Mei Myao Ling (right)
I’d like to share with you the causes and conditions that brought my mother and myself to know the Venerable Master.
My mother is Dharma Master Heng Gwei’s aunt. They came to know the Venerable Master early on while in Zhong Huan, Hong Kong. During that time, the Master stayed and lectured on the
Sutra of the Past Vows of Earth Store Bodhisattva in Tong Shan Hall. Whenever they knew that the Master would be speaking the sutras, they always attended. Initially, Dharma Master Gwei’s mother did not have very strong faith in our Master. But one day, she silently entered the room and saw the Master on the Dharma seat, emitting golden light as bright as the sun. She was taken aback. From then on, she believed in the Master and attended almost every sutra lecture given by our Master. Later on, Liu Guo Juan encouraged my mother and my aunt to take refuge with the Venerable Master. The Master gave DM Gwei’s mother the Dharma name Guo Xiang. The Master said that, unless my mother left the home-life, she would have to undergo a lot of suffering in this life, without enjoying any blessings. However, my mother loved to be with her sisters; hence, the Master gave her the Dharma name of Guo Chen.
Ever since I was young, my mother frequently told me about her encounters with the Master. One in particular struck me deeply and is ingrained in my memory. The first time my mother went and bowed to the Master, while descending the mountain path on her way home, she suddenly felt herself floating amidst a vast sea. Terrified, she stood still and regained her senses. The sea disappeared and she was still on her way down the mountain. Afterwards, she told the Master about this incident. The Master said, “The sea of suffering is huge and vast; turning around, you reach the other shore.” Unfortunately, she was young then and did not fully grasp the meaning of the Master’s message.
Tan Guo Ji can be considered my mother’s close friend for most of her life. Upasika Tan also has strong faith in the Master. One time, when she asked my mother to go up the mountain to bow in respect to the Master, my mother declined because she didn’t have much money at the time. (She would always make an offering to our Master if she went to pay her respects). Upasika Tan offered to lend her some money. My mother agreed and promised to repay her later. After traveling up the mountain, she made her offering. The Ven. Master said, “You don’t have to make offerings to come here. You can take it back.” Nevertheless, my mom left her offering on the table. Thereafter Ven. Master told Guo Juan, “Go back and tell Ms. Yuan not to give me an offering next time. She does not have money. She borrowed the money to make this offering.” This matter was private - only between my mom and Ms. Tan. It was amazing that the Master knew about it.
After a period of time, I was born. Since infancy, I was in poor health. I was once seriously sick. My mom carried me on her back to the temple, Western Bliss Gardens. On the way, it rained heavily. My mom and I were both soaked to the bones. When the Ven. Master saw us, he told my mom to put me down, saying, “I knew all along you would go through this, but you did not want to turn around; you have not woken up yet.” He recited some mantras for me and rubbed my crown to bestow a blessing. From then on, I gradually grew stronger.
Since I was young, I would seek the Ven. Master’s help by praying in front of his picture. If I had an exam the next day, I would tell the Master. When my mom was sick, I also sought his help. When I applied for my first job after graduating from high school, I also went to tell the Master. Up til now, I have held this bank job for 28 years.
In 1962, the Master left Hong Kong and came to America. My mom asked him why he left Hong Kong. The Master said it was because his disciples in Hong Kong were not obedient and seldom came to the temple. When the Master left for America, I told him I would write him a letter every month about my life. Sometimes, the Master would ask the Dharma Masters to write a letter back to me, and he would sign it. In his letters, the Master said he knew I was diligent in bowing to the Buddhas everyday, and told me to continue without stopping. When the Master left for America in 1962, I was about eight years old. From 1975 thru 1979 I kept corresponding with the Master, during which period I started my bank job.
Western Bliss Gardens Monastery was given back to the government in 1970. Big buildings have been built on the site where it was previously located. During this time in Western Bliss Gardens, the Master had two monastic disciples – Guo Liang Shi and Guo Li Shi. Guo Li Shr took care of planting vegetables. I remember that she divided the vegetables my mom brought up into two groups: one for planting, one for cooking. When I was young, my mom would always carry me on her back going up the mountain to Western Bliss Gardens. It was a long journey, and the round trip took a whole day. First, we took the cable car to Xiwan River, then walked all the way up to Western Bliss Gardens. Originally, the place did not have water, but when the Master arrived, he found a spot and struck it with his cane saying, “This place has water.” From then on, water was plentiful. My mom told me that there was a laywoman who wanted to have a child and beseeched the Master for help. The Master tested her and she failed, hence her wish was not fulfilled.
Dharma Master Gwei’s elder sister usually had 20-30 little eruptions on her skin. She asked my mom how to get rid of them. My mother told her, “Go ask for the Master’s help.” She didn’t go but merely had that thought in her heart, and the eruptions disappeared. Another episode revolved around Guo Ji’s son, who could not stand on his feet. Guo Ji asked my mother to accompany her to see the Master. My mother told her, “Ask the Master to rub your son’s head. If you ask the Master to cure your son, the Master will not do it.” The Master asked Guo Ji, “Why do you want me to do that?” She replied, “Oh, Shr Fu! Please rub his head and he will be well.” Afterwards, his son was able to stand up and walk.
Ten years ago, my mother had diabetes, and her feet had sores which no doctor could cure by injection or any medicine. The doctor said that three of her toes needed to be amputated. My mother asked Dharma Master Gwei to inform the Master of her predicament. The Master said, “In her past life, she cut off other people’s feet. In this life, she has to pay back.” After the surgery, my mother remained unconscious for some time. Her wounds were not healing. The doctors said that she needed to have the operation to remove the three toes for the second time. She did. Later on she recovered slowly. According to patients who stayed in the same ward with my mom, during her stay in the hospital, she still bowed to the Buddha and recited Shr Fu’s name every night.
To be continued