The City of Ten Thousand Buddhas’ Influence on Me; How It Changed My Life

By Chang Gwo Yen, June 30, 2009

I am not sure how CTTB changed my life. But it started when I became a vegetarian and took refuge with the Triple Jewel. Some of my family members also became vegetarians. I have access to the translated English Sutras, I have encountered the proper Dharma and my life became more meaningful. I learned the word “filiality.” I found good and real Dharma friends. Most important of all, I met the Venerable Master Hsuan Hua who is a role model for Buddhism. I feel like we are all a family with familiar feelings.

All these changes that took place in the last 23 years were good and came about because of coming to learn the Dharma at our Venerable Master’s Way-places. It made me appreciate Buddhism and strengthen my faith more. If I put it this way, that is the same as if CTTB changed my life for the better.

I have learned to appreciate the role of the Sangha, what sacrifices they have to make to keep the proper Dharma Wheel turning.

I am very fortunate to have met our Venerable Master and to be able to read the translated Sutras in English and realize it’s not easy to repay his great kindness and great compassion. It’s like finding a rare piece of jewel on the mountain of treasures. This is exactly the dream I had right after going to Gold Wheel Monastery for the first time back in 1986. This dream is still vivid in my mind. In that dream, when I was climbing the mountain of many jewels, I suddenly came across a beautiful big red ruby the size of my hand. The color and brilliance of that jewel is so rare and fine. As I reached down to pick it up, it came out of the rock as if I had plucked a flower from its stem. I then continued to climb up this mountain of many jewels.

My first impression of the Venerable Master was that he is so unassuming, so humble, and he did not display any superiority or arrogance. I felt a sense of certain virtuous quality of a sage, that’s very down to earth. He was approachable and had a certain sense of self-mastery that no words could describe. He was kind and compassionate.

But the real truth lies in what you do after you encounter the proper Dharma. After you find it, it has to be practiced. As I learn more and more, I realized that without practice, my encounter with the proper Dharma will not produce any fruit. That is the goal and I hope that will also be the aim for all who encounter the proper Dharma.

I can go and look for all the treasures on this earth, I may travel to many parts of the world but I am sure I will not be able to find a real treasure such as this Way-place, where the orthodox Dharma is truly practiced. Sometimes, it’s right here in my own backyard or right in front of me, but I do not see it. I hope that someday, I will be able to experience what true bliss and true freedom means.


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