On December 12, 2020, the inner shrine at the Water, Land, Air Dharma Assembly of Ling Jiou Mountain was about to set boundaries. I’d like to thank everyone who came to attend. This assembly is an auspicious arising of gathering and joining positive connections. The annual Water, Land, Air Dharma Assembly of Ling Jiou Mountain is also the time where all members of LJM come together to pray, reconcile karmic debts, clear obstacles, and work for the benefit of self and others. This is the moment of a harmonious reconciliation with all sentient beings. Having to see you all, I’m very delighted and hope that you’re happy to see me too. This is a joyous gathering.
Nowadays, the world is the face of the impermanence of uncertainty. During this critical time of the pandemic Covid-19, we're very fortunate to initiate this Dharma assembly which couldn't have happened without the support from many and the government. We're grateful that the disease control is relatively stable so that we could use the newly renovated Taoyuan Arena. Due to the pandemic, many people couldn't join us this year. However, through live streaming, the barrier was no longer a problem. As long as we pray devotedly, we can transform the time and space into an auspicious bodhimanda. Never have I thought that we'd have to carry out the assembly this way. To watch live streaming through the internet could be a little difficult for elder students. To attend this puja, they learned to become familiar with the technology.
Keep in mind that we are not just attending the assembly for personal benefit, we must learn to survive as an entity of interdependence as a whole. By engaging in virtuous activities through the assembly, the accumulated merits are like wave clouds. Eventually, we’d be able to be free from the suffering cyclic existence. The outer-shrines introduce us to the karmic principle and the impermanence of the mind. Emperor Liang Shrine allows one to feel contrite and disclose all the negative karma and conceptions. As one enters the inner-shrine, one can make offerings to the Dharmadhatu of the ten directions. Together, all of us will enter the pure realm of interconnectedness.
The entire puja is a lesson on the perfection of spirituality. In a way, the ecosystem is an outcome of spirituality. Mutual respect must be established among mankind, nature, and society – to optimize interdependent diversity. Yet, human beings continue to exploit natural resources, over-deplete the planet, produce plastic wastes, pollute and destroy the environment, etc. All kinds of natural disasters have caused the ecosystem to become imbalanced. Global warming has triggered frequent forest fires, which conversely, worsens global warming. A negative and disruptive cycle continues to harm the ecosystem. The pandemic Covid-19 has raised caution to mankind and pressed pause on the damage to the environment.
Among all, the most detrimental damage to the environment is the nuclear weapon. We must prevent the use of a nuclear weapon by all means. If a nuclear war breaks out, 2/3 of the planet is destroyed. How many of us here would be one of the 1/3 survivors? Just like a kid who applauds after setting a house on fire. He doesn't know that he'd be left with no house to live in.
We must reflect on all of these. We should not put our benefits and opinions first. If the nuclear war breaks out, the damage is irreversible. By reviewing history, many civilizations vanished along with the destruction of the environment. Therefore, we should never take it as a joke. We must hold the idea that we are an entity of interdependence. Get rid of the biases of religions, ethnicities, politics, etc. Be sure to establish a mutual ground of understanding. Do not provoke wars and keep our minds free of confronting thoughts.
As soon as a thought arises, one is distancing from the nature of the mind. Our sixth consciousness would trigger the seventh. Following that, the seventh consciousness would affect the eighth consciousness. Every thought becomes the “gene” for future reincarnations. So, what should we do? Start from attending the outer-shrines where we’d learn about depending origination, karmic effect, and karmic principle. Then, as we proceed to the Emperor Liang Shrine, we disclose our wrong conducts with contrition until the karmic debts are cleared and to recognize the nature of emptiness of every thought. Finally, as we enter the inner-shrines, apply this realization to make grand offerings and Dharma offerings of equanimity. May the infinite number of sentient beings that are connected with us could also transform their eighth consciousness into purity. That way, they could also recognize the causes and the consequences of suffering.
The entire Dharma assembly is like a year-end cleaning where our field of consciousness is purified. Transform our karmic memory drive as everything that we do is stored within this drive. When we are reckless to act selfishly. As we think that we are invincible, the negative causes and conditions will subsequently trigger natural and manmade disasters. Diseases will also spread across the world.
Over the years, we've been preparing for the University for Life and Peace, an institute with the core value of a "spiritual ecosystem". We hope that through education, everyone's spirituality would come to an awakening and respect for all beings. By recognizing the interdependency, we can carry out a life full of gratitude and away from materialism.
The great compassion of Guan Yin (Avalokitshevara) is nondual in emptiness and existence. By delivering love to all subjects, we're also showing respect to all phenomena. Every being and phenomenon will also respect one another. An interconnected ecosystem is hence formed. By "setting boundaries", our luminous and pure primordial awareness will also transform our thoughts into compassion under the blessing of Guan Yin, Dharmapalas such as nagas, and other deities. With this intent, we pray for the world:
• May all people refrain from non-virtues, engage in virtues, and purify our intents.
• May the pandemic comes to a quick end. May all the deceased be liberated and the surviving ones’ pain is alleviated.
• May wars come to an end so the planet and the world could restore peace.
After setting boundaries, I hope that we could safeguard our bodhicitta, an aspiration to “attain Buddhahood to liberate all sentient beings”. This is the positive cycle among beings. During the puja, be mindful to reflect, do not regress, and safeguard one another. Maintain the state of serenity and attend the puja with bodhicitta.
With much gratitude and by the blessing of the Three Jewels, may all be at peace and stay safe. May the pandemic comes to an end. Lastly, may the Dharma assembly go smoothly with a good ending. Namo Amitabha.
Saturday, 12 December 2020 17:40