DDM Global News

Emulating Guanyin Bodhisattva: 583 lay Buddhists receive Bodhisattva Precepts

After completing the four-day ceremony, comprising sessions for ritual rehearsal, precept explanation, repentance prostration, and reception of the Four Kinds of Indestructible Faith (四不壞信法) (Catudhammapariyāyaṃ), the Three Sets of Precepts for Purification (tri-vidhāni śīlāni) (三聚淨戒), the Ten Good Karmas as Precepts (十善戒) and the Ten Inexhaustible Precepts (十無盡戒), the precept recipients respectfully put on Buddhist scarfs embellished with the Buddha image and the DDM emblem. Starting off by congratulating everyone by saying “happy birthday,” Ven. Guo Dong then gave a Dharma talk, that with persistent practice and constant cultivation we will naturally perfect and master the skills, with which our spiritual ignorance, afflictions, and habitual patterns will eventually be transformed and purified. And, by improving and maturing our practice, we will naturally give rise to the mind of compassion and wisdom.

The abbot president used the analogy of “sunlight” to illustrate the brightness of wisdom, by quoting Chan Master Cha-Ling Yu’s poem: “I have a bright pearl, which is obscured by dusts of affliction. Today lights have shone forth from the disappearance of all dusts, clearly illuminating all mountains, rivers and flowers.” A bodhisattva should use compassion and wisdom in dealing with matters, as sentient beings all have their multiple habitual patterns and mental afflictions. So receiving the precepts resembles the ocean embracing various rivers, and requires one to follow the path of Guanyin Bodhisattva, by practicing giving of oneself and applying the Dharma in daily life, keeping calm and stabile at all times, thereby always remaining in the state of Chan joy.

“The spirit of the Bodhisattva Precepts is mutual assistance and cooperation, for the benefit of others,” DDM chief seat monk Ven. Hui Min said, by giving the example of the Chilean mining accident, when the 33 miners trapped deep underground endured hardship by sharing their meager food supplies and were finally rescued after 69 days. Pointing out that Taiwan is also frequently hit by natural disasters and that most people tend to save the best for themselves while leaving the difficult part to others, the venerable hoped that precept recipients will exercise the Bodhisattva spirit and learn to reverse hardship into something positive to give to others, reinventing society through mutual cooperation and thereby creating a positive cycle.

Ven. Guo Hui, on the other hand, said that the Bodhisattva path takes at least three asamkhya kalpas (三大阿僧祇劫) to accomplish before the attainment of Buddha-hood. A bodhisattva must practice what is hard to practice and bear what is hard to bear, for the sake of delivering sentient beings and attaining Buddha-hood, by liberating affliction for the self and helping others leave their affliction behind. This is the value of engaging in Bodhisattva practice, and it requires us to constantly pay attention to our bodily, verbal, and mental actions, and develop wholesome habits in our daily life. To wear the Buddhist scarf is to put on clothing of repentance. At any given moment we should act like a “bodhisattva of infant-like practice,” always able to get on our feet again. By accumulating experiences of learning and making amends for our faults, we will be able to succeed in our cultivation.

Aspiring to fulfill the filial piety for his grandfather, Xu Zhenan reminded himself of the words of Master Lien Chi of the Ming Dynasty: “Only when our elder family members have left behind samsara then we as the offspring can be said to have achieved the Path.” As his grandfather just passed away in January, he wanted to dedicate the merit of receiving the precepts to his grandfather. Although he originally lacked the confidence to uphold the precepts, he later realized, after listening to Master Sheng Yen's video expounding on the precepts, that he had been overly worried over the details regarding the codes of conduct as stated in the Buddhist canon. DDM, on the other hand, emphasizes the importance to adapt to the changes of time and values the precepts as guiding principles. As Master Sheng Yen taught, one must repent whenever breaking the precepts, and through repentance one is still able to resume purity. This perspective reassured him regarding the keeping of the precepts and encouraged him to vow to constantly correct himself and benefit others.

"Only being aware of my own suffering, not that of others; and only knowing to seek peace and happiness for myself, unaware that other people are seeking peace and happiness as well,” said Peng Yongxi, who shared that once when he was kneeling reciting this passage from the Liang Emperor’s Repentance Ritual for the first time while attending the Great Compassion Liberation Rite of Water and Land, he couldn’t help but remember his father, and tears ran down his face. Realizing that there are actually many other people in the world like him, he had since changed his way of thinking. By receiving and upholding the Bodhisattva Precepts he expected to take the precepts as a refuge for his life of Buddhist practice. He also hoped to be able to introduce Buddhism to more people, just as DDM volunteers had helped him access Buddhist teachings and benefit from the Dharma.

Cherishing the wonderful opportunity to receive the precepts, all of the applicants for the first group participated in the Bodhisattva Precepts ceremony. The ceremony for the second group will start on March 18 at the DDM complex. DDM encourages people who have received Lay Bodhisattva Precepts to continue to participate in the precept chanting assembly at its monasteries, as well as remain mindful of the Buddhist precepts; one should repent when transgressing the precepts, so as to maintain the pure essence of the precepts and increase the spiritual provision for attaining the Buddha-hood.

Texts and Video:
Lin, Ya-Ying (林雅櫻)
Liao, Shun-De (廖順得)
Shi, Chun-Tai (施純泰)
Chang, Cheng-Yu (張振郁)
Chang, Chia-Cheng (張家誠)