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One Day Amitabha Buddha's Recitation Retreat and Observing Eightfold Precepts

On May 1, the first One Day Amitabha Buddha’s Recitation Retreat was held at a Dharma Drum Mountain branch in Malaysia in conjunction with observing Eightfold Precepts. This retreat was attended by seventy devotees who cleared their busy schedules in order to train their mind and body.

Service supervisor, Ven. Chang Zun (常尊), started the event at 9 a.m. by explaining the process and regulations to participants; as this was a silent retreat, participants were forbidden from talking to each other. In addition, participants were either to perform 250 prostrations to the Buddha or to recite the Buddha’s name 5000 times. Prostrating to the Buddha is not only for worshipping the Buddha, it is also a means to tame our minds; awareness of shame leads to repentance and gratefulness, and consequently more effective practice. Ven. Chang Zun(常尊) also hoped that participants could make full use of this conducive environment to uphold precepts and to recite the Buddha’s name, thus enabling our body and mind to be at peace, just as though in the Western pure land of ultimate bliss.

Participants were also shown a video by Master Sheng Yen explaining the meaning, content and merit of The Eightfold Precepts. The Eightfold Precepts was developed by the Buddha to enable laymen to experience the life of a monk as well as leading a simple life. Learning to reduce desire and worry as well as being contented could lead to better rebirth conditions and consequently a smooth spiritual path to enlightenment.

The ceremony to uphold The Eightfold Precepts was led by Ven. Chang Shih (常施); participants received the precepts in a simple but solemn ceremony with joined palms.

The Eightfold Precepts consists of seven precepts but only one pertaining to food, that is, no food consumption after noon. This is to purify our actions, words and thought. Moreover, sincere worshipping of the Buddha and repenting our wrong actions could wash away the dust in our mind, leading to more successful practice.

In addition to Master Sheng Yen’s video, participants were provided guidance in different techniques of worshiping the Buddha, recitation of the Buddha’s name, taking the 3 refuges, repentance prostrations as well as transference of merits. This solemn ceremony was filled with continuous recitation of the Buddha’s name, bringing peace and a sense of connection to the Buddha.

After reciting the Buddha’s name for the duration it takes to burn 5 joss sticks, the Dharma ceremony ended at 9 p.m. The Venerable reiterated the contents of The Eightfold Precepts and reminded participants to uphold these precepts at all times; the participants then took vows to aid all sentient beings with appreciation.

Reported by He Yiling (何翊菱)
Photography by Yang Peifu (楊培福)
Translated by Frances Liu (劉珮如)
Edited by Leefah Thong

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