郭美伶講於2012年10月26日星期五晚 萬佛城大殿 A talk given by Meilin Kuo on October 26 (Friday), 2012 at Buddha Hall of CTTB
在2007, 觀音誕時, 我第一次來參加「觀音七」。那次「觀音七」讓我想起很多事情，也想起我那一萬拜還沒有完成。一個月後雖然已經沒有假了，還是向主管請了無薪假，來拜了一個禮拜的「萬佛懺」；之後幾乎每年都要來聖城兩次參加打七。我同修後來也跟著來打七，我就勸他要皈依；他皈依幾年後，我就勸他受五戒，並叫他要趕快完成一萬拜。我們並計劃退休後來聖城當義工；因為每次來打七也沒有幫忙做什麼事，只是坐享其成，深感慚愧。
我們住的地方是Iowa的capital，名叫Des Moines，是法文。Des Moines是一個保險重鎮，有很多保險公司。
All Buddha, Bodhisattva, Venerable Master, all Dharma Masters, and all good wise advisors, Amitabha!
It is Meilin’s turn to tie Dharma affinity with assembly. If I said something improper, please correct me.
I was born in a Buddhist family. My father took refuge when he was young, and my grandmother tied Dharma affinity with 上開下證 Dharma Master long time ago. It is my brother who guided me to learn Buddhadharma in this life. He brought me and my mother to take refuge with Venerable Master when he came toTaiwan. But, I was a terrible disciple who did not become vegetarian right away after taking refuge. I was being 49 days vegetarian only when there was family member passed way, or being one day vegetarian when Buddha or Bodhisattva’s birthdays. Every time, my brother saw me, he keep telling me to become a vegetarian just like keep reciting a mantra, but his words came in to my ear from right side and came out from left side. I did not become vegetarian until I tried to remember Shurangama Mantra in 2006. I had visited CTTB before, but never came here for seven days Dharma Assembly. Not to mention that I had the idea that one day I will live here. In 1994, it was the first time that I visited CTTB with my father. My father liked CTTB very much, and he said who lives here must have great blessings. It was my father’s first and last time visiting CTTB. He left his blessings to his daughter.
In 2007, during celebration Guan Yin Bodhisattva’s birthday, I came to CTTB for my first Guan Yin session. This Guan Yin session reminded me of lots of things, and it also reminded me that I had not completed my ten thousands bows. One month later, though I used up my annual leaves, I got permission from my supervisor and took leaves without pay to attend Ten Thousand Buddha’s repentance, and stayed one week. Since then, I came back CTTB at least twice a year to attend Dharma Assembly. Later on, my husband also jointed me to come here for Dharma Assembly. I encouraged him to take refuge. Few years after his taking refuge, I encouraged him to take five precepts and told him to complete the ten thousands bows as soon as possible. We had a plan that we will come here to work as volunteer after we retire. We felt ashamed that every time we came here, just enjoy everything without helping anything.
But, in 2010, my mother’s illness changed everything. My mother’s health was not very good, but never stayed in hospital. In March of 2010, it was the first time that she was so ill that she needed to stay in hospital. When I got the news, I was in panic. I was so muddled that forgot to offer to triple jewel for my mother until few days later. When I went back toTaiwan, I brought my MP3 with me, and in the MP3, there is Earth Store Bodhisattva repentance. I let my mother listen few times. I wish one day DRBA will publish Earth Store Bodhisattva Repentance as CD and benefits more people.
In November of 2010, it was the second time my mom was sent to hospital. She was in hospital twice in a year. This time, my brother called me and was in panic. I knew I and my bother do not have much virtue. Although, I and my brother do not like to trouble people, I told my brother to ask Dharma Master, Dharma bothers, and sisters make transference. I was like an ant in hot wok, but my job not allowed me to take leaves again. All I could do was offering to triple jewel for my mom, reciting sutra and making transference. Then, I was downhill and helpless. But, later on, an idea came into my mind that I could make a vow. So, I made a vow that if my mom recovered, I would work for Way Place. At the same time, when I recited sutra for my mom, I made transference to all people who take care of my mom. My mom’s surgery was successful, and all doctors, nurses, and medical assistant were very nice to her.
But, when my mom got better, I became hesitated to quit my job. At that time, the unemployment rate was sky high. And, on the other hand, my supervisor asked me to learn this and that, and do this work and that work. I was in dilemma. I fought with myself constantly. One day, I told myself that it only takes seven and half years that I can apply for early retirement. The next day, I told myself that I should quit my job right away. When it reached the point that I was so exhausted that I want to surrender and work until I retire. The next day, I carelessly turned my MP3, and want to listen Venerable Master’s Dharma Talk, it came out Venerable Master’s voice, said that “ if you make a vow, you should complete it”. I almost jumped from my chair. I thought “ Oh, I have to quit my job!” So, here I am. I have stayed at CTTB since last year’s Ten Thousand Buddha Repentance.
Last year, when I just came to live at CTTB. I like the daily schedule at Buddha Hall very much, and I also like to work at organic farm. I appreciate that DRBU kindly and warmly accept me. I like all classes at DRBU too. But, I also missed home. I was not sure if I would stay. I talked into myself that I will make decision after Guan Yin session. After Guan Yin session, I told myself that” how could you leave without attending Earth Store Bodhisattva session?” After Earth Store Bodhisattva session, it happened to recite Entering Dharma Realm chapter in the morning, when we recite Avatamsaka Sutra. I followed Youth Good Wealth to visit each good wise adviser. Then, I forgot that I want to go home. Every morning, I was so eager to know which teacher Youth Good Wealth is going to visit. When I recite Avatamsaka Sutra, I cried, sometimes because I was so touched, and sometimes because I felt ashamed of myself. Before, I always thought that it is good enough if I could understand Dharma Flower sutra. But, the Avatamsaka Sutra is too hard to me. In fact, Avtamsaka sutra opens my mind. I am very appreciated that I have chance to recite Avatamsaka Sutra. I have to say thank you to Venerable Master.
Who lives in CTTB is hard to avoid kitchen duties. The first time when I went into kitchen, I was like an old lady from countryside visiting big city. I never saw such a huge wok before, and I never saw such a deep sink. I called my mom and told her that “ Mom! my duty in kitchen is washing vegetable, and the sink is so deep that it looks like fish tank.” After my first kitchen duty, my feet weak, and I felt that I would pass out. But, now, I think kitchen duty is a good training. It is not only to train you how to wash and chop vegetable; it is to train you to be patient, to be cooperative, and to be compromised. Though, you are so tired and so hungry, you still need to finish your job. That is being patient. And, sometimes you work with someone with quick temper, and she keeps handing over vegetable, and you wish you have two more hands to keep up with her speed. You need to be patient. But, sometimes you work with someone who is so slow that she washes vegetable one leaf by one leaf. You still need to be patient. In the kitchen, washing vegetable is the first step, you need to keep your speed with who chop and cook vegetable. This is being cooperative. However, in kitchen, everybody has their own way to handle things. It said that there is no space for two women in one kitchen. Then, you need to learn compromised or the kitchen will become war zone.
Collection garbage is another challenge to me. The van we use for garbage collection looks like a jumbo car to me. Though I can drive, I never drove a big van before. To me, it was a big achievement when the first time I drive the van by myself. But, it does not mean that my skill is very good, so next time when you see me drive the van, please keep distance from me. In CTTB, I have experience that is so different than what I have before.
In the past one and half year, there were tests, and usually I did not recognize until what has happened for a while. So, all I can do is keep cultivation. But, I learn to reflect on my own and I practice it more often. The words of DM always come to my mind. She said to me in a way like a thunder striking, “contemplate your own mind instead of contemplating other people’s mind!” when she lectured on the class of One Hundred Dharma Shastra. I also learned how to make transference after listen to DM Sure’s lecture of Ten Transference Chapter of Avatamsaka Sutra. I learn a lot from Laity and Bodhisattva precepts too. It makes me realize how much I did not know.
I am still worry about my mom’s health all the time. I call her every week to see how she feels, and I told her my life at CTTB, and what I have learned. She always listens carefully and with interest. I also check on her to see if she did her home work. Except reciting Great Compassionate Mantra in every morning, she also recites Earth Store Bodhisattva Sutra. I am very proud of her!
And, my husband visits CTTB more often than before. One time, I called him during weekend, and I asked him if I wake him up. He said no. He said he woke up early and already finished his morning recitation. It really surprised me. When I live at home, I always need to wait him for morning recitation. I needed to wait until he had breakfast, and read his newspaper. For someone likes me who has little patience, it was a real test! But, I know if I lose my temper, he would not join me for cultivation. Since I live at CTTB, he knows he needs to be independent. Now, in the morning, he recites Universal Door Chapter and Heart Sutra before he has breakfast and goes to work.
It seems I came to CTTB for my mom. In fact, it is my mom who helps me cultivation. I still have many afflictions because of my families, but it is always my families who make me bring forth my Bodhi Mind. They are my good wise advisor.