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How are you everybody?（大家好。）今天這個法會在這樣天氣下雨的時候，有這麼多人到這深山裡頭來開荒，來種菩提種子，將來結佛果，這是很不可思議的一件事。什麼叫種菩提的種子？我們到這個山裡邊來，這一位 Bill（比爾）居士，他給山的名字取為佛根地。那麼佛根地必須要種菩提種子，現在下菩提種，以後才能紮下佛根，將來成就這個佛果，所以各位到這兒來這是非常重要的一件事。為什麼說它重要呢？因為你念佛就能了生死，也好像佛教化眾生，我們所有的人從無始劫以來，生了死；死了又生，生生死死，不知道經過多少次輪迴，也沒有遇著這個念佛的法門。所以這個生死也沒有了。現在遇著念佛的法門，能以到西方極樂世界去，這是非常重要的。
In the summer of 1975 Bill Brevoort, owner of Buddha Root Farm on the Smith River, near Reedsport, Oregon, decided he wanted to host an outdoors Buddha Recitation Session on his land. He requested the Venerable Master Hua and the fourfold assembly of Gold Mountain Monastery to join in the session. The Venerable Master assented, and in August 1975 a group of over fifty cultivators from all over the U.S. gathered at the farm to attend a week-long session of reciting the Buddha's name.
This was the first time that a traditional Buddha Recitation Session was held in the open air, in the mountains. A large main tent was set up to provide shelter from the hot afternoon sun and occasional downpours of rain. Beside the tent a circular path was cleared for members of the assembly to use during walking recitation. Beside the winding river, the yellow grasses, and the wild flowers the assembly recited the Buddha's name, attended ceremonies, and listened to instructional talks. The participants worked on quieting the mind; some attained the state of "light ease"or gained the flavor of Buddha Recitation. Ultimately, reciting the Buddha's name can result in the Buddha Recitation Samadhi, a concentrated state where, as the classical Chinese poet Su Dongpo wrote:
Of the colors of the mountains,
none are not his vast long tongue;
In the sparklin' streams and the forests green
his compassionate song is sung...
At the end of the week 17 people took refuge with the Triple Jewel and bowed to the Venerable Master as their teacher.
During the session Venerable Master gave talks twice daily, one in the afternoon and another in the evening. He brought the Pure Land Dharma-door alive, explaining the fundamentals of practice and revealing the fruits of cultivation. He spoke so simply that even absolute beginners could comprehend the principles, and yet his words awakened more experienced cultivators to the profundities of the Buddhadharma. The Venerable Master's words provided inspiration and instruction for all assembled at Buddha Root Farm, and they serve as a wealth of Dharma for cultivators of the future.
Vajra Bodhi Sea will be printing the instructional talks given by the Venerable Master during that Recitation Session along with photographs, hoping to give our readers an idea of how the Master guided Westerners in the first outdoor Buddha Recitation Session and to remind them of the Master’s painstaking toil in bringing the Buddhadharma to the West. May this inspire everyone to take up the mission of the Thus Come One and carry on the Master’s wishes, thereby saving themselves as well as others.
As the third anniversary of the Master’s Nirvana approaches, this series is being published as a form of commemoration.
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Sunday, August 17, 1975 (evening)
Homage to the Eternally Dwelling Buddhas of the Ten Directions
Homage to the Eternally Dwelling Dharma of the Ten Directions
Homage to Our Teacher, Shakyamuni Buddha
Homage to the Shurangama from the Buddha's Crown
Homage to the Bodhisattva Who Observes the World’s Sounds
Homage to the Vajra Treasury Bodhisattvas
How are you? This Dharma Assembly is wondeful! Despite the rain, so many people have gathered here deep in the mountains to blaze trails through the wilderness. We are here to plant the seeds of Bodhi so that in the future we may harvest the fruit of Buddhahood.
What is meant by “planting the seeds of Bodhi”? Upasaka Bill has named this place “Buddha Root Farm.” At Buddha Root Farm one should plant Bodhi seeds. First you plant a Bodhi seed, then you send down the Buddha Root, and in the future you will reap the Buddha fruit. So your coming here is an extremely important first step.
Why do I say that it is important? Because if you recite the Buddha's name you can end birth and death, and then, like the Buddha, you can teach and transform living beings. From limitless eons past till now, each one of us has been born and then died, has died and been born, passed through birth upon birth--death after death: Who knows how many times we've turned on the wheel? We have not yet encountered the Dharma-door of Buddha-recitation, and so we have not ended birth and death.
Now, having learned the method of Buddha-recitation, we can be reborn in the Western Land of Ultimate Bliss. This is extremely important! Buddha-recitation is a serious matter because it can cause all living beings to end birth and death, gain release from the revolving wheel, separate from suffering, and attain bliss. Since it is so important, all of us participating here should be sincere and recite with a true heart.
to be continued