Practicing spiritually under Master's guidance is the greatest blessing we can have in many lifetimes. As long as we observe and perceive our lives carefully, we will surely find that each day is filled with the miracle of love. The following is a story about recent real-life events that gives testimony to Master's boundless, unconditional love.
It was early autumn in the area to the north of the Great Wall of China. The vast, clear skies and gentle breeze indicated a good time for travel. So a few of us, all fellow initiates, decided to visit a famous scenic spot. As we lived in different cities, we planned to meet in a nearby county town and then travel together to the tourist site. On my bus trip to the town, the driver had to drive along a meandering mountain road on lofty ridges that were part of a charming landscape. I wanted to enjoy the scenery to the fullest, but shortly after boarding the bus, I entered samadhi. Completely embraced by Master's divine love, I felt totally serene, and the outside world seemed non-existent
When the bus reached the mountaintop, the driver had to make a sharp turn and the vehicle became unsteady. At that moment, I saw a nun in a familiar brown robe, wearing a bamboo hat, walking quickly alongside the bus. I suddenly became nervous, because the bus was moving close to the edge of the cliff and there was no space for anyone to walk on the road. A few seconds later, I realized that I had just seen a vision with my wisdom eye. I suddenly felt a sense of helplessness and loss so I prayed to Master to guide me to this nun if necessary.
When I arrived in the county town, I had lost the desire to meet the other fellow initiates. It began to drizzle but there was no wind so I decided to go into the mountains alone. Even though the sky was gloomy, I felt a brilliant radiance inside and a warm current flowing through my body. I decided to make the ten-kilometer journey from the town to the mountains on foot. Walking on a tranquil country road, with the rain falling, sometimes heavily and sometimes gently, I felt an inner bliss that was beyond words. It was truly a fabulous experience!
After having ventured deep into the mountains, I stayed at a brother's house, quietly enjoying Master's blessings in solitude, and did not contact the other fellow initiates until the following morning. By that time, I had completely forgotten about the nun! Soon the initiates arrived, and we moved on toward the scenic spot as planned.
Without coincidences, there would be no stories; however, Master's arrangements are always perfect and flawless. When we got to the mountain pass leading to the scenic spot, one sister suddenly said, "Let's take a walk in that village at the foot of the mountain! There's a small old temple there, and I heard that one of my cousins became a nun there." So we went to the village.
The local villagers told us that this nun was very odd. She had kept the temple gate shut for three years and had made almost no contact with the outside world. We then waited outside the temple gate for a long time and knocked many times, but it was quiet inside and no one stirred. Then we went around to the door leading into the backyard, but there was no answer even after the sister called numerous times until she used her cousin's secular name. At that point, a tall nun appeared before us. On seeing her, I was startled, for she was the nun whom I had seen with my wisdom eye the day before! And she was even wearing that familiar bamboo hat!
While the fellow initiates talked and discussed some spiritual topics with her, the nun was not only absent-minded, but also rejected their advice without consideration for her cousin's feelings. We shook our heads with disappointment as she mentioned that many people had tried to change her, but she could not be moved. She firmly believed that 'the righteous heart is Dharma" and one need not rely on any meditation method on the spiritual path. However, I believed the experience that Master had given me must have meant something so I refused to give up. While our sisters were talking to the nun, I kept reciting the Holy Names and praying to Master. At the same time, I found that the temple was overgrown with weeds, and pieces of yellow cloth had been hung in the four corners of the backyard wall to ward off evil. My intuition told me that this nun was in great desperation and must have suffered much injustice.
So I asked her if she would like to hear our ideas about becoming a monastic person. Sitting quietly on her cushion with crossed legs, she nodded, and so I gave a general account of my view: If we only forsake the secular life without gaining enlightenment and having correct concepts about spiritual practice, there is only a superficial difference between being a "monk" or "nun" and being a layperson! If we continue to struggle in our hearts and remain in misery without seeking the way to liberation while regarding "stubbornness" as "firmness," we make a big mistake!
The nun then burst into tears and told us her grievances from past years. After going through a marriage full of deception and trickery, she renounced her family and became a nun in the hope of finding peace for the rest of her life. But being the chief nun in the temple, she had to make compromises for the sake of the general interest, and deal with financial conflicts arising from temple ceremonies. Eventually, her temple ended up in a miserable situation without any offerings from followers.
Listening to the nun tearfully describe her experiences, we could not help but cry along with her. Then gradually, her heart opened up and we became like members of a family, sitting there exchanging our thoughts and feelings. We felt that she was not taking good care of herself and was thus in poor health; so we offered her all of the money we had on hand, and hoped that she would take better care of her health and love herself more. Holding our contribution and with tears in her eyes, the nun confided to us that it was the best offering she had received in her life for she sensed no ulterior motives on our part.
Master's love had melted the nun's cold, hopeless heart, and at that moment, her eyes shone with hope. On our departure, the nun, who had always seemed lonely and detached in the eyes of the villagers, walked with us out of the temple, talking and laughing. We walked together for one kilometer and she was still reluctant to say good-bye.
I feel deeply that each of us is like a chess piece in Master's hand, sending God's love to anyone in pain through Her ingenious planning. I am very grateful to Master for teaching us through the suffering of this nun to understand and cherish our blessings and live a meaningful life. Master, everything is Your divine and loving arrangement, and it is You who save those in greatest need!