Forever in Our Hearts
A Memorial to Guru C. M. Chen
(Chenian Memorial Series No. 2)
Dr. Yutang Lin
The Buddhist Yogi C. M. Chen went into Nirvana at 9 a.m. on Nov. 13, 1987 in room 6511, Alta Bates Hospital, Berkeley, California, U.S.A. By his grace I have been allowed to serve him intimately for his final seven years. Not only have I received all his teachings, but also inherited his spiritual lineage. Herein is contained a brief report on his Dharma activities, his major spiritual realizations, and the inspiring events that pervaded his final days. May all readers share our loving memory of him.
Yogi Chen wrote over two hundred books or articles, in Chinese or English, on Buddhism. The superior characteristics of his works may be summarized thus: 1. all his lifelong works are consistent; 2. his more important works did receive signs of approval directly from Buddha; 3. his works are concise and pertinent; 4. his works are in harmony with his practices; and 5. his works demonstrate the balance of Wisdom and Compassion. What follows is a brief account of, to me, the most important aspects of his works.
Guru Chen is a great Buddhist siddha who achieved the highest realizations through lifelong devoted practices and compassionate Dharma activities. Hence his works are crystallizations of the synthesis of Buddhist philosophy and practice. It seems to me that the basic guideline of his writings was to concrete the theories of the various Buddhist schools into tangible methods of practices; his Chinese works Five Treaties on Hwa-Yen and Meditation of Leng-Yen exemplify this. Some of his works aimed at broadening and deepening the theoretical basis of known practices; his Chinese works A Treatise on Tantric Initiations and A Synthesis of the Five Sutras of Pureland School are of this kind. His intention to emphasize the importance of practicing devotedly is obvious from his Chinese works such as The Garland of Pagodas and The Teachings and Biography of Ma-chi-nau-dzun. In his Chinese works Sadhana of White Tara and Collected Works of Propagating the Gurus' Grace he organized and sublimated several sadhanas. In his monumental books Light House in the Ocean of Chan, Refined Discriminations in the Teachings of Mahamudra and Refined Discriminations in the Teachings of Karmamudra he pointed out the various levels of realizations so as to prevent the pretence of achievement by shallow practitioners. In short, his works are inseparable from practices. Besides, only sincere practitioners could gradually sense the width and depth of his teachings. I would like to urge devoted Buddhist students to study his teachings carefully and at length, and to follow his teachings as a safe guide on the path toward Enlightenment.
His poems and calligraphy are superb and sought after by many. The characteristics of his poems, in my opinion, are natural, Dharma related and overflowing with compassion. His works in English are: the magnificent Buddhist Meditation, the critical Discriminations between Buddhist and Hindu Tantras, the profound guidance on "How to Develop the Bodhicitta", and the variegated Chenian Booklets Series Nos. 1--154. From the contents we can see that he wrote for all kinds of readers, including Christians, Taoists, Hippies, etc. Some of these booklets contain cartoons and stories suitable for children. Thus we see that Yogi Chen's works encompassed every aspect of Buddhism and that his compassion did extend to every level of readers.
Since Yogi Chen's arrival in the United States in 1972 his mission to spread the Buddhist teachings has been thriving. We have kept track of the major events in his Dharma career ever since; below is a brief summary:
- 227 fire sacrifices to Sakyamuni Buddha, the Healing Buddha, the Great Pleasure Vajra, Amitabha Buddha, Green Tara, Kurukula, God of Wealth or the Five Saints of Christianity.
- 45 lectures on the teachings of the Pureland School, given in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Philippines, Canada and the major cities of the U.S., like New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose, Sacramento and Honolulu. It was Yogi Chen's wish to give this series of lectures for 48 times, so as to commemorate the 48 Great Vows of Amitabha Buddha. As his disciple I will try to fulfill his wish by giving this lecture for three times in the near future.
- 160 precious vases have been offered to the Dragon King at the Dragon Palace located in Timber Cove, Jenner, California.
- Releasing 237,440 lives including fishes, birds, turtles, crabs, frogs, etc., wherever he went. In addition, during his 25-year retreat in India he released over one hundred thousand lives; and his wife released ten thousand lives in China long time ago.
- Praying for the dead in 72 cemeteries for 125 times. These cemeteries are located in the places mentioned in B. above. The total number of graves therein is estimated at 3,500,000.
- 154 issues of Chenian Booklets in English and 17 issues of Chenian Booklets in Chinese have been published. Each issue was printed at 1,000 copies or more and was distributed freely to over 800 addresses, including major libraries, Buddhist societies and individuals.
- Over 50 books in Chinese or English have been published at 1,000 or more copies each. All these are for free distribution; even the postage has never been charged to the requisiting public.
The Manjusri Buddhist Culture Center in Taipei, Taiwan is preparing to publish and distribute at cost the Complete Works of Yogi Chen in the near future. I have provided them with the books and manuscripts that they need, and also offered my suggestions as to the editorial matters.
Yogi Chen did reveal a few of his spiritual achievements, here and there, in his writings. For example, in his thirties he had already achieved the opening of his medium nerve, and obtained the five openings on his skull which resembled the five tufts of hair of the Bodhisattva Manjusri. It has been witnessed, in meditative states, by many Buddhist practitioners all over the world that he is a reincarnation of Manjusri. He mentioned in his writings that he had realized the cloudless autumn sky, in other words, that is nothing but the Dharmakaya of Buddha! He especially revealed to me in private that he had achieved this four times in his life: sometimes it was like a sunny sky, otherwise it was like a pitch- dark night sky. In my Shower of Grace, a systematized record of Guru Chen's teachings, it has been revealed that there are differences in the lights of the three Buddha-kayas. This observation was not based on any Buddhist literature, but came out directly from his meritorious realizations. The Yidams that he identically realized, besides Manjusri, are Adi Buddha, Green Tara, Vajrasattva, Guhyasamaja, Mahakala, etc. He once told me that, when he identically realized the Great Pleasure Vajra, there appeared in his meditation one hundred thousand Dakinis, gathering around him and cheering in celebration.
The freedom of omnipresence that Yogi Chen enjoyed may be glimpsed from the following incident :
I used to do weekend retreats. Once while my wife was working night-shift, my son Howard, who was only four-years old then, woke up in the middle of the night and could not find his mother, so he started to cry. Crying aloud he came out from his room and stood in the hallway, keeping a short distance from my retreat room. He sensed already that I should not be disturbed, so he did not come any closer. In retreat I strictly abode the rules of speechlessness and no stepping out. Hence all that I did was simply to open the door, throw one blanket out and then close the door again. I wished that he would pick up the blanket, one of the only two that I had inside my room, and go to bed again, so that he would not catch cold. Nevertheless, he did not understand me, and there was nothing else that I could do, so I just went back to bed and tried to tolerate the situation as a spiritual training to myself. Suddenly I sensed that Guru Chen was right there outside my door, and that he was moved by my adherence to the retreat rules. But I did not get up to verify this. Six o'clock the following morning I took Howard with me and drove to my Guru's place, because we were going to offer a precious vase to the Dragon King on that day. As soon as Guru Chen stepped into my car, he asked Howard: "Why did you cry? Daddy and Mommy did not cry; why did you cry?" Upon hearing this I realized at once that what I sensed last night was not without any basis. So I asked him: "Did you come to the outside of my retreat door last night?" At first he remained silent, after a while he nodded in reply. On the way back from the trip he revealed to me: "I can go to anywhere in the Dharmadhatu at will. I can also go into others' dreams."
Yogi Chen began to show signs of sickness in mid-September of this year. He was accompanied by me to see his regular physician Dr. Kawachi. She prescribed medications and he took them accordingly. It all worked out nicely, except that, due to his old age and weak heart, he could not stay healthy. Right after one ailment had left, another would sneak in. Thus he became weaker and weaker. Later he also told me to accompany him to see a Chinese medicine doctor, Dr. Jih Chao Yang, and started to take Chinese herbal medicines on the side. At noon on the 27th of October there was blood in his sputum, so we went to visit Dr. Kawachi that afternoon. It turned out to be pneumonia in a small corner of his right lung; so he was given antibiotics.
On the 29th his pneumonia spread to both lungs and the bloody sputums would not stop recurring. Under his approval and after consultation with Dr. Kawachi over the phone, I called ambulance and followed him to the emergency room of Alta Bates Hospital at 3 p.m. After he was hospitalized his conditions deteriorated gradually. A few days later it became necessary to assist his breathing by a machine; and he could not take food nor drink; all his medications and nutrition were supplied intravenously. After 14 days in the hospital the pneumonia was cured. But that very evening the bloody sputums recurred and his lungs were again as congested as before. On the 12th of November he put out scarcely any urine; his system would not absorb the nutritious supplies; his pulses and blood presures were abnormal and unsteady; and he excreted large amount of black blood for four times. Nevertheless the doctors could not pinpoint the bacterial causes of his illness. Nine o'clock in the morning of the 13th of November Yogi Chen went into Nirvana at the age of 83.
In early September, before he displayed any sign of illness, he instructed me to put down his will in writing, and invited three witnesses to the signing of his will. After Yogi Chen showed signs of sickness in mid-September, I noticed the following signs: 1. He said: "Early departure, early return!" on several occasions. 2. He had about two hundred framed photos stored in his hermitage to be given to his audiences. One morning he told me to take all these photos of Dharma activities home and to start distributing them to our Buddhist friends. Thus he was indirectly indicating that he was not going to give lectures anymore. These incidents showed that he knew in advance that his time was near.
Besides, he arranged to buy fifteen miniature sarira- stupas. Also, the sariras of His Holiness the 16th Karmapa were brought to him at this time by the driver of Karmapa. Then, during his hospitalization, a pair of socks and shoes were brought back from Wu-Tai Mountain, the sacred land of Manjusri, in China and sent to him by a Buddhist friend. Socks and shoes are related to going, and their coming from the sacred land of Manjusri at such a time connoted a sense of returning to the original place for Yogi Chen. These incidents that were causally related to Nirvana and returning to the original place were gathering. Thus I knew that, owing to our lack of merits, the great sage would soon depart.
In August I heard a heavenly voice saying in Chinese: "The twenty- sixth day of the eleventh month." But there was no explanation given as to what would happen then. Later in a dream Guru Chen told me in Chinese to get some "Hsiang Yen" (cigarettes); "Hsiang Yen" also means the continuation of lineage, hence the meaning of this dream is for me to carry on his lineage. So I thought to myself, perhaps he was not going to stay with us for long. When his condition was getting worse and he had to be hospitalized, I began to suspect that the date given might be the day of his departure. So I looked it up in the calendar and discovered that it's the Thanksgiving Day, which connotes a sense of memorial. Hence I talked to Dr. Kawachi and requested that, in case he passed away, his body should remain untouched for eight hours. This is in conformity with the Buddhist teachings on death and dying. The length of eight hours is the minimum to us Buddhists, but to the hospital it is unusual and the maximum that they would allow. Thanks to Dr. Kawachi and the Hospital for granting this exception in recognition of our religious beliefs. During Yogi Chen's hospitalization I often heard, in and only in his hospital room, a chanting in praise of the Healing Buddha. The music was not outloud, barely audible, and varies slightly from the usual one. This indicates that, although he showed signs of illness, his own level of enjoyment was beyond our ordinary perceptions. One day, after coming home from a fire sacrifice to the Healing Buddha to pray for Guru Chen's speedy recovery, I was lying in bed resting, all of a sudden my Guru showed his face and both hands to me: his mouth was wide open, his left index finger pointing to his mouth and his right hand waving, making a gesture of calling. I jumped up and rushed to his sickbed in the hospital, and asked the nurse to do suction for him. He did have lots of sputum congested in his throat and lungs. Thus we see that his appearance of sickness did not limit his omnipresence, and that his case is different from ordinary persons' causal consequences. The date and time of his entering Nirvana included the numerals 13, 5(for Friday) and 9. According to the Tantric teachings, both 13 and 5 are very auspicious, and 9 is the number for protectors. Furthermore, 9 a.m. is the dragon hour. Hence I recognize these as signs indicating the following: the Dragon King, who asked him to come to the United States to spread the Dharma teachings, had advised him to give up this body that was no longer functional, and escorted him to start searching for a new body. At 9 a.m. Miss Pao Lien Tan, who was attending by his side, and a visiting Mr. Tsai, who was a couple rooms away, both heard the heavenly chanting of the Five Rounds of Chanting Amitabha. This cassette tape was not played that morning, hence it was evidently an inspiring miracle. 5:30 that morning I had already arrived at his bedside to attend him. In order to purchase cloisonne vases and Chinese herbal nutrients for the ceremonies planned for the praying for his recovery, I left him at 8:30 to go to San Francisco Chinatown. At 8:50 I stopped by the American Savings branch office right across the street from his apartment. I needed to cash some checks, but the bank would open only at 9:00, so I waited outside. The rain was pouring heavily, so I went into his apartment to get his raincoat. Thus I happened to be in his hermitage and putting on his raincoat at the time of his entering Nirvana. Since putting on one's Guru's coat is traditionally symbolic of carrying on the lineage, such a coincidence could not be more appropriate.
As mentioned above, Yogi Chen's spiritual achievements are indeed unfathomable. Why then did he choose to show serious illness before his Nirvana? And why did he choose to exhibit the chanting of Amitabha instead of other miracles? Sakyamuni Buddha went into Nirvana so as to give a vivid teaching on Impermanence, and thereby woke up the lazy and deluded multitude. Yogi Chen showed the suffering of illness to help destroy our deluded attachments to the transient comforts of modern technology. He showed the impermanence of his staying with us to encourage us to renounce worldly engagements and to diligently undertake serious practices. The chanting of Amitabha, being simple, direct and easy to adopt, is the best and most suitable practice for us common folks. That is why Yogi Chen chose to display this miracle instead of others. His forty-five lectures on the teachings of the Pureland School were motivated by the same considerations. The consistency in his earlier endeavors and his final display of a miracle illustrated clearly the deep-rooted continuity of his compassion.
After his heart stopped, the hospital kept their promise and let his body stay untouched in his bed for eight whole hours. His penis erected as he was entering Nirvana, and we saw that it remained upright for the next eight hours. This showed that he was able to preserve his essential drops even while he was abiding in the Clear Light of Dharmakaya. Thus we know that his mastery over the unity of the Basic Samadhi and the Causal Samadhi is beyond doubt. I came back to him at noon time. Right then, following his teachings, I practiced the Three-Kaya Powa in front of him. At 5 p.m. some of our Buddhist friends began to clean his body and then put on new clothings in Chinese style for him. At 5:30 p.m. his body was removed from the hospital by the undertaker. At 6 a.m. on the 15th of November seven cars with more than thirty people left my residence to begin a day of memorial services. We went first to the Dragon Palace, located in Timber Cove, to offer five precious vases, and then up to the sacred land in Cazadero to perform a fire sacrifice to Amitabha Buddha. We would then dedicate the merits generated to the ultimate well- being of all sentient beings and the speedy reincarnation of Yogi Chen. At the time we offered the vases, both the Sun and the Moon were appearing in the sky, symbolizing Yogi Chen's accomplishment in the balance of Compassion and Wisdom. There was also a crane standing on the seaweed floating on the ocean; this was quite an exceptional phenomenon in the Tiber Cove that we knew. After I had offered the five vases into the ocean, the crane was still standing there. So we drove our boat toward it to take pictures and video recordings. As we got closer it flew away toward the West which is the direction of the Pureland of Amitabha Buddha. On our way to the sacred land up in the hills Dr. Juan Bulnes and Dr. Hsiang Chou Yo, who were in the leading car, both witnessed a crane identical to the one we saw at Timber Cove standing by the roadside. It flew away only when their car had come up to and stopped by its side. (Incidently, Rev. Yaw- Sheng Shih of San Francisco came to my residence in El Cerrito on Dec. 13th to pay her respect to Yogi Chen's sariras. Near the freeway exit in El Cerrito she saw a crane standing alongside the freeway and facing the West. Not knowing the two sightings mentioned above she did not bring it up in our conversations. However she did realize that it was a rare occurrence. That evening she read the Chinese version of this memorial article at home and sensed the connection in all three sightings. Hence she favored me a phone call to reveal the incident.) Such concurrences could not be a mere coincidence. The Chinese saying naturally came to mind: "A crane standing among chickens", meaning that Yogi Chen far surpassed the others. During the fire ceremony the following auspicious signs were noticed: The torma (ceremonial food) which was thrown as an offering to the carnivorous protectors happened to fall and stay on the top of the distant tree stump where beef livers are usually placed as offerings to the protecting crows, which are transformations of the Four-Arm Mahakala. At the end of the fire ceremony I performed the Three-Kaya Powa; as soon as I began to recite the prayers white clouds flew in and gathered high up in the sky right above the fire altar. The moment when I shouted out: "Hee! Peh!" to send the Nirmanakaya up to the Sambhogakaya and then to the Dharmakaya, simultaneously the fire woods fell down from the fire altar and the cloud above opened up its center and formed a circle. There in the center of the fire altar the remains were miraculously shaped like a phoenix in fire with its head facing the West, where the image of Amitabha Buddha was set up. The crane at sea and the phoenix in fire were both photographed and video-taped to show the facts to the interested public. Everyone present was amazed by the miraculous concurrence of my shouting, the falling of the fire woods and the opening of the cloud. And the auspicious sign of a phoenix added wonders to our feeling of being deeply inspired. All these, of course, were simply Yogi Chen's way to bless us with a deeper and greater faith.
At 5 p.m. that afternoon a memorial service was held in the chapel at Sunset View Cemetery. Rev. Ling Jen Shih came to honor Yogi Chen. I performed the Three-Kaya Powa so that everyone present would share the merit of praying for all the deceased ones in the whole Dharmadhatu. Besides my report on the above mentioned characteristics of Yogi Chen's life, Mrs. Ming Chu Kuan recited the article The Buddhist Yogi Chien Ming Chen who is visiting in the U.S., written by a famous Buddhist scholar, Professor Jih Fu Lang, in Taiwan. This essay contains a succinct account of Yogi Chen's life and a scholastic evaluation which is filled with admiration. During the memorial service I made public my written record of Yogi Chen's teaching on the Three-Kaya Powa. This teaching had always been transmitted orally. But I had obtained the permission from my guru to put it down in writing and to make it public. This would serve to commemorate the grace of the guru and the lineage, and to enable people with real Bodhicitta to transmit blessings to the deceased ones. The whole assembly then recited together The Stanzas on the trinity of Bodhicitta, Buddha and sentient beings. (The English version of these stanzas is to be found in chapter VII of Yogi Chen's How to Develop the Bodhicitta under the title The Stanzas of the Complete Bodhicitta System.) Guru Chen once told me that he considered this the best of his articles. Dr. Ming-Der Huang coincidentally chose this article for group recitation at the memorial service. Yogi Chen certainly would have been very pleased by this choice. Finally we came up one by one to his casket to look up to his merciful face, most people prostrated and shed tears; we were all deeply moved.
Besides sending an offering to Kalu Rinpoche to ask him to perform an Amitabha Buddha Sadhana at Bodh Gaya, where Buddha attained Enlightenment, on the 29th we went again to the Dragon Palace to offer another set of five vases and then to the auspicious building site for our Mandala to perform another fire sacrifice to Amitabha Buddha. (Fulfilling a wish of Yogi Chen's, this was the first time that we did a fire ceremony on this exact site.) When I offered the first vase into the ocean, Mrs. Chia Yu Hwang, who was attending the ceremony ashore, suddenly heard a heavenly sound of bell ringing. At the end of the fire ceremony the fire altar fell straight forward to the West; it looked as if a person was doing the full prostration to the Amitabha Buddha.
Following Kalu Rinpoche's instructions, originally we planned to conduct the cremation ceremony at the auspicious site where we are going to build the Adi Buddha Mandala. But California Law prohibits unlicensed individuals to cremate human remains, so we entrusted the cremation to the well-established Sunset View Crematory. However, the purification, closing and opening of the stove, etc. were all conducted in Tantric rituals. In the morning of the 30th, from eight to ten, we gathered in the chapel to look up to his compassionate countenance for the very last time. Rev. Jih Chang Shih of Los Angeles and Lama Lodru of San Francisco came in person to honor Yogi Chen. Lama Lodru spontaneously recited sutras in front of Yogi Chen, so I prostrated to him in thanks. Yogi Chen's body was in perfect condition; no unpleasant odor whatsoever; the color of his face had improved; his arms and body were still very supple--no rigidity-- his arms hanged and bent freely when we moved him to the cardboard box for cremation. At ten thirty the fire for cremation was set on by the funeral director. At the beginning of the cremation people spontaneously knelt around the stove and recited the mantra of Adi Buddha. Many among us heard at the same time a heavenly chorus of the same mantra in a different rhythm with softer, yet distinctly audible, voices. Then we came out and drove up to an undeveloped site in the cemetery to perform yet another fire sacrifice to the Amitabha Buddha to pray for the speedy reincarnation of Guru Chen. Besides, the concurrence of this puja with the cremation was meant to be symbolic of performing the cremation in this Tantric ritual.
At 8:30 a.m. on the First of December we opened the door of the stove. Some of us present smelt a heavy fragrance of sandal wood coming from within the stove, although no incense was offered during the cremation to maintain the purity of his ashes. Yogi Chen's skull maintained its shape even after the cremation. Several Buddhist friends took turn to go into the still hot stove in order to collect the remains carefully and completely. It took us three hours to finish the picking up of his remains. Then we brought all the remains back to my altar room where the Buddha statues and images that my Guru left for me had been set up already. Ten of us, under the guidance of Rev. Jih Chang Shih, began to look for sariras and sarira flowers from among the bones and ashes. After eight hours of tireless searching we had all agreed to the truthfulness of the following report:
- The skull retained its shape perfectly. In both eye sockets there were a few bronze sariras. Outside at the lower center of the parietal bone there was a pink spot. The corresponding spot inside was a large area of light coral. There were several spots that were sky blue or bronze.
- His skeleton became an assortment of colorful sarira flowers that were snow-white, pink, silver, sky blue, light blue, etc. Some remains of his ribs were blue covered by black, while others were black covered by blue. We collected the most beautiful sarira flowers in a transparent container for people to admire the wonderful sight of an assortment of sky blue, light green, coral, bronze, pink, silver and yellow.
- Most of his sariras were bronze; pink ones were second in numbers. The rest were purple, silver, sky blue, etc. The most magnificent ones were: one golden, one crystal and transparent, and one brown and half transparent. We picked out 189 sariras, but both on the skull and on the samples of his colorful bones and fine sarira flowers we left numerous sariras unpicked, so that later in display people would have a better idea as to how they originally were like. Besides, in his ashes there were probably still many tiny sariras that we did not have the manpower to sieve out.
All present spontaneously praised the superior magnificence of Yogi Chen's colorful sariras, sarira flowers and bones, which differed from the usual sariras that are white only. Basically this is because the Tantric practices emphasize the harmony of Five Wisdom with the Five Elements, hence a superior tantric master can exhibit variegated fruits of five colors and five lights.
The sariras and fine samples of his sarira flowers and bones are preserved in my altar room for people to worship. In the future, after the completion of the building of Adi Buddha Mandala and its branch Mandalas, these holy remains will be distributed to the Mandalas for the public to worship. As to the rest of his cremated remains, they were contained in two urns and stored in Sunset View Cemetery, awaiting the completion of his Nirvana Stupa. I will personally carry these two urns back to Taiwan to make sure that they are properly sealed in his stupa.
Ever since Yogi Chen showed signs of illness, many Buddhist friends came from San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, Los Angeles, etc. to show their concern. More than ten ardent friends took turn to serve him day and night by his sickbed. Among them Miss Pao Lien Tan was outstanding in both the length of time spent and the degree of thoughtful attendance. Among the visitors were the Dharma teachers Rev. Ling Tsen Shih and Rev. Miao Tsin Shih. The day before Yogi Chen's Nirvana the Red Crown Tai Situ Rinpoche, Upasaka Shih Tsong Chang of Taiwan, Upasaka Kar Ming Wong of Southern California and Dr. Ming-Der Huang of Northern California perceived, respectively, in meditation or dream, that Yogi Chen was in deep Samadhi and was leaving the world. After Yogi Chen's Nirvana, in Taiwan, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, Philippines, Canada and various places in the United States, memorial services in honor of him have been conducted by Buddhist monks and friends. Therefore on the sixth of December we went up to the auspicious land in Cazadero and performed a fire ceremony to the Healing Buddha. The merits thus generated were dedicated in thanks to all who have been so kind to Yogi Chen.
In his will, Yogi Chen instructed that his cremated remains shall be stored in a stupa to be built near the Five Wheel Stupa, located in Tsin Shan, Taiwan. The Five Wheel Stupa was built under the blessing of Yogi Chen to commemorate his Guru Fong Acarya. Ever since the erection of this magnificent stupa in 1983, every tornado, till now more than ten in number, that were going to sweep across northern Taiwan either changed their course or were subdued to a harmless degree. The coverage of its protective blessings is uncountable. The Five Wheel Stupa represents the Dharmakaya of Buddha; Guru Chen chose to build his stupa by its side, probably meaning that he, as a Dharma son longing for the Mercy of Buddha, the compassionate father of all beings, would like to please the Buddha by attending on His side. I have sent a written request to Professor Chin Ting Hsu and Upasaka Sun I in Taiwan and asked them to jointly supervise the construction of Yogi Chen's stupa. It will be a Tibetan style Nirvana Stupa that is a close replica of the stupa of Norna Rinpoche, the beloved Guru of Yogi Chen. Upon completion of this construction, I will go back to Taiwan to enclose Guru Chen's remains in it.
Imitating the style of short prayers written by Guru Chen for morning recitations, five years ago I wrote a short prayer in supplication to him, and he favored it with revisions. Hence the recitation of this prayer would readily yield inspirations by his Grace. Now in order to commemorate his Grace I am offering it to the public, with my sincere hope that all who are faithful would be benefitted by reciting it regularly. A practitioner may want to recite it for seven or twenty-one times in the morning. (Below is my translation of the prayer written originally in Chinese.)
Supplication to Root-Guru Chen
By the Lineage Successor Dr. Yutang Lin
Originally pure Manjusri, grant me advices sound,
Tara, born from Kuan-Yin's tears profound.
Wherein can your infinite compassion be found?
Written teachings sent the whole world around!
"Originally pure" refers to the Adi Buddha, the Dharmakaya aspect of Guru Chen. "Manjusri" refers to the Sambhogakaya and Wisdom aspect of him, and also the fact that he is a transformation of Manjusri. "Tara" refers to the Nirmanakaya and Compassion aspect of him. Tara is a transformation of Kuan-Yin (Avalokitesvara) and was born miraculously from his tears, the essence symbolic of the Compassion of all Buddhas. The fact that his compassion is traceable shows that, it is not enough just to have a passive mentality of being compassionate, realcompassion naturally overflows into salvation activities for all sentient beings. Although his teachings have been sent out freely to people all over the world, these precious instructions would remain merely words on paper unless we, who fortunately have received them, actually put them into practices and actions. Thus the underlying urge of mine is for us to translate his "written" teachings into admirable deeds of practices. Only then could we appreciate his Grace through experiencing it.
Yogi Chen promised: "Early departure, early return!" Hence we may expect to learn of his reincarnation in the near future. However, our common Karma is so heavily burdened with sins that he had to leave us behind, therefore it is also conceivable that his reincarnation could be delayed by our heavy Karma. To pray for his speedy return, we could, every morning after the recitation of the prayer above, recite the following prayer for three times:
Supplication to Guru Chen for his Speedy Return
By the Lineage Successor Dr. Yutang Lin
"Depart early, return soon!" you did pledge!
Only the old horse could lead us across the bridge.
Buddha, Bodhicitta and all sentient beings converge,
How could Dharma activities ever be abridged?!
First we appeal to his kind pledge of returning soon. Guru Chen's sign was Horse, and there is a Chinese saying that "Old horse knows the way," meaning that only experienced ones are reliable guides. Hence we make use of it in asking him to come and lead us across the bridge from transmigrations to Enlightenment. Compassion of the Same Entity is where Buddha, Bodhicitta and all sentient beings converge; hence we are appealing to his Great Compassion. Besides, this is the main theme of the article that he fondly considered to be his best, therefore it would have a special appeal to him. Finally we are urging him to come back soon by appealing to his sense of duty to the spreading of Dharma activities. Being a lifelong Dharma instrument, upon hearing this, he would automatically resume the holy activities at the first available opportunity. Although this is only a short prayer, yet each line in it appeals directly to the core of his compassion; how could he stay in the Pureland of Eternal Light for long without coming down to guide us?
It had been Yogi Chen's wish to build Adi Buddha Mandala at the auspicious lotus-shape land which is in northern California near the Dragon Palace. His holy purpose was to guide sincere practitioners to do serious retreats there, so as to pray for world peace and thereby gradually change our common Karma from wars and crises to peace and prosperity, and then to propagate the teachings of Buddha throughout the world and establish Buddha's Pureland on Earth. Although he closed his eyes before he could see all these Great Wishes realized, nevertheless the blessings of his lineage are ever increasing, his teachings have become available to serious Buddhist students all over the world, and the auspicious land has been purchased by us. We will continue to carry out his Great Wishes by building the Adi Buddha Mandala and devoting our lives to doing serious practices. We hope that, under Guru Chen's blessings, our efforts would help to realize a permanent World Peace and a Buddha's Pureland on this Earth in the near future!
The Chinese original was completed on 12/01/87. The first draft of this English translation was completed on 12/18/87; and then the revision, adopting advices from Dr. Juan Bulnes and Miss Kathleen Gorman, is completed on 12/27/87. My sincere thanks to them!
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