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A Reflection on the Repentance Dharma Service

I have a habit of reflecting on my behaviour and speech, especially when I feel what I did and said may have hurt others. Most of the times, I could find out my mistakes and I would not feel good, because my heart was full of regret and self criticism.

After attending the two-day dharma service at Dharma Drum Vancouver Center last weekend, I truly experienced the merits of repentance, which was so different from my previous experience. At first, when I was reciting the sutra about the misconducts and karmic obstructions of sentient beings, memories of such unwholesome deeds I have done arose and I felt so scary and regretful. However, instead of judging myself and focusing on the negative feelings as in the past, I did repentance prostrations and recited the sutra with my whole heart following the pace of the Dharma service. Naturally as my body and mind became lighter and lighter, a sense of assurance was generated in my mind that all these karmic obstructions could be diminished and even cleared away and I could become better and better along the noble path. It was an amazing experience that fears for my bad karma had transformed into courage to overcome obstructions and determination to continue my practice.
While we were reciting the third volume of the sutra that describes the living conditions of sentient beings in different kinds of hells, I could visualize those images before me and some of them were even once my beloved ones. In that moment, I realized that I might have experienced those sufferings before too, and nobody could really escape from suffering in the past, present and future.All of a sudden, hatred engulfed in me toward people who hurt me before began to evaporate. How could I add more suffering to the sentient beings who have already been filled with miseries?

I really appreciate having the opportunity to attend this Repentance Dharma Service. I have benefited from the merits of repentance and would like to share my experience with others. With this experience, I am more determined to cultivate compassion and to abstain from committing any harmful conducts from body, speech and mind.

(Composed by Droma Liu)

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