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The Compassionate Samadhi Water Repentance Dharma Assembly and Celebration of the Year of the Horse

On the weekend of Jan 31, 2014, Chan Meditation Center held a two-day Compassionate Samadhi Water Repentance Dharma Ceremony followed by a celebration of the lunar New Year.

The ceremony, led by the Venerable Abbot Guo Xing and monastics, was comprised of chanting, reciting texts of repentance, and bowing and prostrations to Buddhas. Ven. Guo Xing gave Dharma talks on the historical context of the text, and the proper attitude on should have during and after the ceremony. Venerable explained that the more we repent, the more we will experience happiness and create the conditions for attaining enlightenment, and emphasized the importance of improving the body, speech, and mind towards ourselves and others after the repentance.

Venerable used Master Sheng Yen's six-year solitary retreat in Taiwan as an example to illustrate the importance of repentance. During the first six months of his retreat, Master Sheng Yen focused only on repentance to purify his numerous karmic obstructions from countless lifetimes, and continued repentance practice for the next couple of years while studying sutras.

During the ceremony, people made flower offerings of potted orchids, symbolizing respect to the Buddha and the teachings.

On Sunday, February 2nd, there was a series of celebration activities for the lunar New Year, starting with the chanting of the repentance liturgy, followed by a video greeting from Dharma Drum Mountain’s Abbot President Ven. Guo Dong on the New Year’s theme, “Harmony without Disputes.” The Abbot President encouraged everyone to face and deal with life events with a calm and quiet attitude. If we find our body and mind in conflict with the environment, we should reflect on the reason why it makes us uncomfortable, and then gradually develop a peaceful state of mind so that we may be able to deal with what's in front of us.

Ven. Guo Xing delivered a Dharma talk entitled, "The Year of the Horse: Giddy-Up to Enlightenment!" Venerable encouraged everyone to follow the characteristics of horse, to have great endurance and calmness, and set a new years resolution to uncover the potential within ourselves. Venerable reminded everyone that we are already enlightened, but that we need to practice in our daily lives, using the analogy from the Chan tradition of holding gold in our hands, but needing to dust it in order to discover its existence. Venerable also advised the audience to not give rise to the idea of practice, which is the practice of non-practice, and to not attach to memories of the past.

Many volunteers prepared a delicious vegetarian lunch for everyone and there was a charity bazaar to help raise funds for the expansion of the center. In the afternoon, there was entertainment such as the lion dance, a keyboard solo performance, magic show and a performance by the CMC choir. The festivities concluded with a wedding ceremony and blessings to the young couple.

(By Ting-Hsin Wang, DDM Chan Meditation Center)

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