半年后我出家，师父开始闭关。我很幸运得到师父的厚爱，是少数几个可以到关房见师父的人。那年结夏，师父驻锡南投精舍，成立僧团，我因缘不具足而无 法随行，内心很是愁怅。过了两个月，净明法师从精舍来办事，也转达师父捎来的一句话：“师友环境很重要！” 我清楚记得听到这一句话的当下——如雷贯耳。对啊！我既然已决定要跟着师父学广论，就应当好好跟着师父与同行善友啊！当下，我依止师父的心更坚定了。解夏隔天，我就搭巴士到精舍，师父见到我非常欢喜，看到游子归来，一脸很是放心的样子。
Venerable JingYuan Discourse: Relying on the Teacher
The Lamrim cited the Garland of Birth Stories (Pg. 89), stating:
Any intelligent person should not be distant from excellent beings
And should rely on these virtuous beings in a disciplined manner.
Once you are close to them, particles of their good qualities
Will stick to you automatically.
When I was 28 years old, I flew from Singapore to the unfamiliar Taiwan alone and arrived at the Buddhist Institute, in search of Master Jih-Chang. At that time, Master Jih-Chang was in Taipei while I began my pre-ordainment learning at the monastery. One week later, Master Jih-Chang returned and heard about this young man from abroad who was very diligent. He asked to meet me the next day.
Master Jih-Chang knew that I was new to Buddhism and yet was able to travel from Singapore to Taiwan to learn Buddhism, therefore he praised that I have roots of virtue. I was very happy when I heard that. Then, Master Jih-Chang gave me a discourse on the essentials of learning the Dharma. The main point of the discourse was that the first step to learning Buddhism was to have a good grasp of the overall path. After that, Master Jih-Chang’s tone changed and he told me to be good at getting along with others in the monastery. I thought to myself, “I like my fellow Dharma brothers, and they are also very nice towards me!” Master Jih-Chang then said: “You are new here, you should learn to rely on virtuous friends and learn from those who are learning well. Do not get close to those who are not yet firm with their views and understanding.” Master Jih-Chang also specifically instructed me to rely on six venerables frequently. I was very obedient, and benefited greatly when I often looked for them to resolve my doubts.
Half a year later, I ordained to be a monk. Master Jih-Chang began his retreat. I was very fortunate to receive Master Jih-Chang’s generous affection to be one of the few who was allowed to see Master Jih-Chang in the retreat room. At the end of summer that year, Master Jih-Chang stationed at Nantou Jing She (精舍) to establish the Sangha community. As I did not have sufficient causes and conditions, I was unable to go along. I felt dejected. Two months later, Venerable Jing Ming returned from Jing She to settle some matters. At the same time, he relayed Shifu’s words, “The environment of the Teacher and friends is very important!” I remember clearly when I heard this sentence – it was like thunder piercing my ears. Right! Since I have decided to learn the Lamrim from Master Jih-Chang, I should follow Master Jih-Chang and the virtuous friends well! At once, my desire to rely upon Master Jih-Chang became firmer. The next day, I took a bus to Jing She. Master Jih-Chang was very delighted upon seeing me; seeing the wanderer return, his face beamed with reassurance.
25 years have passed. Whenever I think of this episode, I remain extremely grateful to Master Jih-Chang’s teachings, which I will benefit from endlessly for life.
By Venerable Jing Yuan