The City of Ten Thousand Buddhas transmitted the Threefold Ordination this year for the ninth time: the Bhikshu and Bhikshuni precepts were transmitted on the 24th of August and Bodhisattva Precepts of the Thousand Buddhas were transmitted on the 26th. The Venerable Master brought the Buddhadharma to the West and first held the Threefold Ordination in 1962 and in 1971.
This year marks the ninth time. This ordination is extraordinary in many ways: First, it is the second transmission of the full precepts since the Venerable Master's Nirvana. It could be considered a sign that the Buddhadharma will flourish and the lineage will continue. Second, this time marks the passing from the "Heng" generation to the "Jin" generation. Of the twenty-four preceptees from the United States, Finland, Vietnam, China, and Taiwan, seventeen belong to the "Heng" generation and five belong to the "Jin" generation. Two are Bhikshus and twenty-two are Bhikshunis.
Third, this transmission of the Bodhisattva Precepts was limited to Sangha members only. The Lay Bodhisattva Precepts would be transmitted in September to laypeople. Fourth, this ordination was followed immediately by an Earth Store Recitation Session and two transmissions of the Precepts for the Deceased. Since over two hundred people applied to receive those precepts, an outdoor Buddha Hall was set up under an awning for that occasion. Much work has been put into renovating the Hsu Yun Memorial House and the Ordination Hall, creating a marvelous atmosphere for this year's ordination.
Following tradition, the Precept Training Period lasted 108 days from May 11th to August 24th. In most Chinese monasteries the standard precept training period is 53 days, but the Venerable Master has always required a 108-day Precept Training Period before transmitting the precepts. That shows the seriousness with which the Master regarded the study and upholding of precepts. The preceptees formally entered the Precept Platform on May 11th, Shakyamuni Buddha's birthday. In the Wordless Hall Dharma Master Heng Sure, the Precept Upadhyaya and Dharma Master Heng Lyu, the Abbot and Karma Acharya, gave instructional talks commencing the intensive training and symbolized the unending lineage.
The complete (Bhikshu and Bhikshuni) precepts were transmitted on August 24. The leader of the preceptees, with sitting cloth and incense in hand, followed the ceremonial master to the Patriarchs Hall to invite the Repentance Acharya to conduct the repentance ceremony. At seven o'clock, all the preceptees filed into the newly renovated and decorated Ordination Hall. The ten Masters were slowly driven in a car down a path lined with flowers and hung with balloons. The rhythmic beat of the drums added to the solemnity. The ceremony proceeded smoothly. Before noon time, the Teaching Acharya, Dharma Master Ming Jau, formally transmitted the three robes to the preceptees. The complete precepts were transmitted in the afternoon. Preceptees went before the Ten Masters in groups of three, as stipulated by the Vinaya, and were properly ordained after making a fourfold announcement.
Following the tradition begun by the Venerable Master, the northern and southern traditions of Buddhism united to preside over the ordination. Theravadan monks from the nearby Abhayagiri Monastery, including Co- Abbots Ajahn Amaro and Ajahn Passano, as well as Dharma Masters from England and Sri Lanka, were invited.
On August 26th, the preceptees received the Ten Major and Forty-eight Minor Bodhisattva Precepts, also known as the Great Precepts of a Thousand Buddhas. To ensure that all preceptees would truly benefit and not be hindered by language, the precepts were transmitted in three languages: Chinese, English, and Vietnamese. The transmission began at 5 a.m. and concluded at noon.