Dharma Teachings

Awaken from suffering, walk the right path in joy

苦中觉醒 乐中行正道-心道法师The Food Offering Ritual is a puja I personally conduct monthly for the liberation of the deceased. By the power of participants’ prayer; the compassionate liberating power of the Buddhas and bodhisattvas - sentient beings of the three lower realms can awaken and be parted from suffering. Furthermore, may they take rebirth in the Pure Land or places with flourishing Dharma. That way, these beings are fortunate to learn Dharma and take refuge in the Three Jewels. Eventually, they’d accomplish the field of merit of lifetimes. 

This puja isn’t just designated to benefit deceased beings, but also living ones. Through this event, living dedicators can further their Dharma learning and progress towards Buddhahood. Dedicate our aspiring life for attaining Buddhahood and engendering bodhicitta. That way, we wouldn’t go on the wrong track or waste time. This is something that the fortunate people would do. 

苦中觉醒 乐中行正道-心道法师The subjects of liberation are our past ancestors, foreparents, siblings, and karmic creditors. The purpose of the puja is to reconcile the karmic debts and to reconnect positively. We must begin from an altruistic dependent arising before attaining Buddhahood. For us, every condition is a positive connection and an unsurpassable field of merit. We’d cherish every condition by cultivating it instead of wasting it. Through this opportunity, may they awaken, engage in virtues, and aspire - so they wouldn’t fall into the Three Lesser Realms again. They could be free from suffering to acquire happiness. 

Due to our accumulated actions of the five poisons (greed, aversion, ignorance, doubt, and pride), we’ve made negative connections with countless beings. In order to untie these knots, we need to contrite. By prostrating to the Buddha and reciting sutras, we can purify the non-virtuous karma of body, speech, and mind. By such reconciliation, our virtues increase and enemies lessen. 

While we obtain this precious human life, we should do our best in the work of reconciliation. Cultivate the unsurpassable field of merit by all means: making positive connections and cultivating fields of merits. Irrigate every condition by kind aspiration so it is purified. Our mind can also be purified. Therefore we must recite mantras and the name of Amitabha, as well as practice Chan. That way, we can overcome our habitual tendencies and turn them around. 

We can’t bring anything when we pass away. The only thing is the virtuous or non-virtuous karma we committed. Non-virtuous karma follows us to the next rebirth and compels to make more negative connections. Quite the contrary, virtuous karma impels us towards positive connections. As the old saying goes, 

“Refrain from non-virtues,

Engage in all virtues,

Purify one’s intention,

Such is the essence of Buddhism”
“Purify one’s intention” is practiced through the Three Higher Trainings of ethical disciplines, meditative stabilization, and wisdom. Purify our body, speech, mind, and aspire to cultivate all the virtuous seeds of lifetimes. “Refrain from non-virtues, engage in all virtues” is to exert in positive karma and to eliminate negative actions. Be exposed to the Three Jewels and virtues constantly is the fulfillment of Buddhadharma. 
We must truly recognize the preciousness of being a human. This human life allows us to engage in virtues, practice diligently. “Awaken from suffering, walk the right path in joy” is to learn Dharma and follow the Three Jewels. Never deplete our life nor to waste our time.