I was a timid child growing up. Whenever my mom didn’t pick me up from school on time, I’d cry all the way home. Terrified, I’d ask her why she couldn’t have come a little bit earlier. One day, my mom looked me in the eye and told me very earnestly to pray to the Guanyin Bodhisattva whenever I’m scared. She can’t guarantee that she’d be able to protect me forever. But she knows the Buddha and Bodhisattvas would be my eternal refuge.

Although I’ve become more independent with age, I was still quite timid. During a phone conversation with my mom one time, I couldn’t help but mention how I’ve been having trouble falling asleep for months after watching a horror film with a college friend.

“Try chanting the Heart Sutra three times before you go to bed every night.” Mom told me without hesitation. Though I wasn’t into Buddhism at the time, I remembered how praying seemed to have worked as a child, and decided to give it a try. Soon, my inability to fall asleep at night was resolved.

Mom’s words had always accompanied me growing up. From walking alone late at night to running late for school, from talking to my professor to being on a plane caught in the turbulence, I’d pray to the Guanyin Bodhisattva. Through things big and small, I’ve cultivated the habit of relying on the Buddha and Bodhisattva.

After entering the monastery, I realized even more so that it was mom who has taught me how to pray and rely on the Three Jewels. As mentioned in Lamrim: “As your mother, she protected you from all harm and provided you all benefit and happiness.” Mom knew long ago that she couldn’t be forever by my side. So she passed on to me her faith for the Buddha and Bodhisattva.

Because of this, I hope to become her eternal refuge, and accompany her through life’s sufferings one day. Together, we shall finish this final journey on this road to enlightenment.