TBN #418: House of Gold
- From TBN, issue 418
- House of Gold
- By Living Buddha Lian-Sheng, Sheng-Yen Lu
- Translated by Cheng Yew Chung. Edited by TBN
A well-known Chinese proverb
reads, "A book holds a house of gold."
It reminds me of the places where I once stayed: I was born on a
chicken farm located in Hou Hu in Chiayi City. I grew up in Kaohsiung
and studied at Da Tong Elementary, Kaohsiung Municipal Second Junior
High, and Kaohsiung Vocational High. I stayed in living quarters
(which have since been torn down) at Kaohsiung Electric Company
situated in Da Gang Pu district. My university years were spent
at the Survey College of the Combined Service Force (since renamed
the Chung Cheng Institute of Technology).
I later moved to Taichung and lived in He Zuo Xin Cun (Cooperative
New Housing Estate), then moved to Li Xin Road, then to Jing Wu
Road, followed by Hsin Yi Community, Le Qun Mansion, and finally
to Jing Wu Villa (having moved at least seven times!).
Finally, on the 16th of June in 1982, at age thirty-eight, I immigrated
to Seattle in Washington State in the United States. I first stayed
in the city of Ballard, then moved to the True Buddha Tantric Quarter
in Redmond, then moved again to a place near Phantom Lake, and then
later built the Rainbow Villa, and eventually moved into my South
Mountain Place. (I moved five times while living in Washington State.)
And now, I am living a life of retreat in a faraway place known
as Leaf Lake.
I once said, I spent nineteen years in Kaohsiung, another nineteen
years in Taichung, and another nineteen years in Seattle, Washington.
How long will I stay in Leaf Lake? Any answer?
Where is my house of gold? Is it a straw hut? A mud hut? Or perhaps
my little house of retreat?
Today, I lead a solitary life in loneliness. It appears that I have
more wrinkles on my face, and my eyesight is not as clear. I have
a lot more white hair and I've experienced some hearing loss. My
injured leg hurts. Isn't this old age pathetic where everything
seems so miserable?
Yet, I am blessed! I now know exactly what a house of gold is. The
many houses of gold on earth are nothing but fabrications of our
illusionary thoughts. The true house of gold resides in the Western
Pure Land of Ultimate Bliss, the Maha Twin Lotus Ponds, where it
sits on ground paved with golden sand.
Where I live is free from gossip and idle chatter. I chant the Buddha's
epithet and mantra diligently, cultivating my practice with one
mind. Self-realised, I am virtuous, just, and free.
Ha! Once you're enlightened, you shall find the house of gold everywhere.