New Year 1949
New Year's Day of the following year (1949), I wrote a letter to the
Venerable Master Yun resigning from my post as Dean of Academic Affairs
at the Academy. I then stayed in the Tripitaka Hall and read the
Tripitaka (Buddhist Canon). During the precept-transmission I was asked
to be one of the certifying acharyas. Afterwards, I went with Venerable
Master Yun to Dajian Monastery in Shaoguan. When Venerable Master Yun
then suggested that I continue with him to Yunmen, I agreed to join him
there but insisted on first returning to Nanhua. In the beginning of
the fifth month, I set out for Dajiao Monastery (in Yunmen). The
mountainous path was winding and narrow, similar to the roads in
Sichuan province. Night fell when I was about twenty li from Yunmen.
Since I was travelling alone, it was difficult to make progress on the
unfamiliar path. Suddenly a lamp-light appeared before me, and I
followed it. The light remained at a constant distance of about a
hundred paces before me, and when I finally reached it, it disappeared.
Looking around, I discovered that I had arrived at the very gate of
Dajiao Monastery. Everyone had already retired. I knocked on the door,
entered, and saw the Venerable Yun, who asked, "Why did you arrive so
late?" I told him the reason and described how I had been guided by a
lamp-light. The Venerable Yun said, "How remarkable! It is difficult
enough to travel on these mountain roads during the day without a
guide. How remarkable that you have been able to find your way in the
pitch black of night! Very strange!" After arranging a place for me to
stay, the Venerable Yun said, "You were the panshou (head of the
assembly) at Nanhua, and you should continue to be the panshou at
Yunmen. You should lead the assembly to cultivate during ceremonies, at
mealtime, and sitting in meditation."
I had not been at
Yunmen very long when I became ill because of the dampness of the
weather. It was very hard to bear, and so I requested leave from the
Elder Master to return to Guangzhou to recuperate. The Venerable Yun
refused and said, "Don't go. If you do, it will be difficult to
return." I said, "No. Your disciple has already made up his mind. He is
definitely going." Hearing my words, the Elder Master was grieved to
the point of tears. He took my hand and said, "If you go, we will not
be able to meet again." I said, "I'll return as soon as my illness is
healed. Please don't worry about me!" The Elder Master said, "After you
have left, you should make every effort on behalf of Shakyamuni Buddha
and establish Way-places to carry on the work of the Patriarchs of the
past. The future is very bright. Push on, work hard. Conduct yourself
well, and don't disappoint me. Take care. Goodbye."
Guanyin Cave, Furong Mountain, Hong Kong.
Master sat unmoving on a flat rock in the barren cave for several days
and nights, only deciding to get up after about 100 hours of
uninterrupted sitting. But when he tried to stand, he found that his
legs wouldn't move. The Master paid no attention to his paralysis, but
simply continued to sit on the rock in the dank cave. He remained in
the full lotus meditation posture day and night for two full weeks, and
then gradually began to recover the use of his legs.
traveled to Guangzhou and then to Hong Kong, where I stayed at East
Potola Monastery. In the seventh month, I returned to Guangzhou and
stayed at Liurong Monastery. The Abbot Mingguan asked me to serve as
the hall manager and assistant manager of the monastery. Since I
planned to return to Yunmen after the mid-autumn festival (the
fifteenth of the eighth month) I agreed to serve for the time being.
But in the beginning of the eighth month, Shaoguan fell and the road
was cut off, making it impossible to go back. On the night of the
eighteenth of the eighth month, Xie Kuanhui and Chen Kuanman paid for
my boat fare and I went to Hong Kong again. I traveled to Thailand to
examine the southern transmission of Buddhism. In 1950 I returned to
Hong Kong and went into seclusion in Guanyin Cave. I was as if deaf and
dumb. Each time I thought of the Elder Master Yun's parting words, I
regretted not having listened to the Good Knowing Advisor's advice. I
wanted to go back to see the Elder Master, but it was impossible. Alas!
What could be said?
In the winter of 1951, I worked on the construction of Western Bliss
Gardens (Xileyuan) Monastery. At the request of Luo Guoming, Chen
Guofa, Tang Guoshan, Mai Guolian, Yuan Guolin, and other laypeople, I
lectured on the Earth Store Sutra at Tongshan Temple. In the fall of
the following year, I lectured on the Vajra Sutra at that Temple. The
fall after that, I lectured on the Amitabha Sutra at Baojue (Precious
Enlightenment) Monastery. Later on I delivered a fourteen-month lecture
series on the Shurangama Sutra at Western Bliss Gardens Monastery.
Later I lectured on the Earth Store Sutra at another temple. I worked
on the construction of Cixing Chan Monastery and had an image of the
Venerable Master Yun carved as a token of my utmost reverence.
wrote to the Venerable Yun and received from him a document entitled
"The Treasury of the Orthodox Dharma Eye: The Source of the Buddhas and
Patriarchs" -- the Dharma of the mind-to-mind seal which is transmitted
outside the teaching, the wonderful mind of Nirvana, the real mark
which is without marks, the true emptiness which is not empty.
Following the intent of the Patriarchs above and teaching living beings
below, I was constantly mindful of the deep kindness of this
Dharma-milk. The Elder Master wrote to me, urging me to do meritorious
works. I vowed to contribute several tens of thousands of dollars to
pay for the Buddha images in the Jeweled Hall of Great Heroes of Zhenru
Chan Monastery at Yunju Mountain. I also traveled to Burma and
purchased more than three hundred large cartons of gold foil for
gilding the Buddha images. The Venerable Yun was very happy and wrote
repeatedly in thanks. This shows the vast extent of the Venerable One's
deep concern for the younger generation. He is humble and never
careless. He denies himself everything to be generous to others and
renounces his own will to comply with that of others. His awe-inspiring
spirit, his matchless compassion, his lofty virtue, and his absolutely
genuine impartiality cause people to serve him happily and willingly.
The Dharma lineage of the Wei Yang Sect from Shakyamuni Buddha to the Venerable Master, the forty-sixth generation.
received another letter from the Venerable Yun instructing me to return
to Yunju Mountain. While in Chan contemplation I came to know that the
Elder Master wished to transfer the responsibilities of Zhenru
Monastery to me, but for various reasons I could not heed the command.
Even now my regret knows no bounds. The Buddhist Lecture Hall had just
been established, and every day I was busy with the work of propagating
the great Dharma. Since there was no way I could be in two places at
the same time, I planned to go back to be with the Elder Master and
attend upon him after I had taken care of matters satisfactorily and
found someone to assume my responsibilities in Hong Kong.