I came to San Francisco in 1991. One time when I went to Chinatown, the four big words “Gold Mountain Sagely Monastery” captured my full attention. I climbed the stairs up to the temple. From that time on, whenever time permitted, I attended the Great Compassion Repentance. I checked out books of the Venerable Master Hsuan Hua’s Dharma talks from the library and read them at home. In 1992, a Dharma Master gave me a map and I asked my husband to drive me to the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas (CTTB).
When we moved to Fresno in 1993, I had a strong desire to read the Dharma talks and listen to audio tapes of Venerable Master Hua. A Dharma Master gave me seventeen tapes of the Master’s talks during his trip to Europe. I listened to and transcribed them. I learnt a lot from it. For example, in our cultivation, we have to first cultivate ourselves to be responsible and proper. Since I used to be very short-tempered, now I receive the retribution I deserve. When my husband is in a bad mood, I would tell myself: “Patience, patience, gotta have a lot of patience; don’t get angry, Suo Po He.”
I frequently visited the CTTB in 1993. I heard Venerable Master say, “If you want to take refuge with me, you need to bow 10,000 times. For those who already have taken refuge, do not take refuge with me again. Fearing that Venerable Master would refuse to accept me as his disciple, I dared not to apply to take refuge. In 1994, I said to myself, “I must definitely take refuge with the Venerable Master! I shall first finish my bowing at home.” I also heard Venerable Master Hua mention how wondrous and rewarding it is to recite the Great Compassion Mantra. He said the Mantra can cure 84,000 different kinds of illnesses. Although I do not have the ability to cure people’s illnesses, I can start by learning to recite the Great Compassion Mantra.
Starting on the 5th day of the first lunar month 1994, I recited the Compassion Mantra 108 times every single day without a break for the sake of helping my husband not to lose his temper. He also had frequent headaches. Thus I recited the Great Compassion Mantra hoping to relieve his pain. I sincerely recited it everyday. After that every time I wanted to find a job, as soon as I stepped out the door, I found work. It was very strange.
In 1995 I was doing the 10,000 bows. I had completed 2,000 bows when the Venerable Master entered Nirvana. I thought to myself, “Master, I have not finished my homework. I wanted to take refuge in you; why did you leave?” It turned out that the Master did fulfill my wish. On the day of cremation, I finally took refuge. I was one of the last group of his disciples. My Dharma name is Guo Min. After taking refuge, I continued to bow. When I finished my 10,000 bows, I realized why the Master wanted us to do the bowing. We are bowing to our inner wisdom. From that day on, I have decided to continue bowing for the rest of my life. Only when my body gives out will I stop bowing. I will also continue to recite the Great Compassion Mantra uninterruptedly.
When I first bowed to the Master, it was at the City of the Dharma Realm. I was very nervous then. After he finished his Dharma talk and walked away, there were people following him, and I also followed along. He finally sat down on the couch in the hallway. I rushed to where he was and immediately knelt down in front of him, quickly completed three prostrations, and ran away for fear that he would scold me.
Every time I came to the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, I always stayed at the Bodhi House. I was in the dormitory when I first dreamt of the Venerable Master. Through the window, I saw the Master making his way in. He came down the stairs. I said, “The Venerable Master is here.” I rushed to open the door and respectfully greeted him. He held a cane in one hand and took my hand in his other hand, his face full of smiles. Very compassionate indeed!
I do daily recitations very sincerely at home. After I wake up everyday, I take a shower and cleanse myself from head to toe. Totally refreshed, I entered the worship hall to do my Morning Recitation and bowing. I once came for a Dharma Session and heard Venerable Master give such instructions: “If you wholeheartedly repent, it will immediately erase your karma.” After I came home, the first thing I did every day was to bow. First I bowed to the Buddhas and then to the Venerable Master. I prayed to him saying, “I would like to repent.” But he had already entered Nirvana at that time. One morning in my dream, as I was washing my hair, I heard the Venerable Master calling outside on my doorstep, “She who wants to repent, come out!” I rushed out and noticed that the Venerable Master was accompanied by a young Bhikshu. I said, “Venerable Master, I want to repent!” The Master said: “Follow me!” I followed him. We came to the Venerable Master’s room at CTTB.
To be continued