On Dec. 28, the Ven. Master led an impressive Dharma Assembly in the Buddha Hall of the Sagely City of the Dharma Realm. Not fearing the chill, the faithful assembly gathered to attend the ceremonies.
The Sagely City of the Dharma Realm is a large international Way-place recently established by the Dharma Realm Buddhist Association. For the first time that day, ceremonies for the Three Refuges, the Five Precepts, Leaving Home, and the Ten Novice Precepts were held there. The conditions were ripe, and auspicious omens appeared for saving living beings at this Ten-Directions Way-place.
Qi-gong Master Guo Xiang-quan and pianist Edith Chen have long admired the exalted virtue of the Ven. Master. Coming from Manchuria, China, and New York, respectively, they attended the Recitation Session and received the Three Refuges and Five Precepts. Many others received the refuges and precepts as well. The Ven. Master instructed them, "On this day, your good roots have appeared and your Bodhi seeds have sprouted. By taking refuge with the Triple Jewel, you are being born with open eyes. All living beings must become Buddhas before I do. I vowed that I will not become a Buddha if anyone has not yet attained Buddhahood. So all of you must bravely advance to Buddhahood, and not make me wait too long. Be like 'the generals who do not dismount, but rush along on their way."
Saying that she has the ability to know the future and past, Guo Xiang-quan reported seeing many Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, and Dharma-protecting dragons and gods in the Way-place. She saw many lotus flowers in the Buddha Hall, making it wonderfully adorned!
Five men and ten women requested to leave the home-life, the youngest being five years old and the oldest seventy-nine. Among those who left home were a mother and son, and a husband and wife. Cherishing youngsters and respecting the elderly, the Ven. Master compassionately accepts even those over sixty, fulfilling their wish to cultivate.
Before their heads were shaved, the Ven. Master proclaimed, "The golden knife cuts the hair of afflictions. The wisdom sword severs the locks of ignorance. On this day, you manifest the appearance of one who has left the home-life and is entitled to receive offerings. In the future, you shall become a propagator of the Dharma!" After speaking the ten precepts three times, the Master exhorted, "You all must work hard to become capable leaders of Buddhism and carry out the work of the Thus Come One!" Most of these new Sangha members will stay at the Sagely City of the Dharma Realm to study the precepts and receive training to give them a solid foundation as left-home people.
The Dharma Assembly lasted until one o'clock. The Ven. Master spoke again at lunch: "You all should base your conduct on the Six Guidelines: do not contend, do not be greedy, do not seek, do not be selfish, do not pursue personal benefit, and do not lie. If every person can be a good person, the world's crises will naturally transform into peace and there will be no more calamities."