Refuge ceremony to light up our inner lamp

Refuge ceremony to light up our inner lamp

Dharma Drum Mountain held a refuge ceremony at the main Buddha Hall at 2 p.m. on October 1. DDM abbot president, Ven. Guo Dong, blessed the participants with the phrase: lighting up our inner lamp to illuminate a life emulating Guanyin Bodhisattva. Nearly 700 people completed the ceremony in the midst of chanting Amitabha Buddha’s name, and over 20 families registered for the next refuge ceremony. Participants said “happy birthday” to each other to mark the beginning of their spiritual lives.

As the Buddha-card necklaces were placed around participants’ necks, Ven. Guo Dong urged them to learn to treat people with compassion, handle things with wisdom, and regard everyone as a bodhisattva. The abbot president also reminded that true happiness doesn’t come from material comforts; mental poverty is harmful to the self and destructive to the world; and letting go of mental burdens is true happiness. Dharma Drum Mountain encouraged people to practice its annual themes for 2015 and 2016: “Great Light—using wisdom to transform circumstances, one’s mind is bright. Using compassion to benefit others, one’s promise is great,” and “Great Light—with a clear mind at every moment, you shine light everywhere; with a stable footing at every step, your future is full of promise.” By doing so, we can help purify human minds and society.

In the hopes that people will have peace of mind and live in harmony with nature, the abbot president further explained how to go about the practice of DDM’s Fivefold Spiritual Renaissance Campaign in daily life: “Keep peace of mind in both agreeable and adverse situations. Maintain a calm and concentrated mind by practicing Chan and Buddha-name recitation. Have a sense of shame and repentance, and you can purify your mind. Dharma joy and Chan delight generates from the mind as bright as a mirror. Be grateful, repay kindness, and give of your life. With compassion and wisdom, you will enjoy happiness and harmony.” These are six guidelines to practice protecting the spiritual environment. Towards the end of the ceremony he also stressed, “You don’t wait for happiness to happen to you; the moment you’re willing to give is the moment you will find happiness.”

Over 300 family members, most of whom were Buddhists, also attended the ceremony. Wu Shuhui, a practitioner from Keelung, said that her 82-year-old mother, who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, prompted her to realize the impermanence of the world all the more since she had taken the refuge as a Buddhist. She wanted to invite her mother to take the refuge while she was still mentally clear, for her to attain calm and ease of mind. Her brothers and sisters also accompanied their mother to travel to DDM from Yunlin. Their whole family also took the refuge, as a way to pray for blessings for their mother.

Zhang Ciyuan, who attended the joint Buddhist wedding with her husband at the same venue eight years ago, accompanied their son, Liu Changyu, who was just old enough to qualify for the ceremony, to come and take refuge. They had explained the meaning of taking refuge to their child prior to the ceremony, and hoped he would become more able to help others with the wisdom of the Dharma. They expected themselves to be a Buddhist family that practice both merit and wisdom. They had often volunteered at Buddhist temples, so as to allow their child to over time understand the importance to cultivate blessings by planting the seeds in the merit-field, and form good karmic connections with others.

DDM hopes that after taking the refuge participants can work hard to live out the spirit of Guanyin Bodhisattva by helping themselves and others to grow and develop in family, work, and society. Finally, DDM presented Dharma books, including The Meaning of Taking Refuge, The Buddha: Attaining the Buddhahood as a Human, and Emulate and Act like Guanyin Bodhisattva, to all participants. Young children, on the other hand, received 3D movie DVDs and comic books entitled “A Spiritual Child with Ease and Freedom” as gifts, signifying taking their first stride toward a future of great light.

Reporter: Chang Yaochung (張曜鐘)
Photographer: Wang Yufa , Chang Yaochung (王育發、張曜鐘)
Translator: Frances Liu (劉珮如)
Editor: Chiacheng Chang (張家誠)

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