Part #1 -
- "Three Steps, One Bow" journals
One Heart, Bowing to the City of 10,000 Buddhas
Records of Heng Sure & Heng Ch’au Bowing
Part - 1 |
"Press Release - American Buddhist Pilgrims"
American Buddhist Monks from San Francisco’s Gold Mountain
Monastery are making a bowing pilgrimage from Gold Wheel Temple
in Los Angeles to the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas near Ukiah.
Bhikshu Heng Sure has made the vow to bow to the ground in a
full prostration every three steps along the road. Heng
Ch’au has vowed to accompany him on the journey, to protect
him and to assist in the work.
purpose is to influence humankind to cease all hatred and hostility,
to stop the creation of destructive weapons and to work to prevent
disasters, wars, and suffering of all kinds. The monks
are dedicating their work to all beings everywhere.
goal is to endure a bit of hard work on behalf of others,”
said Heng Sure. “Our job is to turn our own greed
into balanced, moral behavior, to change our own anger and hatred
into compassion for others, and into inner concentration, and
to transform selfish, stupid actions into enlightened awareness
and wisdom,” said Heng Ch’au.
hope to generate a response in the hearts of men and women and
among the spiritual beings in the universe. If our bowing
is sincere, then afflictions, calamities, and suffering will
gradually disappear, and hatred, hostilities, and wars will
be reduced,” said Heng Sure.
monks began their pilgrimage May 7, 1977, at Gold Wheel Temple,
the Los Angeles branch of the Sino-American Buddhist Association.
They expect the journey will require a full year to complete.
Their destination is the Sino-American Buddhist Association’s
new center for world Buddhism, the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas.
6, 1977 -
We arrive at the San Francisco International Airport to begin
with. We are on the way to Los Angeles. The cart
is being taken down by car and Heng Sure and Heng Shun and I
accompany Shih Fu (The Venerable Master Hsuan Hua) by plane.
At the airport we encounter Quentin Kopp, President of the San
Francisco Board of Supervisors.
are you going, Venerable Sir?” Kopp asks the Master.
am going to ascend to the heavens and order the dragons to make
it rain,” was the Master’s reply.
the air I sit between two people and feel hot and tired (nodding
out). Shih Fu walks up from behind and throws his scarf
and sash in my lap. I snap up, feel cool all of a sudden
and alert, bright. Rain clouds gather was we approach
was raining when we arrived in L.A. Good, strong, Dharma
protectors came to meet us. Say it just started raining
before the plane came in. “Dragon’s birthday
present to Shih Fu.”
7, 1977 -
Shih Fu was at my door this morning. “No sleeping;
get up. There’s no such thing as a lazy novice.
Go to bed after everyone and get up before anyone.”
As a kid I hated getting up early, serving mass, dark cold Wisconsin
mornings. I still hate getting up early. I hate
bowing. Not really, but the hardest two things in my cultivation
are just those. Everyone here for morning recitation;
like a family in this small Bodhimanda. I can’t
understand or appreciate the scope and energy of this trip.
It’s too much to handle. So I am fairly thoughtless
and unemotional. But I can feel excitement in the eyes
of others. What’s the big deal? A lot of hard
work—to make it, I can’t allow myself to false think
too far ahead or behind. Must think some, however, or
we’ll end up bowing in Tijuana, as Heng Sure takes off
his glasses when bowing. Cuts off eye outflows and also
vision. Stay on the right Way. Don’t make
mistakes. Try your best.
call on all the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas of the ten Directions
to help and support me, Heng Ch’au, to uphold my vow to
protect and aid Heng Sure so he can fulfill his vow to bow
once every three steps from Los Angeles to Ukiah, California,
to repent and reform of all the suffering, disasters, and wars
in motion by our greed, hatred, and stupidity; to purify our
body, mouth, and inspire others to do the same so that peace
come to all living beings.
Sure shows me a picture of Tathagata Monastery. “That’s
where we’re going.” Three steps, one bow.
If I don’t get my trip together with monk’s clothes
it will be three steps, one fall!
the morning ceremony and Shih Fu’s parting words we’re
off, in, on… Well, it ain’t what I thought.
Very hard; very wonderful.
trucks hold us up awhile. Bow in place, count them up,
move on when the trucks leave. Lots of stares.
have an overwhelming feeling of oneness with all things.
Bow and repent of past karma of mine. Who is “me”?
All one substance. All benefit, all suffer from
“my” karma. I grasp, understand the inseparability
of everything, all beings. I see the empty false mark
of self. Self is one huge empty obstruction.
lunch Shih Fu says to me: “Whenever your stomach
is hungry, don’t cry.” What’s that about?
More flack from “cruising” demons. “What
a beer? Hey! Want a beer?” says a stumbling,
confused guy getting out of a car. The Sangha really is
sincere and supportive. Shih Fu said: “The
gods, dragons, and eight-fold division of spirits are happy
today. They are working too. They didn’t sleep,
Haven’t Finished What We’re Doing Here
off the goddam street.”
8, 1977 -
Pouring rain. We are instructed to bow inside surrounded
by the Sangha who recite the Great Compassion Mantra, as they
did all day yesterday while we bowed on the road. “Don’t
force it, that’s not proper Dharma. It’s dangerous
today. Cars might hit you; they can’t see well.
When rain stops continue where the equivalent of what you bowed
yesterday would be.”
while bowing: I understand deeply all the countless beings
within Shih Fu being crossed over. Be a container to carry
living beings, to repent, to take on suffering for living beings,
because you can. You can because countless others have
for you. Filial piety. We are all one; keep the
string connected. Give ceaselessly. Both days while
bowing I was on the verge of tears throughout. Inconceivable.
Don’t fight with anyone. Yield!!! Use your
wisdom, your kindness, compassion, joy, and giving.
work, patience, be straight (sincere). No desire.
Be humble, not arrogant like an emperor. Forget about
states. Chase any demons, and transfer merit constantly.
Don’t float off into samadhi. You’re the Dharma
Protector. But don’t be moved. Accord with
conditions and don’t change; don’t change and accord
with conditions. Forget yourself; no self means no mistakes
which in turn means no retribution. Then you are in a
position to be of some help.
May 8, 1977.
once every three steps is not the kind of method that anyone
wants to do. Why? It’s too difficult.
To bow along the road once every three steps is very dangerous.
So at all times you want to be very careful. Don’t
enter samadhi while you are bowing. If you enter samadhi,
the cars won’t and they will come and bump into you, smashing
you to smithereens. Without any choice, you’ll be
off to the Pure Land of Ultimate Bliss. Basically going
off to the Pure Land of Ultimate Bliss is a good thing, but
we haven’t finished what we’re doing here; we haven’t
fulfilled our responsibilities in this land of ultimate suffering.
So you can’t be selfish and go off first to the Pure Land.
This is very important. Especially on the curves of the
road or narrow places where there’s only room for cards
and not for pedestrians, you can bow alongside in the grass
off the road if the road is dangerous.
when people ask you questions, you should have one person assigned
to answer. Just one of you needs to answer, not two.
Now Kuo T’ing (Heng Ch’au) you are the Dharma protector.
It would be best if you answered the questions. Kuo Chen
(Heng Sure) you don’t need to answer. Don’t
get involved with people and they will think it’s even
more wonderful. If you explain it all very clearly and
everyone understands what you’re doing then it’s
no longer wonderful. Inconceivable means just not letting
them know. Don’t explain to them. Kuo T’ing
you can answer, but don’t talk too much no matter what’s
doing on. Don’t lecture sutras and speak Dharma
for people. Don’t give commentaries. This
should take along a good pair of pants so you don’t end
up naked from having them rip to shreds. You should always
wear your long robe and then if your pants rip it won’t
matter anyway. Don’t be like the one who bowed before,
the “old cultivator” whose pants were so old that
they weren’t very strong and after bowing for a while
on the road he didn’t have any pants to wear. Fortunately
there was a response at that point and suddenly in the middle
of the road a pair of pants appeared. That is something
that happened in the past. And this time you should take
along toilet paper; don’t be like the one who used poison
oak leaves instead. He got laid up so bad he couldn’t
bow; couldn’t even move; couldn’t do anything but
cry “Maha!” like a little lamb. This is important
than that, the two of you already have an identical vow not
to drink cola. That’s not a bad condition set up.
If you drink cola then people will want to give you beer and
once they’ve given you beer they’ll want to give
you whiskey. And once it’s whiskey it will be brandy.
So there’s an interconnection. If you don’t
drink cola no one will give you beer, or whiskey, or brandy.
That is a good way.
things Kuo T’ing experienced today were very good.
You could say that on this first day of bowing he has opened
an enlightenment. Having opened an enlightenment on the
first day, then on the second day he opens more and the third
day, the forth day, and so forth to the end of your bowing and
you will have great penetration and enlightenment. When
you have great penetration and enlightenment you will be able
to propagate Buddhadharma in the world in a useful way.
So in doing the most stupid of things you two should obtain
the loftiest of wisdom; then you will not have bowed in vain.
at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, the ten thousand Buddhas
are still not complete. Kuan Yin Bodhisattva is finished
but Kuan Yin can transform into ten thousand Buddhas.
And when you arrive there, then thousand Buddhas will welcome
you. I know that as you bow there, the ten thousand Buddhas
will fly there. They will all arrive so you can see the
wonderful adornments of the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, matchless
the world the source of Buddhism is about to expand. When
you get there the ten thousand Buddhas will rub your crowns
and give you predictions. “Good indeed, good indeed,
this is called true vigor. You are true cultivators.”
They will praise the two of you. Don’t forget when
you get to the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas in the future that
the ten thousand Buddhas will rub your crowns and give you predictions.
although this is said to be the stupidest of things, on the
other hand the rewards are the very highest. When you
grow into a dolt, that becomes the esoteric. When you’ve
studied to the point you’re as if stupid, you become rare
in the world; then you are a true cultivator of the Way.
My 23rd vow is not to speak unless the words are in service
to the Triple Jewel. This is my chance to fulfill the
vow at last. No phones to answer or interviews to give;
no one to rap with or shoot the breeze. Silence but for
the necessary words to Ch’au. To be effective this
must be firm. Any kind of busy-bodiness or expression
of self will not work. If I want all the energy to go
up the right channels I have got to do every minute as I would
do in a Ch’an session. A year-long two-man Ch’an
session. Do it that way. No excess. The Middle
9, 1977 -
Still pouring through night and this morning. Thunder.
Bowed inside again. Waiting for final instructions from
Shih Fu. We will leave when Shih Fu leaves.
Again the image of the body--one large body—all of us.
If one part of the body is sick the rest doesn’t split
and ignore it; it works together or breaks down together.
There is no self that is immune, that can hide or be private.
What goes around comes around. Yu must heal yourself and share
strength and light. Sick parts resist treatment; it hurts
at first to be touched.
PM: Whew! That was the toughest day I can remember.
Saw Shih Fu off at the airport. Alone, we are on our own.
Heng Sure is trying not to talk. Pouring, pouring rain.
Huge threatening clouds. We go back to Gold Wheel Temple,
get our gear, and head off in the 1958 Plymouth wagon to solo.
Where do we begin? In a tough, rundown main drag of a
Mexican American neighborhood where there are drunks, and macho-looking
tough kids. Oh, this is really tough. It takes all
the courage I can muster. Two scared kids pretending it’s
no big deal. Before we even start the groups are forming
to check this weird number out. The second bow I am tapped
on the shoulder from behind. A drunken, huge main says,
“Hey, what you makin’ with dis?” I feebly
try to explain. He’s about seven inches from my
face. He slowly pulls out his wallet. Ah, our first
donation? No. An oversentimentalized picture of
Jesus with long wavy hair. He keeps shaking it in front
of my nose, nodding and waiting. “A really holy
person,” says I, “excuse me now, I’ve got
to keep up with my friend.”
car whizzes by, souped up and packed, full of men. “You
got till sundown to be out of our neighborhood.”
Shih Fu, only three minutes out and already. We plug on,
even though more groups are forming ahead as the word spread.
“You’ll never get anywhere that way.”
“Hey, Joe, they’re blessing your gas station.”
Some walk by like we were old Popsicle sticks—no notice.
As we get closer to each group they split, go inside, make an
opening, watching cautiously. I notice it’s stopped
raining just as we started bowing. But we are covered
with mud and grim and water from the sidewalks “Hey,
kick ‘em in the ass when they bend over! Ha! Ha!”
One tough runs up and brushes between us. We keep bowing.
(Typist’s note: 4 lines are missing from the book
at the end of page 6 – Volume 1). spread apart.
One runs up and pats us on the heads. The other say, “Hey,
man, let ‘em be; they ain’t doin’ nothin’.”
Through we go. Soon the two toughest are stalking from
behind. How hard to keep my back to them and go on reciting.
Finally the monster comes along side. “Hey, sir,
can I ask what you’re doin’?” I nod
and finish bowing. I explain we’re Buddhist monks
and this is one of the ways we pray—it’s a pilgrimage
to bring some peace to ourselves and the world.
the way to Ukiah? How long will that take?”
That’s somethin’. Don’t he talk?”
he’s concentrating, praying. I carry the gear, cook,
talk to folks, drive, etc.”
got the hard job.” They are moved. Something
soft and genuine is coming out.
gotta go, we have to get some rest.”
to you.” He says and crosses us with his blessing.
can feel the protection around. Heng Sure’s silence
is powerful. If we can keep sincere and careful we’ll
have a much better chance to deal with things.
10, 1977 -
2:30 A.M. I wake up reciting a mantra. The mantra
wakes me up. I hear voices and feet outside. My
senses come alert. A shadow passes on the right of the
van. Bang! An arm breaks through the front window
vent and grabs for the door handle. Heng Sure, asleep,
now jolts up. Dogs outside are barking wildly. “Hey!”
I yell. The arm retreats. I can make out four big
dark figures with night sticks and a dog walking away from the
car and down the street. Drunk and roaming. A little
later I hear rocks hitting the pavement. They are mustering
for a return. Tossing rocks, hitting their sticks, they
draw nearer. I’ve got to move quickly. I jump
over the seat and throw the car into gear. There’s
the ignition key? In the ignition. Hope it starts.
It does. They keep coming and I pull out. One tries
to stop the car. We made it!
back and slept till 4:00AM at Gold Wheel Temple in the driveway.
We both feel tightness at what we are doing. Here there
is potential for great accomplishment and for big mistakes.
We need to be very careful with outflows. We must stick
to a schedule, concentrate, and not move or retreat. Work
hard and be sincere. There’s no room for indulgence
or error on these streets. We both feel the adrenalin
crash. This was a big day, a hard one.
and Mantra in Case of Harm
Creatures when Walking
From early morning ‘till fall of night,
living beings should look after themselves.
I should harm any creature or crush an insect beneath my feet,
that it was an accident, a mistake.
vow that any such creatures will be reborn immediately
the Land of Ultimate Bliss of Amitabha.
Di li tze li swo he (3x)
- Less flack this morning. The gas station we used
for toilet purposes had a kindly old man who turned out to be
a close-minded Bible man who tried to convince me I worshipped
false gods. In between toilet breaks he had obviously
put together a monologue and was ready to deliver some hell
or high water. It was liking talking to your radio—all
transmission. Luckily I found an escape. “Excuse
me but I have to stay close to the other monk. Take care.”
Kuo Wu, Woo Kuo Hsiang, and Leonora Tsiang brought lunch to
an abandoned lot. They are gracious and kind. They
were out last night looking for us. Receiving their food
and bows makes one ashamed of not working harder and spurs one
on. The next 3 or 4 days we will be passing through one
of the roughest neighborhoods in L.A. An upasaka has offered
his driveway for evenings. We accept rather than cause
more trouble like last night. To put ourselves in a situation
where it’s real likely someone is going to try to do us
in does no one any good.
upasika is 69 years old. For years she was a devout Buddhist
but then got sent to an Episcopal school and was made into a
Christian. She never believed in Buddhism again because
she couldn’t find any true practice or cultivation.
She says: “Then I met Shi Fu. He doesn’t
talk much. His thought is deep. His eyes do the
talking. For me to bow to anyone is hard, but to Shih
Fu it’s easy. There’s something there.
I can’t explain it.” Beyond words, the heart
and the true substance merge.
come by and pelt us with a rock offering. Macho.
If I had been more on top of it I would have noticed the rocks
and bottles in their hands and offered them the marshmallows.
I’ve got to keep my eyes open. These were just kids
with rocks, but next time… Can’t relax!
is no clear-cut right of passage in this culture from boy to
man, from girl to woman. So they get uptight and real
difficult in the teen years. Looking for tests, ways to
measure independence, strength, maturity. They know too
much so they get perverted—put on a false macho front,
and try to be tough. They have no real models or heroes
with any virtue or substance that they can look to. It
must be weird for them to watch those women bowing and offering
food to two road grubby monks in an abandoned parking lot they
drink and grow up in.
through tight, mellow Mexican neighborhood with no bars.
Together family and community here. No questions, no hassle.
It’s just like we weren’t there or like a gentle
wind passed through.
Ching-shan and his family, the Woos, Alice Wong, etc. help us
a lot. They drive back and forth, buy good, wash clothes,
get key from upasaka so we can bathe in his house, etc.
They got us a permit sticker from the police for the car to
be on the streets overnight, but we can’t sleep in the
car. The cops know about us and told one upasika that
they would look for us if we did try to sleep in the car and
bother us until we leave.
car, which we must use until we get out of the city, serves
us in this way: the ashtray and glove compartment are
our wooden fish, incense burner, and altar. The back end
of the van is our Ch’an hall, Buddha hall, sleeping room,
and library. We camp in the garage behind one upasika’s
house. We do evening recitation on the way there--the
88 Buddha repentance--me at the wheel, incense going in the
ashtray, and Heng Sure in back hitting a thermo cup to keep
the ceremony going. We are really into maintaining a pure
and scheduled Bodhimanda. It’s the nucleus and source
of our going and coming--it’s just like at Gold Mountain,
but it’s up to us to maintain it here.
is the rap I give people who ask what we are doing: 1)
Personal--getting rid of greed, hatred, and stupidity; 2) Larger
perspective--getting rid of some bad vibes. Take on suffering
to end suffering and disasters of all. 3) Larger scope--top
the creation of weapons that kill millions. 4) Bowing
to the Buddhas to be compassionate.
stuff: I am finding it easy and important to be a
monk. To be reverent and mindful every minute. Not
the “wham bang bust ‘em” vigor like I am sued
to, but rather like the quiet, calm but ceaseless constancy
of a quiet ocean beach (waves keep coming). It is easier
with less attachment now. I feel less and less doubtful,
even at 4 a.m. Hardly any fear and more stillness, patience,
and evenness of energy. Bowing is my method now and it’s
people are open to our trip and to Buddhism. Had a good
exchange with some boys yesterday about celibacy, parents, kung
fu, precepts, one meal a day, etc. They poke and tease
the male in you; if you don’t move then they respect and
draw near. If you move, it’s all over and they have
a circus. “Hare Krishna!”
think Heng Sure is physically ill, worry he won’t be able
to find San Francisco, and wonder, always wonder… People
are touched somewhere inside beyond it all in a mysterious and
subtle way. I see it in their faces, how they gather to
watch, the ways they move and leave as we pass. It is
- Bowed through a tunnel consisting of commuter traffic
on one side and Huntington Elementary School on the other.
One was pure and a “bathing of good energy” as Heng
Sure felt it. The other was busy and divisive. It
doesn’t take long for one side to move to the other.
The wheel turns and we are steering down the middle. Too
many kids to talk with; the teachers and police are watching
so we decide to be quiet and bow. Thanks, kids.
See you again.
Circle Game or How One False Thought Brought the Rain
lay Dharma protectors tell us how heavy and dangerous Lincoln
Heights will be. “Be very careful.”
Having the appearance of a self, we feel fear.
mistake: Fear = false thought – crack, hole.
mistake: To overcome fear and danger you can rush
through, push it – about two hours straight of bowing
in the hot sun. “There, we got rid of that stretch!”
mistake: Heng Ch’au feels angry about this,
holds on to it.
mistake: Leonora comes out and tells us it’s
closer to her house than to Alice Wong’s. Not being
on top of it because of false thinking, I say, “OK.”
But after she leaves I remember our commitment to Alice.
It’s getting sticky. I spend a wasted hour trying
to phone Alice. She’s not home. I’m
spent from physical exhaustion, can’t find phone numbers,
rush hour traffic is honking and hooting. Then a group
of boys do a pea-shooter attack. We go to Alice’s
house. Just finish reciting the Shurangama Mantra (first
27 lines) 49 times when police drive up. “What do
you guys think this is, a park or something?” Hostile.
Neighbors gather, there is a big to-do. “Name Heng?
How do you spell ‘San Francisco’? What color
is your hair? How would you describe your clothes?”
dynasty monk’s garb.”
do you spell ‘monk’?”
The following is printed on page 10 of Volume One -
addition to the monks’ daily records, this volume will
include excerpts from their letters
to the Venerable Master Hsuan Hua, placed chronologically throughout.
May 11, 1977
Shih Fu (Master),
to the Venerable Master,
he lend his compassion to all beings!
work is very much like a Ch’an session. Constant
mindfulness is hard work and we are making slow and steady progress.
Three steps, one bow.
Ch’au is a good protector. He has already saved
us from one nasty situation, which he will tell about below.
Leonora Chiang, Phuong Kuo Wu, Alice Wong, and the Woos have
protected us and show us great care. I am not talking
very much at all. This is a wonderful chance to practice
my vow to speak only words in service to the Triple Jewel.
I am forever grateful for the opportunity to cultivate the way.
mistake: I miss the chance to teach Alice about anger
and patience because I’m still caught up in a chain reaction
set off by one false thought. We drive back to Leonora’s
mistake: I separate from Heng Sure and allow myself
to be alone in conversation with Leonora in the secluded laundry
decided to start bowing at 5:00 AM to get through the rough
area early. Wake up in the AM and what? It’s
raining! Problem solved (The monks bow in one place when
it rains and then pace off their progress when it clears-ed.).
What a waste! Lots to learn. Don’t false think.
Don’t hold on to it. Be careful of involvement with
lay people. They help tremendously; without them we couldn’t
make it through L.A. Don’t fear. Don’t
be moved by false thoughts. Don’t be alone with
women. We should proceed from what we experience, not
from other people’s fears. The whole trip is “rough.”
- The loss of innocence is the beginning of the world’s
troubles. We bowed past 1200 young children at Huntington
Drive School in East L.A. They all pressed against a tall
chain-link fence that kept them on the playground just inches
from us on the sidewalk below.
covered the entire 400 foot section of playground and the kids
came in waves to stare at us with open, pure warm curiosity--no
difference between boys and girls yet. “Sir, what
are you doing?” Twelve hundred pairs of brightly-colored
8”-long children’s shoes, eyes, and open mouths,
silence regarding the Avatamsaka Sutra. We bow past between
the fence on one side and the roaring, whizzing cars on the
other. Great health, energy, purity, not yet full of thoughts
and desire, is focused on us in waves.
when the high school let out, cars full of defiled boys and
girls shouted and honked past us, yelling obscenities.
“Get off the god damn street!” All off base,
looking outside, desperately pushed ahead by lies and by the
deceit of movies and music.
happens at that age when the sap ripens and the channels to
receive it do not run straight? Where does the twisting
take place? How to change the harm already done?
How to remove the evil pressure, break through the brittle growth
of habit, and show the way to new health? How to get back
to the elementary, wholesome completeness of childhood?
No more TV.
No more alcohol or dope.
More religion: young monks and nuns who cultivate.
Lay families who cultivate and practice giving.
your head down on the concrete, in the mud, the bubble gum,
the gasoline, the glass and gravel, standing, kneeling, and
doing it again, for no visible purpose, is just the thing to
knock whole chunks of the ego away from the Buddhanature.
Here’s how this process appears to the mind’s eye:
at first part of your mind watches you do it. Holding
the breath, you do it anyway. The action purifies itself;
the mind-picture fades, works on proper effort until there is
no watcher, only a doer, and concentration-advance. And
the mind’s eye opens or shuts, I don’t know which.
- White Universe
verse by Master Hua (spoken after a Kuan Yin Session)
in the sky,
Snow on the ground,
Numberless tiny bugs die in the cold
sleep in hibernation.
the midst of stillness you should contemplate,
within movement you should investigate.
you wrestle with dragons and subdue tigers in continual playful
will cry and spirits wail; surrounding transformations are strange.
and actual meanings
Are cut off from words,
Not thought about or talked about;
ought to advance with haste.
the great and small destroyed,
With no inside or out,
Every mote of dust
Is an infinite Dharma realm
Complete, whole, and perfectly fused,
two clenched fists break to pieces the cover of empty spaces.
In one mouthful swallow the source of seas of Buddhalands.
With great compassion rescue all, sparing no blood or sweat
and never pause to
Steps, One Bow Intensive Session Schedule
4-4:50 - morning recitation
5-6:30 - t’ai chi
6:30-7 - clean and move
10:30-11:30 - study, write
12:30-1:00 - write, meditate, study
6-7 - rest, meditate
7-9 - evening recitation and lecture
9:00 - meditate, read, write.
- To Dr. & Helen Woos for lunch. Hsia family,
Art, Carol, & baby there. Up here in the heavens in
comfort and polite company, we are above the dust. Heavenly
beings above, don’t move; demons below, don’t move.
Their baby kept bowing to Shih Fu’s picture and to us.
Another hot lunch extravaganza, Bankamericard. “If
the heavenly spirits bow to you, don’t be pleased; and
if demons come don’t be angry.”
very much like I am climbing on conditions. I have no
virtue to accept such offerings, bows, etc. I must cultivate
more sincerely, what use is anything else? Of what benefit
is anything save attainment and rescuing?
after lunch (heaven was empty, no rain, that is) we went back
to Lincoln Heights and what? School was just letting out.
So the crisis confrontation we had with fear been dreading and
which had caused so much false thinking was smack in our faces.
We were going to bow right through throngs of the toughest gangs
in the city. Kids drinking brown paper bags on the corner
clustered. It was heavy.
were ready for the worst. At first there was nothing--too
shocked. But then the boys began. “What de
hell you doin’ man?” “Two more blocks
and you’re gonna be shot.” “What you
boys doin’ in our ghetto?” No response.
I think of Shih Fu, can feel enclosure of protection.
Two wood bricks fizzle five feet short of me on the right.
A large group gathered on the corner is smoking joints.
It finally parts as Heng Sure spearheads through, unswerving.
They don’t miss a thing. “Hey, man, those
are $15 Converse.” They shout obscenities about
us to one another. No response. “What’s
with these guys, anyhow? They’re serious?”
are encircled for the last block by about 40-50 of them.
In mock imitation of us a string of 10 or more is bowing once
every three steps behind us. Lots of laughs. Lincoln
Heights gang toughs bowing to the Triple Jewel and the Avatamsaka
Sutra. Truly inconceivable.
states: 1) I lose my body. I feel as if there
is this body bowing but it’s not me. I’m watching
but I am not it. Feels strong, real. No fear.
2) I am in a dream. Literally I feel as if I am dreaming
this bowing through these kids. No injury or death matters,
it’s a dream. 3) This a.m. parked in front of a
blue dumpster on Solana in the beginning of Chinatown and had
a flash beyond déjà vu and realized that my dreams
all week include Shih Fu and lots of people and that the trip
is more a dream than my dreams. What I am doing in L.A.
I have seen or done it before, all of it. There are no
surprises. I am just in the dream doing what I am.
sidewalks of America are clean. Concrete, cement, macadam,
gravel and tar. They are uniform, common, straight, and
flat. After you put your head down on ten days of sidewalks,
they begin to feel soft, responsive cold or hot, but essentially
top of American sidewalks, Americans deposit the litter and
refuse of our disposable, throw-away culture. This is
dirt. It proceeds from the human mind. Degrees of greed can
be seen on the walks. In Lincoln Heights the merchants
sweep their sidewalks. In Chinatown the grime of greed
and false thought is caked on until the rough concrete turns
slick and shiny. The sidewalks of L.A. City Center are
rough, pebbled, and unused. The dirtiest sidewalk yet
was outside a Chinatown meat market. There they wash off
the meat trays and a layer of grease and gristle and veins covers
the walk. This is truly filth. But again, even this
could be swept away by conscientious cultivation and effort.
streets are clean below this thing smudge of refuse. When
the thoughts disappear, the mind is clear; when desires reach
out, the streets grow dirty. We must bow across every
street to purify the garbage-topped walks and to return the
nature to its original purity of clean mud and stone.
The earth is clean. There is no dirt in nature. Dirt is
all man-mind-made. It’s the people who are dirt.
When you head touches the pavement there is a bit of honesty,
a total submission, a release of pretense, and exhaling.
An honesty right down in the dirt.
no one from the top-brass office executives and the fanciest
fashion models to the dirtiest panhandler and the slimiest gas
station pump jockey who doesn’t feel himself to be superior
an better off than the pair of bald-headed robe-wearing monks
who bow past them below their feet on the sidewalk. As the monks
put their heads on the ground and turn their palms up in total
submission and repentance, the hookers, the bums, the bus drivers,
the car dealers, all stare and stare, put themselves in the
monks’ place, laugh at the impossibility of it and then
either ignore them or try to break them down.
- My clothes, my body, the sidewalk, the car, the vibes
are pretty stinky, but I am happy and light.
the external scene is tense and threatening it’s on the
inside that the work goes on, the balance and the unmoving calm.
When the external scene is calm and subdued, it’s on the
inside that the work goes on, quelling the noisy, mad mind.
on the inside, within. Sometimes, lately, they merge.
“I” disappears and there it all still is only it’s
nothing: sounds, smells, etc. are without substance and without
“me.” Where is “me”?
and Fear: Yesterday all the young toughs – were they demons
or Dharma protectors? Just when they lined up behind us
to bow in mockery, they caused a lot of laughter among a group
of menacing-looking men gathering on a front porch a few houses
ahead. Their mockery of us defused the momentum building
on the porch. Expedient? Who knows?
Showdown at Taco Corner
Heng Sure, “I get weird vibes from the Taco place ahead.”
Heng Sure was right. Heavy, but in a different way.
Like college football looks flashy, high energy, etc., but compared
to pro ball (more seasoned, quietly deadly, no unnecessary frivolities,
etc.) so too Taco corner was pro demon.
nastiest was about 40-45 and really upset about us: jumping,
pacing, wild voice and gesturing. Strange physiognomy,
winging and whipping a twisted metal strip. Heng Sure,
I found out later, sees none of this because he isn’t
wearing his glasses. These guys lack even derisive smiles.
They are a different cut – kind of crazy, without much
in the way of scruples, a bit sociopathic.
at one point I feel the protection king in –hard
to explain—somehow the “I” of me melts into
it all. I feel no fear. The butterflies melt.
At the same time I visualize the Abbot right behind me
smiling. Inside a calm, clean field of bright glowing
stillness. Right in the middle of them we bow low.
Bowing way down like that feels incredibly safe, true.
Their sails slack. What can you do to someone who is in
full prostration at your feel?
The metal whip hits the table. We don’t move.
Get up 1-2-3 bow, 1-2-3 bow. The heavy one is obviously befuddled,
turned, the whip handing limply at his side. Just looking.
Not even a comment.
the other side of the street a really interested man starts
to ask questions. He is very supportive and interested.
“I’ll have to read about Buddhism more.”
After the darkest darkness, then light. This is the last
of Lincoln Heights – Taco corner. But now it doesn’t
matter. Heaven, hell, Lincoln Heights, Beverly Hills –
it’s all the same: empty. Everything comes from
the mind. Especially gear. We had a lot of “self”
scared out of us here, but Lincoln Heights still has a lot of
fear. Behind the groupy gangs, the leather Conquistador
macho, there is real fear of something. It’s not
innate – see the little kids. It’s cultivated.
Now we are told Chinatown has Chinese mafia-like gangs. Pretty
soon it will be the Beach Boys and commuters. It’s
endless when you look outside yourself. The more you look
the less you see. The farther you go the less you know.
Return the light, look within.
upasakas and uapasikas come for lunch in the park. Food,
fuel, a stove, a snake bite kit the upasika who gave it wouldn’t
even touch because the picture of the rattler on it terrified
her. “Here take it quick out of the bag. I
can’t stand it!”
volunteered to sew some pockets for insulated pads in Heng Sure’s
pants. His knees are really bothering him. We’ll
knock off early today because it’s Friday and everybody
will be festive with the weekend spirit; we might scratched.
kids from Lincoln Heights (“demons”) walked all
the way over to watch us bow. They were more genuine and
mellow. Heng Sure gave them a pres release. “Make
them feel like they counted. They do.” They liked
that. “See you later. Hope you have a good
trip. And thanks a lot for this (press release).”
We bowed over the bridge in the park. A upasika came by
with a letter they put together for the police to lessen hassles.
L.A. is a car town.
I started out thinking all sorts of other aspects of the trip
were for me, I now realize the bowing, the central core, is
the most wonderful part. All else is secondary and sometimes
PM. Another wind: the press.
always get a name and a card (weed out phonies).
Don’t reveal our dharma method. Principle: we want
to be invisible. State with clear understanding what motivated
us, the principle behind Three Steps, One Bow. Avoid speaking
Dharma, don’t rap. Let silence talk. Don’t
teach and transform. Avoid speaking in general; speak
to the specific.
Keep out of personal history – not important, past.
Don’t talk about your trip. Stress the fact that there
is a whole group of cultivators and that this trip is just one
part of the orthodox Dharma.
Just 2 of 10,000. Going home to the City of Ten Thousand
Other groups: all tools, some higher than others. Buddhism has
84,000 methods. Hare Krishna confuse money and the spiritual.
Moonies split up families. Look on the press as people,
not necessarily friends. Use cool eyes, talk less, protect the
invisibility of the trip. Erase yourself!! Protect the
Dharma and shed light on the Triple Jewel, not on yourself.
Turn your light within.
- To make peace on earth we must want it. To stop
harm and fear in the world we must change our ways. To
change our ways we must change our minds, think peaceful thoughts,
leave anger behind. To change your mind is the biggest
and most powerful commitment to peace you can make.
world as it now exists, full of hate, pain, inequality, and
suffering is a product of what we do.
made it. Our minds choose what we live in and we can control
our worlds within a single thought. The power is ours.
Evil and good, selfishness or compassion all come from the mind
first. If more people care for other's the world will
spontaneously grow brighter.
- We are parking at different places each night and trying
to avoid contact with people. Last night it was a laundry
on Sunset Drive. Tonight we finally find a place, but
I hadn’t done standing meditation yet. Where in
this crammed, speed-city at 9:30 PM was I going to find an inconspicuous
place? I wanted to sleep. Fought it. Got out of
the van and right across the street was an empty log, gradated
levels protected by a retaining wall in high rear. Ideal!
a.m. Tai Chi and exercise near L.A.P.D. Academy overlooking
Dodger Stadium. Bowing into Chinatown today. L.A.P.D.
cam out and photographed us on N. Broadway. No contact.
do 379 steps per hour which equals 126 bows per hour or about
one bow sequence every 30 seconds. Did this calculation allowing
for bridges, delays, detours, etc.
Picnic with laypeople. Lots of food, lots of change for meters,
phone, etc. Where are we in the group with all their rituals,
protocol, and unabashed candor? In Chinatown an old Mandarin
couple see us and exclaim, “Why, they’re foreigners!”
No, you just forgot to bring Buddhism with you when you came…
Sure’s padded pants are back. Wow! Bright Hawaiian
flora – nightclub circus hobo. Thank god for the
long robe. The kids in Lincoln Heights would have eaten
us up if we went through with those on. Steering the Middle
Way regarding offerings is not always easy. When you get
junk you fix it; when you get fold, you tarnish it. I
think we’ll dye the pants…
“Well, I think you are going to be out of L.A. in a month.”
“Yes. The hardest part is passed (Lincoln Heights).
Chinatown is not so rough. Beverly Hills is easy.”
hardest part is inside.”
“Oh.: (smile of recognition.)
the laypeople are talking about rejoining at the end near the
City of Ten Thousand Buddhas. One upasika says she will
walk ten blocks. Another says if that one can walk, ten,
she can bow ten, etc. Such fine people. It shows in their
kids – bright, sharp, well-behaved, spontaneous.
Sometimes after countless coming and going on the cement there
is simply nothing. Sounds, conversations, smells from
restaurants, cigarette butts – not problem. Every
now and then my “self” gets unimportant, lost, blended
into it all and yet untouched and separate. Patience and
humility come easy when I’m bumping noses with ants in
between lumps of welded bubble gum and broken wine bottles.
It’s just fine. Just the place to be now.
Cleaning house inside out.
It is in some ways the least Buddhist of all. Even Lincoln Heights
yielded a 33 cents offering…
On main corner comes together all at once, a funeral parade
send off, the band playing a dirge “Will We Not See You
Again?” motorcycle cops, crowds, circus peanut grinder
scene on right, strawberry cake on a chair in front of us, a
Chinese TV newsman. Heng Sure and I bow right under and
through. Maybe a handful notice.
two feet from fish in window tank at market waiting to be killed.
Blubbering with their mouths, watching Heng Sure and I bowing
in our tank.
lady in blue, laughing maniacally kicks me in a key acupuncture
point between scrotum and anus. Lights and tingling shoot
up my body and but my head. Her laughter echoes. I don’t
move, keeping bowing, hoping there’s not more. Time to
Drove around the corner, passing through an intersection and
pulled over the curb space to park. Screech! Bang!
Big accident in that same intersection.; we just missed it by
seconds. A Chinese street gang swaggers by in Chinatown.
Be sure to see Chinatown when you come…
- Our pace is slow in the 3 PM post-lunch afternoon.
False thoughts drift in and out. How glad I am that the
first protector who volunteered did not come along. He
was someone people disliked out of the blue, so negative were
his affinities with people.
get our share of potential fights, but they fizzle out even
though it’s close each time. I start to get uptight
fantasizing a kick in the head or someone pulling up in a car
and a gun going off or hordes of Christian shouters giving us
a hard time, teasing and yelling, “Do you believe in Jesus?”
into the air. Then a suited, briefcase-carrying businessman
passes by and says, “Peace be with you, brother,”
and he meant it. I had been tugging on my robe, getting
annoyed with it and irritated at the wind and the heat when
his words came and totally penetrated my mood. I realized
how unpeaceful I had been. My head opened like a window.
Yes, just be at peace with all of it, the cars, the fear, the
wind, the crushed ants, the lunch situation, the work.
Thanks, mister. If you had stood still I would have bowed
to you. Are you by chance a transformation body of the
- Sleep next to a Coalition Church in Chinatown last night.
Heng Sure and I had a good conversation about early a.m. being
like the original nature--still, pure, blissful, genuine.
The zero opens and from the one comes two and so forth, myriads
of things, movement, karma, etc. Each day a chance to
try again, each second the same. In every move, thought, contemplate
talked about how many institutions, etc., are necessary because
the family doesn’t do its job. Military, psychs,
scouts, clubs, police, etc. Ultimately one must start
at the source to eliminate the widespread, begin with the small,
at home. We see this in Three Steps, One Bow and all around
of Garuda (Great Golden Winged Peng Bird) ties to exercise #15
of t’ai chi. The garudas flapped their wings over
the waters of the oceans and parted them revealing the dragons
on the ocean beds. The action was so deft that the dragons
didn’t have time to disappear and were subsequently sucked
up by the garuda like we down a plate of noodles. Fearing
extinction, the dragons went to the Buddha and asked for his
compassionate protection. The Buddha consented and called
the garuda in, ordering it not to eat any more dragons.
The garuda countered that the Buddha’s decree was unfair
because without dragons to eat the garuda would starve and in
turn become extinct. The Buddha reassured the garuda that
it would be provided for and then told all his disciples to
place a bit of food outside before each meal as an offering
to the garuda. With so many disciples in the world, the
garuda would be able to eat its fill. The Buddhadharma
is unique in that even ghosts and spirits, etc. are treated
with compassion and acceptance. Yet there is clearly evil
in the mind. The way to stop evil is to eliminate your
own greed, hatred, and stupidity. All things come from
the one and return to the one.
along, an Old Chinese lady offers $2. Background music
is early Diana Ross and the Supremes.
My understanding of offerings has been: how do the leaves
thank the root for the water, or the sun for the light?
How does the root repay the leaf for nourishment, the mulch?
No giving or taking. Who receives; who gives? Cultivate
the Way; end the self.
Speed and Looking Outside: The last few days in response
to danger of neighborhoods, fast traffic, hassles, etc. we have
unconsciously speeded up. Bowing and rushing like everything
around us. It’s very difficult not to be moved (literally)
by it all and yet not to block it out so you’re unaware.
Today we slowed and ‘constanted’ our pace--much
in turn looks and feels different. It’s not gone
or blotted out, it just doesn’t turn and toss us.
At one point this a.m. I experienced the unlimited, undifferentiated
Buddha-nature through and within all the cement, traffic, roses,
honking horns, dressed-up church-goers, and bowing monks.
Feeling very warm and peaceful. Everything’s ok.
Wong came with her two children to inform us of road hazards
ahead and see if we needed anything. I think she is opening
up, partly because she’s so close to kids and comes out
to express that and shares in the Three Steps, One Bow.
She always bows three times saying, “You are bowing 700
miles, the least I can do is three.” Her face shines
genuine and clean. Her smallest, still in red pajamas,
bowed in the wrong direction, got up, turned around, and shines
us a grin I’ll never forget.
our schedule: We stick to it. If we start late,
we finish on time. Then evaluate why we were late.
If for cultivation or necessary talk, ok. If not, then
don’t do it again.
limitless winds: This AM bowing right on and then
what? Blew it at the meal offering. Inundated with
offerings, bows, good “birthday” food in park a
la picnic, etc. Meant well, joy of giving, but 1) we don’t
deserve it 2) to enjoy is to end blessings and we have nothing
to transfer, 3) it’s an outflow. Afterwards the
momentum, ch’i, shot. Bloated saturated with family
vibes of sex, laughter, flatteries, mama’s tending and
fussing over us, etc.
Hawaiian pants and a carpeted van full of bananas, donuts, bottled
drinking water, nuts, new pens, bread, lantern…”could
you use” “take this” “How about
very important not to project and see laypeople as a problessness,
desire, and laziness.
No more park picnics. Eat on the road. Take less,
not all, especially sweets. Talk less, hold eyes down,
listen to less.
tons of food, two gal, drinking water, pen and paper folders.
upasika and tell her that tomorrow we are eating leftovers in
the van enroute, not in the park. We can’t waste
food. Heng Sure can’t bow when full and can’t
say no to all the good food. The enjoyment of blessings
- It is hard to blend with the rhythm of this land because
it has no rhythm. It is like a river of gas-fired metal
on paved stone paths. No sound; one roar. No smell;
one stink. No light; one haze. No time; pure morning
when the zero is pure and then the one comes into being and
the 2 and the 3 and the millions.
human can live here. We have made a hostile environment
at great cost. The World Trade Center runs on electric
power, is adorned and sanitized costing millions of dollars
for the few hundreds of people who will never see it and the
millions of ghetto Chicanos who will never see it or dream of
it. It is like Versailles. It is a thin reality,
disposable, ready to be abandoned. Dead. With Muzak.
We come in off the street to relieve ourselves and return to
our lively hells of streaming metal.
you believe that praying and bowing can affect disasters and
we do, don’t you? Where do disasters come from?
They come from the accumulated heaps of bad karma that you and
he and I pile up and after a while the scale is unbalanced and
nature erupts or a plane crashes and human suffering results.
But it starts with us first; we make our fate with every present
action we do, with every thought. So by working directly
with the mind and by concentrating a prayer for no harm, no
hatred, no weapons, no suffering, we are seeking a response
right at the source of the problem--our own minds. Do
you see the link?
and this morning, I experienced a shrinking of desire to this
point: I recognized that I was not looking forward to
today with any pleasure in mind. I did not have any expectations
of pleasant, pleasing, or position events. At the same
time I was not hoping to avoid any unpleasant events--those
come as part of the work we do. Whether it is a honk,
a laugh, the constant sneers, the verbal attack, the physical
attack, or actual polite interest, all that sort of attention
is just one test after another, to measure our depth of sincerity
and to remind us of our goal.
end of expectations is an added gift, a bonus. From that
point of view, everything is a gift, a surprise, a mystery,
a point of wonder, a chance to snap the chains of self.
truth about bowing seven hundred miles is the same truth as
making one solitary bow. If you are sincere, if your mind
is clear and if your heart has no expectations, then you can
be anywhere and it makes no difference where you are.
The Gold Mountain Buddhahall is the same as the noisiest downtown
ghetto; the highest isolated mountain crag is the same as the
busiest highway roadside. The Dharma rests unchanging.
In other words, the bowing practice cuts through time and space.
is the key, however, and patience, and desirelessness.
If you are not looking ahead to a better time, to lunch, to
being finished bowing, to enlightenment, then your bow will
- Bowing through downtown business. Myriads of ants
scurrying on the sidewalk. Myriads of people going to
their jobs. I remember when I was married--a secretary,
fine clothes, perfumes, good salary, living for weekends and
5:00 p.m. fighting depression by buying clothes, toys, etc.,
and always wondering, “Is this it?”
of us put so much between our true heart and the true substance,
the Buddhanature. Fame, food, wealth, sex, and sleep are
the big ones. From the one comes many--needless afflictions.
Commuters have one kind, Lincoln Heights another, myself another.
None better or worse. Buddhism cuts across cheap wine
and Porsches, babies and the aged, the monk and the monster.
All of us are one, each is all. There is no room for arrogance
or condescension. Heng Ch’au, your afflictions affect
others. Others’ merit and virtue teaches and transforms
you. Compassion is the truth of no self. If you
are not a Buddha you are not better or worse than any common
through a construction crew--no problems. Progress and
affects: Business financial district grew up and down.
Grew the trees and grass. The birds now have to nest on
overpasses and on buildings instead of trees. We bowed
past dead baby birds and shells under the overpass, knocked
loose from the vibration of the traffic above. As the
construction crew digs and churns the earth, countless little
bugs are rooted out of their homes into the freeways to be smashed
by cars. Driving you, you would never notice these little
in to use the facilities at the World Trade Center. Futuristic
façade, carpeted tennis courts, muzak, polished, manicured,
crisp, and assured. As empty as Lincoln Heights, our fear,
and our self.
eyes keep opening. I feel light and clean, like I can
see and know for miles--cool breeze through my mind. Passing
through L.A…passing through…no more words.
Three Steps, One Bow. An upasika brought a light lunch,
incense from women at a beauty parlor. Her husband tends
a bar at this mirror-glass hotel ahead. Elevators on the
outside. The latest, the same.
- The time is going fast. Every bow is priceless,
a gift, borrowed time from the Gold Mountain Assembly.
I cannot waste an instant in false thinking. Every bow
is a chance to scrape off part of the mountain of past bad karma,
to give away some of the bad deeds, to pulverize the negative
vibes that keep the old destructive habits of this planet going
around again to destruction. When my share is reduced
I have done a good job of working to aid the world--to actually
do the hard scrubwork of making this a better, light, and cleaner
work that needs doing. No one else wants to do it.
Who has the time, the interest? Who sees that it needs
to be done? Few people. So it proceeds from this.
Who believes that this is possible, that this method actually
works to reduce bad vibes, that it really matters?
think today is going to be heavy. I’m ready for
it. I have been training for this encounter for years.
As I bow I vow to absorb the bad karma of the area we pass through.
It is a small amount that I take in and purge, but it counts
and besides I am not pumping any more hatred out. The
ones I want to influence the most are right here--the bankers,
contract signers--are all on this street. You can’t
affect them personally. You have got to change their spirits,
their ghosts, the pool of evil so that when the big evil needs
to be stopped it will weigh one drop less and our heroes will
have one drop more strength.
joint is sore. Big toes, palms of the hands, wrists, elbows,
shoulders, biceps, neck, back, waist, thighs, knees, ankles
all speak up when I bow--all complain of the hard work.
Only my mind and my heart are not sore, happy to be free and
working in L.A. for what I believe in. This is freedom.
Step, step, step, bow. Creak the joints and recite a repentance,
breathe, stand and straighten up. Step, step, step, and
down again. It is like the Gold Mountain Buddhahall, like
requesting the Dharma before the Venerable Abbot. They
are not two. The scenes change like channels on the T.V.
All illusions. We’re pretending to be serious about
changing other holy man. You’re a big phone,”
I think. “You’re not a holy man. You’re
just lucky no one has called your bluff in public.”
“All I can think of in reply is, “That’s absolutely
right. There is nothing genuine in any of this.”
working through a dream, hard work. It’s like waiting
for the dawn and the awakening.
you believe in this?”
I do, because it is good and pure and not harmful.
are you doing this?”
don’t really know except that it needs to be done right
now and no one else is doing it. I’m doing it for
the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas. I couldn’t imagine
working just for myself. When I bow I repent all past
bad karma done out of greed, hatred, and stupidity with my body,
mouth and mind. I now repent of it all.
through an area it is also possible to act as a screen, a filter
for all the bad karma of a place. Take it on and purge
it through your repentance on behalf of other people.
You are their confessor, their karmic grinder, the voluntary
wants freedom to do what he wants, usually tied up with sex,
fame, food, wealth, or sleep. When you get these “freedoms”
they don’t satisfy you. Even the richest men and
women can’t buy freedom. They still fear discomfort,
suffering, pain, sickness, old age, death, unhappiness.
As we left-home monks pass through the many class of society
in L.A. we witness the various cages and limits to freedom that
people chase, capture, cling to, and settle for.
the most free, most powerful, wealthy 9-th floor penthouse businessman
is not free to control his life in the face of natural or man-made
disasters. Earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, droughts,
plane crashes, train wrecks, wars, and now missile or death
ray attacks can snap the guise of freedom.
as Bhikshus who have gotten free of every material desire, our
job is to eliminate the other un-freedoms and work only in the
area where it can help, in the realm of the spirits. We
pray, prostrate our bodies, and leave all creature comforts,
that everyone can benefit. Already free, we accept the
bonds of misunderstanding, the chains of three steps one bow,
three steps one bow, and the burden of ridicule. This
is a small price to pay for the result of no disasters, no catastrophes,
and no holocausts.
we are successful, nothing will happen. You will notice
our success by the lack of disaster. Our work has a negative
counting reward meter. The Bodhisattva is the freest being.
Heng Ch’au and I could have taken any of the conventional
roads to social success but we did not choose them They
do not lead to freedom.
and all such essays are merely footnotes to the story of Shakyamuni
Gautama Siddhartha, the price who abandoned all wealth and glory
to seek ultimate freedom which he attained after many years
of bitter practice. Our stories are but pale echoes of
- Notes from the business district: “It’s
still the same old story/ the fight for love and glory/ a case
of do or die…” I feel like a huge x-ray eye, a ghost
from another century or planet. Floating slowly along
the ground, all my senses are hyper-tuned and receptive.
In the market, sex and power are foremost. Each day, especially
in the morning, the understanding deepens. This is all
an incredible theatre--props, make-up, effects, curtains; behind
it all is the original pure nature. All of this and all
these beings are just the Buddha-the trips, the attachments,
are manifest false thinking, just coverings over it.
we are closer to home, closer to the lives we were destined
and groomed for--business, smarts, etc. Harder than Lincoln
Heights, more threat, more hostility. It could be your
husband or partner bowing. They see and we see and feel
the affinities. It is much like one’s family reacting
to one’s leaving home. Too close. The hardest
to put down is the closest. Wilshire Blvd. doesn’t
like these two monks at all!
feel so free and clear, my eyes like cool high Sierra lakes,
my heart empty, without fear or hate. It’s all the
same, empty and wonderful.
Two letters to the Venerable Master Hsuan Hua -
We continue to bow about one and a half miles a day, averaging
five hours of bowing and one and a half hours of 20-minute rest
periods in between each hour. We rise at 4:00 for morning
recitation and finish by 6:00 PM to wash up and recite evening
recitation as always. They day also includes a t’ai
chi ch’uan lesson from Kuo T’ing (Heng Ch’au)
in the morning and a short reading and translation of the Avatamsaka
Sutra at night before we recite the first lines of the Shurangama
Mantra 49 times and then pass out. We are living in one
of the upasaka’s old Falcon van, sleeping out on the streets
of L.A. and washing in the park. Our lunch comes from
several Dharma protecting upasikas. The upasakas and upasikas
are watching over us with some care. They are really working
to make our trip go smoothly--getting letters from the police
giving us coins for parking meters, etc. The other morning
when it rained we bowed in one of their garages and ate lunch
there. It seemed like a cave in the heavens and then when
we descended down into Lincoln Heights, a tough Chicano ghetto,
it seemed like we were talking through the hells. Bhikshus
must be the freest men on earth or in any world to be able to
know both heaven and hell and not be bound to either realm.
18, 8:00 AM
Shih Fu Shang Ren,
appreciate the wonderful weather that the dragons are sending
Los Angeles. It’s not too hot and not too cold.
are very tired in body, but very happy in mind. Every
joint, muscle, and limb is speaking its own pain dharma but
this will gradually disappear as the work progresses and our
bodies adjust. We fall asleep every night after mantra,
totally exhausted but the next morning wakes up at 4:00 feeling
energized and ready to work again. We have increased the
bowing time gradually each day: yesterday was six and
three quarters hours. The problem in the city is trying
to find a parking place for our Bodhimanda/Van and then walking
back to the bowing site. It really eats up the rest periods.
we are tired, it helps keep us mindful. It is a small
problem and it feels good to be working.
we received lunch offerings from the L.A. lay disciples and
each time it is a humbling experience. We have no merit
and virtue of our won. We are simply borrowing the Venerable
Abbot’s merit to receive the treatment we get. Truly
if it were not for the faith these lay people have in the Venerable
Abbot, this trip would be impossible. We would have starved
already, or been robbed and eaten each night we stop to rest.
returning the light this way it makes clear the responsibility
for us to be left-home people at all times--to learn how to
behave correctly with lay people, with other left-home people,
with Americans, with all people. It is time for us to
learn how to stand up for Buddhism on our own, to take responsibility
for the teaching we have received and to do it correctly.
conduct is hard work, just as hard as bowing and we are happy
for the chance to learn it.
Heng Sure & Heng Ch’au
of Heng Ch’au’s record on May 17, 1977)
Be very careful of arrogance and feelings of superiority.
Cultivate compassion and humility. The biggest outflow
and downfall is self-glorification, the feeling that, “I,
alone, am honored.” Don’t cash in the chips
for the small self. Aim big and lose the “self.”
Don’t wear a high hat. Don’t go back to the
palace and be an emperor again. Your twelve incense scars
remind you to keep the crown off.
upasika keeps telling us happily that we are “through
the worst part.” We keep telling her that there
is no good or bad part. It’s all made from the mind.
on Wilshire Blvd. (the good part)
Hoo! Hey! Honk! Honk!” from passing
drunk in a well-tailored suit, “Could you tell me how
to get to Broadway?”
“Let me see…”
“What are those #$%&* gloves for?”
“I’m talking to you #$%&*!”
“Every three steps! Every three steps! You
will never get anywhere that way!”
“Where do you think you are, Mecca? That’s
disgusting in the U.S.”
the point. Until it isn’t disgusting, we’ve
got problems.” Lady proceeds to stir up some delivery
men at a warehouse dock to clean up the sidewalk of us.
Oh, oh; I see an image of Kuan Yin--visualize the large wooden
statue. The men are getting an audience together to break
the boredom. Just as we approach the truck pulls
up for unloading and we are saved. By the time the unloading
is finished we are gone and they are looking for us. “Which
way did you go?”
- The laypeople are too generous, supportive, and kind.
The Dharma protectors, gods, dragons, and eight-fold division
have worked on the baddies and we have seen the responses.
The Gold Mountain community is solidly with us; we can feel
their presence. Heng Ch’au makes it possible to
forget all kinds of problems, the work of survival is split
in half. But ultimately it is our very own trip--there
is no one to rely on, no help to look forward to here or on
any other plane. Buddhas merely show the way. You
must walk the path yourself.
from Wilshire Blvd.:
car passing north, “Bravo! Honk! Honk!”
car passing south, “Get off the streets, freaks.
passerby through clenched teeth: “What are you doing?
Why are you moving so slow? (anger and rage) If
you didn’t go to college you wouldn’t be going so
Buddhism all about? What are you guys doing?”
This from a car window. “Give me your basic philosophy
before the light changes.”
- Another break-in attempt about 4:15 this morning.
Maybe because we overslept and started morning recitation late?
Feeling scattered and doubtful--better after our first hour
of bowing. A little feeling of homesickness for friends,
etc. Sometimes it is very hard to go out on the edge,
to give up securities, comforts. When you have them you
are constantly trying to find something beyond. When cultivating
something beyond, you look back and miss them! Quite foolish,
but real. Doubts are a test like everything else.
Non-retreating can be hard when you don’t know what’s
ahead but clearly know what’s behind--is this faith?
We are relying on some inner-strength to keep keepin’
thoughts. The energy, clarity, and response for bowing
is at its peak in the morning. The last hour for bowing
is at its peak in the morning. The last hour is the very
best. The yin energy is the lowest, the nastiest aren’t
out, and nature is undisturbed. After lunch it changes
and by 4-6 it can be pure hell. Over a period of time,
hopefully, I can level these two peaks.
Park: Bad vibes. Lots of yin, alcohol, defilement.
What we do with our “share”--original light--never
stops amazing me. When people pass, scream out, etc, I
change them around somehow and see them enlightened, pure and
realized. They are all really interesting and charming
that way. The slowly the marks start to show and all the
retribution distorts and transforms each in proportion to his
karma. I can see how and what happened, the causes and
results working like a sculptor on the original block and--presto!--I
can see the buildings, the air, the landscape, and countless
things fall into this transformation chain reaction. Everything
starts from the mind. It’s there where the real
change must take place; the rest is just waves.
people and kids so far have been the most tolerant and relaxed
about our trip, less attached, and closer to birth and death.
They seem to be comfortable with change and impermanence, things
and life are filled with wonder and the unpredictable.
Also money, fame, and sex are not so almighty for them. The
less you hold on to the more you can pick up. If you are
full and tied up, then two monks bowing on “your”
sidewalk present a great assault and shock.
few understand, Spiritual life is weak and dying.
and encounters: Businessman: “Peace be with
man with big white eyebrows and neat eyes (third time I have
seen him). “Buddhist, huh? How strong are
you?” I missed the point. Could have said,
“As strong as you, and as weak as you. No difference
between you and me. All is Buddhism--the ten realms.”
good luck to you. A whole year, eh?” and eyebrows
UAW conventioneer, “You guys sick or somethin’”
Is that what you do? Too bad.” Really looking
to bust heads. No response. He mellows, watches,
fades, no hook to catch, no place to steer.
(lunch, two bowls, incense jar, curtains, pads on pants, mangoes,
mix animals with the vegetables. The animals are poison--blood.
Eat fruit and vegetables and grains. God said so.
After five months your blood and nerves and marrow will change
and you’ll be as soon as me.”--old man on Wilshire.
Moslem women appear, “Oh, Buddhists! We really like
- Feel like I’ve taken something on--cramps, lower
back pain, eye irritation, diarrhea--can’t think straight.
Hoping the press doesn’t show up. I am inarticulate
and muddy. I feel like I could not handle an interview.
Case of fire gone up--yin gone down? Need to sit more
to balance new surge of ch’i I feel. Have been irregular
with Ch’an on the trip. It’s hard to fit everything
in. The vibes in this area of Wilshire are subtle but
heavy. Such pomp and pretense over money, power, prestige--unquestioned
and undoubted. The contrast here is the most pronounced.
All the things we rejected (clothes, hair, appearances, money,
sex, display and consumption) are heralded and cultivated.
Stepping out of our rusty beat-up van between a Cadillac and
a Rolls Royce with two manicured poodles starting blankly at
upasika keeps insisting that we are in the best neighborhood
now. “All nice beautiful buildings like this the
rest of the way.” Heng Sure and I see it differently.
is an anesthesia here, dulling and veering people’s eyes
and hearts. We are like smelling salts and the treated
respond to us like iodine to an open cut. The twelve conditioned
links and the four truths are all hidden, carefully kept out.
Only young handsome secretaries and men are hired. Sensual
delights everywhere. No old people, no poor people, no
dead animals or even dying trees. Lots of green, artificial
grass. No edge, no challenge. Sit back, relax and
enjoy. Who’s steering the ship and where are we
are riding ona railroad singing someone else’s song.”
Come along. “You’re lucky it’s like this--nice
and easy--all the way to Santa Monica.” Oh, no!
Easy street U.S.A.
these beautiful, well-dressed people--and a crazy lady with
hair like a mop and fraying tennis shoes, in an old man’s
coat over a T-shirt, a faded pale green skirt—a body like
a defensive tackle, walks up, gives us 14 cents saying, “God
bless you, you holy men.”
couple of days ago Heng Sure and I were “talking overtime”
in the van. Got a parking ticket. Good lesson.
Today, sitting in the van, I suddenly got a flash to check the
meter. I ran out to see the meter maid twenty yards away
and closing in fast. Just in time!
- Yesterday shao-lin was really powerful. I felt a surge
of ch’i and power like never before.
your mind is moved by states, the precepts keep a perimeter
around you. This is the palace, the Imperial Court of
America. Emperors of old never had palaces like the multi-national
corp. plazas, fountains, closed circuit T.V., security fences,
entertainment…Man on bicycle stops and watches us carefully.
He is not disapproving--open. As we get closer he places
his palms together in prayer as we pass. Then he rides
off into the smog.
states: What a wonderful, honest, and free thing to
be--a monk! Passing through the smog my nose gets clogged
and I can’t smell too well. The constant drone of
traffic smothers other sounds; the sidewalk is one homogeneous
happens when the wind stops?
In the center movement, stillness.
In the center of sights, blindness.
In the center of sound, deafness.
in scents, flat.
and sidewalk blend without distinction. From cold ashes
the fire is kindled and the light warms and illumines all directions.
Which is moving, the flag or the wind? What happens then
when they both stop?
I am bowing low to the ground, completely vulnerable, I feel
totally safe and ok. With all my martial arts training
and experience, bowing s number one kung fu. When prostrated,
everything is ok. Sock me, stab me, spit or swear--it’s
all the same. No problem. I must be crazy, but it’s
then that I feel safe and contented from my guts out.
They don’t teach that in martial arts yet.
hostile people harass us. “What the hell you doin’?”
“I saw you peek at me!” “Go do that
in a church.” “Stop disgracing people!”
“You’re going to be arrested.” More
anger. “What are you doing? Stop it!”
Screaming, wailing, mad laughing. All those years working
in mental hospitals takes some of the edge off these jabs.
When it gets real thick I imagine us in fire. Pretty hard
to start a lake on fire. They throw matches into the fire.
noticed that when situations start getting sticky, either a
bus arrives and takes a crowd away or at least eight or nine
times fire trucks have come roaring by, diverting the storm.
Most interesting is a wonderfully refreshing cool breeze from
the West that seems to sedate and mellows us and our antagonists.
Through all of this we keep bowing and getting stronger and
trying harder to plug our leaks and laugh at ourselves.
the Badlands there are prairie dog towns. They are hug
communities of tunneled boroughs where hundred of prairie dogs
live. As you approach, the sentry stands on his hind legs
and squeaks an alarm. Everybody then pops up to check
the scene at a safe distance. The, like disappearing dominoes,
they drop out of sight as you walk through. Once past,
they pop up again and watch you leave. People gather in
huge, clucking assemblies ahead of us. As we get closer,
they scatter into the store, houses, and behind curtains to
peek out. When they pass they swarm back to talk, stare
laugh and wonder. Always they stare and always they wonder,
just as predictably as we bow.
“What are you bowing to?”
Yea, to Allah too. It’s all the same. Everywhere
in everyone is the Buddhanature.)
we started bowing, it’s hard to explain but we are enclosed
in a magic circle. Everything stops and nothing bothers
or disturbs. The circle is open to sincere questions and
honest comers but closes out troublemakers and the clowns.
Really inconceivable. While bowing I saw Kuan Yin Bodhisattva
and for some reason tears welled up. Why?
decided to all bow to Shih Fu when laypeople want to bow to
us. At this carpeted ultra-modern bank building with outside
elevators there was a circle of people and two monks bobbing
up and down and mumbling. A man got off the elevator and
froze in disbelief and shock. “This is the 20th
century America! Is nothing sacred--not even banks?”
Sure is learning to use a straightedge. Less wasteful
of metal (blades) and less danger to the men who mine the ore
eventually. Not necessarily less danger to Heng Sure.
- The newspaper announces “Arms Sales Reduction”
“Carter to Limit Weapon Sales.” Not that we
claim direct credit for this event, but here are the facts:
(1) the bowing trip is dedicated to an ending of disasters,
catastrophes, and calamities (including nuclear holocausts).
We are out to influence people to stop making and selling destructive
weapons. We want people to end their karma of hatred and
When the trip was well underway through L.A., Jimmy Carter also
showed up in town. He was here for three days while we
There are some powerful spiritual beings on our side.
We have witnessed their responses to our work.
The Venerable Abbot has told his disciples that the heavenly
dragons and others of the 8-fold division of ghosts and spirits
and Dharma protectors are all out protecting us and furthering
our mutual aims.
is Carter’s response merely a coincidence? Or have
we already achieved one of our major aims of the trip?
instructions on the phone yesterday from Gold Mountain:
Don’t get angry, no matter what. If people scold
you, swear at you, or hit you, don’t be moved. Don’t
get angry. Don’t be happy, don’t be sad and
most important, don’t get angry. This feature about
Buddhists, that they don’t get angry will have a great
deal of significance in the future of Buddhism in this country.
do not false-think! Do not have false thoughts!
Do not strike up the tiniest idle thought. If you do a
good job and don’t talk, then you can have a response
and get some accomplishment. If you don’t have to
the sage said was do not relax your vigil on your mind.
Do not let it think. What a non-thought that is!
Stop all movement of dharmas. Plug up all the doors!
Don’t let it out. Wipe the mind clean.
is the teaching on anger so important? Because life after
life we have killed to eat and been killed to eat until the
aggression and resentment have grown into a world-wide war which
pits us against ourselves. Therefore, patience, patience,
gotta have patience, don’t get angry, swo pwo he is the
#1 mantra of our age. Reduce the fire.
I apply this to meditation? Can I relax this totally and
still be awake? Is sleeping during meditation a function
Ch’au and I have decided that we don’t have what
it takes to receive bows from laypersons, so when they come
to visit, if they wish to bow, we say “bow to Shih Fu”
or “bow to the Venerable Abbot” and we face away
from them and all bow 3 times. This resolves the situation
and we get to bow three bows to the Master.
- Camped by small park in a well-to-do black exclusive
neighborhood. Huge stately houses.
of Kuo Chou last night. He was very excited, a glowing
bright-eyed boy joining us on Three Steps, One Bow. But
just as we were ready to go Kuo Tsai showed up with another
woman. She and Dave had many agreements and commitments
that Dave had forgotten about. In any event, he suddenly
became bent, wrinkled, and lost his spark. I’ve
had two or three dreams about Kuo Chou like this. Some
remembered, but only a few
down they forgot as up they grew.”
wonder how many people here in this neighborhood, in L.A., in
most of urban America, remember--remember how family with uncles,
aunts, grandparents nearby and close; to grow some or all of
your food; to can, eat together, say goodnight and wake up to
the same reality every day. Who remembers? The divorce
rate in California is higher than the marriage rate. Child
abuse and neglect is off the wall and the walls are covered
with graffiti and vandalized by kids who can’t articulate
their sufferings. The family is key and Heng Sure and
I are every day being bombarded with the results of a people
who traded their keys for self and a few dollars.
kids gravitate to the truth. The street gangs, early
sexual clinging, clutching relationships, drugs, child prostitution,
alcohol owes its rise in no small part to the failure of the
family to do its job--to tend the sprouts--to meet the basic
now Buddhism is seen as “Disgraceful, disgusting in America.”
Right! This is a time when the false has become true and
the true is seen as false. My own family, roots, and the
small family farm in the Midwest keep me going at times like
these, and Buddhism, true cultivation of Buddhism is just the
fruit of those roots. I hope I don’t ever forget
More people would feel free to leave home, if the family gave
them what they needed. They wouldn’t have to attach
to husbands, wives, kids, jobs, clubs, etc. to fill the holes.
fire in my body is under better control since sitting Ch’an
again. We try to sit two hours a day. T’ai
chi and standing meditation have improved too. They are
more powerful--like a waterfall--than I’ve ever experienced.
It must have something to do with bowing and leaving home; nothing
else has changed much.
Sure is doing t’ai chi every morning even though it’s
really hard, especially at the beginning of the day when it’s
cold and dark outside. We are getting along--no fighting,
no anger. That makes tight quarters and tight situations
a lot easier. It also does not leave a hole for our energy
to run out.
concentration is getting sharper and stronger. I can’t
explain it too well in words, but just in that concentration,
just by focused mindful action, incredible clarity, ease, balance,
and “seeing” are coming forth. What a wonderful
chance: bitter practices, Gold Mountain, Three Steps,
One Bow. I have so much to repay.
a. m.. The streets are deserted, just smog lingering from
last night. People always look so yin and wasted on weekend
mornings. What is it about "having fun' "goin'out
and doing something" that leaves people so flat and vacant
from song by Incredible String Band:
used to follow happiness I used to follow pleasure But I found
a door behind my mind And that's the greater treasure."
and moving this a.m. I can't remember feeling so peaceful. My
feet barely touched the ground. I don't weigh any less but my
mind feels a lot lighter.
Sure looks so natural and at home bowing down this cement fjord
of banks and corporations••a tiny speck in a flowing
robe••somehow he stands out, doesn't get buried
or submerged like everything else. This is the Triple Jewel
in America••not Hong Sure and me but the Sangha
according and not moving, not moving and according with conditions.
Ancient, modern, dated and now, it doesn't matter as long as
the source is cultivated, penetrated, kept alive through practice.
Then the true and orthodox will be healthy. So even though people
look askance, in the long run, all people seek the truth.
won't be tricked or sold short. It's only a question of time,
sincerity, and true practice, This is where the Moonies and
Krishna's miss the boat. Their practice doesn't penetrate through
to their own true nature, the source, so they underestimate
and compassionlessly try to "convert" others. "No
one saves us but ourselves; Buddhas only show the way."
How is it the Way if you don't walk it?
people don't know to look within. But having looked long and
hard outside without finding what they ultimately seek, some
are, even if reluctantly or defiantly, beginning to return the
light. One can only "go West" so long. Eventually
there is nowhere left to go. This is no clearer than here in
L.A. We'll all get to the heart of this sick body together,
eventually. So it's important to keep the proper Dharma, the
medicine•antidote, safe and available. The way to make
it safe is by turning the light around••by cleaning
up our own act. We must renounce the "self" through
hard work and patience. All these people are watching••watching
with fear and a little hope.
just don't have my rap down. I can't seem to make people wonder
and understand what the Sino•American Buddhist Association
is all about. There's a right time and place to say the right
thing. Mostly I discover it after the people have gone. This
a .m. a carful of sincere questions from a family. They wanted
to know about Hong Sure's and my personal background. That's
not the point, but it's hard to talk to a larger issue without
seeming to pitch and expound. That's because of no wisdom. Anyway,
after I walked away and started bowing I realized the handout
release would have been just the thing. So swallowing some doubts
about proselytizing I ran back and slipped them one.
bless the grass that grows in the cracks.
roll the concrete over it and try to keep it back
But the concrete gets tired of what it has to do
It breaks and it buckles and the grass grows through
God bless the grass.
looks best on a Saturday morning? The kids and the grass. "how
can you pick up what's true if you don't put down what's false?"
If you didn't mess with anything in L.A. (just leave everything
be, still) in a short time the grass and natural environment
would reclaim break through the cement and smog. So too with
myself and the cement I put around my true nature.
pen filler, lunch, three log books.
karma and upside•downness: In L.A. people are starting
to buy drinking water••the tap eater isn't palatable.
"Only five or ten cents a gallon..." says one upasika.
saw it at the supermarket for ten cents a half gallon."
says a monk.
going up. Better go out and stock up. Next month gas will be
$1.00 a gallon." In L.A. gas is as important as blood.
It's going to be a hot, angry summer in L.A. for people who
can't afford gas or water. "Pretty soon you'll have to
buy air." Ha, ha, weak laughter. How far can you drive
down the wrong road before you admit you're lost? California,
here we come... "The answer my friend, is blowing in the
a new hard now and Jim White Ford
will throw in free••get this••a free
20-gallon tank of Rocky Mt. Springtime
Air Oxygen and a month's supply of
Up pure spring water. Is that a deal, or not?
a thousand ways in everything we see••within and
without••the Dharma speaks. "I guess I won't
be able to shower everyday anymore," adds the upasika.
Connection! Cause and effect.
PM. Hot, real hot. Bowing on black cement is like bowing in
a frying pan. For all the ants I burned with a magnifying glass
as a kid…
weekends when the streets are empty, it becomes quite unreal
out there. We could be bowing through the Arabian Desert for
all I know. Two laypeople rode the bus out to find us and give
us some apples, honey, and crackers. They were so alive and
refreshing. We had just finished a particularly hot stretch.
and more the journey goes within. We get less and less moved••bothered
by horns, hoots and conditions. Actually it feels cool, even
though it's scorching.
strange zombie character appeared from somewhere and pressed
close to drone, "What can you tell me about religion?"
All I could tell him was my little rap about Three Steps, One
Bow. After I thought about it I realized I could have said,
"I can't tell you anything but I know someone who could
answer every question and tell you anything you want to know."
Cultivate morality and concentration and you will find your
answers." Simple. Always too late, Kuo T'ing (Heng Ch'au).
"What are you doing?"
"Who is doing the asking? Answer that and you'll know what
false thoughts and afflictions, enter the Avatamsaka sea.
pure source Boundless, beyond words
Limitless, without measure
you or me--only thus.
Plug the leaks
Let it swell
Wave and water
Disturbed and pure
Afflicted and awake
A single thought.
every pay phone and toilet in L.A. so far has the sign "Out
of Order." So true. Upside down. No order, no harmony.
Soon The airports and roads to L.A. will be blocked with signs
reading "Out of Order." 90% of America's T.V. and
movies are made here••"Out of Order."
"Out of Order." "When the universe of a billion
worlds is contemplated in stillness, one sees that bad karma
has welled up and filled it all." ••Master
Hua. "Out of Order."
- "Three Steps, One Bow" journals
One Heart, Bowing to the City of 10,000 Buddhas
Records of Heng Sure & Heng Ch’au Bowing
Part - #1, #2,
Three Steps, One Bow" -- Photo
Pilgrimage - Three Steps, One Bow for Peace
Pages - Text & Photos - (1.6 MB) - Free
- Rev. Heng Sure -
From True Cultivators - (eBook / Free Download) Heng Sure & Heng
letters of Heng Sure and Heng Ch'au... Three
steps and a bow. That's how they walked it. Two monks on a pilgrimage
of peace that took them through a series of wide-ranging encounters
and extraordinary experiences -- within and without. These letters
and photos are a record of their amazing journey.
American Buddhist monks on a journey of a lifetime, from downtown
Los Angeles to the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas in Talamage,
A journey of more than 800 miles that took two years and nine
months to complete. They bowed in peace, and for peace. Touching
their foreheads to the ground, opening their hearts with one
wish for the world. Peace. For everyone, everyday, everywhere.
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Letters from Bhikshus
Heng Sure and Heng Chau to Venerable Master Hua written while
on their bowing pilgrimage in 1977. During the 2-1/2 years
pilgrimage, the monks traveled from Los Angeles to the City
of Ten Thousand Buddhas in Talmage California, bowing once every three