Experience sharing

My heartfelt experience participating in an ordination ceremony

I could feel the wild thumping of my heart the moment I made my `first’ formal step on the red carpet of the Main Hall. The simplicity of the Main Hall with an ambiance of reverence took my breath away even though I had rehearsed numerous times for this ceremony. I was overcame with feelings that I have never experienced before; this was even more daunting than giving a piano recital given the fact that the number of people indoor was limited.

After days of training with additional rehearsals as an offering servant, I understood the challenges faced to be ordained in Dharma Drum Mountain. This is the first time that students from Dharma Drum Institute of Liberal Arts (Dila) cooperated with the monastic association of Dharma Drum Mountain. According to Chang-Sheng Fashi, it was difficult to even recruit a dozen volunteers for the ordination ceremony this year due to the pandemic; in fact, most of the volunteers were students. There were a few who could not make it due to a lack of appropriate accommodations in the monastery. As such, the fact that this ordination ceremony was made possible could be attributed to what the Buddha explained as ‘cause and effect’.

During the ceremony, every motion such as walking, standing, and kneeling was performed at a harmonious pace; there was great deliberation in every single movement, from the adjustment of the red plate to be at the perfect height to the solemn procession to the front of the right section of the hall. Each phase of the ceremony, every motion, as well as the required attire were simple yet perfect; all these were meticulously planned to be the epitome of elegance and simplicity. This ceremony illustrated the utilization of Chan practices in each and every movement, particularly to the students who have been training for a long period of time. During rehearsals, everyone practiced conscientiously and whole-heartedly in order to ensure that every moment in perfect; the training and team work in preparation for the ceremony enabled everyone to appreciate the concept of ‘non-self’.

As I did not meet all the requirements to be an offering servant, I was fortunate to be given the opportunity to participate in this ceremony, especially under the encouragement of Fashi. This unique experience is unforgettable and inspiring; I hope many more will be inspired to appreciate the honor of being ordained as novice monks, to explore Buddhism, to be wise in our life choices, as well as to share the Buddha’s teachings with as many people as possible.

By Apple Lee, student from Dharma Drum Institute of Liberal Arts (DILA)