Respectful Buddha and Bodhisattva, Venerable Master Hsuan Hua, all Dharma masters and Dharma friends, I am Qingchan  Li, my Dharma name is Qinqing, English name is Amy, and I am very happy to have this opportunity to give this Dharma talk tonight. I will share some of my experiences when enrolled in the Sutra Translation program in Dharma Realm Buddhist University (DRBU), and if time allowed, I also would like to share an interesting Chan Story which inspired me a lot. please kindly correct me If I have anything deviant from the correct Buddhadharma.


When I first came (in 2015) to CTTB to volunteer, I felt I might be suitable to do Sutra Translation; a lay person also said I can be a translator as I have high academic qualifications, but I thought a high level of education didn’t represent enough capacities, especially that my English was not proficient enough. After 3 months, although I felt I needed to do more kitchen work, I left right after taking five precepts due to some complex issues, but I kept regarding CTTB as my home of soul no matter wherever I went.

時隔多年,我終於有機會再回來聖城, 那時候因為在外面經歷了一些事情,我心很累,整個人狀態不太好,本來打算好好收收心做做義工,回來的時候剛好趕上萬佛寶懺悔最後一周,結果法會一結束馬上就有法大畢業的同學介紹了這個課程,並拉我進去了,我一點準備也沒有,感覺發生得實在太快,我還沒怎麼樣就要馬上去做另一件事,要以最快的速度寫材料,那時候有人建議我可以第二年再申請,但是我也不知道怎麼地,就是感覺非要馬上做不可,因為有感覺這好像是觀音菩薩推著我加入的,不是我自己能決定的。

I finally got a chance to go back to CTTB after many years, when I returned, it happened to be the last week of the Ten Thousand Buddhas Repentance. My mind was weary and not in good condition due to some things I went through outside, so initially I wanted to calm down to volunteer here. But an alumna from DRBU pulled me into the Translation Certificate program right after the bowing repentance session finished. I was totally unprepared and felt everything went so quickly. I had to prepare materials at the fastest speed possible. Someone suggested I could do it next year but I didn’t know why but I just felt compelled to do it immediately. I felt it was like Guanshiyin Bodhisattva pushed  me to join, not something I could decide on my own. 


Guanyin Bodhisattva is truly swift! When I first came to the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, I felt that true practice and adherence to precepts should be tested in the mundane world amidst adversity, as the environment in the monastery was too comfortable. As a result, right after I received the five precepts in the morning, I had to leave in the afternoon. I was completely unprepared, and it wasn’t just me—even my Dharma friends found it sudden. Looking back now, it wasn’t the intention of the Dharma masters at all; it was the will of Guanyin Bodhisattva! She wanted me to undergo rigorous training in the mundane world, to practice true skill. This time it feels the same, as if everything is under the arrangement of Guanyin Bodhisattva.


So, in August of last year, I joined this program. After joining, I felt that this course was quite suitable for me. Firstly, it is a program that combines cultivation and academy, with at least two mandatory evening ceremonies in the Buddha Hall each week, although I attend daily. Additionally, most of the afternoon classes, whether the main course is Sanskrit, translation theory, or reading, include a one-and-a-half-hour meditation session, where Dharma masters teach us meditation methods. I now feel that meditation has numerous benefits. Even if our minds are scattered and full of delusions, just sitting for an hour reciting “Namo Guanyin Bodhisattva” makes a big difference in our subsequent classes.Secondly, the courses are incredibly useful, especially the translation workshop from Monday to Wednesday. I feel that the students in our cohort are very fortunate and have deep roots in virtue. We started by translating a significant sutra, the King of the Golden Wheel, Avatamsaka Sutra. Our group leader, who guides us in translation, is not only knowledgeable in Buddhism but also outstanding and humble. The classroom atmosphere is lively, and everyone feels at ease. Later, I spontaneously suggested that we students take turns being the group leader to train and enhance our communication and leadership skills. The suggestion was accepted democratically and enthusiastically, and as a result, we translated happily, learning and mastering many English Buddhist terms without even realizing it.


I also really enjoy the reading course. The DM said that one of the reasons for arranging this course is to help us Asian students understand Western culture, thinking, and language habits better, so we can translate texts that resonate more with Western people. By reading various Western articles, we also broaden our horizons. There is a kind of auspicious atmosphere when translating Buddhist scriptures. The DM mentioned that our classroom initially felt uncomfortable, but ever since we started the class together, the room has become very pleasant. Even the most respected teachers at the school are willing to visit and chat with us.

整個法界大學,是用 shared inquiry (分享研究)的方式來上課的,就是學生們上課時積極的發言和講述的內容,是整個課堂的主體,老師只是一個引導方向的人。整個法大最重視的,是每個學生的個體和心靈,我們每個人都感受到了什麼是仁慈,這跟別的大學可能不一樣,而且我感覺世界上可能沒有第二個這樣的地方。對於當時心靈千瘡百孔,惡業惡習纏身的我來講,它治癒我,甚至每時每刻都在全面治癒我,幫助我朝一個更完善的人來轉化。我其實不知道我自己的改變,而是有同學每隔一段時間,就會告訴我,說她感覺到了我的改變,和心靈上的完善。 

The entire Dharma Realm Buddhist University employs a method called shared inquiry in its classes. This means that the active participation and discussions of students form the core of the classroom experience, while the teacher acts merely as a guide. At DRBU, the most valued aspects are the individuality and spirit of each student. We all feel what compassion truly is, which might be different from other universities, and I feel there might not be another place like this in the world. For someone like me, whose heart was once filled with countless wounds and plagued by negative karma and habits, it has been healing me, continuously and comprehensively, helping me transform into a better person. I am not even aware of my own changes, but my cohort often told me they notice the positive transformation and improvement in me. 


I also have become much more aware of how important it is to be filial to my parents. The so-called hardships and obstacles I experienced outside were 80% due to my lack of filial piety toward my mother. I didn’t listen to her and caused her deep pain. Because of my stubbornness and disobedience, she became more estranged from Buddhism and even started to slander it. This was all my fault, and it was because of me that she became this way, so I committed a great sin. At the end of the fall semester, I returned home for winter break to see my mother. I made a firm vow not to talk back to her, to learn to help with the housework, and to listen quietly if my parents scolded me. When I arrived at the airport, my mother hugged me and cried. She looked smaller, with more wrinkles and a wearier, more haggard appearance than before. She didn’t look like this before. Why? I knew it wasn’t just the passage of time; it was also because of me being in the United States. We hadn’t seen each other in seven or eight years, and I had indeed gone too far. When I returned home and spent time with my mother, she still scolded me frequently and was often dissatisfied with me. This time, I dared not talk back because whenever I did, she would get sick that very day. I told her to let out her anger whenever she felt it. Seeing my mother growing older and in such poor health, I realized that one day, I might no longer be able to see her again. Therefore, I needed to cherish the time spent with her even more.


I also helped out with household chores at home and learning to cook. It’s quite embarrassing to admit that I’ve never done any chores since I was young, and I didn’t know how to do any work. Taking the initiative to help my mom with chores made her very happy; she said she saw hope again. After returning to home, I bowed to my parents. Although my mom didn’t accept this way, my dad was moved to tears. A month passed quickly, and I still wasn’t doing some things very well. I felt that I was still unfeeling and unfilial because a truly filial child would stay by their parents’ side to take care of them. However, I wanted to come to the United States to continue studying Buddhism, as there are no monasteries with CTTB in China now.


After returning to the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, a cohort said I had changed a lot and improved, becoming more approachable. She assured me that she was not flattering or being polite but that it was true. During class, classmates also mentioned that I had undergone positive changes. Previously, I was stubborn and wouldn’t listen to others, but after returning, they said I had become softer and more receptive to others’ opinions. They also noticed that I had leadership qualities and encouraged me to develop them more, which I had never thought I had before. A year passed quickly, and I felt time was flying by. A cohort said this place felt like heaven. I agreed, and it felt like not only heaven but that the longer I stayed here, the more it felt like I was ascending step by step through different layers of heavens. This peaceful happiness is definitely incomparable to the worldly filthy pleasures of wealth, fame, food, and sleep.


Finally, I want to emphasize the importance of translating Buddhist sutras. Venerable Master Hua prioritized the translation of Buddhist sutra because it allows countless Westerners and people who speak other languages to access the boundless wisdom of Buddhism over endless time. The merit of this endeavor is immeasurable. Now that the orthodox teachings of Buddhism have taken root in the United States, it is imperative that we contribute to the propagation of the Dharma. Therefore, I sincerely encourage all Dharma friends to actively join in this effort, especially native English speakers. Not knowing Chinese is not an issue; one of the most needed contributions at this stage is to polish our current translations into English that aligns with the linguistic habits of English users, while adhering to Venerable Master Hua’s eight principles for translating Buddhist scriptures.As for myself, I earnestly hope that through my continuous efforts, I can improve my English to a certain level, diligently study the Buddhist sutras, and continue my practice. I hope that in the future, I will be able to freely and skillfully teach and speak the Dharma to Americans, help them to experience the infinite compassion and wisdom of the Buddha, and the incredible help and salvation Buddhism offers. May countless Westerners be liberated in future! This concludes my Dharma talk for tonight. Thank you all for listening, and may we all attain enlightenment soon! Amitabha 

臨濟宗這個祖師啊,以前很笨的。在黃檗那個地方住,住了三、四年就是在那裡專門煮飯。當時有一個首座和尚,一看這個人這麼忠厚、這麼老實,一天到晚也不講一句話,所以就沒有妄語打,那麼這是一個法器,就說:「你在這兒住多久啦?」 「或者是三年了。」 「你有沒有向和尚請過開示啊?」 「什麼叫請開示?」請開示他也不懂。首座和尚就說:「你穿上你的袍,搭上你的衣,拿著具到方丈和尚那兒去大展具,頂禮九叩首,然後你跪到那個地方合起掌來,請和尚開示開示你「好的。」

Master Linji, the Patriarch of Linji School (Rinzai Sect), was initially quite dull. While residing at Huangbo Monastery, he spent three to four years primarily cooking. At the time, the head monk there saw him as the vessel of Dharma because Linji was sincere and honest, never speaking a word all day so avoided all kinds of lies. One day the head monk asked him, “How long have you been here?” “About three years.” “Have you ever requested guidance from the Master?” “What does requesting guidance mean?” He did not understand. The head monk said, “Put on your robe, grab your sitting cloth, go to the abbot’s room, pay your respects with nine bows, then kneel and ask him, what is the meaning of Patriarch coming from the west?” “Sure. I will do that.”

到了方丈和尚的寮房裡,就大展具,頂禮九叩首,然後長跪合起掌來,說:「請問和尚,如何是祖師西來的大意?」黃檗禪師拿起香板就打起來了。這一頓香板,打得這個臨濟真覺得痛了,在那兒拿起具就跑,就打跑了! 第二天首座和尚看見他了,說:“你昨天請開示怎麼樣?”「你呀,你真害死人呢!我到那兒也不知說什麼說錯了,就是這句話說完了,和尚就拿香板打我一頓。”「哦,那或者你是有一點不對的地方,或者你跪沒跪好,或者你合掌合得不恭敬,或者你說話說得不清楚,他聽錯了。你慢一點說,不要慌張張的嘛!你在這兒住這麼多年了,你一點好處都沒有得到啊,你要請開示才能得到好處的嘛!」

When he arrived at the abbot’s room, he displayed his sitting cloth, bowed nine times. Then he knelt down and put his palms together, saying, “Excuse me, Master, what is the meaning of Patriarch coming from the west?” Zen Master Huangbo picked up the incense board and started hitting Linji with it. This hitting made Linji really feel the pain, so he picked up the sitting cloth and ran away. The head monk saw him the next day and said, “How did you ask for guidance yesterday?””You, you are really killing people! I didn’t know what I said wrong when I got there, but as soon as I finished saying this, Master beat me with an incense board.””Oh, then maybe there’s something wrong with you, or you didn’t kneel properly, or you clasped your hands together disrespectfully, or you couldn’t speak clearly and he misheard you. Speak slowly and don’t panic. Well! You have lived here for so many years and you have not benefited at all. You have to ask for guidance to get any benefits! “

臨濟想一想:「請開示能得到好處?昨天我去是講話講得或不清楚,我今天去慢慢地說,我看他怎麼樣!」就又穿上袍、搭上衣、持著具,到那兒又向方丈和尚來請開示,還是大展具,頂禮九叩首,長跪合起掌來了。這回慢慢講,說:「請問和尚如何是……」,就剛剛說到這個「是」字上,黃檗禪師拿起香板又劈頭蓋腦就打起來了,這回比昨天打得更厲害、更重,甚至於把頭都給打得腫起來了。 回去一見著首座和尚,就埋怨他說:「我說我不去,你單叫我去,被和尚又打了我一頓。」這臨濟被打了兩次了。首座和尚說:「你不要怕打,要為法忘軀,為佛法把自己的身體也忘了它。你怕打?釋迦牟尼佛當初修捨身餵虎、割肉餵鷹,那比打還痛得厲害呢!」

Linji thought about it and said, “What benefits can you get from asking for guidance? Yesterday I went to speak and the speech was unclear. Today I will go and speak slowly to see how he is doing!” He put on his robe and sash and held the sitting cloth. When he got there, he asked the abbot for instructions. He also displayed the sitting cloth, bowed nine times, and knelt down with his palms together. This time he spoke slowly and said, “Excuse me, Master, what is…” Just as he said the word “is”, Chan Master Huangbo picked up the incense board and started beating his head again. This time he beat him harder than the day before. It was more powerful and heavier, and even hit his head swollen. When he returned home and saw the head monk, he complained to him and said, “I said I wouldn’t go, but you just asked me to go, and the Master beat me again.” This Linji was beaten twice. The head monk said: “Don’t be afraid of being beaten. You must forget your body for the sake of the Dharma. Are you afraid of being beaten? The Buddha Shakyamuni originally practiced sacrificing his body to feed tigers and cutting his flesh to feed eagles. That is worse than being beaten. It hurts so much!”


The next day he put on his robe and sash as usual and held his sitting cloth. Then he walked to the abbot’s room, and displayed his sitting cloth again. He bowed nine times, and he knelt down and put his palms together. This time, neither slowly nor quickly, he said, “Excuse me, Master…”. Just after saying these words, Chan Master Huangbo picked up the incense board again. This time, he didn’t target Linji’s head or body. Master Huangbo just beat Linji up randomly. Linji’s hands were bleeding and his feet were lame. Linji couldn’t run fast. Linji didn’t remember to take the sitting cloth, he just left. This time he packed up his clothes and said, “I can’t live here anymore! I’ve been cooking for three years, but it’s hard work without any credit! This Master beat me so rudely, I can’t live here anymore, I have to leave.” 」The head monk came again and said, “Linji, what are you doing?” “You almost killed me! I can’t eat this bowl of rice in this place. I can’t live here anymore. Even if I will starve to death, I don’t want to live here anymore!” The Head monk said: “If you want to leave, you have to ask the abbot to go. The abbot has beaten you three times… If you want to leave now, you have to ask the abbot: where should I go?”


“I don’t dare to go. I would rather starve to death than ask for guidance. I don’t want to be enlightened either.””It doesn’t matter, you go back now. No matter what, the abbot can’t beat you again! You go there and ask the abbot for leave. Then you ask the abbot where you can go?” Linji had no place to go, and he didn’t know where to go. He didn’t know where he would be kept and where he would have food to eat. Patriarch Linji looks so stupid!


This time he was packing his things and crying. He had nowhere to go, so he had to ask the abbot! This time he had no sitting cloth. When he arrived at the abbot’s place, he asked for his sitting cloth. He bowed nine times and knelt down with his palms together and said, “Master, I’m asking you for leave.” Chan Master Huangbo said, “You asked for leave. Where are you going? Go Dayu, go! ” At that time, a Buddhist monastic had to be formally introduced wherever they went before being allowed to reside there as a guest. He took the clothes and went to Dayu.


The abbot monk of Dayu was an enlightened person, and guest prefect of Dayu was also an enlightened person. They already knew it! The abbot monk told guest prefect: “You will see a monk named Linji later today. He comes to reside here as a guest monk. Please tell me when you see him.” The guest prefect waited. Sure enough, when a monk came and requested to reside as a guest, he asked what his name was. “My name is Linji.” The guest prefect informed the abbot. What do you think the abbot monk would do? He took an incense board and kept it at the back. When he came out to meet Linji who didn’t say a word or opened his mouth at all. The abbot monk of Dayu said, “This Huangbo is as earnest as an old woman!” The Huagbo is earnest, as compassionate as an old woman. Dayu started beating Linji with the incense board. He didn’t bother to talk with Linji. While Dayu was beating him, Linji said, “Okay!” He went up to grab the incense board and was about to beat Dayu. Dayu said, “It’s none of my business. You go and find Huangbo!”


Then he went back and took the incense board to find Huangbo. Huangbo said: “Okay, I’ll give it to you!” and asked him to be promoted to the abbot – this is what he was beaten out of! It was only when Dayu beat him that Linji became enlightened. Don’t think that beating is bad, beating will lead to enlightenment. Whoever wants to be enlightened should be beaten first.