Ven. Guo Chi’s Teaching

Approaching the end of the year and at this cold winter, Venerable Guochi came all the way from Boston to Toronto.  With a compassionate smile, she always cares for and encourages anyone whom she comes across with.  When she was leading the 2-day intensive retreat of reciting buddha’s name and the Eight Precepts Observance, her upright yet gentle voice was very helpful to calm down a lot of wandering thoughts of retreatants.

“Take refuge in the three jewels in ten directions. Dharma protectors come down to help me.  I take refuge in the supreme Bodhi and the upmost pure Buddha, dharma and Sangha. I give rise to great vows of Bodhi mind benefiting oneself and others. Repent all evil karma and join others in celebrating their virtues and blessings.  First, refrain from eating after the mid of the day and practice the dharma of eight kinds of virtues.”

The assembly followed Venerable Guochi’s words and recited them for three times along with three prostrations, then, transferred the merits altogether.   When I was receiving precepts from Venerable Guochi, I felt a sense of purification of body and mind and the thoughts of becoming monastics kept coming upon.  It is a pity that this life has passed by so quickly and I can only wish for next lifetime.

Venerable Guochi kept reminding the assembly that every step should be firmly and calmly put on the pure land when we were reciting buddha’s name, repenting and doing walking meditation.  Participants were all immersed in the pure joy of chan meditation following Venerable Guochi’s instructions, relaxing body and mind while focusing on recitation of buddha’s name. The sound of chanting was guiding everyone home.

The Great Compassion Repentance service is routinely chanted every month.  I never really contemplated the meaning of the guiding verses before. But this time, when Venerable Guochi was chanting them using her unique voice, I was deeply touched and I could feel the compassionate vows of ancient Master Zhili, especially when she chanted the lines saying “it is fortunate that one can have this human life but if one does not follow and practice dharma, one’s ignorance will only increase and create more karma, without the power of Buddha, it is hard to be free from suffering.” I feel that I have been so fortunate to meet good knowing advisors and encounter dharma. I should generate Bodhi mind to benefit myself and others and achieve Buddhahood.

When Venerable Guochi was teaching the proper demeanor for being a Buddhist and playing Master Sheng Yen’s video, my tiredness melted away when I saw how Shifu was dragging his weak body to go around spreading dharma tirelessly. Compared to Shifu’s, my fatigue was nothing. When Shifu’s early disciples share their stories of interacting with shifu, my tears were streaming down. I will try my best to support the three jewels wishing that I can repay the gratitude towards dharma masters and teachers.

Written by: Ai Tzu
Translated by: Zhaohui Yang

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