Sutra text from last issue:
The Buddha told the Bhikshus, “The king was I myself, in a previous life and the seer was the present Devadatta.
Guanyin Bodhisattva’s Accom-plishment of the Way anniversary is almost here. Here at the monastery we are planning to liberate 500 pigeons. Whoever would like to contribute to the merit and virtue of freeing these 500 birds is welcome to. It's your choice, no one is forcing you. This kind of merit and virtue is up to each of us. If you join, you have a share; no one can represent you. And so each of you can decide if you would like to contribute to the fund for buying the birds to set free. What happens if we collect more money than is needed? We will save the excess funds for the next opportunity and liberate other kinds of beings. That's one piece of news.
There's another even more important piece of news. What's that? This year there will be a Transmission of the Precepts of the Thousand Buddhas at Huguo (Protecting the Country) Monastery in Taipei, Taiwan. Probably they want to compete with last year's event. They heard that last year there were five Americans who went to Taiwan to receive precepts and were so sincere that they really moved the Taiwanese. That's why this year their precept transmission will take fifty-three days instead of thirty-two days. Fifty-three days used to be the rule before in China. But although this forthcoming precepts transmission period is the same period of time as that used before in China, I believe the rules of the platform were much stricter in the old days. Nonetheless, it will have an overall similarity. Well, this year if there are any men who want to receive the Bhikshu precepts, or women who want to receive the Bhikshuni precepts, or laymen who want to receive the Upasaka precepts, or laywomen who want to receive the Upasika precepts, this is a very good opportunity to do so. Any of you in the fourfold assembly who want to receive the precepts for left-home people or the precepts for laypeople now have a chance. An essential factor to consider, however, is the expense. Anyone who can come up with a thousand dollars can go; if you don't have a thousand dollars you may have to figure out how to steal some money (laughter) so you can go. Or you could look for gold in the hills and then you could go (laughter). Well, that's the best piece of news.
The Precept Transmission will run from October 10th to December 1st. In the lunar calendar that's from the llth day of the 9th month to the 3rd day of the llth month, a total of fifty-three days. This is how this year in Taiwan they are outdoing you old old-timers who are already precepted masters. Yours was a thirty-two day platform; ours will be fifty-three days. The unspoken meaning is that this year's is a lot longer. That's Taiwan! You want to be high and so I'll be higher. No one wants to be outdone. But that's just competition!
Competing over such a thing is of no use. It would be much more meaningful to compete over cultivation. It should be that if you take one step forward in cultivation, then I will take two; you don't eat after noon for one day and I won't eat for a hundred days. Being like Devadatta at least shows that you dare to practice. That's the good news I have to report to all of you.
I don't know whether the little novice will go this year or not. After the five big left-home people came back, the little novice got bullied. And so up until now it's unclear whether he's a layperson who will or will not become a novice. That's why when someone requested today to receive the novice precepts, I denied the request. The reason is I still don't know of this little novice has change or not. Befor I have looked into it carefully and so I cannot casually allow him to receive the novice precepts.
To be continued
Vajra Bodhi Sea is published by the Dharma Realm Buddhist Association (DRBA). DRBA was founded by the Venerable Master Hsuan Hua in the United States of America in 1959 with the goal of propagating the Orthodox Dharma. One of DRBA major tasks is the translation of the Mahayana Buddhist scriptures into the world's languages. DRBA has also established various educational and social service programs to promote peace, happiness, and a high standard of ethical conduct for the world. At its headquarters, the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, are housed Dharma Realm Buddhist University, Developing Virtue Secondary Schools, and Instilling Goodness Elementary Schools. The main branches of DRBA are listed below.