Note: During the Seventh Transmission of the Three Platforms of Precepts at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas seventy-six people received the precepts: eleven received Bhikshu Precepts (two were receiving the precepts for the second time); forty-five received the Bhikshuni Precepts (five were receiving the precepts for the second time); five received the Shramanera Precepts; fifteen received the Shramanerika Precepts--all were long-term residents at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas. The Venerable Master Hsuan, Preceptor Hua was the Precept-Transmitting Master; The Great Master Ming, Acharya Yang was the Karmadana Acharya; and The Great Master Ming, Acharya Je was the Teaching-Transmitting Acharya. There were also seven Certifiers and eighteen Precentors.
Recorded during the Seventh Transmission of the Three Platforms of Magnificent Precepts
The past three months' training is the foundation for a new life. Those who receive the complete precepts are no longer children. They are adults who stand tall under the sky and firm on the ground and who will be responsible for perpetuating the Buddha's teachings. From now on "propagating the Dharma is our family business; benefiting beings is our profession" shall be the motto of each Bhikshu and Bhikshuni who holds the Bodhisattva precepts. "Receiving and guarding the precepts, ending birth and death, cultivating, and certifying to the fruition" shall be the goals which we all wish to attain.
"We disciples to the ends of our lives take refuge with the Buddha, take refuge with the Dharma and take refuge with the Sangha. We now follow the Buddha to leave the home-life under the Venerable Master Hsuan, Preceptor Hua, and in accord with the Thus Come One's true and proper enlightenment. This is able to happen due to the kindness of our World Honored One." This is the essence of the Second Platform which is repeated three times. After the third Karmavachana of seeking the Precepts thus, one receives the precept-substance. At that most crucial moment, one must fulfill five conditions: One must say one's own name; one must say the name of one's Precept Transmitter; one must seek the precepts in the way,one is instructed; one must be free of sleep and anger; and one must not fail to have the resolve to receive the precepts. In the one sentence: "I now follow the Buddha to leave the home-life under the Venerable Master Hsuan, Preceptor Hua" is the joy and celebration of having turned from the boundless sea of suffering toward the shore. It is the delight of finding a lamp in the darkness; the bliss of discovering a lotus in the fire. It is that gratitude at finding the Dharma which is so difficult to meet; the joy of encountering a Good and Wise Advisor who is so hard to find.
This year in May the Venerable Master looked into the conditions and decided that after the Water, Land and Air Repentance in September, there should be a Transmission of the Complete Precepts. Once the news spread, the Shramaneras, Shramanerikas, and those who were newly left-home were happy and excited beyond measure. The requirements in order to be able to receive the precepts included memorizing the 53 mantras, the Shramanera Vinaya, the Four Divisions of Bhikshu or Bhikshuni Precepts, and the Brahma Net Version of the Bodhisattva Precepts. For those who did not know Chinese, these were tough requirements, but everyone accepted the assignments and went to work. Everyone recognized the opportunity to receive the precepts as being an invaluable one. Especially since the Venerable Master had announced: "Left-home people who do not receive the complete precepts are no different from lay people ... After this year, those who wish to receive the complete precepts must first train for three full years before they are allowed to have their heads shaved. Then they must go through two more years of bowing to the Buddha, bowing in repentance, and reciting sutras from memory before they will be accepted to receive the precepts. This year's transmission is especially expedient among the most expedient ones..."
After the precept platform commenced, besides the regularly scheduled ceremonies and classes that everyone attended, the preceptees further bowed before the Buddhas four hours a day doing repentances to thoroughly cleanse their minds. In every thought was the praise "Homage to our Original Teacher Shakyamuni Buddha!" Their ears heard it, their mouths chanted it, their minds revered it. They used patience, kindness, compassion, and determination to counteract their internal karmic obstacles, afflictions, ignorance, and habits and to confront every external situation and state. At all times and in all places the preceptees could be found diligently memorizing their texts--even to the point that they would be silently reviewing their memorization while in the washroom. They made full use of every moment and put the old saying into practice: "In studying there are three requisites: (1) on the road, (2) on the pillow and (3) on the toilet." It's also said that "Learning makes the poor rich." Since learning worldly knowledge is like that, how much the more are the precepts established by the Buddha himself a precious raft for crossing the sea of birth and death. Passing through ceaseless repentance for cleansing the mind; memorizing each precept and infusing their fragrance into daily cultivation; and deepening skill, day by day, the preceptees went through silent, imperceptible changes--changing their habits, altering their personalities, and developing adorned and awesome deportment until the way they walked, the way they talked, their every movement revealed left-home people who conducted themselves in accord with the Dharma. The power of repentance, the strength of studying the precepts causes people to change and become new!
The Venerable Master wanted the left-home people to join in the Water, Land, and Air Repentance according to the Dharma doors / they liked to cultivate: whether reciting Sutras, bowing repentances, or reciting the Buddha's name. Thus all the preceptees hoped to finish their memorization of the precepts prior to the start of the Water, Land, and Air Repentance, so that they could join wholeheartedly in the cultivation of that Buddhist event prior to receiving the precepts. Thus, by the time the Water, Land and Air Repentance began at the end of August, eighty percent of the preceptees already had their precepts memorized. The others at least knew the fifty-three mantras, the Shramanera Vinaya and the Bodhisattva Precepts by heart. The power of the precepts causes our intent for the Way to become ever more firm.
After the Water, Land, and Air Repentance was over the explanation of the Precept Transmission Ceremony and the practice took place in the tight space of one week. The preceptees practiced diligently and so the First Platform of the Shramanera Precepts, the Second Platform of Bhikshu, Bhikshuni Precepts and the Third Platform of Bodhisattva Precepts were all carried out perfectly in accord with Dharma. Qing Dynasty Emperor Shun Jr (in his Verse in Praise of the Sangha) said: "Gold and jade cannot be considered valuable / When compared to the difficulty of being able to don the kashaya (precept sash)." May all those preceptees in the entire world firmly uphold the pure precepts and act as guides for humans and gods and as outstanding individuals within Buddhism.