DDM Global News

Dharma Drum Mountain Tonsure Ceremony: The newly ordained take up the monastic path for the benefit of all beings

Updated September 9, 2022

At 9 am on August 26, (Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha's birthday, according to the lunar calendar), Dharma Drum Sangha University's annual tonsure ceremony took place at the Grand Buddha Hall of Dharma Drum Mountain World Center for Buddhist Education. More than 300 family members of the soon-to-be monastics and ceremony volunteers were present to give their blessings.

"With the first shave, I vow to cut away all evil. With the second shave, I vow to cultivate all good. With the third shave, I vow to deliver all sentient beings." Abbot President Ven. Guo Huei presided over the ceremony as the Precept Master, with former Abbot President Ven. Guo Dong as the Teaching Acharya (preceptor) and three other monastics as "acharyas to shave the postulants' hair". Together, they performed tonsure for the five postulants, thereby completing the transmission of the sramanera and sramanerika precepts.

"To 'leave home' is to live the monastic life by following the Buddha's example. From now on, we should live every minute, every second, and every kshana of our life centered on the Buddha-dharma." The Abbot President shared that the point of leaving home is to take leave of the three realms of affliction, and begin one’s Dharma body and life of wisdom. On behalf of Dharma Drum Mountain, Ven. Guo Huei expressed gratitude toward the parents for giving their grown-up children to the Sangha. The Dharma Drum Mountain Sangha will nurture them to be future religious leaders who possess great compassion and wisdom. "To shave one's hair is to fulfill the aspiration to become a monastic, and truly undertake a Tathagata's actions," said the former Abbot President Ven. Guo Dong. He added that, when handling matters concerning the sangha, one should always bear the Buddha's teachings in mind. He also advised the future monastics that, we mustn't forget the Buddha's teachings when faced with our habitual tendencies of affliction or various favorable and unfavorable situations in life. More so, we should practice morality, concentration, and wisdom more diligently, to truly free ourselves from worry, hatred, and distress.

"Life at the Sangha University may sometimes be hard, but it is indeed most worthwhile." Recalling the past six years as a volunteer for DDM, Ven. Kuan Rui agreed that it was the happiest time of her life-- a kind of joy unlike any other worldly pleasure. Every day when she wakes up, she asks herself: "Am I bringing happiness and well-being to the people around me?" Seeing how most people have to undergo and endure the difficulties and struggles in life, she hopes to share with more people the warmth from her family and the solid strength gained from her personal Buddhist practice---thus enabling people to also benefit from the Buddhist teaching and thus live a more fulfilled life.

"As a monastic, I hope to contribute myself to Buddhism by taking on Master Sheng Yen's ideals and visions, to further promoter his Buddhist teachings." Ven. Kuan Shan from Malaysia, who is in her early 20s, said that she wanted to dedicate her life to helping those in need and bringing happiness and well-being to more people. Upon hearing her vow, the Venerable's mother Yeh Juan Juan, who was present at the ceremony to give her blessings, felt especially touched.

"With two years of study at the Sangha University, I've witnessed her growth, which is beyond my imagination and expectations." Ven. Kuan De's parents were pleased to see how their daughter has developed with more stability and ease of body and mind. Her mother, Lin Mingrong, shared that initially she had just tried to encourage her daughter use Buddhist practice to resolve her stress from academic studies. In the process, she eventually found her own path and was even able to inspire other family members. She poignantly remarked, "She has taken the great vow to help all sentient beings, so we as parents will definitely support her, and give our blessings to her as she walks on this path."

For the 2022 Dharma Drum Mountain tonsure ceremony, the Abbot President Ven. Guo Huei gave the five newly ordained monastics their Dharma names in the Dharma Drum Lineage of Chan Buddhism. They are : Kuan-Yin Hui-Yuan (寬因慧緣), Kuan-Yong Hui-An (寬永慧安), Kuan-De Hui-Yeh (寬德慧業), Kuan-Shan Hui-Xing (寬善慧行), and Kuan-Rui Hui-Xiang (寬瑞慧祥). The sangha urged them to start their monastic life by emulating Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha’s great compassion and filial piety, by paying respect and gratitude toward all past and present parents and teachers, bringing benefits and happiness to all sentient beings, and practicing DDM founder Masters Sheng Yen's vision: "Upliftg the character of humanity and build a pure land on earth."
Text: Ya-ying Lin (林雅櫻)
Photos: Yao-chung Chang (張曜鐘)、Lee Fan (李東陽)
Translation: Vicky Wei (韋徵儀)
Editing: Chia-cheng Chang 張家誠, Keith Brown