My Home is at CTTB

by Alejandro Gracia (8th Grade)

When I was five, my family moved to the City of Ten Thousands Buddhas (CTTB). CTTB, the largest Buddhist monastery in the USA, was founded by the Venerable Master Hua after he had brought the Buddha Dharma to the west. My parents moved from the east of US to CTTB, which is in the west, so my brother and I could grow up in a good environment. Time flashes by, and eight years have passed. Now I'm already in eighth grade. I have been very happy living and getting immersed in such a good environment.

Before coming to CTTB, I didn't have video games or TV. These past years, my way of life hasn't changed. If we don't have TV or video games or play with any other electronic toys, what do my brother and I do at home? We go outside to play. There are a lot of places to play in this big campus. Sometimes we go to the basketball court to play with our friends in the afternoon; other times we go to play soccer for the whole morning. Even though the soccer field is on a slope, and has a lot of rocks and holes but very little grass, we have a great time. Then, in the dining hall, we would attack the oranges as we would be so thirsty. Afterwards, my legs and feet would be very sore, but after a night of good rest, I'd be ready for another game of soccer.

CTTB is very large. In the back of the campus, there aren't any houses and there's only a few small dirt roads. There are also a field of tall grass, a creek, large grape fields, a walnut grove and a lot of tall pine and oak trees. In the spring, while I'm taking a walk, I smell the fragrant scent of all the wildflowers. In the summer, I go with my brother to play in the rushing creek. When fall comes, we help with harvesting the grapes and walnuts. In winter time, we stay at home reading a book while listening to the rain splashing outside. Being so close to nature makes me feel the joy of life. It also somehow makes me satisfied.

CTTB's most distinguishing feature is the Buddha Dharma. Even though I haven't focused on learning the Buddha Dharma, I've absorbed some. Last year, I memorized the Shurangama mantra and the Great Compassion mantra in the meditation class at school. After learning these two mantras, I recite them before traveling and when I'm sick or hurt. In the evening, I go to the Buddha hall to listen to the taped lectures by the Venerable Master Hua on various sutras. Though most of the time I write my homework, I hear some things such as “The human body is hard to obtain, and the Buddha Dharma is even harder to encounter.” This verse reminds me to study vigorously the Dharma. After listening to the taped lecture, we listento the Dharma speaker of the night. I thoroughly enjoy listening to their inspiring stories. I often hear about stories such as after bowing to the Buddhas or reciting the sutras sincerely, their once serious illnesses or bad luck went away.

I feel ashamed that I haven't cultivated much in these eight years But what is gratifying is that I haven't wasted too much time. When I was in fifth grade, I tried the public school, but four months later I came back quickly to Instilling Goodness School. Why did I make that decision? At that school, my classmates would either be talking about the new video games they were getting for their birthday or chatting about boxing and other happenings on the TV. I didn't have a TV or any video games so I didn't have anything to say and felt bored. At least in CTTB, I haven't wasted my precious time on the TV; this I shall never forget.

The Venerable Master went through great pains bringing the Buddhadharma to the west and establishing CTTB. I want to help CTTB to repay the Master's kindness. How many people in this world can live in a Utopia-like place with a school, a lot of (tall) trees, a creek, a basketball court, a soccer field, friends, Buddhadharma, and a compassionate master?


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