News from the Dharma Realm
The celebration of Sakyamuni Buddha's birth at Gold Mountain Monastery this year was attended by a serious group of Sangha members, Buddhist disciples, adepts, and scholars who wished to pay their respects to the Buddha by further purifying the self-nature. The day was characterized by a variety of activities, all widely attended. A few hardy and vigorous adepts arrived in the pre-dawn darkness at four in the morning for morning recitation, a few more arrived with the dawn to attend the meditation periods from five until seven, and still more for the walking and sitting meditation on the Buddha's name which followed. Later in the morning ceremonies honoring the Buddha's birth and alternate bowing were followed by the high meal offering and a vegetarian feast.
In the afternoon, shortly following the meal, all of the Buddhists and friends who had come to the monastery bathed the new-born Buddha, a ceremony honoring the Buddha by symbolically cleansing the self-nature in order to reveal the Buddha inherent in each living being. The assembly then heard talks by leading Sangha members and Bay area Buddhists. Transcripts of these talks will appear in future issues of Vajra Bodhi Sea for those who were unable to attend the celebration.
Following the early afternoon ceremonies and talks, periods of sitting and walking meditation on the Buddha's name continued in the Jeweled Hall of the Great Heroes. At six in the evening a documentary film entitled "Buddhism in China" was shown.
At six-thirty in the evening, amidst the traditional splendor of golden Buddha images, lights, flowers, and ancient musical instruments, the major event of the day began with an offering of incense, ceremonies of repentance, and verses of praise to the Buddha. While a mantra was chanted everyone in the assembly bathed the Buddha and then heard talks from leading Sangha members, Buddhist scholars, and members of the lay community.
Some of the several hundred people who attended the ceremonies that day were new to Gold Mountain, others were long-time members of the Sino-American Buddhist Association, and others attended from several hundred miles around, from other states, and other nations, but all without exception found the Buddha's birthday an occasion for great joy. The day's celebrations ended at nine-thirty in the evening, and many were reluctant to leave.
END BIRTH AND DEATH
Of the three summer sessions sponsored by the Sino-American Buddhist Association, Vajra Bodhi Sea Publications, and Gold Mountain Dhyana Monastery there is one five-week Sutra Study and Meditation Session remaining. During these sessions daily explanations of important Buddhist Sutras will complement approximately five hours of meditation in addition to sutra and mantra chanting. The final week of each session will be devoted solely to the practice of a single dharma, either Ch'an meditation or recitation of the Buddha's name. The dates are:
Third Session—August 12th through September 15th. The closing date for registration for the third session is August 5th, 1973. There is no better way to introduce yourself to Buddhism and the path of cultivation than by attending one of these sessions.
Honoring Three High Masters
On the 17th, 18th, and 19th of April this year the Sangha, lay community, and friends of Gold Mountain gathered to pay their respects on the anniversaries of the births of the Great Master Ch'ang Jen and the Venerable Tripitaka Master Hua, and the anniversary of the day the Great Master Ch'ang Chih left the home life. Many gathered on the preceding Sunday to celebrate, and others attended three days of recitation of the Buddha's name to honor the high masters.
Shown above are those who gathered to recite the Buddha’s name in honor of the Great Master Ch’ang Jen, the Venerable Tripitaka Master Hua, and the Great Master Ch’ang Chih.
As regular features each issue of Vajra Bodhi Sea contains installments of THE LOTUS SUTRA, THE EARTH STORE SUTRA, and THE AMITABHA SUTRA, all with detailed commentaries; a pictorial biography of the Venerable Patriarch Hsu Yun; portraits of high masters of the past and present; Sanskrit lessons, articles; news and stories. No other English language publication presents the full expanse of the Buddhadharma, its history, theory, practice, and the full breadth of the teachings. If you wish to cross the Bodhi Sea, this magazine is your Vajra boat.
One of the courses in the Gold Mountain language-training curriculum is advanced English composition. The course covers all forms of writing, but puts emphasis on helping translators of Buddhist texts make their translations acceptable, meaningful, and even accomplished pieces of writing in English. The course was introduced to help fulfill one of the functions of the Sino-American Buddhist Association, to make the teachings of Buddhism, which are hidden in oriental languages available to Westerners.
The instructor is well qualified. A practicing Buddhist and disciple of the Venerable Master Hua, Upasaka Kuo Chou Rounds graduated with highest honors in English from Harvard, has published one novel. Coalitions, and is working on a second and is currently employed as the editor of the Napa County Record. He is a member of the Buddhist Text Translation Society and has contributed extensively in an editorial and advisory capacity. His thorough understanding of language and his ability to use it effectively and imaginatively makes his course useful and popular.
On Sunday, July 15th, the anniversary of Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva’s Enlightenment will be celebrated at Gold Mountain. Everyone is welcome to attend.