I am Su Mei Wang from France. My dharma name is Chin Gwan. Today I want to share with all of you the causes and conditions that led me to Buddhism. It was a traumatic hardship that motivated me to study Buddhism.
July 5, 2002 was a horrific day. My husband and I were on our way home when five villains appeared and blocked our car. They smashed the glass and dragged us out, beating and kicking us with their fists and feet. We were then whacked against the wall and knocked down on the floor. My husband was beaten to the point that his brain exuded blood. He died after thirty-six hours of emergency rescue. I was beaten with wounds all over my body. My face was greenish and swollen; I was unable to eat with my mouth. I was very fortunate that I was not crippled. Otherwise, what would become of my three children who were just thirteen, eleven and eight years old at the time? Every day, other than seeing my doctor, I also had to report to the police station for interrogation and to look over pictures to identify the murderers. Because they all had records from previously committed crimes, very soon they were caught. Meanwhile, I still had to take care of my husband’s funeral. Luckily I got help from Auntie Gwo Er and many friends.
At the time, I was unable to control myself. I was completely lost, like a small boat drifting in a great ocean. I could not sleep for many nights, and I could not eat. Mentally and physically I was very feeble! Then the judge suggested that I visit a psychiatrist. I went only once. When she talked to me, I felt even more grief. It was so unbearable! I refused to visit her again for a second appointment.
I was fortunate to have Auntie Gwo Er who taught me to recite the
Earth Store Sutra one time through every day. She also suggested that I should eat vegetarian food for forty nine days. A friend had once given me fried shredded meat to eat with rice porridge. However, I could not swallow it. Only when the porridge was seasoned with soy sauce or sugar was I able to force myself to eat to sustain my life. Other times, I would eat some vegetables or tofu as well. After several months, I had deteriorated to just mere skin and bones and looked quite disfigured.
To become what I am today, I relied solely on reciting the sutras and bowing to the Buddha. The
Earth Store Sutra is truly efficacious! It took me five hours to recite it the first time. Since I was unfamiliar with traditional Chinese characters, there was about one third of the text that I had trouble reading. Moreover, I did not know Taiwan’s phonetic symbols, so I just read the sound of the radicals. If I still had problems with it, I would look up a phonetically similar character to read it. Later on, I progressively became more fluent and gradually reduced the time it took me to recite the Sutra from four hours down to the present one and a half hours. I now know what characters I mispronounced and am able to correct them. However, at times, I still had the habit of pronouncing “Om Mani Pa Me Niu”.
Every time when I could not sleep, I would recite the
Earth Store Sutra. Afterwards, I would feel at ease and tranquil in my heart and easily fall asleep. Each time after I finished reciting the Sutra, I would transfer the merit before a Buddha image to all beings in the Ten Dharma Realms, and to my deceased husband to be reborn in the Western Land of the Ultimate Bliss. I prayed to Earth Store Bodhisattva to rescue and liberate all living beings in the hells. At the same time I also transferred the merit to my husband so he could follow Amitabha Buddha instead of seeking revenge! Auntie Gwo Er taught me to do this. At first I did not understand why I should transfer merit, but I did it anyway following her instructions. I feel my husband did go in peace despite his tragic death! He never appears in my dreams. Soon I found that I could not eat any more meat! My heart would ache upon seeing the meat. I also noticed that meat is quite stinky. In those days, I was full of hatred, heartache, physical pain, grief, and fright. I really thought of shooting the criminals with a gun. For almost two years, I did not dare to go out at night. Whenever I saw people who resembled the murderers, I would tremble with fear. I would not permit my children to go out. When they were even a little late returning home, I would go to the balcony to see if they had come back or not. If I did not study Buddhism and recite Sutras, I would probably have ended up in a mental hospital!
I like bowing in repentance ceremonies such as the Emperor Liang Jeweled Repentance and the Samadhi Water Repentance, going to the Rebirth Hall to recite the
Amitabha Sutra, reading the Venerable Master Hua’s instructional talks, and listening to the Venerable Master’s recorded tapes. Every Sunday I would take my three children to a Buddhist monastery to recite Sutras. In France, we still do not have a branch monastery of the Sagely City of Ten Thousand Buddhas. I wish we will have one soon.
I felt that the Venerable Master Hua was an enlightened Buddha. Every word that he spoke accurately pinpointed the mistakes of living beings. Every Sutra expounded by the Buddha teaches about cause and effect, causes and conditions, awakening, transference, and making vows. I feel I am not apart from these. Everything that happens is a debt incurred in previous lifetimes, my karmic retributions. They are all my mistakes that I owed in the past. Obviously I have to repay my debts. On the judgment day – June, 2004, I felt pity and pain for the criminals. Their parents gave birth to many children in order to obtain government subsidies. They failed to supervise and teach their children. Their parents acted as if nothing had happened. When the judge asked the criminals why they had done it, they replied that they had no idea. If those were my kids, I would have died of rage.
When Dharma Master Heng Sure led the members of Dharma Realm Buddhist Youth and students to propagate the Dharma in Europe, my eldest son had a good conversation with students from Developing Virtue Secondary school. Upasika Gwo Jywan told my son many good things about the schools in the Sagely City. My son was very impressed and afterwards he consulted with me. I immediately agreed and encouraged him to go to the Sagely City. I was more elated than winning a lottery ticket!
In fact I heard from Auntie Gwo Er long ago about Developing Virtue Secondary School and Instilling Goodness Elementary School. Their students are very intelligent. They have very good morals and are very filial. These qualities are not taught in other schools. Education is bankrupt nowadays. Junior high students already know how to smoke, take drugs, date, lose their tempers and do all sorts of unimaginable things. Recently a fifteen year old girl went to her classmate’s house and commited suicide by jumping from the roof, apparently because of her boyfriend. She even left a note saying that she loathed life and that it had no meaning for her!
That is why I said the schools in the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas are the best in the world. They pay attention to the Eight Virtues, and separate boys and girls in different schools. Although the idea may be a bit old-fashioned, the children can concentrate more in their studies. The absence of computer games makes it easier for them to focus on their studies. Having simple pure thoughts, desire is lessened. Not getting angry, they treat each other with propriety and help out and care for one another. With purity, kindness and compassion, their faces look pleasant, energetic and lovely. Children are gems in the hearts of their parents. I think that only those who are good can be called priceless gems; those who commit bad deeds would make their parents die of rage! Hence, the Venerable Master Hua instructed: “If your son is a capable person, you don’t need to leave him your wealth; if your son is not a capable person, it’s useless to leave your wealth to him. Money can lead him to indulge in food and be lazy to work. Indulging in food, drink, sex and gambling will destroy him. I am very happy now. My son has been studying in the Sagely City for almost two years now. This is my first visit to the Sagely City. I met many people who told me: “Your son is very obedient. He is a good kid!” When I heard this, I felt very happy and proud of my son! Next year, I will also bring my younger son here.
When my son first came, he was not accustomed to many things: getting by with little sleep, the heavy homework load, many chores, etc. Do not be afraid of letting children work hard. They need to be trained. Only through polishing and smelting can real gold be manifested. One accustomed to a soft and pampered life will not succeed and become talented. One will not accomplish much, but merely waste one’s time. When encountering practical matters, one would be at a total loss. One would not know how to handle it properly!
Now my son understands a lot more. He also realizes that he did many wrong things in the past. He used to shout at me. When I said one sentence, he would retort with ten sentences. Now he has completely changed. He told his younger sister that she has to be nice to mother and how to be filial to her. I was moved upon hearing it. He said he now recognizes that the things he did in the past which he thought were right, were actually wrong. Doing a wrong thing is like a nail hammered into a piece of wood. Although one tries hard to pull it out, there is still a hole remaining. Very regrettable! I did not ask what he did. It is good enough that he knew what was wrong and has corrected it.
When he first arrived at the City, his English needed improvement so he attended a class one grade lower. In the second year, the teacher said he could skip one grade and move up. However, my son did not wish to skip a grade. He wanted to stay one more year in the City. After he finished studying the texts for the senior high, the teachers continued to teach college level academics. Here I wish to express my sincere gratitude to the Venerable Master Hua, the Abbot, the Dharma Masters, teachers, the volunteer workers and the laity for their thoughtful concern and care. Moreover, this time I also saw the Boys School perform a superb dragon and the lion dance, and the Girls School perform a fairy-like dance. I am truly impressed and very happy!
Bowing in the Repentance to Ten Thousand Buddhas is not tiring at all. Helping to wash the dishes also made me happy. It is very rare that I am able to come to the City and wash dishes. Not every person will have this kind of blessing. Here please accept your disciple’s three bows. Amitabha!