It was April 2015. My stomach suddenly became harder and harder, and it swelled noticeably after eating. A colleague suffered from colorectal cancer and also had a hard stomach. I quickly went to the hospital for examination.
After the CT scan, the doctor said that the initial diagnosis was a liver tumor that was suspected to be cancerous, so emergency surgery was necessary. When I heard this result, I felt my heart racing. I thought that this was my karma and I should suffer it if I need to. If I didn’t die, I would be reprimanded.
At that time, I often went to the Sanger Mission Temple to listen to the dharma courses of H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III. I understood some truths about karma. So I accepted it calmly without complaining to others, and actively cooperated with the doctor’s treatment. A highly skilled Indonesian doctor took the lead for my surgery. She is the second best doctor in Southern California. She said: “Your liver tumor has a layer of membrane wrapped with bad things. We just need to take out the cyst and we don’t need to cut the liver, so it won’t hurt the liver. After doing so many operations, this is the second strangest example I have ever seen. The doctor asked “Are you a Buddhist?”
Even more strange is that despite the anesthesia effects after the operation, I seem to have temporarily lost the pain. The doctor prescribed morphine to relieve the pain, but I didn’t use it because I didn’t feel any pain at all. After the operation, I spoke as usual, full of energy. On the fourth day after the operation, a sister came to visit me and said that the monks in Sanger Mission had not seen me for a while and knew about my situation. So they recited the Sutra in the morning and night, then they transferred their merits to me.
The power of Buddhism and the power of recitation of the Sutra are incredible. My operation went well and the wound healed quickly. A week later, I walked very fast, and I didn’t look like someone who had undergone surgery! After several months of observation, the doctor determined that my tumor was benign and he ruled out the possibility of cancer.
The Buddha and Bodhisattva have saved my life twice, and I am truly grateful.
Maitreya is a transcendent bodhisattva，he will be the next Buddha in the Saha world. Maitreya means “loving kindness.” In Mahayana Buddhism, Maitreya is the embodiment of all-encompassing love. Maitreya, in Buddhist tradition, presently resides in Tushita heaven.
Master Asanga was born with uniquely deep talent and wisdom from his past lifetimes. When studying sutras and commentaries, he was able to understand the meaning with a quick reading. Later, he practiced meditative concentration and became free of desires. He repeatedly thought about the “meaning of emptiness” but was unable to deeply understand and explain it. He was quite unhappy for that. An Arhat named Pindola-Bharadvaja heard about his difficulty and came to him to teach “the Small-Vehicle (Hinayana) School’s view of emptiness.” Then, he practiced contemplation according to the teaching and achieved a deep understanding. However, Master Asanga was still not satisfied after learning the Small-Vehicle School’s view of emptiness because he still did not have perfect answers for many doubts and questions he had.
At that time, the teaching of Mahayana Buddhism (the Large Vehicle) was available from Maitreya Bodhisattva. However, to receive Maitreya Bodhisattva’s teaching in person, one must successfully enter into the state of concentration. Due to his urge to quest for the dharma, Master Asanga longed for the opportunity to meet Maitreya Bodhisattva in person to be taught with the dharma. Therefore, he chose a mountain cave in a sparsely populated area and began practicing cessation and contemplation diligently.
As time was flowing away continuously, six years elapsed. Master Asanga still was unable to see Maitreya Bodhisattva while practicing concentration in the cave. A thought came up in his mind, “If it is impossible to see Maitreya Bodhisattva, I should just give up!” Thus, he decided to take a break from cultivating and practicing in the cave. He put on his regular clothing and walked out of the cave. On his way of coming down from the mountain, he saw a white-haired elder lady, who held an iron stick and was laboriously grinding it on a flab of stone. The scene caught Master Asanga’s attention.
“Elder lady. May I ask what you are doing?” Master Asanga asked.
“Oh, I am grinding this iron stick into a thin needle.”
“You are grinding it into a thin needle?” Master Asanga was very much astonished and also greatly moved. He thought, “This elder lady was willing to grind it day after day with a seemingly silly movement. In contrast, as a cultivator, I could not adhere to practicing true Buddha-dharma to pursue wisdom.” The arising of this extremely precious thought caused Master Asanga to introspect himself and generate humility in mind. Then, he returned to the cave to devote himself into the difficult and hard cultivation and practice once again.
During the next three years, Master Asanga still did not make any achievement. Another thought rose in his mind, “Why should I waste time? It is simply impossible to see Maitreya Bodhisattva!” So he again broke his practice in retreat and went down the mountain. This time, he met a person, who was using a feather to scrub an enormously big rock. Master Asanga asked that person what he was doing. That person said, “This big rock blocks sunlight. I am grinding it to make it smaller, so that sunlight can shine into my room.” Upon hearing that, Asanga was alerted and began to introspect himself, “This person can be so unyielding in doing such a ridiculous thing. Comparing to him, I am so ashamed. I receded from my determination just because of a small setback!” With regret he again returned to his retreat chamber in the mountain.
Thus, another three years passed. Master Asanga was still unable to see Maitreya Bodhisattva appearing. At last, he receded from his determination once more. With discouragement, he left the retreat chamber again. On the way of coming down from the mountain, he saw a dying old dog, whose body had already begun to rot. The wounds were totally covered by maggots that were diffusing an awful stench. Compassion rose in Master Asanga toward this dog. He cut off a piece of flesh from his own body to feed the dog and also intended to remove the many maggots from the dog’s wounds. At that time, Master Asanga thought, “These maggots have very tender and fragile bodies. If I use my coarse fingers to move them, they will definitely be harmed.” Therefore, he decided to use his tongue to carefully lick up the maggots to move them to an inhabitable place for them. However, those maggots really looked very terrible. Master Asanga had to kneel on the ground and close his eyes. He then lowered his body to lick the maggots with his tongue.
As he was lowering his body, Master Asanga actually felt that his tongue was touching the ground. He opened his eyes and saw that the dog was no longer there. The solemn and majestic Maitreya Bodhisattva was standing in front of him. After the moment of excitement, Master Asanga asked Maitreya Bodhisattva, “I wholeheartedly prayed and beseeched you, revered Bodhisattva, to manifest before me for the last twelve years. Why didn’t you?”
Maitreya Bodhisattva replied, “Starting from the first day when you entered the retreat and began to pray, I was with you and next to you at every moment. However, due to the obstruction by your karmic forces, you were never able to see me. Through your diligent cultivation and practice during these twelve years, most of the karmic hindrance has been purified. Additionally, you generated great compassion in the occasion that just passed. Now all your karmic hindrance has been removed. That is why you can see me now! If you do not believe what I said, you can carry me on your shoulder and walk around at the market to see if people can see me.”
Thus, Master Asanga carried Maitreya Bodhisattva on his shoulder and walked to the market. While walking, he yelled to people, “What do you see that is on my shoulder?” People all thought that he had mental problems. They laughed and said, “There is nothing!” Only one old lady said that he was carrying a dog with scabies. Thus, Master Asanga was totally convinced and free of any doubt. Uncommon respect and faith rose in him toward Maitreya Bodhisattva.
After meeting Maitreya Bodhisattva, Master Asanga politely sought teaching from the Bodhisattva. Maitreya Bodhisattva asked, “What do you want to learn?” Master Asanga said, “My wish is to propagate the Mahayana Dharma.” Maitreya Bodhisattva was delighted to hear that and brought him to the pure land within the Tusita Heaven. Maitreya Bodhisattva expounded to him the precious views of Mahayana Buddhism and the “Five Shastras (Commentaries) by Maitreya.” The teachings enlightened Master Asanga like pushing away clouds to see the Sun. Many doubts that he had had before were completely removed. Since then, he followed Maitreya Bodhisattva’s teaching to dedicate himself to study “the View of Emptiness of Mahayana Buddhism.” Maitreya Bodhisattva gave him a series of discourses and also explained the essence of the Mahayana sutras to him in detail. Master Asanga was enlightened from listening to the teachings and basically gained the understanding and proficiency in the sutras and shastras of Mahayana Buddhism. Later, Master Asanga also practiced the Dharma of Sunlight Samadhi. Through learning and practicing diligently, he eventually attained holy accomplishment. From then on, he was able to understand what he could not before and could forever remember all Buddhist scriptures he read. Later, he built a big lecture hall and dedicated himself to expound all Mahayana sutras to the great masses.
Master Asanga lived in the world for 150 years and made great contributions to the undertaking of widely propagating the teachings and dharmas of Mahayana Buddhism. He benefited countless living beings.
When Buddhists from all around the world want to gather together to share their knowledge, inspiration, and experience, there is no one place they can call home. Many Buddhist leaders have shared the vision of creating a permanent home centered in a major temple housing statues of the ancient Buddhas, surrounded by smaller temples built by the various different sects and organizations as the capital of Buddhism. Furthermore, it would be open and accessible to the general public, an inviting and beautifully designed space in which to experience the rich diversity of Buddhist culture and practice all in one place.
This concept was very well supported by H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III. So, a search for a proper site began in early 2010. After visiting and considering several different locations and potential sites, the present project site at the Holy Heavenly Lake was most favored by the search team. A key factor in the decision for this project site was the presence of the lake, which made possible the vision of a spiritual oasis, in the form of a harmonious water garden that both physically and symbolically connects the various sects to the central temple. Holy Heavenly Lake is a holy site. Below the Holy Heavenly Lake, there is an underground river going from the south to the north, which is as wide as the Yangtze River. And there is a crystal lake with crystal gems lying 450 feet below the ground.
In 2015, the site and the initial conceptual site plan were presented to His Holiness, who expressed support for both. It was further decided that a Residence for His Holiness would be constructed next to the Main Temple. All major sects of Buddhism – including Zen, Pure-land, Nyingma, Kagyu, Sakya and Gelug— expressed their commitment to establish their temples or Dharma Centers in the compound. This will be the first time in history that all of the major sects are gathered at one location.
on February 14, 2019. The City of Hesperia where the Holy Heavenly Lake is located held a public hearing to discuss the matter of building the Buddhist City at the Holy Heavenly Lake and subdividing the land for various Buddhist sects to build temples in the city. The result was that the city agreed to let the project move forward. The meeting was held on the first day, and the nagas and dharmapalas showed their praises through a tremendously holy manifestation on the next day. Huge amount of clear water suddenly flow rapidly on 15th with waves lifted by its billows over the riverbed above the underground river, although the riverbed has been dried for many years. It runs northward like an endless tide from a river of hundreds of miles in length.
We believe that the Buddhist Town at the Holy Heavenly Lake will fulfill the myriad wishes and bring about prosperity in every undertaking!
Below are the videos showing the beautiful landscapes and inspiring events that have happened at this holy site:
Joy of Awakening
The Inner Light
Dharma Assembly for Medicine Buddha’s Holy Birthday
When it was late at night and everything was silent, she would always toss and turn on the bed, with all kinds of feelings in mind. Ten years ago, Qingmian’s father had suddenly suffered from cerebral infarction. Since then, the warm and pleasant life of Qingmian’s family came to a halt. Qingmian witnessed with her own eyes how her father’s body figure changed from tall, broad, and upright to totally skinny, and his temperament turned from warm and cheerful to silent and peculiar. Once a PE teacher, he now had to rely on others for everything in life. Being a strong-willed and determined person, he almost collapsed mentally. The situation turned particularly worse after he became incontinent. He had mood swings, and he became grumpy and would act up without reasons.
If her father’s situation is called suffering in hell, then Qingmian’s taking the responsibility of attending him would be staying in a sea of fire. Seeing her beloved father in suffering, pain ripped through her heart. On the other hand, spending all her time taking care of a person with such illness strained her out mentally and physically.
One day, Qingmian and her mother cooked quite a few dishes. However, right after the food was placed onto the dining table, her father became offended by some casual and harmless words in the conversation and suddenly became furious.
“Why should I have a daughter like you? You are not filial at all! Do you look down on me because I am ill, and you don’t want to take care of me? Both you and your mother just get lost!”
“What happened, father? There is nothing I complain about you. Is this because the food does not suit your taste?” Qingmian put up a smile and asked cautiously.
“I don’t want to eat!” Then, with the smashing sounds, all food dishes were thrown to the ground.
Such incidents of “blaming for nothing” occurred very often. When the father had an outburst, he would even beat up Qingmian and her mother with his stick, causing bruises all over their bodies. “Your illness was not caused by me. Why do you treat me like that?” Life like this gradually brought Qingmian down.
At that time, Qingmian was under tremendous financial pressure. Her father’s mood was unstable, her child was less than one year old, and her husband was working far away from home most of the time. There was a period of time when her mother was also ill and had to be hospitalized. She stuck it up all by herself and became even more worn out. Neighbors all admired that Qingmian’s father had a good daughter who did not mind doing anything regardless of whether it is dirty or a lot of work. Actually, Qingmian just had to keep all the bitterness in heart, but she still had to keep going while biting her teeth to endure. All was due to the fact that she happened to have a paralyzed father.
However, in late night when all had quieted down, she felt like being a helpless mariner in the bitter sea under the cover of the dark night not seeing any lighthouse. For quite a few times, she thought about giving up taking care of her paralyzed father. On an occasional karmic condition, Qingmian was told by a layperson who was learning from the Buddha that many problems can be resolved through learning from the Buddha.
While Qingmian was still having doubt about that, she met a Buddhist brother during an activity of releasing living beings in captivity, who told Qingmian many explanations about the truth of impermanence in human life. Qingmian noticed that as a disabled person who had been badly burned in a fire, the Buddhist brother still worked so actively to lead the life-releasing activity and was able to explain the truth of the Buddha Dharma very clearly. Qingmian respected and admired him very much. As a result, she decided to go to the Buddhist center run by this Buddhist brother.
On the first day of her listening to the Dharma at the Buddhist center, Qingmian was already deeply moved by the warmth from the Buddhist brothers and sisters. She felt the warmth and loving care that she had not experienced for the last several years. The Dharma imparted by Namo H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III that uses simple language to penetrate the profound truth was moisturizing her almost dried-out heart like rain and dew. While weeping with teary eyes, Qingmian seemed to have untied the knot that had been in her heart for quite a few years.
“All matters and all phenomena are based on causality. This physical body of ours is a body to experience karmic retributions. Whether you are enjoying a good life or experiencing a bad life, you are simply paying back the karmic consequences since the beginningless eons.”
Under the tireless guidance of the fellow Buddhist brothers and sisters, Qingmian gradually understood the karmic affinity between her father and her. Without karmic debt created in the past, there would be no encounter or companionship in the current lifetime. It doesn’t matter whether she is returning the kindness or repaying back the debt. She should just accept the reality and resolve this karmic affinity willingly. Only by doing so can she step toward the eventual liberation.
“A human life is extremely difficult to get. For any day that I am living through, I must treat all living beings with kindness to broadly create good karmic conditions. Within my family, I must even more so fulfill my responsibility and duty as a child, a mother, and a wife. My father gave me care and love in the past due to our karmic affinity. Now he is ill and needs my care. That is our karmic affinity, too. These are all conditions and opportunities for my cultivation. I need to face the situation directly.” This was how Qingmian thought, and what she did.
After the change in her state of mind, her conduct also changed accordingly. Then, karmic conditions for success also came along. In October 2016, Qingmian took refuge in the Three Jewels and became a Buddhist disciple. Very fortunately, she also attained the Dharma Assembly to Receive the Empowerment by the Greatly Compassionate Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva. The absolutely true empowerment from the Buddha Dharma that she experienced deeply even more so enhanced her confidence toward the Buddha Dharma. She seemed to have changed into a different person and began a new life.
From then on, Qingmian got rid of the emotions of sadness, sorrow, and bitterness. Gradually, the bitter expression on her face changed into joy. In the past, she regarded what she did in cooking, feeding, body cleaning, and fulfilling filial duty as a necessity out of having no other choice. At the end, she was filled with complaints. Now, she took taking care of her father as an opportunity to cultivate filial ways, gratitude, loving compassion, and forbearance.
When she was walking in light steps to push her father in a wheelchair for sun-bathing and sight-seeing, she felt the smooth wind touching her face and the warmth of sunlight. While she was humming Buddhist music and happily fanning for cooling for her father, wiping his back, cooking, and feeding him, her mind was full of intimate family feeling with abundant patience. Her state of mind brought her enjoyment. Her father’s eyes were revealing gratification. Though being busy, she was delightful! Other than taking care of her father, she actively attended the group sessions of listening to the Dharma scheduled twice a week. She also joined the teams of volunteers doing life-releasing and life-protecting work. Every month, she went to nursing homes to deliver roses to benefit others. She was benefited the most from doing all these. She was able to feel the meaning and value of life. She also dedicated all the merit attained from her listening to the Dharma, chanting Sutras, releasing living beings in captivity, lamp offering, and attaining Dharma assemblies to her father and other members of her family.
Whenever there was an opportunity, she shared the principles of the Buddha Dharma with her family members. Due to the change in Qingmian, her father’s temperament was much improved. His impulsive mood was slowly pacified. The home once again was having happiness and joyful conversations after a long dry spell of such things.
Human life is impermanent after all. In the spring of 2020, the death still took away her father after his paralysis for 10 years. However, he passed away in peace and tranquility. He left with a smile due to the filial care by his daughter. People often say that a parent constrained in a sickbed for long will have no filial children. Yet Qingmian told everyone with her own personal experience that a father, ill-stricken for 10 years could still have a filial daughter. Before learning from the Buddha, Qingmian’s filial acts might have been mixed with bitterness. After beginning to learn from the H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III; however, Qingmian regarded taking care of her father as an inherent act of a child and a challenging situation to cultivate herself.
Love, compassion, sympathetic joy, and generosity without attachment are not only for one’s thought and speech, but even more so for carrying out in actions. The cultivation of that is to start from dealing with one’s family members and apply that into every bit of one’s life. “Filialness ranks first among all deeds of kindness.” One who does not fulfill filial duty well has nothing to speak of with regard to learning from H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III .