Testimony Sharing

Engaging in Buddhism Studies has Empowered a Young Buddhist Friend Along Her Educational Journey

Deepest gratitude to the Greatly Merciful and Greatly Compassionate Guan Yin Bodhisattva

Deepest gratitude to all Buddhas, Bodhisattvas and the Heavenly Dharma Protectors

Deepest gratitude to Master Lu.

If my sharing today is improper in any way, may Buddhas, Bodhisattvas and Dharma Protectors forgive me.

Good afternoon everyone, my name is Gwen and I am a JC1 student this year. Today, I would like to share about how practising Guan Yin Citta Dharma Door and engaging in Buddhism studies has empowered me along my educational journey.

I first encountered Guan Yin Citta Dharma Door approximately three and a half years ago in 2016 through my mother. At that time, I became a vegetarian along with her but remained reluctant to commit to daily recitation. Initially, I was a little bitter about having to change my diet but after some time, I realised that it was actually rather easy to find vegetarian food in Singapore. My mother was also able to make food for me to bring to school on most days.

Although I was worried that my diet may make me a burden, my teachers and peers at school were also very accommodating and were very willing to join me in trying out interesting vegetarian restaurants whenever we went on outings. I also managed to find a small community of fellow vegetarians and vegans in school.

After some months of becoming a full vegetarian, as well as attending sharing sessions at the practice center and public talks, I finally felt ready to consistently persist in taking time out of my schedule to perform recitation. Deepest gratitude to Guan Yin Bodhisattva for allowing my karmic affinity with Buddhism to ripen at a relatively young age. There wasn’t exactly a eureka moment or any particular motivation when I decided to commit to daily recitation but rather, it just felt like I was ready. In addition, interacting with the many Buddhist friends who were so quietly steadfast and vigorous in their cultivation encouraged me to start, however small. I began by reciting 7 times of the Great Compassion Mantra and Heart Sutra, 1 time of the Eighty-Eight Buddhas Great Repentance and 21 times of the Xiao Zai Ji Xiang Shen Zhou, Wang Sheng Zhou, Cundi Dharani and Mantra to Untie Karmic Knots.

Since then, my journey of spiritual cultivation has been incredibly fulfilling. This can be largely credited to Guan Yin Bodhisattva and various Buddhist friends for granting me opportunities to participate in various activities as a volunteer. These include volunteering in public talks, community give-back initiatives and in the english translation team. Such activities enabled me to feel a sense of belonging in the practice center and exposed me to multitudinous learning opportunities.

Through volunteering in public talks, I learnt the virtue of humility and resilience; witnessed the sincerity and devotion of Buddhist friends towards propagating Buddhism and saving sentient beings; and in their service, I felt truly connected with the hearts of all sentient beings. As such, I would like to encourage all Buddhist friends to actively participate in as many of Master Lu’s dharma conventions as possible to further uncover our Buddha nature and develop a strong sense of compassion.

Through being a member of the english team, I have met many patient, inspiring and dedicated Buddhist practitioners that tirelessly toil and never back down even when the going gets tough. This is exemplified through proofreading assignments such as the book BYQA 166 where we burnt the midnight oil even through Christmas. As someone who is particularly inept in Chinese, working in the english team has provided me many opportunities to have greater exposure and gain deeper insights to Chinese texts that I may otherwise not obtain out of my own volition.

Through the discussions that we have as a team, I also gain understanding from different perspectives of issues being discussed. As such, I was able to understand the Buddhist teachings more effectively and the lessons are more deeply rooted within my mind. Deepest gratitude to the english team for graciously guiding me along all this while. Now, I would like to touch on how practising Guan Yin Citta has had a practical impact on my educational journey.

Firstly, let me share about how my Chinese results had shown a great improvement. In early 2016, my Chinese results were less than ideal and I was the 2nd lowest in my class. For the many exams to come, I continued to perform poorly. However, under the blessing and protection of Guan Yin Bodhisattva, I would always manage to do well enough. As an IP student, the only O level exam I take would be the Higher Chinese O’s and for my JC, the requirement to drop chinese would be a minimum D7 grade. Hence, in the period leading up to my exams, I prayed to Guan Yin Bodhisattva for guidance.

On one hand, not taking H1 Chinese would free up more time on my schedule and hence allow me to spend more time on other work such as translation to propagate Buddhism. On the other hand, taking it may benefit me in understanding Buddhist texts. As such, I wished to leave it up to Guan Yin Bodhisattva, believing that Bodhisattva will make the best possible arrangement and continued to work with the english team in understanding and translating Master Lu’s discourses as well as Buddhism in Plain Terms.

Additionally, I prayed to Guan Yin Bodhisattva and recited more of the Cundi Dharani and the Heart Sutra as part of my daily homework and especially when in the exam hall. Deepest gratitude for Bodhisattva’s compassionate blessing and protection as I managed to obtain a B3 for HCL despite only getting borderline passes during the prelims.

Upon receiving the results, a voice in my head told me that this was only possible because of Guan Yin Bodhisattva and I am truly grateful for that. Reading Buddhism in Plain Terms has such practical benefits for students. Not only does it enrich us in terms of how we perceive the world and guides us in applying Buddhist teachings into our lives, it also allows students like me to gain more exposure to chinese texts and connect with my roots. I have even used some of Master Lu’s anecdotes in my essays!

As such, I would like to encourage more students and adults alike to begin and persist in studying Master Lu’s Buddhism in Plain Terms. We may practice this by reading the physical copy of the text at home or even downloading the ebook from Guan Yin Citta’s official website. I would also like to encourage all Buddhist friends to take part in group BHFF discussions here at the practice centre. Through such group discussions, we are able to share and learn more about the application of Buddhist teachings in our everyday lives and gain a deeper understanding. Interested Buddhist friends may refer to the schedule on the whiteboard.

Secondly, let me share about how I was able to successfully apply for the subject combination of my choice and obtain a scholarship. My ideal subject combination consists of 4H2 subjects: Knowledge and Inquiry, Literature, Math and Econs. To provide some context, Knowledge and Inquiry or KI is concerned with understanding the nature and construction of knowledge and replaces General Paper. To take this subject, students are required to pass a selection test and only 4 students took the subject in the previous batch.

Once again, I prayed to Guan Yin Bodhisattva to protect and bless me such that I would be able to do my best in the selection test and recited the Cundi Dharani and the Heart Sutra. However, I was put on the waiting list. Although I felt slightly disappointed, I was comforted by the notion that this was surely part of Bodhisattva’s plan and I remained faithful that Bodhisattva would make the best arrangement.

When it was time to submit our options for subject combinations, I chose to propose my combination which was not recommended by the school. I prayed to Bodhisattva at the practice centre for guidance and the best arrangement possible. Eventually, I got my ideal subject combination. Deepest gratitude to Guan Yin Bodhisattva.

Additionally, I applied for the MOE humanities scholarship. To obtain this vaguely prestigious scholarship, students are required to respond to an essay question before being shortlisted for an interview. In the previous batch, there were only about 15 scholars. This year, there were 30 over shortlisted applicants. Hence, I was not feeling too confident but I wished to be able to enter the HSP class as I wanted to be exposed to more vigorous discussions regarding the humanities, something that would definitely not be lacking in both KI and HSP classes.

With the support from the scholarship, I would also be able to save up more money to attend dharma conventions overseas. As such, I prayed to Guan Yin Bodhisattva for wisdom and serenity in tackling the interview. Indeed, Guan Yin Bodhisattva is compassionate in helping all sentient beings and I was pleasantly surprised to be given the scholarship.

It is my fervent belief that all these efficacious events would have never been possible without the blessing and protection from Guan Yin Bodhisattva and Master Lu. Studying Master Lu’s Buddhism in Plain Terms and listening to his discourses has enabled me to understand many things, let go of attachments to things bygone and to stop complaining about my life.

In the past, I would be unwilling to apologise when I perceived my stance to be correct and fixate over the flaws of others. Now I understand that everything can be attributed to the law of causality and my heart is lighter. Now, I know the importance of being grateful for the little things in life and the value of being content.

Finally, let me end off with a saying from Master Lu that has greatly influenced my mentality towards praying for academic matters: 该你的就是你的,不该你的,不要去追去求,否则一定会伤害你的。一切随缘 !“what is yours will be yours. Do not chase after what isn’t yours or it will definitely end badly for you. In all things, one should accord with conditions.” I believe that students and parents alike should not cling to the notion of achieving what they believe is the best for themselves. After all, when we leave these up to Bodhisattva, we may find ourselves benefitting even more.

Deepest gratitude to the greatly merciful and greatly compassionate Guan Yin Bodhisattva!

Deepest gratitude to all Buddhas, Bodhisattvas and the Heavenly Dharma Protectors

Deepest gratitude to Master Lu!

I will strive to closely and diligently follow Master Lu in spiritual cultivation and learning Buddhism!

Deepest gratitude to all!

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