My name is Chin Yi and I am from Minnesota. This is my first trip to the Sagely City of Ten Thousand Buddhas (CTTB). CTTB is Guanyin Bodhisattva’s Way Place. I think that since I am lucky enough to be in the Sagely City today, it must be due to being blessed by the great kindness and great compassion of Guanyin Bodhisattva. Now I would like to share with all of you my supreme affinity with three Buddha images that I have at home.
When I was about seven or eight years old, I often heard my mother speak of the Guanyin Bodhisattva of the Potola Mountain in Zhejiang Province in the Southern Sea. She said people who went to Potola Mountain were Chinese immigrants from the South Pacific, who have special affinities with the Bodhisattva. My mother said, “You shouldn’t think about it. If you have a single thought about it, then you must go.” Back then in my mind, I had a secret thought that when I grew up, I would go to Potola Mountain.
Between 1997 and 1999, the causes and conditions finally matured and I was able to visit Potola Mountain once during each of those three years. In 1998, during my second trip to Potola Mountain in the summer to participate in the celebration of Guanyin Bodhisattva’s Enlightenment Day, I was greeted by a person in my hotel, who said, “You are two days late. Otherwise, you could have joined in the opening light ceremony for the Guanyin Bodhisattva statue. This Guanyin Bodhisattva statue was built on one of the islands along the archipelago of Zhou (“Ship”) Mountain. It was thirty meters tall. During the opening light ceremony, there were four hot air balloons floating in mid air around the statue. At that time it was windy. Yet, the balloons were not moving at all in the sky. After the abbot had finished reciting and performing the rituals, a ray of golden light shot out from the eyes of the Guanyin Bodhisattva statue and the whole sky seemed to be divided into two halves. This ray of golden light continued to shine above the sea for a good half hour before it disappeared. Then the four hot air balloons were like dragons flying and dancing in the sky. It was an awesome and spectacular sight. There were more than ten thousand people at the scene and they all exclaimed: “Wow!” In addition, many people from temples around the mountain witnessed that, too.”
Since we do not have a Guanyin Bodhisattva Guanyin at home, on my second pilgrimage, I had intended to bring a Bodhisattva statue back and make offerings to it. However, my sister-in-law said, “Next year, we will come again. Let’s wait till next year!” I thought about it and it was alright. So I did not get one. When I returned home to Fu Province, my mother-in-law told me that my aunt left a box for me. When I took it back, I found that there was a Han white jade Guanyin Bodhisattva image. They thought it belonged to my family and asked my mother-in-law to bring it back to me. However, I felt strange because my family did not have any Guanyin Bodhisattva image. So I told my aunt that I could not take what was not mine. But my aunt insisted that it belonged to me and she must give it to me. Then my sister-in-law persuaded me, “Everyone says it is yours. That proves that you have affinity with this Guanyin Bodhisattva image. Now that she wants to come to your home, you should not refuse.” With that I finally accepted it. Guanyin Bodhisattva truly responded. As it says, “Prayers come from a thousand places, in a thousand places she responds.”
This is the second Buddhist image that came to my home and it came by itself. The first Buddha image was dated back in 1983. When my classmate knew that I believed in the Buddha, she gave me a copper Tathagata Buddha image as a gift. Since I already have two Buddha images at home, I thought, “Could there be a third Buddha image coming to my home?”
Several years had passed. I had not obtained the third Buddha image. I had thought that the third Buddha image is in my heart. So I was going to buy a jade Guanyin amulet to wear on my neck. However, I never got to buy it. In the summer of 2003, I came to know a friend from the Buddhist Study Association in Minnesota. It was a Saturday, and I was supposed to meet a friend and go out to take care of some business. Around 8 AM in the morning, I dreamt of Guanyin Bodhisattva sitting on a lotus platform and beaming with golden light. It illuminated me and I woke up feeling very, very happy! Afterwards, I shared this experience with my friend who came to pick me up. She was very astonished and said: “Before, when you told me the causes and conditions of your two Buddha images, I was pretty skeptical. Now I truly believe it.”
And she brought out a box telling me that another friend from the Buddhist Association had asked her to give it to me more than a week ago. Because she has business to attend to, she had brought it with her today. When I opened it, it was a necklace with a gilded Guanyin Bodhisattva image, exactly the same one that I saw in my dream.
Those were my three special affinities with Guanyin Bodhisattva. Five or six years ago when I was still in China, I heard from my friends who had returned from America that Buddhism was also flourishing in the United States. In California alone, there was already many Buddhist monasteries. I had very much hoped that I could have a chance to come to visit the monastery here. After I arrived in Minnesota, I had friends from the Buddhist Association who often visited the City of Ten Thousand Buddhists. Hence, I also had the opportunity to read many of Venerable Master’s published texts. This time I am very honored to have taken the Three Refuges on Guanyin Bodhisattva’s Day of Enlightenment to formally become a Buddhist disciple, and a part of the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas. I do hope that in the future I can return often. My family, friends and I will come back time and again.