Lighting a Lantern on Dharma Drum Mountain: Bringing blessings and wisdom home

On the Chinese New Year’s Eve, the bronze Lotus Bell inscribed with the whole Lotus Sutra, the first of its kind in the world, sounded its toll as thousands of participants lighted up their inner brightness for the coming new year, amid the ocean of lanterns on Dharma Drum Mountain.

Dharma Drum Mountain’s annual 108 bell-ring prayer ritual on the Chinese New Year’s Eve took place at the Lotus Bell Tower from 9: 40 p.m. on January 27 to 00:40 a.m. the next day. At midnight, the bell and drums were sounded simultaneously to mark the first day of the Chinese New Year. Ma Ying-jeou, former president of Taiwan,Ye Jun-rong, minister of Ministry of the Interior, Li De-cai, a research fellow at the Academia Sinica, Zhou Yong-hui, director of the Tourism Bureau, Taiwan’s Ministry of Transportation and Communications, He Rong-cun, director of the National Immigration Agency, among other special guests, as well as Ven. Guo Dong, abbot president of DDM, Ven. Huimin, chief-seat of DDM, and Zhang Changbang, representative of DDM’s lay community, all joined to strike the bell.

Bringing Blessings and Wisdom Home

Ven. Guo Dong led participants to pray for “peace of mind for all people; peace and stability for society; peace and prosperity for our nation; and peace and harmony for the world.” He then lighted up the lotus lantern together with the distinguised guests. As the abbot president explained, DDM’s annual theme for 2017, “Bringing Blessings and Wisdom Home,” requires us to stabilize our mind and family by cultivating blessings and wisdom, and to transmit the mindset of wisdom to our future generations by practicing the six perfections and various compassionate deeds. He urged people to start from taking good care of their families, as well as their living environments, to achieve that purpose.

Lighted Up and Passed the Rectangular Lotus-Bell Lanterns

After the 108 bell rings Ven. Guo Dong and DDM’s monastics, along with the participants, succeesively lighted up and passed the rectangular lotus-bell lanterns carved with the characters of “ping’an” (peace and safety) and “xingfu” (bliss and happiness), signifying one’s inner light by cultivating blessings and wisdom, a true treasure for one to bring home. While the sea of lanterns symbolized the wish that every family can light up their own inner lamp, transmiting positivity to society in the coming new year.

New Year’s Midnight Celebration by Reciting the Great Compassion Mantra

After the completion of the ritual, over 5,000 people then proceeded to the Wish-Fulfilling Guanyin Hall in succession to stay up for the New Year’s midnight celebration by reciting the Great Compassion Mantra. They also prayed for blessings for their friends and relatives by making a light offering to the Buddha, writing prayer cards, and transcribing the Heart Sutra with a concentrated mind.

Report: Lin Yaying (林雅櫻)
Photography: Shi Chuntai, Wang Yufa, Liao Shunde (施純泰.王育發.廖順得)
Video: Chang Tianpei (張田沛)
Translation: Frances Liu (劉珮如)
Editor: Chang ChiaCheng (張家誠)

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