Sounding the Lotus Bell to welcome a year of hope and happiness in 2009
On the eve of Lunar Chinese New Year, 25 January 2009, the clear, heart-touching and inspirational sound of the Lotus Bell could be heard throughout Dharma Drum Mountain World Center for Buddhist Education in Jinshan Township, Taipei County. Around one thousand devoted followers prayed in the "Bodhisattva Prayer Ritual", undetterred by the cold, windy and raining weather.
In the solemn atmosphere of Lotus Park, followers recited the holy mantra "Namo Amituofo" earnestly with the guidance by the DDM Sangha community to repent for wrongdoings of the past year and prostrate to cultivate compassion, wisdom and spiritual peace.
On either side of the Lotus Bell stood about a hundred followers including Venerables, with the remainder standing on the square beneath the Bell. At the very moment of the last (108th) sounding of the bell, all prostrated to welcome the very first second of the new year, to pray for health of the Most Venerable Master Sheng Yen and for a mind at peace.
Despite the Master's absence at the ritual, through a video recording on widescreen his warmest blessings moved hearts nonetheless.
The Master encouraged people by saying the year of 2009 will be full of hope as long as one bears faith. If faith in one's mind, then one could create happiness in adversities and could see hope in depression. The Master compassionately reminded everyone that one's life can be peaceful as long as the mind stays at peace.
Further to wishing everyone peace, happiness and health in the new year, he reiterated the importance of practicing in daily life the ideas of the Six Ethics of the Mind and the Fivefold Spiritual Renaissance to build stability and peace both within family and society, wishing happiness and hope for everyone at all times.
The Abbot President, Venerable Guo Dong, echoed the Master's blessing by encouraging people to remain in hope and to always ponder questions with a positive angle. He trusted that all obstacles ahead can be overcome with the wisdom of Dharma – source of hope and peace with the mind.
The ritual ended with followers slowly circling the Lotus Bell in line to chant "Nanmo Amitoufo".
(by Jin Yang/edited by DDM Australia Editing Team)