All Buddhas, Bodhisattva, Venerable Master, All Dharma Masters, and all good knowing advisors. My name is Gwo Ju. This is my turn to share the Dharma affinity with the assembly. Tonight, I will share with you the story and conditions that led me to receive the Lay Bodhisattva Precepts. If I say something wrong, please kindly correct me.
I remember the year 1995. After the Venerable Master entered Nirvana, there was a Water, Land and Air ceremony. Then there was a transmission of the Lay Bodhisattva Precepts at CTTB. At the time, the preceptees attended classes at their individual DRBA branches. Each branch manager would give recommendations for those who qualified to receive the precepts at CTTB. Unlike today, all preceptees are gathered to have classes at CTTB.
During this time, I frequently came to Berkeley to learn Buddhism. Dharma Master Sure taught us the precepts every week. After finishing the course of 6 majors and 28 minor Bodhisattva precepts, Master Sure asked if we had any questions regarding the precepts we had just learned. I asked him about my situation. I have 80 plus year old mother who often came with me to the Berkeley Temple. Master Sure knows that I also have a 5 year old daughter. Each time my elderly mother or my young daughter get sick, I would have to take them to the doctor. Every time I would have to ask my supervisor at work to leave early. I never clarified that the doctor appointments was for my family. My question is, have I violated the precept of lying in this case?
Master Sure replied that although this is my duty to take care of my family, I still have committed the offense according to the precept. He taught me to always be upfront and not be vague about my circumstance. He asked if I stay on a straight path and be truthful from this day forward. I said yes, I would have to ask my supervisor to take vacation time. However, if someone else claimed the day off before me, I was not able to take it because each of our work department, only one person can take vacation at a time. I was being vague since I thought my sick leave time does not count as vacation time. I needed time off to attend the ceremony. At this point, I thought maybe I don’t have enough blessings to receive the Lay Bodhisattva precepts. Perhaps I would have to wait until my elderly mother go through rebirth and my younger daughter to grow up before I can take the precepts. With this in mind, I still felt very unfortunate to have to miss the opportunity.
As the ceremony day got closer, I asked my supervisor to take 8 days off to attend the Water, Land and Air ceremony at CTTB. He told me I didn’t have enough vacation time and he cannot approve my request. I asked if I could take leave without pay. He agreed reluctantly for this time only and said if it happens again, he would fire me. Upon hearing this, I was not happy at all and was very worried about losing my job. But thinking about going to the CTTB, I put aside my worry and look forward to the ceremony. I would bow to Guan Shi Yin Bodhisattva and the Venerable Master every day for my affinity to ripened in order to get to participate in the Dharma Assembly. I also prayed to Guan Shi Yin Bodhisattva to give me a sign if I have condition to receive the precepts at this time.
When the day came, I remember it was a Friday evening. In my car, there were 6 people total including a couple from Calgary, 2 friends from Berkeley, together with my husband Gwo Ji and myself. When we reached Santa Rosa, there was still about more than one hour drive to CTTB. It was 6pm. There was heavy traffic, we moved very slowly. We were all very anxious and afraid that if we kept moving slowly, we could not make it in time. The ceremony was to start at 7:30pm. At this time, I just closed my eyes and silently recite the Buddha’s name.
A friend sitting beside me pointed out at the left window for me to see. I saw a big bright light emitting from the sky with 5 different colors. For 5 minutes that bright light spot had Guan Shi Yin standing inside it. All six of us were very happy and were moved into tears. We wanted to get out of the car to bow to the Guan Shi Yin Bodhisattva. However, due to traffic we could not stop the car. We were not able to take any pictures either because the camera was in the trunk of the car. The light carried Guan Shi Yin followed us for about 10 minutes. Guan Shi Yin Bodhisattva changed to a sitting position in the lotus.
After another 10 minutes, traffic got better. We pulled over to the emergency lane and 6 of us got out of the car, we faced the Guan Shi Yin Bodhisattva to bow to her respectfully. When we were finished bowing, the light with Guan Shi Yin Bodhisattva faded away. By the time we got the camera out, we could only take the picture with the red light remaining. I still have the picture with me. The cars behind us saw the whole event of the kneeling and bowing. They must have thought we all had some mental problems. I wondered if anyone else on the highway saw the amazing image of Guan Shi Yin that we just witnessed.
Having experienced the miraculous sign, the appearance of Guan Shi Yin responded to my prayers. She gave me the message that I would take the precepts at this time. I felt very encouraged to take the Lay Bodhisattva precepts. Throughout the 8 days at CTTB, I felt very pure. During the ceremony, there were 4 halls to recite the sutras at CTTB at the same time. I chose to attend the hall of the Emperor Liang Jewel Repentance. The whole ceremony was very magnificent and adorns which was indescribable. I was so delighted because I was able to attend such a wonderful ceremony at CTTB, I thought without the permission from my supervisor for taking the time off, I would not have been able to attend it. I would have missed this rare opportunity and not know when I would get another chance again. I was so grateful to my supervisor that I transferred the merit and virtue to him.
When I returned to work, you would never guess what happened with my job. My supervisor changed his attitude towards me completely. He was very kind and easy going with any of my requests. Furthermore, he told me from now on, whenever I wanted to take the day off, I just have to write the request down in his notebook. If I wanted to take sick leave or vacation time, it would all be fine. I am so happy things went so smoothly and that my supervisor was very generous to grant my request. In this case, I don’t have to worry about breaking the precepts for telling lies for taking sick leave to take my mother or my daughter to see the doctor.
More wonderful things occurred after all that has already happened. Not too long after, President Clinton passed the law about Family Care. It applied to workers allowing them to use sick leave to take care of their family including of their parents, spouse and children. With my nice supervisor’s kindness, plus the new law, I would never have to worry about violating the precepts.
In conclusion, when we are very serious and sincere about upholding the precepts and want to avoid violating the precepts, the Buddha and Bodhisattva will bless us and support us to have conditions to receive the precepts. With the encouragement from the Bodhisattva, we all will be able to uphold the precepts and be able to fulfill our responsibilities with our family at the same time.
Maybe the Bodhisattva also arranged that I had to finish with my work as well. After being with my company for 23 years, in 2003, the company moved to Sacramento. I live in Alameda. I would not be able to follow them that far, therefore, I had to stop working for them. In this way, I would have more time to study Buddhism as well as to help out with the temple affairs.A mi to fo.