circumstances of their withdrawal. When the government planes arrived at the airport, the Commander held a meeting to discuss who was leaving in what order. At that moment, everyone knew that the government had lost the war. As a result, the leaders of each military unit argued about who would board the plane first. Due to his low rank, Heng Hui Shi's superior had no grounds for argument and was silent during the entire meeting. Since no one at the meeting was willing to yield, people got very annoyed. They could not come to a decision Then one of the generals stood up angrily, pointed at Heng Hui Shi's superior and said, “All right, since we cannot figure out who is leaving first, no one is going anywhere. You, the Military Police Unit, will be the first ones to go.” Upon hearing this, everyone agreed to let the Military Police Unit leave first. Therefore, Heng Hui Shi boarded the plan. Right after their flight took off, the communists invaded the airport. None of the other troops was able to leave for Taiwan by plane. Heng Hui Shi often expresses relief that his superior did not argue in the meeting, for otherwise Heng Hui Shi would have been doomed.
After Heng Hui Shi arrived in Taiwan, he dedicated himself to education. He taught Chinese at a junior high school until he retired at sixty-five. After retirement, he and his wife, now Bhikshuni Heng Zhong, started learning about Buddhism.
In 1992, at the age of seventy-three, Heng Hui Shi suffered severe throat pain. According to the doctor, he had a tumor on his vocal cord that required treatment. After returning home from the doctor's visit, Heng Hui Shi recited Earth Store Boddhisattva's name very sincerely everyday. A week later, he went back to the hospital for a follow-up. The doctor said in amazement, “How come your tumor has disappeared? Only a white dot remains on your vocal cord now.” This incident strengthened Heng Hui Shi's faith in Buddhism. Not long after that, he visited the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas where he has settled permanently and recites the Great Compassionate Mantra everyday.
A year passed and Heng Hui Shi turned seventy-four in the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas. Though he went to the Buddha Hall for daily ceremonies and mantra recitation, he often mentioned that ‘fallen leaves should return to their root' – meaning that one should return to his hometown in his old age. His mind was set on returning to Taiwan. As a result, he never thought about leaving the home life. During the second half of 1993, when Heng Zhong Shi was preparing to apply to leave home, he was depressed for a while. Two or three weeks before the leaving home ceremony, his son, Wei-Hong Chen, went to the office to sign up for his mother. Mr. Chu at the administration office suddenly said to him, “Do you want to apply for your Dad as well? Why don't you ask him?” The son thought: “Impossible.” However, he asked Heng Hui Shi, “Do you also want to leave home?” Unexpectedly, Heng Hui Shi replied, “Sure, I'd like to apply to leave home too.” Amazed by this complete turnaround, Wei-Hong Chen hurried to the office and applied for his father.
Although Heng Hui Shi had signed up to leave home, he changed his mind every other day. One day, he would say, “I don't want to leave home and I really mean it.” Two days later, he would say, “I am going to leave home!” Luckily, the night before he left home, he decided he wanted to leave the home life. The next morning, his head was shaved at Gold Mountain Monastery.
In the blink of an eye, ten years have passed. Heng Hui Shi feels that leaving home is truly wonderful. He recites Amitabha Buddha's name every day to seek rebirth in the Western Pure Land. Usually, the day before the great assembly makes offerings on special occasions, he will always ask his son to shave his head so that he has a proper appearance in the assembly. His son often asks him, “Dharma Master, do you have any afflictions today?” Heng Hui Shi always answers: “Oh, no. No afflictions today. All afflictions come from ourselves. That's how the world is. I have seen through these matters already.”