Warning and Transforming Worldly People,
The Jeweled Repentance of the Emperor of Liang
Liberated Xishi from her Bitter Retribution as a Python.
Chan Master Zhigung's Honored Regulations Inspire
Living Beings to Cultivate the Happy Cause of Sagehood.
~Composed by Venerable Master Hua for
Jeweled Repentance of the Emperor of Liang~
From April 17th to 23th, the Jeweled Repentance of the Emperor of Liang was held at the City of the Dharma Realm in West Sacramento, a new branch of the Dharma Realm Buddhist Association (DRBA), to celebrate the Venerable Master Hsuan Hua's birthday. Faithful disciples from many countries transferred the supreme merit of the repentance to rescue the souls of the deceased and avert calamities and seek blessings for the living. At the same time, the other branch temples of DRBA recited the Great Compassion Mantra to express their best wishes and respect. The repentance was followed by a birthday banquet for the Venerable Master Hua on April 24th. In addition to many distinguished guests, disciples from various states, Canada, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and Brunei came to join the celebration; the participants numbered over a thousand.
Professor John B. Tsu, who chaired the birthday banquet, made the atmosphere especially joyful. California Governor Pete Wilson, who was holding an important meeting and could not make it, sent Ms. Jilin Dong to represent him. She read Governor Wilson's letter which stated that the Venerable Master, who has established University, High School, Elementary School, and taught numerous disciples, is an important spiritual leader in the United States. State Congressman Larry Bowler said he was delighted to see so many Buddhists focus their efforts on supporting family values. Ambassador Meiping of the Consulate General of China in San Francisco extended his congratulations and expressed his deep appreciation of Venerable Master's contributions in the promotion of religion and friendship between the two nations. Mayor Bud Harrison of Burlingame and Frank McMichael, Chairman of the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors, also attended this special event.
Professor Frank Lee, who initiated the project of writing the Venerable Master's biography, reported that in less than two months, one hundred and ninety-nine articles had been received. Among them were several lengthy articles written collectively. Disciples expressed their admiration for the Ven. Master, and recounted experiences of being taught or saved by him. The touching stories were displayed for people to read.
Edith Chen, champion of a well-known international piano competition, spared time from her tight schedule to celebrate Venerable Master's birthday. She performed three pieces as an offering to the assembly, and won a standing ovation from the guests. Young novice monks and nuns performed taijiquan, a Chinese martial art, and sang Buddhist songs, bringing the joy of the Dharma to everyone with their innocent performances.
Dharma Masters Mingzhao and Hengsure, on behalf of the Venerable Master, cut a vegetarian cake for a thousand people. The Venerable Master then addressed the assembly, saying that everyone had come with great sincerity, and that people should propagate Buddhadharma with the same sincerity. We shouldn't let our lives pass in vain as we busy ourselves with the myriad affairs. Everyone should be sincere in moment after moment, month after month, and year after year, making great contributions to Buddhism and helping living beings.
After the meal was concluded, four Theravada Bhikshus recited Pali sutras in the Buddha Hall, wishing the Venerable Master to have a healthy Dharma-body and to teach more and more Americans! In the Dharma-requesting ceremony which followed, representatives from Taiwan earnestly requested the Venerable Master to visit Taiwan this year to give blessings and quell disasters. Everyone in the hall respectfully joined them in making the request. The adorned scene was very moving.
Both overseas and domestic disciples requested the Ven. Master to transmit the three refuges and five precepts. Despite his tight schedule, the Ven. Master fulfilled their wishes without minding his own fatigue. The Master also transmitted the Shramanera Precepts to the novice monks and nuns. On this happy and auspicious day, the Buddhas' light shined universally, and a group of newcomers joined the Buddhist cause. We hope both the monastics and the laity will become outstanding disciples and great heroes in Buddhism!
The birthday celebration was held in open air, in the large tennis courts at the City of the Dharma Realm. Rainy weather two days before the celebration made the workers very worried. However, the Ven. Master told them not to worry, and assured them that not only would there be no rain on the day of the celebration, the sun would come out. And indeed, after the banquet started, the dismal sky gradually cleared up, and the sun shined through the dark clouds. It is said: "Dragons and tigers submit to a person who has great cultivation; ghosts and spirits respect a person of lofty virtue." It appears that the Venerable Master's virtue elicited a response from the dragons and gods, who also came to offer their best wishes!