So I came to Fayun

法雲雜誌第十一期

So I came to Fayun

By Bill (Sheiw Rue), Jan 2003

Maya (the dog) and I first came to Fa Yun Monastery in mid February 2002. We had only been living in Penacsco for about 1 1/2 months — I would take Maya up the Canyon past Fa Yun Monastery to hiking trails for exercise, which we do everyday regardless of weather conditions and have been doing for years. We were exploring the local area. So every time we passed the Monastery sign out by the road my curiosity and interest developed finally, I drove in and parked near where the old office was located (now the media center). We sat in my truck not really knowing what to do next. Anyhow — I left Maya in the truck and went to the office door and was met by two sisters — Sister Dere and Sister Christine. Sister Christine asked me, "Can I help you?" Being somewhat unsure of myself — I began a conversation of inquiry asking questions like —"what is this place?""What do you do here?" etc. One thing in certain, after I got through my nervousness, from deep inside me came this out pouring of dialogue trying to explain who I was/am and where I came from — I felt as through I could trust these two nuns with my emotional state of mind. Their gentleness and interest cushioned my apprehension.

That 1st day after a nearly 2 hour visit, I found out that I was in a teaching monastery of Sisters/Nuns—That Prajna Paramita is taught here—That Buddha dharma is the method—that I should study the Diamond Sutra and many other questions I had were unsure. Sister Christine loaned me a copy of the book, Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand (Pabongha Rinpoche). The book was her personal copy. This trust and openness quickly got my attention. And even though I found out that the monastery consisted of all Chinese Sisters, my heart wormed and opened—fear subsided.

Since, at the time, the Monastery was on an 80-day meditation retreat,and Sister Christine was leaving to go to California for a month. I was encouraged to come back when she returned. I did.

So much has happened to my mind in the year since first arriving here that it is very difficult to explain. At first, I felt really confused asking myself again and again, "What am I doing here?""Why has the universe put me in a Monastery full of Chinese Nuns"? Yet I was encouraged to study the Buddha dharma and to keep coming back. Situations and circumstances really had me in turn oil for quite some time as I tried to adjust to this totally new cultural experience. I Began spending more and more time at the Monastery, meeting many sisters, learning the codes of conduct, working on a garden project—most importantly developing a sense of understanding of the Power of Buddha dharma.

I asked Sister Christine to be my teacher—She accepted and is now my Honorable teacher. I am so grateful to her. And for all the Sisters who have taken time to explain / answer questions I have regarding the Buddha dharma. I consider all of the Nuns and Monks precious. The best that I can give you all is my determined practice—poor as it is. December 12th 2002 I took the Three refuge vows and Five precepts from our Venerable Master Miu King. Now I practice and study as best as I can— Meditation, Contemplation and study everyday—attending the Evening Service almost every night.

Wishing all of the Sisters and Monks at Fa Yun Monastery South and North the best of luck.