DDM Global News

Emulating Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva and His Compassionate Vows: Dharma Drum Mountain Ordains Six Novices

“With the first shave of the head, vow to abandon all evil; with the second shave, vow to practice all good; with the third, vow to deliver all sentient beings.” At 9 a.m. on September 6--Kṣitigarbha (Earth Store) Bodhisattva's birthday, according to the Chinese lunar calendar--Dharma Drum Sangha University held its annual tonsure ceremony. The Abbot President of Dharma Drum Mountain, Ven. Guo Huei, and the former Abbot President, Ven. Guo Dong, jointly performed tonsure, thereby completing the transmission of precepts to the six novice monks and nuns.

At the tonsure ceremony, Ven. Guo Huei maintained that, during a time when our inner mind is in turmoil due to wars and natural disasters in the world, there is a great need for Budhist teachers to guide people to calm their body and mind. The venerable encouraged the newly ordained to not forget their original intention;  arouse the great Bodhi-mind; continually cultivate shame and repentance by reflecting on their bodily, verbal, and mental actions; and, finally, to fully accept the nurturing and training from the sangha to become monastics with great compassion and vows. Ven. Guo Dong said that a monastic ought to follow the spirit of Kṣitigarbha Bodhisattva: “I vow not to achieve Buddhahood until all hells are empty. Only when all sentient beings have been delivered, will I attain Buddhahood”. He encouraged the newly ordained to keep in mind their compassionate vow to deliver all sentient beings.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, only 11 family members were physically present at the ceremony this year. Most of their friends and relatives s used livestreaming to send their blessings to the newly ordained who are on the path to Buddhahood. Ven. Yan Rang from Malaysia made three prostrations to his parents via virtual meeting, signifying his homeleaving. He said that he would use this body given by his parents to strive in everything he does, to learn and grow by contributing himself, and to help more peoplein need.

Ven. Yan Xu's grandmother, Chen-Wu Hui, remarked that her granddaughter had made the vow to practice the Bodhisattva path after attending the Awakening Camp. “With the guidance from the Dharma Drum Mountain sangha, I hope she will be able to take on the Buddhist undertaking to share the Dharma for the benefit of living beings,” said Chen-Wu. Ven. Yan Xu was grateful to her grandmother for giving her the opportunity to start learning Buddhism when she was a child. She also vowed to help afflicted sentient beings free themselves from the suffering of samsara, while proactively learning, growing, and making breakthroughs as a member of the monastic community. She remarked to her family members, “May we all be Dharma friends on the path of Buddhist practice, benefit self and others, and never regress until we attain Buddhahood.” Ven. Kuan En said that he had initially majored in Social Work to find a way out of his own suffering and seek answers to the purpose of his life. After coming into contact with many more suffering people, however, he then resolved to become a Buddhist monk to help them leave their suffering behind and attain happiness.

Finally, Abbot President Ven. Guo Huei gave the six newly ordained their Dharma names according to the Chan lineage of Dharma Drum Mountain, and wished them a steady path forward in their monastic life.

Text: Lin Ya-ying (林雅櫻)
Photos: Lin Ya-ying (林雅櫻), 李東陽 (Tony Lee)
Translation: Jordan
Editing: Chang Chia-Cheng (張家誠), Keith Brown