September 4, 1973, Tuesday evening
95. On Being True in What We Do
Ven. Master Hsuan Hua
Just after I returned from South America a few days ago, my monastic disciple Guo Yu asked for permission to visit his parents. I granted him permission, but said he has to make a journey by bowing once every three steps.
Well, he took me up on it! He left Gold Mountain Monastery that very next morning—at 2 A.M. —to begin his journey of bowing once every three steps, heading north to Seattle , his home. He took a backpack with him. He bowed from the door of Gold Mountain Monastery until he almost arrived at the Golden Gate Bridge . He bowed for eleven hours. Many people watched him on the streets, because nobody had ever seen this kind of show before. The police also kept him under close surveillance. They did not know what he was doing, but they did not dare meddle with him, either. But then he got hungry when it came time to eat and his hunger drove him to return to the monastery. Actually this disciple is very sincere; he is willing to do what I tell him to do. He has a promising future.
In this country, you have to do things that are true. If you can do true things, you can help propagate the Buddhadharma and make it flourish. If you don’t do true things, then you will remain a mediocre Buddhist.
It seems this monk will have the tenacity to continue his journey from San Francisco all the way to his home. Arriving there, he will still not have arrived at his final destination. Nonetheless, even if he will not have completely arrived, the process of his journey itself have positive impact for Buddhism.
On his first day out, this disciple bowed without saying anything. Even the police were perplexed. In the future, whoever is sincere in making special resolve—perhaps to bow to the Buddhas, bow repentances, or recite the Sutras--will certainly obtain a response. During the advent of Buddhism in the West, everyone should do true things and not be sloppy in the least bit. In that way, you will have some achievement.