萬佛城金剛菩提海 Vajra Bodhi Sea


Vajra Bodhi Sea: HomeMain IndexIssue Index




黃金白玉非為貴 唯有袈裟披肩難
Gold and Jade are Not So Precious, Wearing the Precept-Sash is Most Precious

A talk given and translated by Bhikshu Jin Yong on August 13, 2005 at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas




August 10 is my birthdate on all my official documents such as passport, driver’s license, etc. However, I never celebrated my birthday on that day for two reasons. When I was born over 50 years ago in Taiwan, babies were born at home with the help of midwives; there were very few hospitals around. And there was no birth certificate at that time. A week or so later, on August 10, my father went to the city hall to register my birth, and the clerk simply used that day as my birthdate. Besides, traditionally we use the lunar calendar for birthday celebrations, just as DRBA does for Buddhist holidays.

The Venerable Master said that taking refuges with the Triple Jewels is like entering the womb with one’s eyes wide open. When is one born then? A Bhikshu/ Bhikshuni is born upon receiving the complete precepts on the ordination day. I, together with 27 other novices, happened to be ordained on August 10, my official birthdate. So August 10 now becomes my actual birthday as a Bhikshu. It seems like, over 50 years ago, the city hall clerk had predicted my becoming a Bhikshu! I took refuge with the Venerable Master in August 1989. So I had been “in the womb” for 16 years before I became a Bhikshu. Sixteen years is a long time; in 16 years, a first grader may graduate from the college!

Both sadness and joy filled up my heart when I heard all the Acharyas [precept masters] answer in unison: “Well done!” to Karmavacana Acharya Dharma Master Lyu’s third announcement towards the end of the precept transmission. I felt sad because it had taken me such a long time to become a Bhikshu. And yet I felt joyful because I had finally done it! Upon returning to the Buddha Hall downstairs, I was so overwhelmed that tears sprung from my eyes uncontrollably for quite a while. I deeply appreciate the verse: “Gold and jade are not so precious; wearing the precept-sash is most precious,” from the “Song in Praise of the Sangha” by Emperor Shunzhi of the early Qin Dynasty. I vow to treasure and wear the sash at all times as instructed by the Venerable Master.






I deeply believe that the Venerable Master has been helping me all along; otherwise, I could not have become a Bhikshu. To repay his kindness, I resolve to continue Venerable Master’s vow to spread the Proper Dharma. The spread of Dharma depends on the Sangha. Bhikshus are the leaders of all seven assemblies. And yet in the past 10 years, DRBA has produced only nine new Bhikshus; not even one per year on average! Judging from the present number of novices, this trend is most likely to continue for at least the next few years. I feel the heavy responsibility on my shoulders.

The 108-day precept-training period began with the 23-day long 10,000 Buddhas Repentance and ended after a weeklong Guanyin recitation and three-day meditation sessions. One can’t find any better schedule than this! Attending the sessions must have wiped out lots of defilements from my mind. During the Guanyin Session, I was surprised to realize that my mind was full of jealousy. After the sessions, I felt fully charged and ready for the coming precept transmission ceremonies. In between the sessions, we had precept classes taught by Dharma Master Bin. He was such a lively instructor. He had to drive four hours one way to CTTB to teach just two of us. I feel ashamed that we disappointed him by not studying hard enough. However, I did learn a great deal from Dharma Master Bin. I really appreciate his efforts.

My ordained name Yong means “forever” in Chinese. I love it because it will constantly remind me to forever stay within the Sangha established by the Venerable Master, to forever maintain my Bodhi resolve, and to help Proper Dharma to flourish forever. It will also remind me that I am still swimming in the sea of the sufferings of birth and death; hence, I must cultivate vigorously.

I appreicate the hard work of all the precentors, especially to Dharma Masters Jang and Shou, who came all the way from Malaysia and Seattle, respectively. My deep appreciations also go to all others who contributed to the ordination.


法界佛教總會Dharma Realm Buddhist Association │ © Vajra Bodhi Sea