Special Topics

Can Practicing Repentance Make Life Go Smoothly, Going Forward?

Everyone hopes that every day would be a good day, and life would always be smooth sailing. Yet, what does it mean to live an “easy” life? Our modern lifestyle is excessively tense and busy, which often leads to physical and mental strain. Most people are hardly relaxed. If we could live with peace of mind every day and not allow mental troubles to interfere with our sleep and digestion, surely we would live a tranquil and happy life. Though a good life seems natural, it is not ...

​Why Should One Practice Repentance Rituals?

Do you face endless vexations which cannot be extinguished? Are you constantly dissatisfied with your daily life and spiritual practice? When faced with life's various trials, monastics always advise people to increase their participation in repentance rituals, in order to feel tranquil and peaceful. Many indeed feel spiritually renewed after participating in repentance rituals. These individuals regain confidence, as well as the strength to renew their daily practice in the face of dis...

How Does One Uphold the Precept of Abstaining from Drinking Alcohol?

The precept of abstaining from drinking alcohol is unique to Buddhism. Although drinking alcohol does not, in itself, constitute a bad action, it can easily lead to mental confusion, impaired judgment, and, consequently, to many harmful behaviors. Whereas the first four of the five precepts are fundamental to moral life and thus primary, not drinking alcohol is a precept of prohibitive nature and thus secondary, since drinking alcohol is conducive to behaviors that break other precepts and ru...

​Would Upholding Precepts Cause Any Inconvenience in One’s Daily Life?

Some people would undergo great changes in their physical and mental behaviors after they learn Dharma and take the Buddhist precepts. For example, they no longer drink alcohol; they become vegetarians; and they don't like shopping anymore. They seem to be completely transformed that their family and friends may find it strange and uncomfortable. In other instances, precepts-receivers, after returning home from the precepts ceremony, may feel unacquainted with themselves, awkward around...

Why Should One Uphold Precepts?

Some people get nervous when they hear the word“precepts," thinking either that they will be restricted by them, or that they may not be allowed do many things and lose the freedom to do whatever they want in their daily life. Therefore, they may decide solely to learn from Buddha's teaching, without cultivating an intention to accept the precepts. Protection for Buddhist Practitioners In fact, the above is a misunderstanding of the meaning, function and content of th...

Why Can One Eradicate Karmic Obstructions and Avoid Calamities by Reciting Mantras?

Some may question whether the idea of eradicating karmic obstructions and avoiding calamities by reciting mantras appears to contradict the doctrine of cause and effect in Buddhism.   Reduce Bad Deeds and Develop Good Karmic Roots   In fact, to uphold a mantra by reciting it with a pure and concentrated mind is to observe the precepts in and of itself. Doing so will reduce the chances for us to do bad deeds, transform our negative thoughts, and help us cultivate our good k...

​What Attitude Should We Hold Toward Mantras?

Since Buddhist mantras embody the blessed power from Buddhas’and Bodhisattvas’compassionate vows, we should recite mantras wholeheartedly as though we were connected to the mind of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. In this way, our mind doesn't differ from the Buddha's mind. Understanding the Mindset for Reciting Mantras In the Great Compassion Dharani Sutra, Maha-Brahma* once asked the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara to explain the characteristics of the Great Compassi...

What is Mantra?

Whether they are attending Dharma assemblies or doing morning or evening services at home, Buddhist novices often experience a strange and mysterious feeling when they recite mantras. Why recite mantras? What is their origin? If mispronounced, could the power of mantras potentially fail?  Mantras originated in ancient times as a special kind of sound, through which humans communicate with the natural or spiritual realms. Since ordinary people can't understand these unusual“a...

How to Experience Being in A Pure Land by Attending Dharma Assemblies?

Many people want to learn about the Pure Lands where buddhas and bodhisattvas dwell. The best way to experience what the life would be like in a Pure Land is to attend Dharma assemblies at a monastery. A Pure Land, a pure abode for a buddha and bodhisattvas, is formed with the power of a buddha's vows and meritorious virtues. Unlike our human realm, it is a wonderful environment free of sickness, affliction and suffering.    Living in a pure land   Mahayana sutras a...

What is Dharma Assembly?

Speaking of group practices in Buddhism, Dharma Assembly can be regarded as an introduction to understand Buddhism. However, people who are new to Buddhism and unfamiliar with its meaning and ritual are often left to explore the unfamiliar environment by themselves at a Dharma Assembly. Many people mistake a Dharma Assembly for activities held solely for the purpose of warding off disasters, prolonging life and delivering the deceased, especially when they follow other participants at the rec...