An Unforgettable Experience:
Learning Buddhism and Job Hunting
Back in the Fall of 2013, when I bid farewell to my cancer research job, where I was employed at a college for ten years, I felt very confused – I did not know where to go. I moved a couple of times looking for work. One by one the job interviews failed. In the beginning, I was severely depressed. Later on I felt numb about my situation. I doubted myself thinking I had become a useless person. In October of 2014, my family and I finally settled down in the San Francisco Bay Area. Because of my wife’s endorsement, I was fortunate enough to learn about Hua Zang Si. After a refuge ritual was conducted for me, and I became a Buddhist. In a temple teaching the correct dharma, propagating correct understanding and right views, I felt the compassion and magnificence of the Buddha, and all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. My anxious mind has finally found comfort and inner peace.
Ever since I took refuge, I was totally immersed in reading Expounding the Absolute Truth through the Heart Sutra written by H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III. The essential comments, skillful guidance, inspiring Buddhist stories, and countless koans contained in the sutra, completely convinced me to deeply believe that this is truly the absolute truth which can guide living beings to liberation from the cyclic reincarnations during the current period of time. Every dharma assembly is an experience of spiritual cleansing for me. My heart is filled with dharma joy. Shortly before Buddha Master transmitted the dharma, in the sky a lotus throne of seven colors appeared. Over a thousand people witnessed it. This again moved and motivated me to make a vow to devote myself to learning from the Buddha and beseeching blessings from my Buddha Master to help find me a job opportunity to strengthen my faith and perseverance which I needed for my practice.
During one afternoon not long after I made such a vow, I suddenly got a phone call from a job center. The job center asked if I was looking for a work and if I would like to take a temporary job. They told me that the temporary job could turn into a permanent one. The next day I passed the phone interview easily. Two hours later, the job center informed me to start the job in three days. What surprised me was that this was a job I had been wishing for and one that I had never applied for before. After I started the work, I quickly found some problems which interfered with how the lab results were processed. Then I came up with a plan to improve the process. My job went very well and efficiently. However, “the demon of attachments to Self" started to rise in me and hindered my mind. It thought: “I deserve this job. I got this job because of my professional skills, knowledge, and experience. With or without the empowerment of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, I will still have got it”. My earlier gratitude now had completely disappeared into thin air. I was also not that excited about the group cultivation sessions any more. I often used work as an excuse to get out of group cultivation. Even though I knew it was a short-term job, I was self-assured that the company would offer me a long-term contract. This was because the numbers I had provided to the company were very crucial, which had significantly helped the three phases of the clinical trials of the company to get approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Soon I experienced the existence of impermanence. The afternoon after I had finally turned in the last sets of numbers to my manager, on behalf of the company, he told me that my job had come to an end that very day. I pondered if I had done a good job, or not. I thought and thought, and could not come to an answer. The answer was obviously negative. One month later, the three-phase clinical trials were approved.
“Study is like rowing upstream: not to advance is to drop back." When the biased attachments or evil views blind one’s eyes, it is as if one walks on a metal string, where at any time one may trip and fall into the abyss of hell. “The demon of attachments to Self" again made me lose my job, yet it serves as an opportunity for me to look within myself and repent genuinely to my Buddha Master and all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. I vow to strengthen my belief, truly cultivate according to the dharma and never ever change my mind. I again picked up my reading on Expounding the Absolute Truth through the Heart Sutra written by H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III and The Six Commentaries written by Amang Nopu Pamu, and listening to the dharma expounded by H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III. Again my correct understanding and views became strengthened and “the demon of the attachments to Self" was subdued. I am aware of my weakness which is speaking and understanding English. For a couple of times, I lost great job opportunities because I misunderstood the questions and gave wrong answers. I start to listen repeatedly to Voice of America and study New Concepts. I jot down English words to increase my vocabulary. The words I often mispronounce I listen to the correct pronunciation to learn how to speak them properly. I may not know which day I will again get a job. However, I am not anxious or worried anymore. I believe in the Law of Cause and Effect. Listening to the dharma expounded by H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III becomes my priority and is my first task to do every day.
One day I received an email. A new start-up biotechnology company wanted to offer me a job interview opportunity over the phone. The phone interview went well. After that, I requested the sangha of Hua Zang Si to beseech blessings and dedicate merits to me. On the day of the interview, I felt very calm. Based on the questions they asked, I gave clear and appropriate answers. Three days later, I still have not received any responses. I did not know what to do next. I then recited silently the dharma name of Buddha Master seven times. A thought suddenly flashed through my head-at the interview, they mentioned about the issues I had in my previous cases. If I could quickly find out the reasons and solutions, I might stand out among all the candidates. Things seemed to happen in a way that was prearranged. In a short time I found all information related to the issues and sent it to the manager that interviewed me through an email. A week later, I got a new contract which turned out to be a full time job. This time, even more, I deeply feel that the great love of Dorje Chang Buddha Master, and the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas is everywhere. It also has given me a clearer understanding: when one learns from the Buddha, one should not think about fame and profit. Only when one remains genuine, sincere, and loyal to the Buddhas can the empowerment of the Buddhas protect us. Amitabha!