Remembering Venerable Master's Compassion
By Janny Huynh
In 1975 the Communists took over Vietnam and a lot of things changed. For example, a lot of richer families became poor, my own included. It made me think about impermanence, about how in one moment everything can change. During this time I felt embarrassed and upset over everything that had happened and one of my friends who saw my despair asked me why I didn’t go to the temple.
So I went to the temple and saw a book about vegetarianism. The book said that if you become a vegetarian, you will feel different and you can draw more good and happy people to you. From then on I became a vegetarian and became a regular temple-goer.
Two months later, I had a dream about a monk. There were all types of people surrounding this monk – rich people, poor people, handicapped people. In this dream, my sister, Gwo Juan, and I took refuge with this monk. After I escaped to America in 1980 and later visited the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas in 1981, I was working in the Buddha Hall and I saw the Venerable Master. I then realized that he was the monk in my dream. My sister and I immediately decided to take refuge with him.
From then on, we frequently went to Gold Mountain Monastery on 16th and Mission (and later the one on Grant Street) to listen to Shr Fu’s lectures, and went to CTTB for Dharma Assemblies. Even now, years after he entered stillness, we still go to DRBA branch monasteries.
I remember how every Saturday at Gold Mountain, I would go and listen to Shr Fu’s lectures. I worked half days on Saturday so after work I would walk over to the monastery, even when I was pregnant. Every time I reached the front of the temple, Shr Fu would be there to press the button to let me in. I don’t know how he always knew exactly when I would arrive! One time, it was raining and I was almost 8 months pregnant at the time. Because of the rain, I started running, and then because I was pregnant there was pain and so I started crying. When I got to the temple, Shr Fu was already downstairs holding the door open for me. I started crying even more because I was touched by his compassion. He said to me, “Hurry in, Child, it’s raining, hurry in!” When we got inside I tried to bow to him to thank him, but he said, “No, your tummy is so big, you don’t need to bow!”
In 1998 I made a vow to recite the Earth Store Sutra for 100 days. At the time I had a good friend who had become very sick so I wanted to recite for her. By around the 70 th day, a big pimple developed on my face. It did not hurt but it got bigger and bigger every day. I even went to go see a skin doctor and he did some sort of procedure on the pimple. Suddenly from that day on my face swelled up, I couldn’t see, and my face hurt a lot. Despite the pain, I knew that since I made a vow I had to continue reciting the Earth Store Sutra everyday. One day when I was reciting, my eye started tearing up and the pain was so intense. I still felt that even though I could not see what I was reciting, I had to try and recite. I forced my eye to open and I saw the words in my Sutra book glowing with golden light, and slowly radiating throughout the Buddha Hall in my home. Suddenly my eye didn’t hurt anymore, my face didn’t hurt, and I could see again.
That night, I heard Shr Fu’s voice in my dream. We were in a crowded hall. He asked, “Gwo Hoa, where are you?” I said, “I’m here, Shr Fu, I’m here!” I then told Shr Fu, “I know that it is my fault that this pimple is here. It must be because I was not sincere enough when I was reciting. I want to repent in front of you.” Shr Fu responded, “You don’t have to, Child. Give me your hands.” He placed his hands under mine, lifting them, and I felt good energy surging through my body. Then I woke up. My face was no longer in pain and in a few days, my face was completely normal again. Though the skin doctor had said that I would have a major scar because of the procedure, after this incident with Shr Fu, you can barely see anything. Moreover, the friend I had recited for fully recovered.