沙彌尼近廉 講於2011年10月25日星期二晚萬佛城大殿 A talk given by Shramanerika Jin Lian on October 25 (Tuesday), 2011 at Buddha Hall of CTTB
Buddas, Boddhisattvas, Venerable Master, Dharma Masters and all good knowing advisors, Amitabha. Tonight is Sramanerika QinJie Jin Lian’s turn to tie Dharma Affinities with the assembly. During my talk, if there is anything not according with the Dharman, please kindly correct me. I know these days everyone is busy and worn out. So tonight, I would like to share a story with all of you. A true story.
Born into a big family with many siblings in Vietnam, he was the youngest one. His parents died when he was very little, so he only knew their names without any other impression. Though his eldest brother tried the best to take care of the whole big family financially and mentally; they were still extremely poor, sometimes there was even no food to eat for several days. Without the opportunity to take any kind of education, he would do anything no matter what to make himself survive. In his own words:” I was an extremely bad boy at that time, everyone in my village was afraid of me.”
When he was 16 years old, the war started. He was recruited. One night just before the day they left the village, two women requested to visit him. He felt very strange when he saw these two women. He was assured that he did not know them, so there must be a mistake, however, just when he wanted to turn back and leave, one of the women called his mother’s name. Frozen there, he took a good look at them. Two old women, one’s clothes were very strange, he had never seen before; the other who knew his mother’s name was quite common. The woman cried and told him that she was one of his deceased mother’s good friends. During these years, due to her own poor situation, she was very sorry that she could not help them a bit. So now knowing her best friend’s youngest son was going to the front line and probably would die in battles, she could not stand by the side any longer. She really wanted to help, so she invited one Bhikkuni to speak dharma to him.
He was totally confused by these two women. As a young man, he felt quite irritated when he heard that he would probably die in battles; however he was not supposed to beat them in public as he wished. So he decided to be obedient and make them leave as soon as possible. He did not pay any attention to the Bhikkuni’s talk. He only remembered that at last the Bhikkuni insisted him reciting “Na Mo Guan Shi Yin PU SA” whenever he needed help. “Na Mo Guan Shi Yin PU SA” 7 words, not a big deal, normally he never accepted any kind of suggestion, however, in order to make them leave quickly, he agreed to recite the 7 words whenever he needed help. Those 2 women were delighted and left.
Several decades later, when he recalled this, he still felt very strange. How come, in a new recruit’s camp, 2 women came to visit a bad boy, and one was a Bhikkuni? That was the first he saw a left home person. How come he would promise them to recite “Na Mo Guan Shi Yin PU SA”? That is unbelievable to him. But the strangest thing is the 7 words really changed his life. Decades after that when he really wanted to thank those two women and sincerely listen to the Dharma, spending lots of energies and money, he could not find them at all, only knowing one died while fleeing from Vietnam, and that Bhikkuni had totally disappeared. The cause and condition is really beyond our control.
He became a paratrooper. Without being well trained, he and his colleagues performed their first task. Everyone was trembling when the door of the cabin opened. When he stood in front of the door, looking outside the vast emptiness, he felt as if he was committing suicide. In grave despair, he wanted to try the words of the nun “Na Mo Guan Shi Yin PU SA”, closing his eyes, reciting the 7 words; he was kicked out of the cabin. A big gale blew him off the destination point. Fortunately, he landed safely. But most of his colleagues died in this mission because of that gale: some were blown into the ocean and drowned; some were blown into their enemies land and were shot immediately, some failed in landing. For a long time, he attributed his survival to luck, until he studied the Buddha Dharma; he realized that it was not luck at all, but the response from GuanYin Boddhisattva, but he was too stupid to learn that at that time.
Thanks for that landing; he got a chance to desert. But just when he arrived at his home, he was caught by the army. Being a runaway solider, the punishment was severe. He was sent to the battle immediately. And this time he knew he would be finished if he did not escape quickly. On the way to the battle, he got a very important information that there was a driver who could help people sneak away. Paid enough bribe, the driver showed him the way: at the bottom of the cargo between two big fuel tanks hung a piece of narrow wooden board. The driver told him to hide in that board that night when everyone was sleeping. The cargo would leave the next morning at 2 AM; no one at that time would be alert. However, if it failed, he would be killed on the spot. He agreed.
Everything went smoothly that night. Until he successfully sneaked out of his dorm to the cargo, someone behind him clapped on his shoulder. He was too scared to scream. It turned out to be the man who shared the same room with him. That guy knelt down and pleaded to join him, otherwise, he would yell out then no one could go. Having no choice, he had to pay double fee for this mission impossible. Laying back to back on that narrow piece of wood board, the two had to squeeze their backs tightly to keep balance. The huge tires were right after them, once they fell, and then both of them would be jammed.
That was a tremendous torment; even today, when he recalled this experience, the great suffering was still in his eyes. Reciting “Na Mo Guan Shi Yin PU SA” was the only way for him to forget the unbearable noises, the suffocating dusts and the life-threating stresses. He felt the other man was also humming something, but that sound was too soft to hear. He was so curious that he listened to that humming for a long time to figure out the man was reciting “Na Mo A Mi Tuo Fo”. Though he did not know what that meant, he was happy to notice the first 2 characters were the same as his. Finally, they arrived in a big city. It took almost a whole day long for them to finish the journey.
Many years after that, when he wanted to find that guy and help him to immigrate to Canada, he was told that man committed suicide shortly after his returning home. Tortured by that great suffering in that fleeing, he could not liberate himself mentally; finally he shot himself to set him free physically. Eventually Amitabha Buddha could not save him, or was it he that refused to be saved by Amitabha Buddha? Is personality the fate; or is fixed karma unchangeable? That is a huge topic, too big to discuss thoroughly…
He wanted to go home to meet his eldest brother to ask him to help leaving Vietnam ASAP. But bad luck once again said “Hello” to him. He was caught on the way home. Caught the first time as a run-away solider, he was sent to the battle immediately; caught the second time as a deserting solider, he would be shot on the spot. However, he was really lucky; the officer did not recognize him. When the officer asked his name, he replied with another name of his villager who he remembered. So when he saw that true person was also in that camp, he almost fainted. Every time when the officer was checking the name list, he would recite “Na Mo Guan Shi Yin PU SA” in his heart crazily. With the same names, same addresses, same parents’ names, these two different persons lived in the same camp for 6 months, and no one was aware of the unusual coincidence. Was that luck again? At that time, he himself was also wondering why he had so much luck.
Of course as the darling of the Bodhisattva, he got a chance and ran away again. He successfully went back home and met his eldest brother, who helped him flee to Canada. And in Canada, many other amazing things happened to make him believe in the Buddha Dharma and become a very dedicated Buddhist. He put all his life to propagate the Dharma and founded his own Buddhism community, and later on he encountered VM Hua. Deeply moved by VM’s virtuous practice, he donated all his community to DRBA and even in his old age he still helped a lot to construct the Avatamsaka Monastery in Calgary, Canada.
It is me who actually is lucky to have an opportunity to work with him for almost 3 months in Calgary. But it was until I moved to CTTB, once I happened to open a book in memory of the VM Hua, and then I knew he was such a special person. I saw a picture: in this picture, a middle-age man looks like a Daoist ( like the actor who was good at killing ghosts) was leading VM to visit the Avatamsaka Monastery.
It is me who actually is lucky to have an opportunity to work with him for almost 3 months in Calgary. But it was until I moved to CTTB, once I happened to open a book in memory of the VM Hua, and then I knew he was such a special person. I saw a picture: in this picture, a middle-age man looks like a Daoist ( like the actor who was good at killing ghosts) was leading VM to visit the Avatamsaka Monastery. I was shock to find out that man was him, same person but totally different feeling. I barely could connect the man in the picture with the man I met. Yes, he was much older. But the thing shocked me was not that, it was the energy emitting from him. Even seeing that picture you could feel his tyrannical personality.
But the person I met in Calgary is a very nice but a little bit stubborn old man. After many years practicing Guan Yin Boddhisattva really transformed him. The lines on his face totally softened. His eyes now are full of compassion and kindness. I believe that is the great work of Guan Yin Boddhisattva. She successfully transforms a bad boy to be a good guy. I know that from the deep of my mind. My story is finished. Amitabha!