Do not mind what others think. We, left-home people, value very much this opportunity to bow in repentance. Everyone who came from the City of Dharma Realm (CDR) hopes to use their time well; put forth the effort in their cultivation according to the Dharma. The function of repentance is very difficult for us to envision. We think that it is just a series of bowing. Unknown to us, in the midst of bowing in repentance, a lot of our karmic offenses are eliminated and our karmic forces ameliorated. This is inconceivable.
Time passes very quickly. A year has passed. Now it is time again for our annual Jeweled Repentance of Emperor Liang. I still remember what happened to me last year after bowing the Jeweled Repentance. After leaving Gold Wheel Monastery, we arrived at CDR around 4pm. At 10pm, I fell. It's very fortunate that I bowed for repentance; otherwise, the consequence would be unthinkable. This year, I remind myself to be more single-minded and sincere in repenting and reforming. This is a very good opportunity for us to eliminate our karmic obstacles.
When we started the Jeweled Repentance today, the repentance text talked about Dhyana Master Zhi Gong who put togather the entire volume of the repentance text. He was instructed by Maitreya Bodhisattva to add four additional words íV Wayplace of Kindness and Compassion íV to the title of this repentance. DhyanaMaster Zhi Gong dared not ignore these four words. Hence, the title "Wayplace of Kindness and Compassion, Jeweled Repentance of Emperor Liang" (Wayplace of Kindness and Compassion Repentance Dharma).
Kindness and compassion are very important. In Avatamsaka Sutra's Chapter 'Great Vows and Conduct of Samantabhadra Bodhisattva', the ninth great vow is "To constantly accord with all living beings". Samantabhadra Bodhisattva said, "All Buddhas have great compassion as their substance. Because of all living beings, they brought forth great compassion. From great compassion, the Bodhi mind is produced. Consequentially, the Bodhi mind leads to the attainment of equal and proper enlightenment." These are all a series of connections. Originally, all living beings are filled with the Buddha's wisdom and virtue; but, we have gone stray from the Buddha Way. It is imperative to have kindness and compassion to be one with the Buddha Way. The suffering of others is just like my own. Bit by bit, we will slowly find our way home. "Great Compassion stems from one's caring for living beings". From great compassion comes the Bodhi mind. With the Bodhi mind, we do not fear the myriad difficulties. When we toil with blood and sweat and renounce our lives, we think we are doing these for the benefit of others when in fact we are benefitting ourselves. So, this is the direction we must follow. This is the path to return home, to return to our original Buddha nature.
The Venerable Master said, "Truly recognize one's own fault; do not discuss the faults of others; others' faults are my own, together as one is great compassion." Talking about the Buddha nature's proper path makes us realize where we originally come from. One thought of ignorance makes the subsequent evils countless. Slowly but surely, we let the three poisons of greed, anger, and foolishness take over, negating the three studies of precepts, samadhi, and wisdom. Eventually, we become vagabonds in the Saha World. How do we return home? Each time we bow in repentance, we remind ourselves of the evils we have committed in the past when we have not practiced Buddhism. Even if we have learned Buddhism, even if we have left the home life, we still have a hard time overcoming our ignorant behavior and faulty habits. We must constantly remind ourselves to follow the Venerable Master's Six Guiding Principles, i.e. not contending, not being greedy, not seeking, not being selfish, not seeking for self-advantage, and not lying. Even if we haven't successfully followed the Guiding Principles, we must always remind ourselves to do so. The reason why this world has not been destroyed is because there are people who are willing to repent and reform of their faults. If no one can admit to one's own faults, and turns to blame others instead, claiming 'it has nothing to do with me', then the world would be obliterated.
Speaking of cause-and-effect, I recently came across an instructional talk by the Venerable Master and I'd like to share with everyone. The Venerable Master said, "Let's investigate the big issue. What is the big issue? It is a matter of our birth-and-death."
The Venerable Master said, "All issues are within the scope of these four words -- good, evil, cause, effect. The good ones succeed; the evil ones fail. This is the law of cause and effect. As the saying goes, "When you sow melon seeds, you will reap melons. When you sow beans seeds, you will reap beans." Because of this principle, the world still exists. If the good ones fail and the evil ones succeed, then the natural law of justice will no longer exist. When that happens, the world should be destroyed. It would be doomsday.
"How can we prevent doomsday? By enhancing people's minds. When people's minds strive for the good, radiance will illuminate the world. Radiance is wisdom. People with wisdom have proper righteousness. Everything they do is proper and bright. Everything they do is for the benefit of the human race, with no discrimination of ethnicity or nationality. In doing so, the human race could become one big family in a world of great unity. People of the present is not comparable to the ancient ones. Nowadays, people are selfish and tend towards benefiting oneself, even to the extent of sacrificing others. Therefore, the world is becoming darker, more deluded, and more dangerous day-by-day. It is getting very close to doomsday, being just a stone's throw away. If we do not come up with ways to save it, we will all perish together with no survivors in the end. "
(To be continued ...)