回家後，自己每天做早晚課，常看上人的書。一直到2002年時，我又有一點不安了—— 我這安靜學習的好日子快結束了。因為兩個孩子都不小了，可以照顧自己，我應該回委內瑞拉了。我想，糟糕了！我回家後要繼續做事、上班，這樣對我學佛必有障礙。還好當時有一位佛友安慰我說：「如果妳真心在佛道上學習，佛菩薩一定會幫助妳的。」事情真的很不可思議，在我回去之前，有一個機緣又來到萬佛聖城參加 2003年的「萬佛寶懺」法會。法會中，在一位法師指導下，我很誠懇地對每一尊佛念一句懺悔文，法會結束後，我心情輕鬆很多了，等我回到家時，我的伙伴已經給我準備一間很精緻的辦公室，又講一大堆未來的計劃，但是我很清楚自己學佛的心，「世間的享樂我已捨棄了，這樣上班賺錢有有甚麼意思呢？」所以決定對這位伙伴坦白我的心願，起先他根本就聽不進去，慢慢地他才接受了。這位伙伴看見我學佛的意念這麼強，他也想要來萬佛城看看是怎麼的一回事。所以，我很相信只要我們學佛的心堅固，雖然會經歷很多障礙，我們都可以克服的。
I was born in Macau and grew up in Venezuela. The first time I met Buddhism was in 1998. That year, my son and I came to the United States. He went to school while I prepared to get a Pharmacist’s License in order to find a job. I planned to stay in the United States for a period of time.
One day, I saw a Buddhist temple near my house, and out of curiosity I went in to take a look, since I had began to learn the Buddhadharma. In the beginning, I learned how to bow to the Buddhas and offer incense, and I heard some of the Buddha’s basic teachings. During this learning process, I realized people’s suffering, and I also realized how impermanent our daily activities are; if we don’t take the chance in the present moment to cultivate, how can we leave suffering and attain bliss? After that, I decided to change my original plan, and dedicated my time to learning Buddhism.
In the year 2000, I saw an announcement for a Chan Session from a Dharma friend. I felt so excited after reading it that I began to investigate the possibility of registering for a Chan Session. At that time, a friend told me: “You can attend a Chan Session at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas (CTTB).” Without thinking twice, I arranged my schedule to come to the CTTB. I think I was helped by a Bodhisattva to come here and attend two Buddhist events. I had never experienced a Guanyin Session or a Chan Session before. During the Guanyin Session, especially during the walking recitation, the quiet atmosphere moved me, and unconsciously my tears came out everyday. A Dharma friend told me, “Don’t worry about it; lots of people have the same response.” When the Chan Session began, I doubted if I could attend the whole session; at the end, I was so glad that I didn’t intentionally miss any practice period. However, the only word that remained in my mind was “Pain”. As the Venerable Master Hua’s taught:
If the plum tree didn’t endure the winter’s freeze, / How could her blossom smell so sweet? Remembering these words, I thought there was no better way than to continue working on the sitting meditation.
During these sessions, I listened to the Venerable Master’s teaching with joy every evening. I learned a lot during those two weeks. After the sessions, I took home a lot of books from CTTB. On my way home, I was filled with joy and happiness and hoped to come back again to attend future Buddhist events.
At home, I began to do my homework: the morning and the evening recitations, and read some of the Venerable Master’s teachings.
In the year 2002, I was a little bit worried because I felt that those peaceful learning days were coming to an end. My children were grown up and they could take care of themselves; so, I had to go back to Venezuela and resume working in an office as before. These conditions would hinder my learning. Then a Dharma friend consoled me and said, “If you are sincere in learning the Buddha Way, the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas will help you.”
Something amazing happened! Before I went home, I had a chance to come back to the CTTB to attend the 2003 Repentance Ceremony Before Ten Thousand Buddhas. During the Repentance Ceremony, following a Dharma Master’s advice, I recited a repentance verse after each Buddha’s name. Once I completed all the sessions, I felt more peaceful in my mind. When I got home, my business partner had already reserved a beautiful office for me, and at the same time, he told me about our future project; but I was set in my resolve to study Buddhism. I said to myself: “I have already renounced worldly happiness; for what would I need to work and make money?” Then, I decided to tell him the truth, and let him know what I really wanted. At the beginning, he didn’t listen to a word I said, but later on, little by little he understood what I meant. He noticed my strong determination to learn Buddhism, and he also wanted to come to the CTTB to experience the learning atmosphere for himself. Therefore, I believe deeply that as long as our resolve to study Buddhism is strong, we can overcome any obstacle that comes up in our lives.”
Now, I have come back to the CTTB. I am grateful to the Venerable Master Hua for giving me the chance to cultivate in this place. Also I want to thank my husband for his support and for agreeing for me to stay at CTTB to learn the real Buddhadharma.As the verse says, “The unsurpassed, profound and wonderful Dharma, / Is difficult to encounter in hundreds of millions of eons.” So, it is best to study the Dharma while you have the opportunity. Amitabha!