|文／菲律賓海天禪寺護法會諮詢委員 傳皈（Betty Lim）|
By Betty Lim
I was born and raised in a Filipino-Chinese family. Although I did accompany my parents to visit and pay respect in Buddhist temples every weekend, at that time, I could not differentiate between the three Buddha statues in the main hall from Guanyin Bodhisattva which I heard Mom often mentioned. In 2013, Dad passed away, and two years later followed by my Mom. We followed the burial service in Buddhist way out of the respect for my parents. During the 49 days of mourning, we chanted Amitabha Sutra which I found interesting yet difficult to understand. That was when I decided to attend classes in Ocean Sky Chan Monastery.
After decades of living with and taking care of my parents, their sudden departure drove me to feel deep sorrow, anxieties, hatred, and frustration. I felt life had become meaningless and subsequently lost my purpose. Luckily, at that time, I had just started my classes learning Buddhism in Ocean Sky.
Under the compassionate guidance, comfort and care of the Dharma Masters, I learned about impermanence in this world. I also realized that apart from being grateful to my dear parents who brought me into this world and raised me, I also have an ultimate important duty: to make offerings to and respect my Dharma Parents, i.e., the Three Jewels, and to support and protect Buddhist temples.
My four years of study in Ocean Sky, such as joining meditation classes, chanting sutras, cultivations, and attending ceremonies and so forth, have resulted to a big turning point in my life. My impatient hot temper has tamed and cooled down through the practice of calm mind taught in classes. I used to be intolerant, unforgiving and uncompromising. Little by little, the teachings of compassion in class have made me learn to forgive, understand and tolerate others. I realize the best way to get rid of sufferings is to let go of all hatred, greed and all kind of emotions and attachments.
In fact, my relatives and friends are so surprised to see the big change in me, even more astonished to find I am now introspective, self-repentant and non-complaining! I have taken the Three Refuges and Five Precepts, and at the end of 2016, I also took the Lay Bodhisattva Precepts. Lay Bodhisattva Precepts, as guided by Dharma Masters, are observed not only to keep pure precepts, but also to benefit others as well as myself. I am now able to extend my concern to my relatives, friends and even the Dharma brothers whom I barely know, and to comfort and offer help especially to the sick and the departed ones. Our compassionate Dharma Masters intentionally arrange schedules for volunteer works in the temple for everyone to take turns in cultivating merits and wisdom. I am lucky to be one of them. In the process of forming good affinity with others, I can feel true happiness within me in helping others. Although I never expect anything in return, surprisingly, the incredible merits have just bounced back to me! The more friends and less enemies means lots of relaxation and joys in life!
It is indeed difficult for me to reverse my decades-long bad habits. Given the bad influences in this sinful and suffering world, every time I am faced with unfavorable incident, I would be stricken with a bad thought. However, I would constantly remind myself that I have to apply the Buddha’s teachings of compassion, tolerance, and forgiveness, and to look at myself, to examine my actions, to feel remorseful and to repent. Thereafter, I would immediately switch to good thoughts. I still find it difficult to let go of my attachment and love for my departed parents who had sacrificed their whole life for me. However, I have confidence that in the process of learning Buddhism, I will be able to overcome and let go gradually.
It is indeed the best merit in this life to become a Zen disciple, and I would like to express my deepest gratitude to our dear Founding Patriarch Grand Master Wei Chueh, who had devoted and contributed his life to building a very solemn and pure Chung Tai Chan Monastery, a perfect place for meditation and cultivation. Also to all Dharma Masters for their untiring efforts in preaching and teaching us. I have nothing to repay them, except to stay diligent in my study of Buddhism, forming greater affinity with all sentient beings, and strictly keeping all precepts and supporting Buddhist temples!
地址：716 Jose Abad Santos St., Little Baguio, San Juan, MM.