Today our group practice is to recite the “Universal Door Chapter” once and the Great Compassion Mantra 108 times. The Venerable Master once said, “Having sincerely recited the Great Compassion Mantra 108 times daily for three years, if you use the mantra to heal a sick person, you will cure that person.” The Venerable Master hoped that by relying upon the strength of the Great Compassion Mantra, we would be able to save the world from calamities so that the Buddhadharma would remain forever in this world.
We have gathered here today to cultivate; it is a rare opportunity to be able to recite sutras and mantras. Sometimes at home, when I tried to recite the Great Compassion Mantra 108 times, I would be interrupted by some mundane affairs, or due to random thoughts, it would take me a longer time. Here, through the energy of our collective practice, we are able to recite 108 times without interruption. This is the power of drawing near a Way-place.
It is very good to be able to come to a Way-place. Last week, I attended the Head-shaving Ceremony at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas where my daughter, Chin Ling left the home life. She was slower in the study of Buddhism, but after coming to the Way-place just a few times, her Bodhi roots sprouted under the guidance of the Dharma Masters and her fellow cultivators. Of the eight women who left the home life this time, five were Taiwanese.
On the eve of the Head-shaving Ceremony, everyone had to go up the stage to say why they wanted to leave home. The oldest in this group of eight women was a 60-year-old American lady. She said she was able to fulfill her vow to leave home only after her parents’ death. My daughter reported that when she went to the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas (CTTB) to be a volunteer teacher at the Summer Youth Camp two years ago, she heard a Dharma Master tell the following story.
The Dharma Master said that there was a woman who wanted to leave the home life. At that time, she was a freshman in college, but she thought, “I’ll leave the home life next year when I’m a sophomore.” The following year, she thought, “I’ll wait one more year and leave home when I am a junior.” In her junior year, she thought once more, “I think I’ll wait one more year.”
In the end, in her senior year, she left the “spinster” life and got married. The Dharma Master added, “Once time passes, the opportunity could be lost.” This story inspired Chin Ling to take cultivation seriously and motivated her to leave home.
This time, on my trip to America, I went first to the City of the Dharma Realm before going to CTTB. CTTB is a pure and adorned Way-place. Besides morning and evening recitations, bowing repentance, listening to sutras and various other activities, I also helped in other Buddhist work. From morning till night, there is little free time to rest. Apart from the first evening when I fell asleep while listening to sutra lecture, I didn’t feel tired at all. My whole being felt very fulfilled and full of Dharma bliss. This is quite different from working in Taiwan where I always yearn for afternoon naps and rests. I think drawing near a Way-place, one experiences an incredible energy!