Water and Land Dharma Service: taking firm strides with a pure mind

With firm strides expressing gratitude to the past and with renewed outlook to the future, tens of thousands of devotees participated in the Sending off the Sages ritual, either on-line or at the altars on Dharma Drum Mountain, at 2 p.m. on December 3, 2016, marking the completion of the eight-day Great Compassion Water and Land Dharma Service. During the Dharma talk session, Abbot President Ven. Guo Dong announced DDM’s 2017 annual topic—“Bring Blessings and Wisdom Home”—to urge people to maintain the great compassion of awakening the self and others in family and daily life, thereby benefitting the self and others. By developing selfless wisdom, equal compassion, endless thankfulness, and unlimited dedication, we will be able to enjoy peace of mind, peace of body, peace of family, and peace of daily activities.

Ven. Guo Dong used his personal adage—feelings of shame and repentance help develop a pure mind; the joy of Dharma and delight of Chan lies in the mind as pristine as a bright mirror—to encourage people to constantly study and share the Buddha’s teachings through transcribing and reciting sutras, making offerings and donations, as well as listening, learning, receiving, contemplating, and practicing the Dharma. He also quoted Master Sheng Yen’s words of expectation for Dharma services to stress that the Dharma methods in the Water and Land Service are meant to arouse our Bodhi-mind, or the great compassion, to attain the ultimate enlightenment. Through making vows, awakening ourselves, and giving of ourselves for the benefit of others, we will accumulate both merit and wisdom, and be able to apply compassion and wisdom.

Consisting of participants of all ages, the team performing the Sending off the Sages ritual chanted Amitabha Buddha’s name continuously, signifying bringing blessings and passing good wishes to all. Chen Zixuan, a young volunteer, said that this was the first time she had attended the Water and Land Service, which filled her with joy. The Dharma teachers’ explanations allowed her to realize that the best way to wish people the best is to maintain a pure mind while having a solid footing in every aspect of our life. She and her teammates often encouraged each other, and were grateful for their family members for introducing Buddhism to them, enabling them to calm their bodies and minds. Therefore, they vowed to stay with a Dharma center that teaches correct Buddhist practice, and expected themselves to constantly study the Dharma, thereby helping themselves while acting for the benefit of more people.

Chen Yue-e, a devotee from Taoyuan County, who chants Amitabha Buddha’s name and participates in group practice regularly, said that she had attended the Water and Land Service for the past 10 consecutive years. She had benefited from the teachings in Buddhist sutras and the Dharma talks by monastic teachers, which she found greatly helpful to her family and family’s harmony. She vowed to dedicate herself to benefiting others while she is still fit and healthy. Chen Meiyuan, who accompanied her 90-year-old mother to attend the Service, said that she was grateful to the Dharma teachers and all the volunteers for their efforts, seeing her mother attend the Service every year and thus become healthier in body and mind.

In 2016, DDM held its 10th Great Compassion Water and Land Service. Over 162,700 devotees and volunteers attended the Service, either personally on Dharma Drum Mountain or in real-time on-line at DDM’s various branch monasteries and centers. Participants appreciated the idea that the merit of practicing should be dedicated to all beings without differentiation, and that the environmental-friendly practices have been adopted for the Service, which saw over 1.5 millions online prayer requests.

Master Sheng Yen once said, “The world is hopeful, with our blessings and best wishes.” DDM hopes more people can understand the benefit of the Dharma, generate the great compassionate mind to help purify human minds and society, and learn to apply wisdom and compassion to bring blessings to all beings. Starting from the family, we can apply it to our living environment, helping to build a pure land on earth with light and hope.

Reporter: Chang Yaochung (張曜鐘)
Photographer: Li Tungyang (李東陽)
Translator: Frances Liu (劉珮如)
Editor: Chang Chiacheng (張家誠)

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