Nanhua Monastery

Upon reaching Nanhua Monastery, I bowed to Venerable Master Yun, feeling like an infant seeing his mother again, like a wandering son who returns home. After so many years of yearning admiration, I was finally able to fulfill my wish. When I first arrived, I was assigned to serve as verger in the Patriarch Hall. When Dharma Master Zhican came to visit, he and I found that we shared the same views on cultivation, and he recommended me to the Venerable Master Yun as a capable person and worthy vessel of Dharma. The Venerable Master Yun then summoned me to the Abbot's quarters and asked me to be Superintendent of the Vinaya Academy. I refused. He urged me three times. I said, "Your student has come ten thousand miles to meet the Good Knowing Advisor and in order to end birth and death. If the Venerable Master can guarantee that I will be able to end birth and death, then I wouldn't refuse your orders even if you told me to jump into a cauldron of boiling water, walk on fire, or give up my body and bones."

The Venerable Master Yun replied, "One ends one's own birth and death, just as one eats one's own food to fill oneself. If I were to say that I guaranteed that you will end birth and death, I'd be cheating you. I don't do that sort of thing. In cultivation, one should concentrate on inner skill and outer accomplishment. By cultivating both blessings and wisdom one will succeed. One should not be an independent Arhat, looking after only his own good. One should practice the Bodhisattva way for the good of all, support the monastery, and be of service to everyone. In that way, one may perfect blessings and wisdom and quite naturally end birth and death." I again refused. The Venerable Master Yun said, "You came all the way from northeast China to meet me. If you are not going to obey my instructions, why did you bother to come at all?" I then accepted the position.

I carefully observed the words and actions of the Venerable Master Yun and found them to be quite ordinary. What set him apart from ordinary people was his ability to set an example for others with his own practice and his willingness to take suffering and hard work upon himself.

Almsbowl given after ordination (given to the Venerable Master after he received the precepts a second time, for additional benefit, from the Elder Master Hsu Yun)

Almsbowl given after ordination (given to the Venerable Master after he received the precepts a second time, for additional benefit, from the Elder Master Hsu Yun.)

During the spring precept-transmission, when the morning boards were struck, I heard with my own ears the roar of a tiger at first nearby and then off in the distance. My Dharma friends told me, "That is the tiger who took refuge with the Venerable Master Yun and became his disciple. It lives in a cave behind the mountain and always comes out to protect the monastery during the precept ceremonies.