My experience in receiving Bodhisattva Precepts

My experience at DDRC was life changing. I have read many
books on Buddhism and all the reading has been helpful. However,
reading books on the path, and actually taking steps on the path or
entirely different things.

My wife and I started going to the Chan center in Tallahassee, Fl
a few months. For us, all we had to do was hear Guogu speak his
wisdom, to become committed. We have tried several paces over the
years only to become quickly disappointed. Our connection to Guogu
was immediate.

Upon hearing of the Transmission of Bodhisattva Precepts, we
thought we would love to go “someday” but, we felt completely
unqualified to take such a step. Also, by the time we responded the
deadline had already passed. We contacted our teacher and he said,
“Strengthen your bodhisattva vows and leave it to causes and
At that point, the wheels were in motion and we committed to go no matter what.

We were fortunate enough to drive up to NY (over 1200 miles) with
two other people (Martha and Hannah). We got to know one another very
good. It seems that it is often difficult to connect with
“like-minded” people. But, this experience only tells me that I have
not searched enough.

Arriving at the DDRC we were immediately amazed. We arrived a few
hours early and needed to get some rest (we just spent 22 hours in a
car). The wonderful people up there got us to our dorm and we were
then asked to go to the Dinning Hall where we were fed. Among the
many wonderful things that happened to us, the Dinning Hall was as
close to perfect food as one could ever imagine. We have been
Vegetarians for many years, however, we have never been fed so good.
I surely hope that DDRC would publish a cookbook. Food like what we
were served, can not be found where we live.

The evening ceremony was more than I expected. Actually, I had
no expectations whatsoever. I never been to anything like it before.
My first reaction was that I had no clue what anyone was saying, nor
could I understand the words written in the booklet in front of me. I
thought to myself, “this is what dyslexia must feel like.” (my
children all have learning disabilities). As written in English the
letters do not generally sound the same as our phonetics. But as time
passed I began to understand some of what was written.

After a few days, I fell in love with the language. The chanting
in Chinese is lovely and flowing. The chanting in English is choppy
and robotic. I guess I was not the only one that felt that way
because on the way back to Tallahassee we all (the 4 of us) decided
that we wanted to learn Chinese. We are currently trying to find a
program that fits our needs.

The ceremonies were something new to me also. I have never been
a religious or ritualistic person; at least since I was seven years
old. My family actually let me make my own decision about how I would
lead my life in a spiritual way. But, I was finally able to let that
part of “me” go and trust in what was in front of me. If I had not
had total confidence in Guogu, I would never had gone. After meeting
so many wonderful people, my confidence in the Sangha is unlimited.
though the idea of some greater power outside myself is something I
have never accepted in the past, that belief is now shattered.

I believe that there were 79 people at DDRC to receive the
Precepts. I’m not sure how many others were there to make the
Precepts happen, but it seemed like it was more than 40. I was taken
with all the effort by so many people on our behalf. Everything that
happened there was on our behalf. No other function, no other agenda,
no other prep for something else. All that happened was for us and no
thing or no one else. We were treated with absolute respect and

I was truly amazed.

Our day stated at 5:30 am and ended at 10:00 pm. Lights out at
10 pm. I do not think anyone had any trouble sleeping. I’ve never
fallen asleep so quickly nor have ever awoken so rested. We were fed
3 times a day simply the most amazing food I have ever consumed. As I
write this I am on my 44th hour of a 48 hr fast and I really wish I
could not think of the food at the DDRC. Suffering for sure!

I wish I knew the Nun in charge of the process. She was
unbelievable! She orchestrated to process with precision and a loving
smile. Never once, did I not know what to do or when to do it. I
was both honored and humbled by the Monks and the Nuns. All of them
put their hearts into us and made the experience life changing.

The morning of the Precepts was fast moving. I thought that after
3 days of kneeling that my legs would fall off. But, the energy
created by the ritual washed away all the pain or discomfort that I
had. I was so energized that I drove 17 hours afterwards before
taking a 2 hour nap and then driving the next four hours after that.
I am still energized by the transmission and I do not believe that
this energy will diminish.

I am working hard to keep alive the spirit that was transmitted to
me. I am committed to share my joy with others. As the sign in the
Dinning Hall says, ”Home at last”

(By Lawrence Rester)

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