Nurturing Good Roots
During the 96-day Shurangama Dharma Session in 1968, the Master not only lectured on the Sutras every day he also did the grocery shopping, cooked and supplied tea and drinks. In order to complete the session on schedule, the Master increased the number of lectures from one per day to four per day. They Master said, "Every day I cooked, made tea, and boiled water. No one helped me. Every day I served over thirty people. I used a family-style stove with four burners. I did the cooking alone, and everyone had a good appetite. The food was always comletely finished everyday. I also kept the kitchen clean and tidy. It was not until the last day that someone helped me carry the dishes out of the kitchen, and he broke them in the process." Due to the differences in culture, language, character, and customs between Easterners and Westerners, propagating the Buddhadharma in America was an inordinately difficult task, especially when it came to teaching American left-home disciples. Only the Master himself knew the hardship, loneliness, and injustice that he suffered when he first came to America to spread the Dharma and save beings. The Master once described it thus: "Ascending to the heavens is hard, but not that hard. Getting a rooster to lay eggs is hard, but not that hard. Teaching Americans to study the Buddhadharma is truly hard."
Note: According to those who followed the Venerable Master for many years, the reason the Venerable Master lectured on the Sutra and did all the chores during the Shurangama Lecture and Practice Session was that he saw some of his disciples had a very good foundation and he wished to nurture them. He wanted everyone to apply effort without distraction so that they could become vessels of the Dharma. There were even some Americans who memorized the difficult Shurangama Mantra in one month.
Excerpt from an article by Dharma Brilliance, p. 292
"In Memory of the Venerable Master Hsuan Hua, Vol. II"