The Venerable Master’s Influence On My Life
By Jackie Kang (9th Grade)
There are many influential figures and elements that help guide the course of our lives and some of them can be small while others can be quite large. One of the most important people that inspired goodness in my life is the Venerable Master Hsuan Hua, a person of great wisdom. Even though the Ven. Master has passed on from this world, the teachings that he left behind continue to teach many good lessons not only to me, but to others who also seek his directions. Furthermore, the collections of Ven. Master Hua’s early life have many impacts on me such as following his good character. However, there is still quite a long road for me to go but I will relate my experience first.
When I was a child from the age 5-7 years old, I was very much prone to flashy and colorful ideas that could have caused me to be an unusual kid. Thankfully, I was brought to CTTB by my mother and was exposed to a new and humble environment. I was mesmerized by this beautiful and peaceful community, and amazed to see how many kids were not loud and fooling around as much with their parents; unlike the big cities that I have lived in before. At the same time I find peacefulness in CTTB, I was also easily irritated by the strict attendance of the daily ceremonies, the annoying sounds of the peacocks and the sight of zipping squirrels on the grounds. One day and out of the blue, I was asked by my mother a questions like, “Who in the world made this place?! Who brought these dang annoying peacocks? Why did that person make that Buddha Hall?!” Once I piped down, my mother finally began explaining to me that Master Hua decided to buy this place, dedicating it to a way place of cultivation. Soon enough, I was fascinated by these stories she told of Ven. Master Hua and gained more energy to bombard her with more questions. Admitting defeat, she simply told me to go study the Ven. Master’s teachings by myself and find all the answers I want. This is where the beginning of my personal influence from Ven. Master Hsuan Hua started.
Soon after my mom revealed the background of Ven. Master Hua to me, I underwent this period of so much immersion in reading the Ven. Master’s history. Even my mother worried if I lost all of my hyper energy. As the years passed by, I developed this reading habit of reading books of philosophy like Confucius and Lao Tzu, and learned lots of lesson on developing good character. I was completely spellbound by how much the Ven. Master endured and the miracles he performed. For example, in 1950, Ven. Master Hsuan Hua had returned from a trip to Thailand and had no money. Having no place to stay, a layman helped him find a cave, the Guanyin Cave, to stay in. Going inside without anything at all, the Ven. Master only found a flat rock that he meditated on. For the next 100 hours, he meditated in full lotus posture and afterwards, tried to get up. However, he found that his legs were paralyzed in position, so he continued for another two weeks of meditation without any food or water.
The first time I read this part, I could remember how awed I was by this long period of dedication of the Ven. Master to his practices. After reading this story, I myself at the age of around 8, tried to do the same thing. However, I didn’t even last 10 minutes and quickly gave up. After that, I found another story of how the Ven. Master found water in CTTB by miraculously reciting the Great Compassion mantra with a group of early disciples to find a water source in the back property. Immediately, I tried to start tapping the area with a cane, looking for water. Soon after the numerous childish imitations I tried to accomplish, I gained this awareness of how much the Ven. Master surpassed me. But instead of becoming disheartened, I gained even more spirit to find the proper way to follow the Ven. Master. I began begging my mom to enroll me to the school that the Ven. Master had founded, the Instilling Goodness Developing Virtue Boy School. Then after joining the school, I continued practicing the rules he established in our school. Thereon, I started to develop a character according to our standards and never stopped learning more lessons on how to improve my morality. After some time, I realized how much different I could have been if I never found out about Ven. Master Hsuan Hua. I could have been in many different kinds of personalities, maybe a more cheerful person or more delightful person. But no matter how much happier I imagine I could be, I am most contented as the person I am now and I fully want to thank Venerable Master Hsuan Hua for that.
Thank you for reading my essay, Amitofo!