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, an (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 a special high meal offering (see picture following page) 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 heard talks by leading Sangha members and Bay area Buddhists.

Plates of food are passed in a circle in a special offering held once a year on the birth of the Buddha Shakyamuni.

Food offerings are passed from person to person in a circle so each can offer up thanks.


      Shown above (first row right side) are Mr. § Mrs. Wilczak, who visited Gold Mountain on the occasion of their son, Gregory's, leaving home. The Wilczaks arrived a few days prior to the Sramanera Precepts
Platform and each evening of their stay they joined in the Avatamsaka Sutra assembly and listened to the sutra lectures. On the day of ordination, Mr. § Mrs. Wilczak attended all the ceremonies

(See page 71 of issue #60.)

      Gregory, whose name in Dharma is Heng Shim, spent a year (1973-74) in Bangkok, Thailand as a monk, practicing Theravada Buddhism. Eventually, through a series of causes and conditions, he came to Gold Mountain, and shortly after, he took refuge with the Triple Jewel and resolved to study and practice Great Vehicle Dharma.


      On July 24th, 1975, ceremonies were held in the newly renovated Jeweled Hall of the Great Heroes to initiate sramaneras and a Sramanerika into the orthodox Sangha at Gold Mountain. Following the formal request for the precepts, the Buddhas of the ten directions were invited to witness the event and the ten precepts of a sramanera were administered. Each novice then had his head shaved and made an offering to the Triple Jewel of the ten directions by receiving twelve incense burns on the crown of his head in the traditional manner. Shown here are Sramaneras Heng Sure (middle) and Heng Hoan (right) receiving incense burns.

The new novices formally request the transmission of the precepts.

Sramanerika Heng Chu makes an offering to the Buddha on the crown of her head.

Gold Mountain’s Sangha grows.

The newly ordained sramanera and sramanerika who have received the ten precepts of the novice with some of the Gold Mountain four-fold assembly.

Truly recognize your own faults,

And don't discuss the faults of others.

Other's faults are just your own--

Being one with everyone is called great compassion.

composed by Dhyana Master Hua
translated by Bhiksu Heng Kuan