Edited by Ann Chiu 100. 10. 2
It was October 2, 2011, when the Shakyamuni BuddhaFoundation was officially set up. I was fortunate to have a conversation with Brother Miao Ming on the following day. Our conversation was as below for your information.
On seeing Brother Miao Ming, I couldn't help but say to him:"You are a saint, not an ordinary person." It seemed to me that Brother Miao Ming was weightless, and I was deeply impressed by his calm and serene manner, which was so unreal to me.
"I've heard that you've been pursuing your master for over thirty years. What was it that started your journey of pursuit?"
"I didn't pursue, but I am pretty sure of what I want since I was young. I just got myself ready for it. I told myself that when the day came, I wouldn't let anything get in the way of pursuing the absolute truth. I did not pursue, but allowed myself to experience life events as they unfolded since a teenager. It's often easier to make very good excuses not to experience opportunities in life, I made a choice to myself to live life fully, to experience everything offered to me."
"How do you know that Master Wu Jue Miao Tian is your Master?"
"I've been very lucky during the years of my practice of meditation. I've met with many masters from different schools & fields. I've learned a lot from them. They are great and some are very good at lectures. But, somehow, I felt something was missing, not complete, which I didn't know why until I saw Master WuJue Miao Tian on DVD. He was the only one that naturally combined all these diverse paths I had been following in one practice. I knew immediately He is the one I want to follow."
"You don't read Chinese. How do you understand Master's lecture?"
"With my heart, I can grasp most of it. Master MiaoTian uses words and language when he teaches but his heart and spirit are reaching out to you too, when attending his lecture, try not to focus only with your mind on his words, but you can feel this directly too."
"That's wonderful! You don't need any languages to understand Master's lectures. The limitation or distortion caused by translation can be avoided. You are able to deliver Master's "authentic" precepts to many other non-native speakers of Chinese."
"Languages are never perfect, but they are important. With the help of languages, people get to gain access to Chan Take. For example, a piece of dried orange. If someone asks what an orange tastes like and you happen to have a piece of dried orange at hand, you may give him/her the dried piece for a taste. It's not a real orange, of course. But, at least he/she can get a feel of it. And that might get him interested in it. He/she might get to taste a whole, fresh orange later on. In this case, the dried piece is just like a language. However, once he/she tastes the real orange, they will know the much greater depth of this experience but still may not be able to give a complete description of its taste. But, it doesn't matter. Languages have their limitations. To go beyond the limitation, we should feel or comprehend Chan with our heart."
"You're married. Do you think marriage will get in the way of your attainment of enlightenment?"
"No. Not at all! It actually it makes it a deeper more fulfilling experience when shared. Since I got married to my wife, I got the chance to meet many masters, including our Master Miao Tian. ( He is married to a Chinese lady in Shanghai.) I was quite O.K. with being alone. I did not need a wife or a girlfriend to make me happy. But thanks to my wife, I get to share many life experiences. She already has a Chan heart through teaching flower arraigning, sutra copying, etc.. before we meet. Besides, my wife understands these things. She knows what I'm doing, and she's very supportive. She is very successful, independent and mature. We support each other. We can share with each other all the way."
"You have gained the Buddha Imprint from Master Miao Tian, and you are the only one that Master approves of in public. You are the inspiration and encouragement to us all. You are far ahead of us. And you are the ultimate goal we want to reach. You've reached the destination, waving to us and saying, " Hey, keep moving! You'll get to it some day.""
"We may be in different places, but we are on the same path. There is no need to compare with anyone else. Comparison is meaningless, for we are all different individuals. Instead, we should focus on ourselves, working hard on improving ourselves. However, I'd love to share what I've got with all of you, or otherwise, it is meaningless.
On my fiftieth birthday, I sat mediation from morning to evening. I was looking back to my previous 50 years of life, reflecting and thinking what I could have done better. On the other hand, I was thinking how I could lead a meaningful life in the future."
"Wow, you can sit meditation for so long! Did you see stars in deep meditation?" ( While asking, what was in my mind was that the Buddha attained the Buddha land, or enlightenment, while witnessing the stars in meditation. )
"Yes, in Chan-Ding(deep meditation), I see millions of stars flashing."
"How do you know what you've seen in meditation is not an illusion but the absolute Truth?"
"I used to have doubts, always looking for another perspective but recently, since receiving from Master MiaoTian I'm sure it is the Truth, there is no doubt… it is beyond comprehension with only mind, but much deeper realization."
"How could you be so sure?"
"When you know it, you know it!"
"From your looks, you seem like the resurrection of Jesus Christ."
"In Shanghai, many friends call me Jesus, and they really confess to me. (Laughter)"
"In our pursuit of Master, we've been touched. On seeing our master, I knew immediately that he is the Master we want to follow. But what can we do to convince those who haven't related to Master?"
"You mean how to make those who are uninterested in Chan interested? What I do is get myself ready, cultivate self. I'll try to find the best way to present Chan. Never push anyone to do it. Instead, I work hard on it and I grab every opportunity to share with others as just a natural part of normal life. Let's compare Chan to a delicious cake. You want to share it, but you cannot just force it on someone, push it into their mouth... they will run away. You just set the cake on the table, tell people it's wonderful, offer them a piece, even cut it and hand to them, help them to experience it, if it's their choice to try.
I won't pressure anyone to practice meditation with me. What I do is keep doing and allowing people to see result, hopefully more calm, peaceful, compassionate. If they ask to be more like this, ask how they can become like this, it becomes an opportunity for sharing. I used to teach meditation in America. In the beginning, few people attended the class. But I did all the rituals even though no one showed up. I took the chance to practice and it also helped to purify myself and to get me closer to Bodhisattva. Besides, I'd love to share with anyone that is interested any time."
While having the conversation, Brother Miao Ming mentioned more than once that sharing makes everything meaningful!
Brother Miao Ming visited Shoaling Temple last year, where he was treated as a venerable guest for he was recognized as a late Shoaling master in one of his previous lives. Aside from that, he was invited to teach the monks how to sit meditation at the temple. Is it the God's plan or simply a coincidence? For it occurred to me that our Master once led a group of some 1000 Chan practitioners to the Shoaling Temple in an attempt to bring Chan back to Shoaling. For some reason, it didn't work out yet. However, it seems that brother Miao Ming is the sliver lining for this endeavor--Brother Miao Ming is the chosen one to accomplish the task. It seems that God's plan will just be followed through when the time comes.