News from the Dharma Realm
Shown here are some of the Chían adepts who participated in this winterís meditation sessions. Bhiksu Heng Ju who is bowing once every three steps over a 1,000 mile route hoping to evoke a response from the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas of the ten directions in order to bring peace to the world, and his fellow cultivator on the journey, Bhiksu Heng Yo, took time out from their bowing to attend. The awesome presence of these two cultivators inspired all participants with their unprecedented vigor. The session was also attended by Bhiksu Miu King, Abbot of Hong Kongís Tung Lum Nien Fah Tong who was a guest at Gold Mountain last autumn. See story below.
Shown here with the Venerable Master Hua and some of the four-fold assembly at Gold Mountain are six new novices who recently left the home life at Gold Mountain. Story below.
ORTHODOX SANGHA FLOURISHES
On November 27, 1973, six seekers of enlightenment had their heads shaved and were received into the Orthodox Sangha at Gold Mountain with the transmission of the ten novice precepts in the Jeweled Hall of the Great Heroes. One of these, Sramanerika Heng Fu from Hong Kong, has been a disciple of the Venerable Master Hua since the early 1940's. The others all young Americans, are extra-ordinarily energetic, talented and devoted Buddhist adepts, as their biographies and the broad scope of their vows, which will appear in succeeding issues of Vajra Bodhi Sea, will show.
Shown above from left to right are Sramanerikas Heng Chen, Heng Chien, and Heng Fu, and Sramaneras Heng Lu, Heng Fu, and Heng Kíung.
Shown below (facing) they are shown receiving incense burns in their heads (twelve in all) as an offering to the Buddha.
This winter at Gold Mountain Monastery the Sino-American Buddhist. Association again sponsored three weeks of cultivation. The first session honored the anniversary o£ Amitabha Buddha's birth, and consisted of recitation and mindfulness of the Buddha's name from four in the morning until ten in the evening each day for seven days. The Amitabha Sutra was recited in the morning, noon, and night, and the hours in between were filled with alternate walking and sitting, oral and silent, mindfulness of the phrase NA MWO E MI TWO FO. The Great Transfer of Merit rounded off each day. Participants took only one meal a day.
The second two weeks (Dec. 22nd, 1973, through Jan. 5th, 1974) consisted solely of Ch'an (Dhyana) meditation. More than thirty people attended the session, which began at 2:30 M and continued until twelve midnight for fourteen days. Again, only one meal a day was taken by participants. Eleven hour-long sitting periods (one a two-hour period in the late afternoon) Interspersed with twenty-minute periods of walking meditation and two instructional talks filled out each day. During the two and one half-hour rest period from midnight until 2:30 AH, several meditators chose to remain sitting in the meditation hall. The strict adherence to the rules of the hall and the serious intent of fellow-participants provided a conducive and stimulating atmosphere) and those who participated were eager to join the next sessions which will be held in the spring. Photos on these pages were taken during the session. The schedule:
FOURTEEN DAY CH'AN SESSION:
December 22nd, 1973, through January 5th, 1974. Daily Schedule.
AM 2:30 Morning Boards, Rise
3:00 Chant Three Refuges
3:05-4:05 1st Sit One Hour
4:05-4:15 Milk Served
4:35-5:35 2nd Sit One Hour
5:35-5:55 Walking Meditation
5:55-6:55 3rd Sit One Hour
6:55-7:15 Walking Meditation
7:15-8:15 4th Sit One Hour
8:15-8:30 Walking Meditation
8:30-9:30 5th Sit One Hour
9:30-10:00 Instructional Talk
11:00-11:40 Daily Meal
11:40-12:10 Walking Meditation
PM 12:10-1:10 6th Sit One Hour
1:10-1:30 Walking Meditation
1:30-2:30 7th Sit One Hour
2:30-2:40 Tea Served
2:40-3:00 Walking Meditation
3:00-4:00 8th Sit Two Hours
4:00-4:10 Stand in Place
4:10-5:00 Continue Sit
5:00-6:00 Rest Period
6:10-7:10 9th Sit One Hour
7:10-7:-- Walking Meditation
7:---8:-- Instructional Talk
8:---8:30 Walking Meditation
8:30-9:30 10th Sit One Hour
9:30-9:40 Milk Served
9:40-10:00 Walking Meditation
10:00-11:00 11th Sit One Hour
11:00-11:20 Walking Meditation
11:55-12:00 Chant Three Refuges
will be held in mid-spring and early summer. Any interested person should
contact Gold Mountain.
(Opening speeches continued from issue #45)
BHIKSU HENG KUAN: The next speaker will be Upasaka I Kuo Jung. A Ph.D. Candidate in Buddhist Studies at U.C. Berkeley; he is also a Lecturer in Philosophy at San Francisco State, a Lecturer in Religious Studies at UC Davis, and the President of the Vajra Bodhi Sea Publication Society of the Sino-American Buddhist Association. We are very happy to have him speak.
UPASAKA I KUO JUNG: Upasakas, Upasikas, friends, and guests. I didn't know until right now that I was supposed to say anything so my remarks will be brief. I am happy to be here with all of you today at the opening of the International Institute for the Translation of Buddhist Texts, and I would like to remind you all of what I am sure will take place here in the future. As you all know, the Buddhadharma is by definition without limitation: it's not limited by country, ideology, by school or sects, or any point of view. This center will be a place where people of all lands and all inclinations can come together and do the work of translating Buddhist Texts. These texts explain the unlimited so that people of all lands and all inclinations and all points of view can lay down their differences. Consequently, through this work; the world will come closer to greater peace and understanding between all peoples.
The center here is meant to be a center for people of not Just one particular inclination, but of all schools, not only people from various religious institutions, but from all institutions. Here there can be a close and happy cooperation between those people of the community of the Sangha and people in the academic world, both of whom have been working very hard to make the sacred texts available to the Western world. Here all peoples can work together, can mutually benefit from each other's knowledge and understanding, and can come to a new and higher understanding together.
Bhiksu Heng Kuan:
I would now like to introduce the Venerable Master Hsuan Hua, the Abbot of Gold Mountain Monastery and Chairman of the Sino-American Buddhist Association.
Today we celebrate the opening of the International Institute for the Translation of Buddhist Texts, and this is a dharma which "has a mark." Opening the Institute, we should open our "no-mark" dharma as well. What is meant by a dharma which "has a mark" and which "has no mark"? "All that which has marks is empty and false. If one sees all marks as no marks, one sees the Tathagata."
"No mark" is just to be "without marks." "Having a mark" is to retain "marks". Now, we use a dharma, which has marks to accomplish the dharma of "no marks." "The absence of marks is just Bodhi." And so we should open our dharma of "no marks" as well, and that is simply to "open." enlightenment.
The Buddhist Doctrine which I heard each of you speak today was extremely fine. But none of you expanded the scope of your thoughts. Buddhism is certainly not a religion. Why? Because the teaching of the Buddha is simply the teaching of mankind, the teaching of living beings. This is because "all living beings have the Buddha nature and all can become Buddhas." There is not a single living being who cannot become a Buddha. The Buddha is not a tyrant and he is not a dictator. The Buddha is most democratic and most tolerant. Therefore, if you scold the Buddha he wouldn't say, "Since you scolded me. I won't let you realize Buddhahood."
"You scolded me? I'll take you to Buddhahood. You murdered me? I'll still take you to Buddhahood." So when the King of Kalinga dismembered the body, of the Patient Immortal, the Patient Immortal [who later became Sakyamuni Buddha] made a vow to take him to Buddhahood first.
Today, as we open the International Institute for the Translation of Buddhist Texts, it is my hope that those who believe in Buddhism and all who do not believe will all realize Buddhahood. One living being says, "I don't want to realize Buddhahood." You may not want to, but there is no way to avoid it. Why? Are you or are you not a living being? If you're not a living being, then you may not realize Buddhahood. If you're a living being you cannot not realize Buddhahood. If you're a living being, you have the Buddha-nature and you will realize Buddhahood. It's a question of time, but sooner or later, you will certainly become a Buddha. It may be limitless, limitless, great kalpas from now, but eventually you will do so. Right now, you may say you don't believe, but in the future you are bound to believe that you yourself will realize Buddhahood. You will certainly believe that you are, in fact, a Buddha!
I am very happy today to see that so many Good Knowing Advisors have come to attend the opening. Today, the flower of Western Buddhism has bloomed. That which blooms must certainly bear fruit. What fruit? The Sutras will now be translated into the languages of all nations so that all living beings can realize Buddhahood. This is my hope.
Time is especially precious today and I don't want to say too much; Iíll just take five minutes, like everyone else. Whoever wants to translate for me, can. If no one translated, Iíll translate for myself!
(Dharma Master Heng Ching then translated for the Master.)