文 / Fernando (蓮花柏兆)
My name is 蓮花柏兆 and I’m the disciple from Brazil, who recently moved to Seattle, after living in Pennsylvania for 20 years. I was asked to write a small essay about my move here, I hope the attached file will be good enough!
I don’t read nor write in Chinese. So I wrote it in English and had it translated into Chinese using machine translation. Then, my parents helped me by fixing the essay. Many thanks to them, who turned this around so quickly.
I am also attaching a picture taken in 1996, when Grand Master visited Brazil. I’m the boy kneeling in front of Grand Master. This picture was taken at my family’s factory in Sao Paulo. Grand Master graciously signed this picture for me and it’s one of my treasures.
I consider myself to be very fortunate: one of my most regular childhood memories is watching Grand Master through VHS tapes, in Brazil. I can honestly say that I have grown up watching Grand Master!
Eight years ago, I had a spiritual consultation with master Lian Ha. Back then, I was unsure whether to go back to my homeland, Brazil, or to remain in Pennsylvania. My question then, was simple: where would it be best for me? Master Lian Ha told me that while in general Brazil would be better for me, Seattle would be a phenomenal place for me – better than anywhere else. I was surprised by his answer since I had never thought about living in Seattle until then. I never thought that I could one day be so close to Grand Master! The more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea and decided to start applying for jobs in Seattle.
Being an IT professional, it was a humbling to not get a single reply! Finally, a company called me for an interview. Since they paid for hotel and my airfare, I took my parents with me. We stayed the weekend to attend to Grand Master’s ceremony. During the Dharma discourse, Grand Master explained that sometimes things don’t work out – but it’s not necessarily a bad thing. In the end, I didn’t get the job. Grand Master’s words rang true in my heart, and while saddened by the result, his words brought me comfort that things would eventually work out.
I carried on with my life in Pennsylvania, but after coming so close to moving to Seattle, the dream remained in my heart: I’d often fantasize about being able to enter the Seattle temple and tell Grand Master: “now we won’t have to say goodbye – only good night!”. Tears would roll down my face every time I played the scene in my mind. Often times I’d watch the sunset in Pennsylvania and whisper in my heart: “good night Grand Master, until we meet again”.
I used to work for a small company that focused on Machine Learning, AI and V/R (Virtual Reality): we were at the cutting edge of IT. Later, I got an opportunity to work for one of the biggest law firms in the US as a database developer. What should I do? I turned to master Lian Ha again!
My question was simple: “which company would bring me closer to Seattle?” His answer surprised me: “law firm”. Very strange! How come it wasn’t the company I was in, where I was working with the latest technology, but a law firm instead? I pushed all these questions aside and faithfully followed master Lian Ha’s consultation: I took the job offer from the law firm the very next day. I believed that all my questions would be answered in their due time.
After working for the law firm for two years, we started working on the most complex project the firm has ever worked on. Something pushed me to take the leadership role: I pushed myself forward into responsibilities that were new to me: even though I was uncomfortable with the new role, I had an energy that I never felt before. This project took three years to complete, and this odd energy was always there, like an invisible hand pushing me forward. If I could explain it in a few words, it would be: “unshakable confidence”.
One day, my manager called me to attend a meeting on his behalf, because his car suddenly broke down. It was a secret meeting and only a few people in the firm knew about it. At the meeting, they were discussing opening an office … in Seattle.
My heart exploded! With an office in Seattle, perhaps I could get a transfer! Many months later, the office opened, and I requested a transfer. Having accumulated many successes by then, particularly from the project that had just finalized, many IT directors, managers and coworkers came in my favor, stating that the firm could not afford to lose me under any circumstance. Having the directors by my side made me understand what was fueling me through this entire project: it was the key to ensure that my move to Seattle would be successful.
We arrived in Seattle on March 8th, 2023. At night, we drove to the Seattle Leizang Temple and waited for Grand Master. I told Grand Master a very simple greeting:
“Good night, Grand Master! Saúde!”
Being here, I constantly feel like I’m living inside Grand Master’s heart. No matter where I go, or what I do, I feel close to Grand Master. My wife and I have both experienced a tremendous improvement in our spiritual cultivation as a result! To practice with Grand Master, or close to Grand Master, is completely different than practicing in Pennsylvania. Like Lian Ha master told me one day “it’s like practicing at the source”. One can’t help but not to improve, by being close to Grand Master. One can’t help but to become more diligent – all we have to do is to closely watch Grand Master and follow his example!
I have sacrificed much to be here today. In doing so, I have left my ever-loving parents, a caring older brother, all my friends in Pennsylvania and the only house my wife and I ever bought. In one sense, I was practicing “to let go”.
Now that I’m here, I live each day with as much joy as I can: carefully trying to always be worthy of the blessing that this has been in my life. Practicing diligently so that I can stay here for as long as Grand Master chooses to be here.
I’m sorry that it took me so long, Grand Master. May we have many more opportunities to say these very simple words again and again:
“Grand Master, good night! Saúde!”
In these simple words, I put in all my love and all my memories of watching Grand Master since a little boy, over thirty years ago. In this simple greeting, I put all of me.