Master XianChi was born and raised in Vietnam. He served as a captain in the South Vietnamese army and fought against the Communists under the Diem regime. After the Vietnam War ended in the late 1970’s, he was held as a prisoner in a labor camp where he suffered bitterness and the condemnation of society under Communist rule.
He met a Buddhist monk at the camp who secretly provided him with the Shurangama Sutra and the Wonderful Dharma Lotus Flower Sutra. The latter included the Universal Door Chapter, which mentioned Guan Yin Bodhisattva rescuing living beings when they call her name. By reciting Guan Yin’s name, he received help with his immense difficulties. Master XianChi stated that Guan Yin was a life raft for him when he was drowning in this Ocean of Suffering.
In 2003, about 10 years after coming to the United States as a war refugee, Master XianChi visited a relics (sharira) exhibition in Sacramento. When he sat to meditate in the lotus position, he found that the pain he typically felt had disappeared. His fascination with relics grew, and he developed a yearning to collect them. For the next 7 years, he visited temples in Vietnam where he was given more of these artifacts. For 3 years he was only able to obtain small sand-sized relics, and gradually, as a result of his sincerity and dedication, these grew to 10,000. The work of collecting relics has given meaning to his life. The Buddha’s relics have become his breath, his heartbeat, and his function. Whether a relic is as small as a grain of sand or a mote of dust, or as big as an apple or egg, he treats each of them as the Buddha Himself. The relics have helped him to improve his heart health and overcome his anger and resentment issues.
When Master XianChi was 68 years old and a landscaper with the East Bay Municipal Utility Department in Oakland, he attended a meditation retreat held by Master YongHua at Lu Mountain Temple where he experienced great personal growth. As a result, he felt inspired to offer up his entire relics collection to Master YongHua. It was his desire to share them with the world in the hope that others would receive the same benefits and incredible response.
Master YongHua was skeptical at first. In his branch of Buddhism, relics never rose to the same level of importance as meditation, sutras, and mantras. However, he accepted both the offer of these relics, as well as others to come. In early July of that same year, Master XianChi was ordained as a monk. Master YongHua named him the “Sharira Monk.” Individuals who encountered the presence of the monk’s relics began reporting that they noticed changes. The atmosphere in the temple grew calmer, more peaceful, and more comfortable. Reports of deeper and more concentrated meditation experiences followed, with people stating that they felt the presence of the Buddha there. Relics continue to bring faith, blessings, and prosperity to all of those who encounter them.