In 1987 on my way back from the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, I met up with our Venerable Master at Gold Mountain Monastery. There was a crowd gathered around him asking questions and seeking his advice. When it came to my turn, I asked the Venerable Master which Sutra I should hold and recite, besides my daily practice. Without hesitation he replied, “Chapter 40 of the
Flower Adornment Sutra – The Conduct and Vows of the Universal Worthy Bodhisattva”. As I have unwavering faith in the Master, I started to learn and chant the Sutra from that day on. I have held that practice since then.
In 1994, the Venerable Master was supposed to visit Singapore with some guests from China. After speaking to him on the phone, I was really excited and was wondering what I could present to him when he came, knowing that there were no material things that he would need. Then a thought came to me. I would learn the Sutra by heart and would recite it to him as a sign of devotion and as a tribute to his wise advice. However, as it turned out, Master was eventually unable to make the trip because of ill health.
Some nine years ago I was invited to Shanghai for the birthday celebration of the Abbot of Jade Buddha Temple. I decided to accept the invitation and to take the opportunity to go to Emei Mountain to pay my respect and to make an offering to Universal Worthy Bodhisattva, by reciting the sutra in the sanctified grounds. I was really excited by such an idea and began to prepare for it by buying incense wood, incense powder, and flowers for the occasion.
My friend and I left for Beijing, which was our first stop. However, I caught a bad cold, which left my voice hoarse, so I decided to rest in the hotel while my friend went with Professor Feng, the tour guide, to the Great Wall. After our Beijing stop, we left for Mountain Emei and arrived around four o’clock in the afternoon. Professor Feng wanted to bring us to Wan Nian Temple straightaway, but I told him I preferred to go the next morning, as I believe in making offerings to the Bodhisattva early in the morning. Professor Feng then decided to take us to the Peak to see the Buddha Light before the sunset. We rushed there, hoping to reach the temple at the Peak before the sun began to set. I was both awed and overwhelmed with happiness when I saw huge carved letters of the name of Universal Worthy Bodhisattva adorning the front wall of the temple.
Professor Feng took my friend for a tour of the temple while I remained in the Buddha hall to bow to the Buddhas. Suddenly, it occurred to me that I could do my recitation of the Sutra as it was part of my daily recitation after all. Being winter, there were no other tourists at all and I was alone in the Buddha hall. I started to recite the Sutra out loud, as if I was in my own home. I was stunned to hear that my voice was no longer hoarse, but instead was clear and loud with a distinct echo. I felt that it had to be a response from the Bodhisattva and so I continued reciting with a sincere heart.
When I finished reciting the Sutra and the dedication verse, I bowed to the Bodhisattva. I was shocked again to see an orange glow on my palms, as I bent my head towards the floor in the process of prostration. By this stage, I was feeling such an incredible sense of bliss and happiness, a feeling that I have never experienced before. I began to smile spontaneously, and it was a smile of an inner joy. I remained in this state of Dharma bliss for quite a while. Suddenly, I heard Professor Feng call my name, asking if I was ready to go. Before I could turn to answer him, I had to literally cover my mouth to hide my smile and to recompose myself.
With these responses from the Bodhisattva, my faith in this Sutra was reinforced beyond any doubt. I am eternally grateful to our Venerable Master for his teachings and guidance. In order to live up to his guidance and to repay his kindness, I will always strive to be a worthy disciple by cultivating and practicing the ten great vows of the Universal Worthy Bodhisattva.