A structural designer's note on her visits to the Longquan Temple

From:Voice of Longquan     Author:Guo Yuan     Time:2017-07-24 22:08:58
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A Dharma Brother who is also a structural designer of the Longquan Monastery told her valuable experiences on her visits to the Monastery. There were also important Master’s words she shared with us.

When the metro arrived at the Anheqiao Bei Stop, the terminal station of line four, Brother Yanfa had already been there for quite a while. I couldn’t remember how many times I’d been here as most of my trips to Beijing were short business trips. I must have been more used to the peace of a seaside town like Weihai than to the hustle and bustle of a big city like Beijing. However, my previous two trips in Beijing were somehow filled with enthusiasm.

I’ve been working as a structural designer for nearly 20 years. This time I’m in Beijing for a structural design project of the Longquan Temple. I remember that the Master who contacted me only asked if I had some time to design a hall of the temple, and my idea was pretty straight forward: I believe in Buddhism and happen to have the required expertise. So, like many other temple designs with which I was involved, this is just another project that needs my devotion.

Throughout my communication with the Venerable, I could feel his power of vow and compassion. I came to realize that it was not that the temple was asking me a favor but that the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas were offering me an opportunity to get closer to a team of Venerables, brothers and good advisors. Under the guidance of the Master, we later established a Buddhism study group back in Weihai, a team, albeit small, that share a common goal for learning the Dharma.

This visit to the Longquan Monastery was arranged by Brother Fan, who repeatedly checked with my itinerary before my departure and sent for Brother Yanfa from the Structural Team to meet me up at the subway stop. Brother Yanfa readily left off her work at hand to pick me up at the station at a temperature of above 30 degree Celsius.

Joining with Brother Hu from the Structural team, the three of us set off for the Monastery. Brother Yanfa shared with us how she practiced the way of the Buddha on our way up hill, which was rather admirable. After learning that I was looking for the second edition ofthe Sidelights on the Ven Master Xuecheng, she looked for it around and managed to find me a copy.

When we arrived at the Monastery, Brother Yanfa helped us check in at the Monastic reception and left us to Brother Li, a resident there. Seeing us taken good care of, Brother Yanfa said farewell to us. She had to continue to work overtime to finish off her work at hand. Brother Yanfa has truly demonstrated the saying that “the Dharma is not separate from the mundane world”.

After dropping our luggage at the Monk’s apartment, Brother Hu and I knuckled down to the work. We met up with the Venerable at the construction site. I had long been told by many Brothers not to miss his teachings, but when I had the opportunity to see him in person and talk with him about the construction, my heart was still filled with one thing: Dharma joy.

In the evening and after the meal, Brother Hu and I took a stroll around the Monastery. She has an insightful observation on many things, particularly on the Dharma. We talked as we walked down the alley and our communication was beneficial. The Monastery was tranquil in the evening, embracing anyone seeking his refuge. From far away, I saw the Master. He was then attending to the other venerables’ reports and occasionally cut in a few words. Seeing him, I felt that my world was instantly brought to peace. This was the first time I began to understand the power of the heart in transforming the outside world.
In front of this great practitioner and mentor, you would feel his power of vow and compassion. When kneeling down and bowing to him, I could even feel that his compassionate gazing upon me, which refreshed my weary mind over the years.

In the morning of Jun. 11th (Sunday), we had a project meeting to sort out issues such as handoff of sub-projects, division of labor, key milestones and deadline, and other miscellaneous requirements. Brother Fan, supervisor of the Designer Center, is the one in charge. We had a brief discussion the previous night, but because he had a class to attend, our conversation didn’t go much further in the way of details. He had taken on many responsibilities including coordinating between five functions, inquiring the Venerable and conveying his teachings, and organizing studying activities for different departments. But I didn’t see panics or anxiety from him. What I did see from him were his nice words, his kind offer of help and his compassion. His command of the whole situation, his philosophy of running the Design Center and his care and encouragement towards his companions inspired me. I hope I could follow his example someday.

We made a report to the Venerable immediately after the lunch. I heard the Master stayed awake in the construction site the whole night. But his bright eyes were upon every one of us when we met. I just couldn’t find a tinge of weariness from him. The Master usually stayed awake deep into the night during the teleconferences afterwards. He kept a very low profile, repeating his innocence and encouraging us to concentrate to get the work done well. But his advices on interior design, structure, BIM, and so on were surprisingly enlightening. So, our Venerable, are you really hiding your expertise.

At 2 p.m. after the meeting, the Master moved on to his teachings. Still, he remained modest and told us that it was a process of learning from each other. “Impermanence is virtually the rise and fall of karma”, he advised. “Every occurrence and the forming of each environment are closely tied to every one of us. Do not be indifferent to your surroundings; do not be unassured; abandon your diffidence; hold tight to the conviction that we resolved to become Buddha to benefit all sentient beings; make efforts towards this purpose in all our lives to come till Bodhi is attained.”

It was time to depart before we realized it. In consideration of the long distance between the temple and the airport, Brother Fan drove me to the airport. I’m leaving, but I left my heart at the Monastery.

Master created Longquan Monastery. Everything from the construction of the Longquan Temple, the establishment of a Dharma learning and practicing system, to the worldwide spread of the Dharma carries a great ambition of the Master and the Buddha. A good advisor never gives up on anyone and I’m a perfect example: My expertise does not sound familiar or practical to many of you, still the Master and his team managed to connect to me and guide me. I’m deeply impressed to see more than 400 disciples learn and practice the Dharma at the Longquan Design Center each day. The leaders were actively sharing, and each participant was hard-working. It’s a real privilege to be cared by all of you.

My Masters, Vernerables, Brothers and good advisors have done so much for me. So I always urged myself to progress in the way of studying, practicing and undertaking. I’ve resolved to make effort in my lives to come until Bodhi is attained. I’m looking forward to be delivered under the guidance of the team of Masters, Vernerables, Brothers and good advisors.

Guo Yuan from the Structural team at the Architecture Design Center

Tags:structural designer, Architecture Design Center, Master, modest and compassion

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