Venerable Master, Dharma Masters, and all Good and Wise Advisors:
My name is Lily Sun. First I'd like to express my appreciation to all Dharma Masters and the lay people who have made this Repentance so wonderful.
The Ten Thousand Buddhas Jeweled Repentance is one of the special ceremonies held here which is rare in the world. I'm very grateful to have the opportunity to participate in this entire session. During the bowing, tears rolled down my face a few times. I felt like a naughty child seeking forgiveness. During those moments I truly felt the great compassion of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas for letting us know this great Dharma door to eradicate our bondless karma created in the past.
During these weeks, there were days when I was concentrated and mindful while I was bowing and felt peaceful. Sometimes I would smell an unusual frgrance. At that time, the entire hour would pass by as fast as a blink of an eye. Occassionally, the false thoughts I had would be related to the name of the next Buddha. For instance, I was having scattered thoughts and when I saw the name of Clean and Pure Mind Buddha, it made me stop my false thinking immediately and be more mindful. But there were times when I had difficulty concentrating and my idle thoughts kept arising. Then I would be looking at the clock and hoping that the session would end soon. Due to the inconceivable power of the Buddhas, all my bad thoughts began to surface during the session. It was just as the Dharma Master said in his lecture that bowing is like cleaning out all the garbage in our minds.
During this bowing session, I encountered a test. I was able to understand myself better because of this incident. On Tuesday, before the evening ceremony, a laywoman from San Francisco was crying. I talked to her and found out that her mother was having surgery on that day. Her father was supposed to take care of her mother in the hospital, but he fell sick on that day due to his high blood pressure. Her other family members were away That laywoman appeared very worried and she did not have transportation to return home to help her parents. A Dharma friend suggested that she take the bus back the following day We tried to comfort her. During the evening recitation, however, I noticed that she was still crying. At that moment, my first impulse was to go and tell her that I would help her after the evening ceremony was over. However, since it was the middle of evening recitation, I couldn't walk over to her. As a result, I started to calculate the time in my mind. I figured that if we left right after the ceremony, we could get there aroung ten thirty that night. While we were reciting the Buddha's name and circumanbulating, I was debating with myself whether or not to help her. I thought to myself, "It's such a rare chance to be able to attend this entire session. It would be a shame if I couldn't complete it." Another voice told me, "I'm too exhausted. I've bowed over 600 times today and my legs are very swollen. How can I drive such a long distance? Also, isn't there a layperson here who provides transportation for others in the case of an emergency? You only need to spend some money to resolve the problem." As the evening ceremony ended, my internal battle also ceased. I did not help her.
The next day, during the beginning of the first session, as I bowed down, I felt dizzy and out of balance. The symptoms got worse as time passed. I knelt down but dared not lower my head to bow. It felt as if the world were turning upside down. I felt like vomiting. I knelt there and endured until the first session was over. I had to return to my room to rest. I asked myself, "Why is this happening?" Then I recalled what happened the night before and realized that I had been unwilling to offer my help because I wanted to attend the session, but now I was unable to bow anyway. I also empathized with that laywoman because I was in a similar situation before. Three years ago, when I returned from work, I received a message on my answering machine saying that my mother was in the emergency room. At that time, I wanted to be with my mother to help her but I couldn't because I was in another state. The more I thought about that laywoman, the more regretful I felt.
I remember that in a lecture, the Venerable Master said that a person may recite the Great Compassion Mantra everyday but if he/she does not have a compassionate heart, then it is the same as not reciting the Great Compassion Mantra. However, if you have never recited the Great Compassion Mantra, but you have a compassionate heart, then that is the same as reciting the Great Compassion Mantra. I also realized that to help others is the same as bowing to the Buddhas sincerely After I realized that, I was fine again and could continue bowing that afternoon. It could have been a coincidence. Nevertheless, that experience taught me a lesson.
I know that I would like to change by helping others more in the future. I know I have a long way to go. To sacrifice one's own benefit for others is really hard. First, I would like to change the capital "I" to a lower case "I". Eventually, I will try to eliminate even the small "i". I would like to be that kind of a person. Amitabha.
The Abbot, Bhikshu Heng Lyu Shi: (English translation by Michael Lee)
It is not easy indeed! After hearing everyone's report, we see that everyone has his/her own personal experience, and that it is not easy to complete these twenty-three days of the Jeweled Repentance of Ten Thousand Buddhas. There is the physical challenge, as well as the mental training, both of which must be endured under distractions from your surroundings. It is no small feat to be able to calm down your mind from beginning to end. I congratulate everyone for making it through through session.
Like debtors, we repent in order to acknowledge our debts. However, the debts still need to be repaid. Why do we owe debts? It is because out of selfishness and greed, we have killed, stolen, engaged in lust, told lies, and done all sorts of evil deeds. Now, how do we make amends? We must be unselfish and take on more endeavors for the sake of the public, transferring the merit to the living beings. That is how we can repay our debts. Therefore, by performing the Repentance, we turn ourselves in. Since we've turned ourselves in, the judge will lighten our sentence, but we still need to repay what we owe. Tomorrow there is a great opportunity, for we must clean up the grounds to prepare for Bathing the Buddha on Sunday. Those who are unable to help physically with the cleanup may come to the Buddha Hall to join the Dharma Assembly and do your part through the mind. Those with the strength may go outside to work, pulling weeds, for example. There are varying degrees of urgency in our tasks. If you do not know the priorities in cultivation, how can you enter the Way?
We have not spent time cleaning the community for three weeks now [during the repentance session]. During those three weeks, some people did try to clean up, but they could only do so much. Therefore tomorrow, those who are not physically strong should come to the Buddha Hall to sincerely practice, and those who have the strength should contribute their muscle and clean up the environment properly, so that on Sunday we can conduct the Dharma Assembly to Bath the Buddha under the big canopy. This is community service. Let us make community work our number one priority Amitabha!
Venerable Master's Dharma Words
The world is going bad because people's good thoughts are few and their unwholesome thoughts are many. Each good thought augments the righteous energy in the world, whereas each unwholesome thought adds to the world's lethal energy. We must transform that lethal energy into auspicion and harmony.