西元1985年，父親六十三歲 ，雙親首次聯袂來美，小弟帶他們到金輪寺，拜見師父 宣公上人。師父看到父親，第一句話就問他：「你還記得我嗎？」當時父親十分詫異，也不明究裡。
We are dedicating this article to express our gratitude to our father for bringing us up and teaching us. My father is my guiding advisor who introduced me to the Pure Land Dharma Door. His instructions, knowledge and practice of Buddhism enriched my life and elevated my spiritual being. His kindness, forgiveness, fairness and diligence are virtues that shine like stars in our memory. As a father, he not only brought us up, but also nurtured our spiritual life. He is our greatest blessing in this lifetime.
The loss of my kind teacher
My father Wei Ke-Zheng, was born on November 7, 1922 in Wu Hua County, Canton Province. He went to rebirth on January 23, 2004 in his residence in Los Angeles at eighty-two years of age. My father was brought up in a poor rural village and loved to study at an early age. It took him an hour and a half to get to the school to get an education. But he loved it and never complained.
After he graduated from high school, he went to a local college at the capital of the province, working part-time to support himself. Because of the war with Japan, my father had to give up his college education to join the army to protect his country. During that time, my father devoted all his energy to carrying out various jobs for his supervisors. His services to his country also carried him to all corners of Mainland China, enabling him to observe all kinds of sufferings and taste a full range of human emotions. This process molded his character and made him very responsible and persistent.
When we first arrived in Taiwan, my father had to move frequently because of his work. In order to provide us with more stability in our education, we lived with our mother in central Taiwan. We five children rarely got a chance to be with him when we were little.
Every time he came home, we were both excited and afraid. We were excited for more food and afraid to be lectured at. He always gathered the five of us and taught us the principles of being a good person. Sometimes, he would tell us some stories from Chinese history. He taught us to be straightforward, honest, and free from false speech. He also taught us to defer to others rather than taking advantage of other people. He especially emphasized the idea of repaying people’s kindness twofold.
When my father transferred from his military position to an ordinary job in a large government agency, he was put in charge of the Human Resources Department. He was well liked by his supervisors and employees. They loved to consult him on both job related issues and personal problems. My father always helped them to come up with feasible solutions and dissolve hindrances in their minds. Whenever possible, he promoted capable people to higher positions to serve the country.
My father held his integrity by being fair and honest in carrying out his work without seeking personal benefit. He had several opportunities to get promotions, but he did not take them. Instead, he retired from the same position as the Department Head since he was unwilling to form alliances with the rich and the privileged.
In summary, my father grew up during a time of war, gave up schooling to join the army in his youth and devoted his adult life to serve the country in a civilian position. He spent all his productive years serving his country and we never heard any complaint from him. After he retired, he mentioned to us that his biggest regret was not being able to personally take care of his parents better since he felt he had to serve the country first, especially when the country was threatened.
My parents passed on to us the most precious values of Chinese traditional culture through their actions and oral instructions. I felt so proud and fortunate that we were able to inherit such valuable gifts from them.
A Deep Affinity with the Venerable Master Hua
My parent’s first trip to United States (U.S.) was in 1985 when my father was 63. When my brother took my father to pay respects to the Venerable Master Hua at Gold Wheel Monastery, the first sentence that came out of the Master was: “Do you remember me?” My father was very surprised and did not know how to respond.
At that first meeting, Master Hua took my father to a separate room and talked to him for 3 or 4 hours. They both had a great time. The long talk with the Master obviously opened a whole new world to my father and seeds of vigorous cultivation were planted. A year later, my father came to the US. During the second visit, he took refuge with the Venerable Master Hua and got his Dharma name Guo Ren.
When my father began to learn meditation, he could only sit in half lotus. During his visit to the U.S., he received instruction from the Master on how to meditate in full lotus. He was even asked to practice in front of the Master. After my father managed to sit in full lotus, the Master pointed to my father’s legs and said: “You can do it. No problem.” Ever since then, my father never had any trouble meditating in full lotus nor did he experience any pain. He fell in love with meditation.
Every time my father came to the U.S. for a visit, he took every opportunity to ask the Master questions about meditation. The Master often gave him individual instruction and encouragement in meditation. My father accepted the Master’s teaching and followed a daily meditation schedule. Furthermore, he started to study the great vehicle sutras including the Shurangama and Flower Adornment Sutras.
On one spring day in 1989, the Master asked my father, “Elder Upasika Wei! You have spent most of your life serving the country, the society and the family. Now that you are retired, what is your plan for your future?” My father replied, “Retirees can still serve their country and society.” The Master said to him, “Everything in the world is like a dream or bubble. Why don’t you put down all worldly fame and profit, and concentrate on cultivation. You will be able to serve more people as you wish!”
My father was deeply touched by what the Master said. The Master further encouraged him to let go of everything in Taiwan and move to the U.S. to cultivate. After he immigrated to the U.S., he received more instruction from the Master on meditation, mantra and sutra recitation. Because he often sought the Master’s advice, the Master taught him many dharma doors and my father made much progress in his cultivation.
My parents attended the Ten Thousand Buddhas Repentance Session in the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas every year. Because the session was held in late spring and early summer, the afternoons were very hot. One day, my father was going to take a break. Unfortunately, the Master saw him as soon as he stepped out of the Buddha Hall. When the Master asked him why he was heading out, my father just told him the truth. The Master told him, “If you are single-minded in bowing to the Buddhas, you should not be feeling hot. If you are not afraid of the heat, then the heat will be afraid of you.” My father went back to the Buddha Hall and followed the Master’s instruction. Sure enough, he did not feel hot at all. Instead, he felt coolness. My father remembered this experience very well. Afterwards, any time he ran into difficulties in his cultivation, he would remind himself of what the Master taught him and was able to use vigor and endurance to move forward.
My parents also attended the annual winter Buddha Recitation Session since 1987. During the session in December 1991, my father was extremely sincere and saw two white wheel-sized lotus flowers near the ceiling of the Buddha Hall, radiant and emitting white light. The lotus flowers grew bigger and stayed for a long time.
After the session, my father asked the Master for an explanation. The Master sat across from my father and did not respond for a while. He then asked my father: “Is the flower above the women’s side or the men’s side?” My father replied, “The women’s side.” The Master asked him another question: “What color was it?” My father told him that it was white. The Master answered: “I saw a blue one. Very well. Keep up the recitation because Buddha recitation leads to becoming a Buddha.”
In 1991, the Master went on a retreat in the Bay Area to recover from some sickness. Upon hearing the news, my father encouraged everyone in the house to recite the Great Compassion Mantra and transfer the merit to the Master. While reciting one night, he saw the whole room filled with light and it was not necessary to turn on the light. My father went to visit the Master and reported to him what he saw that night. The Master, still in bed, was delighted to see my father and told people around him: “Look! Elder Upasaka Wei was reciting mantras for me and the whole room was filled with light. I know I will get better.” He then smiled to my father: “I am not that sick. An old Taoist hit my back. That is all. Don’t worry!”
After this event, the Master instructed my sister who is a Buddhist nun to recite the Forty-two Hands and Eyes Mantras to my father. He also gave my father permission to practice the dharma of the Forty-two Hands and Eyes without a direct transmission from the Master. My father was very happy to hear this. To repay the Master’s kindness, he became more vigorous in reciting the Great Compassion Mantra as well as practicing the Forty-two Hands and Eyes.
In 1992, my father visited the CTTB and asked the Master: “I am over seventy. I don’t believe that my roots are good enough to succeed in meditation. Additionally, I am not interested in gaining any spiritual power to see anything else other than seeing Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. Besides meditation, is there another dharma door that can help me put an end to the cycle of birth and death?”
Looking straight at my father for a long time, the Master said: “All right. Follow me.” My father followed the Master to one room and they sat across from each other. In that room, the Master formally transmitted the Buddha Recitation dharma door to my father and taught him how to recite the Buddha’s name single-mindedly to enter Buddha Recitation Samadhi. Afterwards, the Master took his own recitation beads and held them in his own hands for over 10 minutes. When the blessing for the beads ended, the Master gave the beads to my father as a gift and told him: “This is yours. Work hard on this dharma door. Buddha recitation can enable people to become Buddhas. Please don’t forget! If you can keep reciting the Buddha’s name single-mindedly till the end, you will surely be born in the Western Pure Land.
My father was determined to cultivate the dharma of Buddha Recitation and was very grateful for the Master’s kindness. When the Master entered Nirvana a few years later, my father missed the Master dearly. In one of our conversations, my father said: “When the Master taught me the Buddha Recitation dharma door, I thought if I just followed his instruction to a point when further instruction was needed, I could simply ask the Master to advise me how to attain the Buddha Recitation Samadhi. Unfortunately, time did not wait for me and the Master is gone. How sad!”
Ever since the Master’s passing, my father often lamented about how tremendous the Master’s kindness was to him.
To be continued