Living Joyfully and Sharing this Pure Land

From the May 2005 issue of Vajra Bodhi Sea
By Priscilla Yeh

The Venerable Master, Dharma Masters, and Good Advisors

My name is Priscilla Yeh, probably most of you have never heard of such a name. But if I said that I’m Heng Yin Shr.’s mom, then maybe a few people would know who I am.

I’m very happy to have this wonderful opportunity to share with you my gratitude and joy. What I’m grateful for is having the blessing of being a resident of this clear and pure Sagely City of Ten Thousand Buddhas. What I’m joyous about is that CTTB is the perfect place for me to do the things I’m most passionate about.

CTTB is a place out of this world, it’s extremely peaceful, harmonious, beautiful and without any pollution. It does not matter which direction you look, you’ll see beautiful mountains and tall trees. On a clear day, the sky is so blue, and you do not find such blue sky in any big cities anymore due to air pollution. On a rainy day, the silhouette of the mountains and trees against the backdrop of misty sky looks like a beautiful painting. There are a lot of tall trees and well-constructed buildings on these nearly 500 acres of land. Yet there are still lots of open space. The residents feel as if they were living in a park, while the meadows and streams on the east side of the property attract nature lovers. However, what makes CTTB such a unique place is its extremely peaceful energy. It’s probably hard to find another place with such a full schedule that includes morning ceremony, evening ceremony, meal offering, bowing, repentance, meditation, sutra lectures, etc. every single day throughout the year, plus all the Dharma events. Imagine how powerful it is when so many people gather everyday to send such tremendous positive energy to every corner of the Universe. Furthermore, there is no negative energy brought by the negative news broadcasted by TV stations or printed on the newspapers. That’s why as soon as we enter CTTB, we can feel this serene and peaceful energy immediately. It’s indeed the best place for cultivation.

Regarding the things I’m most passionate about, for more than ten years, I’ve been working with many people with serious illnesses including people with last stage cancer. Together, we tried to discover the emotional roots of their physical illnesses, and tried to remove these roots by changing their habits and some underlying beliefs. The symptoms were usually relieved, and a lot of times totally disappeared after the transformations. From these actual experiences, the mind-body connections have become very clear to me. Way back in ancient times, Chinese medicine doctors already understand that anger hurts the liver system, too much excitement hurts the heart systems, fears hurts the kidney systems, anxiety hurts the digestive systems, and sadness or pessimism hurts the lung systems. Most of our physical ailments come from long term negative emotions such as fear, hatred, shame, guilt, apathy, grief, worry, resentment, anger, jealousy, anxiety, pessimism, feelings of being treated unfairly or victimization. Therefore, in order to heal, we need to stop living in negative emotions.

There is a common characteristic among these seriously ill people. That is: when their doctors inform them that they are terminally ill, all of a sudden it dawns on them that they have not ‘lived’ yet. They’ve been very busy living up to someone else’s expectations and they are still waiting for the time when they can be themselves. For example, I know several doctors in Taiwan who have been quite successful according to society’s definition of ‘success’. Yet somehow they really do not feel the joy of success deep down, because they were all passionate about music rather than medicine. However, their parents worried about whether they would be able to make a living as musicians; therefore the parents ‘ordered’ them to study medicine instead. Now they are all well to do as physicians, but they are not happy. Some of them even resorted to drinking to numb their unhappiness. Physical symptoms resulting from prolonged unhappiness began to show up.

It became very clear to me, after seeing over and over again all the cases where physical illnesses crept up after people had lived a hard life doing something they were not passionate about, that helping young people to discover their life paths, what they are good at and passionate about is a very important and urgent mission. Now I’m very fortunate to have the opportunity to work in the girls’ school, interacting with our future generation everyday. Although I seem to be even busier than before my retirement, I seem to have boundless energy because I’m doing something I’m very passionate about.

Whenever I witness a child’s self-esteem and self-confidence grow, or a child transformed from being withdrawn to being outgoing, I can’t help but feel joy from the bottom of my heart. As an example, a student, lacking the attention she needs from her parents, had a problem getting her homework done everyday. Her book bag is in a disarray everyday too. She often forgot to bring the books to school to be used in class, and all the teachers were really at their wit’s end. I took it upon myself to find out what her problem was. I began to see her everyday after school. We would go over her home work for the day, and I also tried to train her to write down her homework in her Daytimer at the end of each class so that she would not forget. Although she has not remembered to do that every single day, whenever she did remember to do a good job, I would praise her on the spot. She became very happy; you could literally see her self-esteem and self confidence grow right there and then. In a few short weeks, one can see her good learning habits are forming gradually. Once the student understood why good learning habits are so important for her own future, she became motivated and took initiative. The best-seller author Stephen R. Covey stated in his best-seller ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’:

“The difference between people who exercise initiative and those who don’t is literally the difference between night and day. I’m not talking about a 25 to 50 percent difference in effectiveness; I’m talking about a 5000-plus percent difference, particularly if they are smart, aware, and sensitive to others.”

People who are doing what they are passionate about, not only take initiative, they are also creative and sky’s the limit as to how far they could go. Forget about the 5000-plus percent; could you imagine what would it be like if everyone could increase their effectiveness by 500 percent? How much more time would you have for meditating and bowing?

I sincerely hope that CTTB will welcome everyone who is interested in cultivation and learning the True Dharma to this wonderful way place. Regardless of nationality, race, or religion, we will support one another, care for one another. With the Venerable Master’s lofty vision and CTTB’s beautiful environment, I’m sure a lot of people would love to come. We must be well organized to receive them. For instance, we could have a more comprehensive web site detailing all the Dharma events and other activities, as well as opportunities to serve, etc. Whenever there are inquires either in person or via web site, we must be able to process them in a timely manner, and receive them in a joyous way so that they feel welcome. With such improved organization, hopefully we can match the talents with the needs so that everyone is doing what they love and love what they do. The effectiveness will be so high that no one needs to be spread so thin and feel exhausted all the time. Everyone will have a lot more time to cultivate. This way we will share this pure land on earth with all cultivators. Amitofo.

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THE SAGELY CITY OF TEN THOUSAND BUDDHAS