This is the first ordination ceremony I have encountered in nearly a decade at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas. I witnessed 26 Shramanerikas undergoing 108 days of intensive training guided by Dharma Masters who had high expectations for them. During the training period, all of the Shramanerikas followed a tight schedule and single-mindedly recited and sought to receive the precepts. They are filled with the light of purity and sincerity.
I have said many times that Shramanerikas are future Bhikshunis. A Shramanerika is just like a developing child, who is nurtured by her mother and sisters until she grows up, going through the ordination period entering adulthood to become a Bhikshuni. Just like an adult, a Bhikshuni not only needs to take care of herself, but must shoulder the responsibility of “crossing over oneself and crossing over others.” As the ordination comes to a successful completion, the newly ordained Bhikshunis are turning a new page in their lives, truly starting on their paths to cultivate and practice.
There are all kinds of people on the path of cultivation. Some are genuine and others are phony. Some are proper and others are deviant. Some are good and others are evil. Some never stand back up after falling down and others never give up. Some are completely beside themselves after small achievements and others just keep pressing on. They are all our good advisors. Using them as mirrors, we can see ourselves potentially becoming any one of the above. Therefore, becoming a Bhikshuni is by no means an end in itself nor does it entitle one to take a break. It is simply beginning a practice of self-reflection and getting a firm grip on Bhikshuni responsibilities in daily life.
A lot of people in China carry on the family tradition of filial respect and trustworthiness. I believe we also need to carry on this tradition in the monastery and take the Buddha’s work as our personal mission. Being trustworthy ensures that we will put the interest of the monastery and other people before our own. Practicing filial respect teaches us to maintain a grateful heart and do good and to remember Venerable Master Hua’s teaching and always cultivate the Way vigorously.)
We should constantly ask ourselves three questions: why did I leave home and join the Sangha of Dharma Realm Buddhist Association? Why did I want to become a Bhikshuni? What kind of Bhikshuni do I want to be? These three questions are good tools to keep us on track.
I wrote this article on trustworthiness and filial respect to express my congratulation and encouragement to all the new Bhikshunis. I believe that each of you will make a significant contribution to Buddhism in the future!