DDM Global News

Welcoming the New Year with 108 Recitations of the Great Compassion Mantra

On December 31, 2020, from 7 pm to 10 pm, Dharma Drum Mountain Chan Meditation Center (CMC) conducted the special event of 108 Recitations of Great Compassion Mantra Ceremony at Dharma Drum Retreat Center (DDRC) with over 400 participants in attendance. As the pandemic continues to spike in the New York home of CMC, the assembly was held via live broadcast on YouTube to avoid gathering crowds and prevent further spread of Covid-19. Led by CMC's and DDRC's monastics, practitioners earnestly recited the Great Compassion Mantra 108 times. Through this two-and-half-hour practice symbolizing ringing out the old year and ringing in the new, CMC trusted that participants could transfer the merit gained, praying for the world to enjoy peace and all beings to leave suffering behind.
To open the event, Ven. Chang Hwa, director of CMC, introduced the concept and the essence of dharani upholding. Dharani, or otherwise known as mantra, has the meaning of "containing the whole". Thus, through single-minded recitation—that is, with mindful recitation, mindful chanting, and mindful hearing—one practices unifying one's body and mind, as well as purifying one's bodily, verbal, and mental actions. As the venerable said, "Although 2020 was quite a challenging year for the globe, it gave us a chance to learn how to benefit and help each other, and to be more committed to cherishing the earth." She also encouraged everyone to not give up easily no matter what difficulties and challenges they might encounter. Finally, she wished everyone a beautiful 2021 with peace, harmony, and joy.

The assembly concluded with the monastics offering their blessings and best wishes. Ven. Guo Yuan, the abbot of DDRC, highly praised the participants for their concentrated recitation. He noted that the power generated from the recitations of the Great Compassion Mantra will bring all beings ease and joy in the new year. He also urged everyone to jointly pray for continued peace and harmony in our environment and our society.

Text & Photos: Chan Meditation Center
Translation: Hsiao Chen-An
Editing: Chang, Chia-Cheng (張家誠); Greg Aiani