|Master Others Stories of Master in the Early Years|
By sister initiate Juan Li-yu, Taipei, Formosa
The Heart and Actions of a Saint
In the early years before Master began to deliver public lectures, She and several disciples lived for a time in a desolate villa in Hsintien, a Tapei suburb. The villa was rented for a very low price and, after a thorough cleaning, became a group meditation center.
One day, I was upstairs chatting with Master while several people were downstairs, preparing to receive initiation into the Quan Yin Method. When everything was ready, the attendant invited Master to go downstairs for the initiation. Master then told me, “What I dislike most is giving initiation to others. However, if we only do what we like, we’re no different than ordinary people.” These timeless words have since been deeply engraved in my heart. For more than a decade, I have been teaching myself constantly: “We should not do only the things that we like. Anything that is beneficial to others, and anything that we consider proper to do after assessing the situation, we should do promptly.”
As the number of Master’s disciples increased over time, the villa gradually became too small for us. So to accommodate fellow initiates during retreats, Master renovated a discarded workshop down the slope from the villa, even though the lease on the villa and adjoining shop was about to expire. While helping with the renovation work, I wondered, “We’ll be moving out soon. Why are we still wasting time, labor and money on this project?” Master immediately detected the doubts in my heart, and murmured to Herself, “Everyone is asking me why I’m still renovating the workshop on the eve of moving out. Since there’s insufficient space for the retreat, we have to create more! What does it matter if other people later get to enjoy what we’ve built?”
Master’s words delivered a shocking blow that woke me up completely. Such is the difference between the heart of a Saint and that of an ordinary human! Saints are absolutely pure at heart, living only in the present moment, and They do whatever is proper for the situation. They lack the complicated and discriminating mind of the ordinary human being. As the Diamond Sutra says, “Have no attachment and let your hearts be free!” Master’s daily life, speech and actions are a most precious living scripture that infinitely benefits us disciples!
Ironically, after the workshop had been renovated, no disciples wanted to live there because the place was too simple and crude to stay in. Ultimately, however, Master moved into the building, giving up Her room in the villa to the disciples.
Due to financial constraints at the time, Master could not afford to have a car. So every Monday and Wednesday, She had to walk all the way downhill and take a public bus to the home of a brother initiate in Taipei’s Wanhua District, where She gave informal discourses. But it was Her attendant who could not stand the toil and always complained. Master then consoled her, “Lay people are busy with their daily work. It’s all right for us to toil a little more.”
Once, on the way back from one of these talks, Master saw a wooden board discarded by the roadside. She then picked it up, brought it back to Her residence and cleaned it thoroughly. Next, She placed two benches underneath, thus creating a dinner table!
When Master could afford the time, She would stitch and make cushions for us. Occasionally, She also cooked for the disciples, and never put on the air of being supreme just because She was our Master. If there are still people who think Master accepts disciples for benefit and fame, they are truly mistaken!
A Hornet Circles Master Three Times
During an afternoon recess from work, a group of disciples were chatting in the courtyard of Master’s abode. Suddenly, we saw a hornet with a spider in its grasp. We tried every means we could to chase it away but nothing worked. Observing this chaotic situation, Master came over to see what had happened. After realizing what was going on, She talked to the hornet, saying, “Even if it has some karmic bondage with you, you should spare it!” Miraculously, the hornet seemed to understand Master’s words and immediately released the spider. The insect then circled around Master three times before flying away. According to the Buddhist scriptures, in ages past, circling an Enlightened Master three times was a very reverential salutation. It is truly incredible that even a hornet could thus recognize a living Enlightened Master!
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