December 16th, 2020, marked the concluding day of the Water, Land, Air Dharma Assembly. A ceremony for sending off the sublime beings was performed. With our best gratitude, we’d like to thank all the Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, nagas, devas, and Dharmapalas for their support so everything went smoothly. Many thanks to the presiding masters of different shrines and the participated monastics for their diligence and concentration. As well, many volunteers and participants devoted great efforts in many aspects, including the work on preventing the spread of the virus at mass gatherings. None of these tasks was easy.
Rejoice to all the sponsors who were either present in person or attended the assembly online, everyone was focused with sincerity. Together, we make this Dharma assembly possible. It is an event of Grand Giving and a collective practice. May the living participants engender bodhicitta. In general, the living ones tend to feel a sense of compensation for the deceased. Many people would recite sutras and dedicate the merit. They’d also sign up for the grand food offering for the sake of the deceased. May the deceased enjoy the feast and be free from suffering.
Before the main assembly, we had performed five preliminary pujas where many monastics and laymen practiced altogether. May this assembly goes well and all the connected beings could benefit. Throughout the preparation of the mandala, some obstacles and conflicts occurred among Dharma friends, that's why we must clear away the obstacles with the preliminary practices. So, by the time to attend the main puja, we'd be ready and steady to serve others without too many problems. Personally, I'd enter a retreat and perform the Hundred Offering Tsok of Avalokiteshvara before the Water, Land, Air Dharma Assembly – so it’d go well without any problems.
In order to set up a Dharma venue with auspiciousness and magnetization, we asked the set-up of shrines to be meticulous. The presiding masters of each shrine were also selected carefully to be those with pure precepts and proper deportments. That way, they’d be capable of delivering the rituals carefully with great ability – to liberate sentient beings.
During the assembly, the sutras and rituals performed are designated for helping sentient beings of the six realms to see the original face of the mind. Through hearing, their minds can transform and resonate with the truth. By approaching the Emperor Liang Shrine, one could often experience something taking place as it is where we deliver contrition. The inner-shrines allow us to make offerings with joy. There are twenty-four sections of “guests” which we must invite to make offerings and send them off with sincerity. The sublime beings return to their realms whereas sentient beings head to the Pure Land. That way, the four classes of sublime beings or sentient beings of the six realms leave the same way they came.
This assembly is a tool on the path of the bodhisattva. It is a skillful means to liberate beings. After sending the sublime ones away, be sure to sign up for next year's puja. As the mindstreams of sentient beings are incessant like the moving clouds. The reason for attending the assembly continuously is for the welfare of sentient beings. The deceased relies on the living ones to perform meritorious acts for their liberation. Meanwhile, the living ones could generate faith for Dharma practice. May those who have not yet benefitted be benefitted. May those benefitted could generate an irreversible and indestructible faith. That's why we must keep aspiring by the power of the Water, Land, Air Dharma Assembly. Make a bridge for sentient beings to enter the Pure Land.
The last dedication by the end is of utmost importance. Over the week, many of you had stayed up late, experienced a poor quality of sleep, etc. Your body might not be in the best condition. Be sure to relax, take some fresh air, drink water, and sleep well. Do not glue to the TV or your phone. Make sure to get enough rest. Besides, wear all the protections needed during the pandemic. Live a life with clarity and mindfulness.
At last, we should pray for the world: to be free from disasters, be at peace, and a harmonious ecosystem. As you returned to your daily life, be sure to take some rest, and live a life with a natural mind at ease. What does it mean by a "natural mind at ease"? To carry out your daily practice, the Great Compassion Mantra (Long Dharani), the mantra of Buddha Shakyamuni, and more. Be clear and mindful so the awareness is awake and present. Uphold self-awareness to awaken others. Benefit oneself and others.
Best wishes to you all, Namo Amitabha!
Thursday, 17 December 2020 16:23