萬佛城金剛菩提海 Vajra Bodhi Sea
萬佛城金剛菩提海 Vajra Bodhi Sea

金剛菩提海:首頁主目錄本期目錄

Vajra Bodhi Sea: HomeMain IndexIssue Index

《法界音》

 

NEWS FROM THE DHAMA REALM

千處祈求千處應
Prayers Depart a Thousand Hearts;
in a Thousand Hearts He Answers

晁山     文
by Zhao Shan

北加州萬佛聖城於七月二十四日星期日,舉行「觀世音菩薩成道日慶祝法會」,吸引了六百餘位信眾,遠自加拿大溫哥華,以及洛杉磯、聖荷西等地前往參加,並將法會功德迴向給世界和平。

萬佛聖城今年在緊連觀世音菩薩成道日慶祝法會之前,曾舉行一週的「精進觀音七」。有兩百多位人士,放下生活中種種瑣事俗務,利用休假,到萬佛聖城參加一週的觀音七。以「打七」取代旅遊,省卻旅途奔波的疲累,確實是讓身心徹底休息的渡假好方式。

今年參加萬佛聖城觀音七的人士比往年多,打七的時間表也與往年不同。每天自清晨四時起,至晚間九時四十分為止,大眾虔誦《普門品》與觀世音菩薩聖號,並打坐、繞佛迴向。一天有四次的功德迴向,將大家精進用功的功德迴向給父母師長、冤親債主,以及世界和平。在全球各地日見紊亂的今天,戰爭、犯罪顯露了人性中殘暴的一面,但也激起更多人渴望追求心靈上的一片淨土。

根據佛經記載,觀世音菩薩發願尋聲救苦,廣度眾生,所以有「千處祈求千處應,苦海常作度人舟。」的偈語,佛教徒尊稱為「大慈大悲救苦救難廣大靈感觀世音菩薩」。萬佛聖城的萬佛殿內供奉的,正是丈餘高的千手千眼觀世音菩薩聖像,許多信眾都感到,只要虔心禮拜,一心一意稱念觀世音菩薩聖號,確實有不可思議的感應。不僅有求必應,不求也應。

七月二十四日這天,六百餘位信眾分兩梯次,自萬佛聖城山門朝山,三步一拜,直拜到萬佛殿,為法會掀開序幕。接著是誦經、繞佛、打坐、拜佛。午齋時分,萬佛聖城附設的育良小學、培德中學學生,以英語為在場善信背誦〈弟子規〉,小沙彌尼也背誦〈永嘉大師證道歌〉,祝福大家早日體會「禪悅為食,法喜充滿」的境界。法師為大眾開示時指出,觀世音菩薩也是從凡夫修行成菩薩,要學習觀世音菩薩的精神,就要尊重每一位眾生,將每一位眾生都當作菩薩,幫助所有的眾生走向智慧之路,這樣大家才能離苦得樂,同證菩提。

午齋後是放生的儀式,萬佛聖城每次舉辦法會,必定放生,以減少天地間的暴戾之氣。這次放生的是禽鳥類的動物,約一百隻。在放生儀式的唱誦之後,鐵籠打開,百隻禽鳥同時振翅高飛,喜獲重生。那情景感動了在場的各國前來瞻仰的信眾,許多小朋友甚至為這些鳥兒的重獲自由而鼓掌歡呼,雀躍不已。美國籍的凱特女士是第一次參加佛教放生儀式,她頻頻讚歎說:「太好了!太好了!」

觀世音菩薩成道日慶祝法會在三皈五戒與大悲懺之後,圓滿結束。來自各地的信眾紛紛踏上歸程,再度為家庭、事業而忙碌。但是,經過法會的充電洗禮,許多人感到煩躁焦慮的情緒減少,能夠以更開闊柔和的胸襟待人處事,生活中的種種困難、挫折,似乎不再那麼難以忍受了。這正是宣公上人常說的:「心平百難散,意定萬事吉。」

On Sunday, July 24, the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas in northern California celebrated Guanyin Bodhisattva's Accomplishment of the Way. Over six hundred Buddhists came from San Jose, Los Angeles, Vancouver, and other places. The merit of this Dharma Assembly was dedicated to world peace.

Before the celebration, the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas held a one-week Vigorous Guanyin Recitation Session. Over two hundred people set aside their daily chores and came to the session instead of taking their usual vacations. They avoided the fatigue of traveling. Attending the session is truly a good way to spend a vacation and give the body and mind a thorough rest.

There were more participants in this Guanyin Session than in past years. The schedule was a little different from previous years. Every day from 4:00 a.m. until 9:40 p.m., the assembly recited The Universal Door Chapter and Guanyin Bodhisattva's holy name, sat in meditation, and circumambulated the Buddha. The merit derived from vigorous cultivation was dedicated to parents, teachers, relatives, enemies and creditors, and also to world peace, four times a day. Nowadays, the world is increasingly chaotic. Wars and crimes reveal the cruel and violent side of people. Yet they also inspire many people to pursue the pure land of the mind.

According to a Buddhist sutra, Guanyin Bodhisattva vowed to listen to sounds and save those in suffering, vastly rescuing living beings. Thus the verse goes, "Prayers depart a thousand hearts; in a thousand hearts he answers, sailing the sea of suffering, crossing people over." Buddhists reverently call him "Greatly kind and compassionate Guanyin Bodhisattva, who saves living beings from suffering and hardship with vast miraculous responses." In the Hall of Ten Thousand Buddhas at the City, there is a statue that is over ten feet tall of Guanyin Bodhisattva with a thousand hands and a thousand eyes. Many Buddhists have experienced inconceivable responses from sincerely bowing to and single-mindedly reciting the name of Guanyin Bodhisattva. Not only have their prayers been answered, they have also received responses which came without being sought.

On July 24, the celebration began with the over six hundred Buddhists dividing into two groups to bow every three steps from the mountain gate of the City all the way to the Hall of Ten Thousand Buddhas. This was followed by sutra recitation, circumambulation, meditation, and bowing. During the luncheon, students from Instilling Goodness Elementary School and Developing Virtue High School recited The Rules for Being a Student in English, and young novice nuns recited The Song of Enlightenment for the assembly, hoping everyone would soon attain the state of "taking Dhyana bliss for food and being filled with the joy of Dharma." One Dharma Master explained that before Guanyin Bodhisattva cultivated and became a Bodhisattva, he was also an ordinary person. To emulate this Bodhisattva's spirit, we should respect all living beings, regard every living being as a Bodhisattva, and help all beings walk toward the path of wisdom. Then everyone will be able to leave suffering, attain bliss, and certify to Bodhi together.

After lunch, there was a liberating life ceremony. Lives are liberated in every Dharma Assembly at the City to reduce the violent energy in the world. About a hundred birds were liberated this time. After the recitation was done, the wire cages were opened, and a hundred birds flew out at the same time, happy to obtain new life. Participants from different countries were all moved by the scene. As the birds regained their freedom, many children cheered and clapped, jumping for joy. This was the first time Kate, an American, attended a Buddhist liberation ceremony, and she kept saying, "This is great! This is great!"

The celebration of Guanyin Bodhisattva's Accomplishment of the Way was concluded after the transmission of the three refuges and five precepts, and the Great Compassion Repentance. Buddhists from various places headed for home, to get busy with their careers and families again. However, after being recharged and renewed by the Buddhist ceremony, many people felt their stress and anxiety reduced. They could handle things and deal with people with a more open and gentle outlook. The myriad difficulties and frustrations in life no longer seemed unbearable. It was exactly as the Venerable Master Hua always says: "A hundred difficulties are dispelled with a peaceful heart; all things become auspicious with a calm mind."

▲Top

法界佛教總會 Dharma Realm Buddhist Association© Vajra Bodhi Sea