Sheng-Yen Lu Foundation and True Buddha Foundation co-sponsored the 2010 Lotus Scholarship, a special project, to support Buddhist Studies. We are featuring each scholarship recipient here and in True Buddha News. Jacqueline Ho (“Jackie”) is a PhD student at University of Calgary working on a dissertation titled, “The True Buddha School in Canada: A Study of the Calgary Pai Yuin Temple’s Outreach to the Wider Community.” She credits Grandmaster Lu’s teachings with having a profoundly positive influence on her life as well as helping her to understand difficult Buddhist concepts. Jackie was awarded “Hardest Working Volunteer” by the True Buddha Translation team last year. After completing her degree, she hopes to become a Buddhist Studies professor.
1. Question: What inspired your decision to study Buddhism?
Jackie’s answer: When I was 15 years old, I was interested in the art of feng shui and my mother bought me some books written by Grandmaster Lu on the subject. I finished reading the books in a short matter of time and kept asking for more. Then, one day my mother brought home Grandmaster Lu’s [book] “Encounters with the World of Spirits” and that was the first time I became interested in Buddhism. When I entered University, I studied a variety of different subjects including business, education, art history, and anthropology, but I was most interested in religious studies, especially Buddhism. Buddhism deals with the fundamental human concern about the meaning of life. It is not just concerned with theory and philosophy, but its teachings require verification through one’s own insights and experiences. To me, this type of challenge is very exciting and captivating. Also, the research possibilities in Buddhist Studies are endless. I feel I can never learn everything and each piece of knowledge opens new doors.
2. Question: Describe your greatest accomplishment so far while in pursuit of your degree in Buddhist Studies.
Jackie’s answer: I don’t feel that I have accomplished anything great. However, I currently teach courses on Buddhism at Mount Royal University and I feel great joy when I can share the Buddhist teachings with others. After taking the course, some students go to join a Buddhist meditation class. Others may gain greater understanding of themselves and their own faiths. Many students enroll in the courses for very personal reasons and I feel happy sharing those moments of frustration, realization, laughter and joy with them.
3. Question: What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Jackie’s answer: Is there such thing as perfect happiness? All things are changing from moment to moment. Isn’t this what the Buddha taught? I feel the Buddha said that as long as people don’t get caught up in an ego, then all the suffering in the world cannot touch one. This is the Middle Way. Grandmaster Lu taught that one should always follow the natural path. This teaching has become deeply embedded in me.
4. Question: In your next life, who or what would you like to be?
Jackie’s answer: Whether I am reborn as an ant or a human, I would like to be reborn as a disciple of Grandmaster Lu.
5. Question: What impacts have the study of Buddhism had on your life?
Jackie’s answer: The study of Buddhism has provided me with the crucial background knowledge regarding Buddhist theory. I feel that Buddhism is a very systematic religion so it is important to have an important foundation in theory. However, I feel that the true study of Buddhism occurs when one attempts to apply the theory into daily life and then one gains insight from one’s experiences. So, the study of Buddhism has made a personal impact in my life in regards to developing more harmonious relationships with people.
On the academic side of things, the study of Buddhism has led me to meet a lot of inspiring and knowledgeable Buddhist scholars such as the late Dr. Leslie Kawamura and Dr. A.W. Barber. Through attending academic conferences, I have been able to network with Buddhist scholars across North America and share valuable information about our research.
6. Question: How has the Lotus Scholarship helped your study of Buddhism?
Jackie’s answer: I feel great reverence to Grandmaster Lu, the Sheng-Yen Lu Foundation, and to those who donated to the scholarship fund. It means a lot to me to have the support of the True Buddha School community, and fellow dharma brothers and sisters. I want to thank everyone deeply for encouraging and supporting my research. The Lotus Scholarship will help to support my research of the True Buddha School in North America and help to make more information available to the wider community.