Written by Dharma Master Cheng Yen
Translation by Dharma As Water Team
At a little past 9 a.m. on June 19, Taiwan time, I received the message from the US that my disciple, Han Huang, passed away peacefully at the hospital. He was accompanied by his wife, Huiping Wang, and our Dharma family.
The Buddha Dharma describes the Three Principles and Four States–the principles of matter: “formation, existence, decay, and disappearance”; the principles of life: “birth, aging, illness, and death”; and the principles of the mind, “arising, abiding, changing, and ceasing.” These principles teach us to realize impermanence. I deeply understand that birth, aging, illness, and death are the natural laws of life, but faced with the passing of my disciple, I feel unspeakable sadness and my heart is heavy.
Han Kuei, I still remember that in November of last year, when you came to Xindian Jing Si Hall to take leave with me to return to the US, you expressed your gratitude to the medical team for taking good care of you, and said that your health condition had improved. You were full of confidence, and you vowed to be more diligent in working in unity with all the Bodhisattvas in the US, shouldering responsibilities together, diligently advancing the missions there, and recruiting more Living Bodhisattvas. Our warm interactions are still very vivid in my memories.
In the morning of Monday, June 13, like I normally would, I hosted the Morning Volunteer Assembly in the Great Hall and gave my encouragement and blessings to everyone. After the assembly, I heard that as you were at home and about to head to the US Headquarters campus to participate in a practice for the upcoming sutra musical adaptation, you suddenly slid down from a chair and were taken to the emergency room. The doctor diagnosed that there was a blood clot in the brain caused by heart arrhythmia. I was shocked by the news and truly felt how life is impermanent.
After that, you were on my mind every day, and I gave my sincere blessings every day. Around noon on June 17, I heard that the hospital reported that you were in critical condition. The US and Taiwan are separated by the vast Pacific Ocean, so I could only express my concern through video call. Through the internet, I called out to you, “Han Kuei! Chi Mu! Can you hear me?” I said to you that people come and go in this world, and that birth, aging, illness, and death are natural laws of life. Bodhisattvas come to this world for the goal of extensively transforming sentient beings. You are very blessed. Not only do you have the chance to know me, but we share one heart, one path, and one aspiration to walk the Bodhisattva Path. I am grateful to you for doing so many things for Tzu Chi and for me in the US, and for helping so many people.
Remember that in the world of Tzu Chi, besides you and I, there are so many others, such as Stephen Huang, William Keh, Paulina Luan, Debra Boudreaux, Jackson Chen, and so many other Dharma family members. They are all good companions. Remember that we are always together, and that we will always need people on the Bodhisattva Path. People come and go, go and come, but we must not let this Bodhisattva Path end; it has to continue on forever, lifetime after lifetime.
The Buddha attained enlightenment here in this world, and he constantly returned freely to this world. This Saha World is the world that the Buddha will always return to. Remember that this world is also where you and I both vowed to return to forever. Everyone is sending their blessings to you, so you must also do your best. By doing so, you are advancing diligently on the Bodhisattva Path. If you do so everlastingly, then you will never rest on the Bodhisattva Path. I saw on the screen that you looked very dignified as you listened silently. I reminded you again to take my words deep into your consciousness and never forget them. At the end, I saw tears coming out of your eyes, and I am sure that this meant that you understood me, and that this will be the promise between us lifetime after lifetime.
Now, you are free from all suffering of illness; you are free and at ease. Huiping also listened to me; she will bravely face your passing and will follow your spirit and redouble her efforts in Tzu Chi. All of our Dharma family members will continue to accompany and care for Huiping and your family, so rest assured!
Twenty years ago, at the invitation of your wife, Huiping, you vowed that you would both diligently walk the Bodhisattva Path together. In 2001, you were certified as a Faith Corps member. In 2003, following a wildfire in San Diego, you took on the coordination role for the disaster relief efforts. You learned as you worked and awakened as you learned, and without much hesitation, you gave up your job in academic research and dedicated yourself fully to Tzu Chi’s missions.
In February of 2012, you officially took on the role as the CEO of Tzu Chi USA. You were very courageous and diligent, and you vowed to be like the great white ox and apply the spirit of the Great Vehicle teachings to benefit and transform not just yourself, but also others.
Furthermore, you vowed to deliver more Living Bodhisattvas to a safe, stable, and joyful refuge. On the Bodhisattva Path, we have to do what is difficult to do and endure what is difficult to endure. With great patience, you endured the challenges and took on heavy responsibilities. I firmly believe that you enriched your life by benefiting others, and in attaining realizations, you grew in your wisdom life.
Our physical life is limited, but our wisdom life is everlasting. For almost two decades since you entered Tzu Chi, you upheld your initial aspirations and remained steadfast. Not only did you shoulder the development of Tzu Chi’s missions in the US, but when major disasters happened abroad, you also seized the opportunities and led volunteers to join in the relief efforts. The footprints of compassion were spread across many countries in Central and South America.
Furthermore, you wholeheartedly delved deep into the essence of the Jing Si Dharma Lineage and Tzu Chi School of Buddhism, constantly reflecting on yourself and paying careful attention to not commit evil karma of speech. You vowed to follow me to create a pure land on earth, and you are a role model for Tzu Chi volunteers around the world.
Although your life was but a short fifty-five years, with a joyful heart of a Bodhisattva playing effortlessly in this world, you courageously and diligently engaged in spiritual cultivation, served
selflessly for the sake of others, and widely formed good affinities with many. You truly expanded the breadth and depth of your life and left your wisdom as a legacy for this world.
I hope that we may all make the vows of Earth Treasury Bodhisattva to relieve sentient beings of suffering, and may we give rise to aspirations of Guanyin Bodhisattva to spread love extensively. May we all form aspirations and make vows to abide in awakening lifetime after lifetime. I firmly believe that you have planted the Bodhi seeds of loving-kindness, compassion, joy, equanimity, and great love into your consciousness. Go now, and return soon. Come back to the world of Tzu Chi to take up the baton again, and pass on my mission–bring purity to people’s hearts, harmony to society, and free the world of disasters.
The US is far away from Taiwan, so I am unable to personally visit to offer my condolences. However, the practitioners at the Jing Si Abode, Tzu Chi volunteers around the world, and I, all sincerely give you our blessings. May you journey on your vows and return to this world in a new, healthy body, and come back to Tzu Chi’s Bodhisattva Path with a joyful smile.
To Han’s parents and family, I would like to express my sincere gratitude for your wholehearted support for Han to do the work of Tzu Chi and walk on the Bodhisattva Path. My condolences and well wishes to you all, and I hope that you will also join Tzu Chi’s work, as that will be the most sincere way of offering blessings for Han. I would also like to thank all of our Tzu Chi family members in the US. Whether they are gathered at the US Headquarters campus or online today, they are all sincerely remembering you and offering their blessings.
I have said before that if the US does not awaken, there will be no peace in the world. I hope that Tzu Chi volunteers in the US will never forget Han’s compassion and great vows. I hope that you will uphold the spirit of the Jing Si Dharma Lineage and Tzu Chi School of Buddhism and work together in unity, and I hope that you will wholeheartedly continue on Tzu Chi’s missions, pass on the Jing Si Dharma Lineage, and advance the Tzu Chi School of Buddhism.