DDM Global News

​Online Chinese New Year Dharma Assemblies to Pray for World Peace, Safety, and Wellbeing

The 2021 online New Year Assemblies held by Dharma Drum Mountain Malaysia Centre started with the New Year's Eve Repentance Prostration Assembly and the Prayer Assembly for Peace and Safety. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the two assemblies were live-streamed on the Centre's Facebook page especially for devotees who are in home quarantine as required by the Movement Control Order 2.0, respectively at 9 pm on February 11 and 2 pm on February 12.
On Lunar New Year's Eve, February 11, 168 participants practiced repentance prostration online, reflecting on and repenting their faults in body, speech, and mind over the past year. During the opening Dharma talk, Ven. Chang Ji remarked: "Our life is like a river. The misconducts we made in our behaviors, words, and thoughts that have intentionally and unintentionally harmed others are like the trash and sludge in the river. The trash and sludge accumulated over time will become obstacles to our practice." Using two personal experiences, the Venerable shared the impacts of both following the Precept of No-Killing and, conversely, violating the precept. She explained that our fear, anger, and misconceptions often cause us to intentionally or unknowingly hurt and bring loss to others. Therefore, we need to practice the method of repentance, as taught by the Buddha, bravely facing the "trash in the river" and cleaning it, while praying that the Buddha and the bodhisattva will witness our determination to take responsibility and avoid making the same mistakes.
Chi Yueh-Hung, who attends New Year's Eve Repentance Prostration every year, said, "My tears kept rolling down, not for sorrow and grief, but because of the peace and calm I experienced while performing the prostration and recitation." Meanwhile, Huang Chun-Chieh shared by saying, "On the New Year's Eve, we should greet the coming year with a thorough spiritual cleansing, the same way we clean our homes."

On February 12, the first day of the Lunar Year, 133 people attended the online Prayer Assembly for Peace and Well Being. The assembly featured the method of prostrating to the vows. It was the first time that the Centre led devotees to prostrate to the vows on the first day of the Lunar New Year. Ven. Chang Shi quoted Master Sheng Yen's Dharma talk by saying, "To have peace and safety, we must cultivate an awareness of any problems that arise. The more we are prepared, the less danger we will encounter. However, such alertness is not based on fear, because fear will more likely cause dangers." The Venerable encouraged everybody to calmly face the pandemic with an ordinary mind, accept the challenge, and remain clearly aware of it. After dealing with it using compassion and wisdom, we should let it go. As long as we can keep a calm mind when facing challenges, we'll be able to live our life with peace, joy, and well-being. She also explained that the practice is to prostrate to Sakyamuni Buddha, Medicine Buddha, Amitabha Buddha, and Guanyin Bodhisattva (Avalokitesvara). By prostrating to the vows, we can better connect to these vows and thus be inspired by them, as well as emulate the Buddhas in how they deliver sentient beings.
Hsieh Pei-Wen, who attended with her family, said that the pandemic had, to varying degrees, affected herself and people around her. She hoped that "everyone can face favorable and adverse circumstances with an ordinary mind. That represents a big step forward in personal growth." Another participant, Yeh Wen-Shan, mentioned that on hearing the familiar sound of recitation, she felt as though she were right at the monastery. "I firmly believe having the Buddha-dharma in mind can always help us find a way. By performing prostration and making vows with sincerity, we can radiate positive energy for the entire year to come."
The Centre hopes everybody can safeguard, bless, and care for one another so that there will be more warmth and peace in society. To take protective measures in the pandemic is to protect ourselves and others. We should certainly remain concerned, but mustn't worry too much about it.
Text: Kuo Tzu-Wei(郭紫薇); Lo Chih-Hao(羅志豪)
Translation: Hsiao Chen-An
Editing: Chang Chia-Cheng(張家誠); Keith Brown