Student: Is Buddhism classified as Monotheism? Polytheism? Or Atheism?
Master Hsin Tao: It is a “Mind-theism” where the mind being the primary focus. The mind masters everything. Buddhism approaches the universal truth from a variety of aspects. From multifactor to single-factor; from many to oneness; from a singular deity to multiple gods, etc. Nevertheless, Buddhism prefers “democratic equality" where every sentient being could attain Buddhahood. Every being can attain the ultimate truth. It is not exclusive to one Buddha. Religions encourage us to seek the truth. For instance, God is the truth according to Western religion. John 6:47: “I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, he who believes in Me [who adheres to, trusts in, relies on, and has faith in Me] has (now possesses) eternal life.” Faith is the key. Whether one believes in God or not, we must practice "loving-kindness to those connected or disconnected alike; compassionate to all as one". An entity of oneness should be established among people. It is the essence of Buddha. We all have the same Buddha-nature. From emptiness, the wish to eradicate the suffering of sentient beings has aspired. All the causes and conditions are the compassion arose from emptiness. May all sentient beings be free from suffering for the ultimate happiness.
Student: What are the benefits of practicing the Water Repentance?
Master Hsin Tao: The nectar can reach every corner in the trichiliocosm as Guan Yin (Avalokiteshvara) flicks her willow-branch. Every being experiences a sense of refreshing purity when in contact with the nectar. This is what the Water Repentance is all about. Through eons, we’ve created too many negative karmas with sentient beings. The Water Repentance is to decode past karmic kindness or grudges that we are indebted to. Contrite our karmic memories that have been stored in our subconsciousness for too long.
Our life constitutes karmic memories. Conversely, there's no cyclic existence without karmic memories. Samsara is made up of these memories that are like a stream of living and dying. Our present conduct will shape our future lives. Our past deeds have matured into our present life. Our memories are linked with all beings in the universe. We are not separated from sentient beings. Contrition is the best way to work through karmic obstacles and reconcile karmic debts. I'd encourage you to do so regularly.