This, is my first visit to the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas and also my first time participating in a 23-days long bowing ceremony, the Ten Thousand Buddhas Jeweled Repentance. As I recalled, what brought me here was none other than the Lotus Sutra. I was reading Chapter 16 of the Lotus Sutra entitled The Thus Come One’s Life Span. I was deeply moved to tears as I read about the reason the Buddhas compassionately appear in the world; his various manifestations in teaching and transforming living beings so different in their potentials and capabilities. As I come to the end of this chapter, in my heart, arise deep gratitude towards the Buddhas of the ten directions and the wish to bow to the Buddhas, arose. What comes to my mind next, was the Ten Thousand Buddhas Jeweled Repentance as this is the only ceremony that I know of where people get to recite the names of Buddhas and bow to many Buddhas. It was in the last quarter of year 2008 then. What was more miraculous, all work commitments which usually take place in April/May, gradually moved away from my work schedule, paving way for this sacred trip to materialise. Were I to explain in detail each of these small miracles, I will take a long time to finish writing. My father, was among the last few persons to know about this trip, that is, after everything is confirmed and the airticket is issued. What was more inconceivable, he showed his concern and support on the night just before I was scheduled to depart for CTTB.
Upon arrival, after settling down, we were brought to the Buddha Hall to pay Homage. I discovered to my first surprise—the bowing cushions. This was just what I was looking for. Bow to the Buddhas, bow really low, was what I had in mind. I was extremely happy with what I saw indeed.
On the first week of the bowing repentance, I was very enthusiastic. Full of energy, I am always looking forward to the next day where I can get up early and start my day in the morning recitation with everyone else. This, I have always enjoyed.
At the beginning of the second week of the bowing repentance, my enthusiasm was moderate. I began to feel tiredness in my body. There was one day, I felt so drained of energy. Quietly I went before the Buddha seeking leave from the evening recitation so I could rest early and continue to bow the next day. I did not join the evening recitation that day and when I was resting, I dreamt and saw a pair of hands, bronze in color, placed on me. Then an additional blanket was pulled over to cover my body and the curtains were drawn to keep out the sunlight. Shortly after that, I woke up and felt energised. I headed towards the Buddha hall and it was then time for the Dharma talks. I spent the rest of the evening in the Buddha hall with the rest of the assembly.
In one of the bowing sessions on the third week of the repentance, I recalled Chapter 5 of the Lotus Sutra on Medicinal Herbs where the Buddha spoke to Venerable Kashyapa using the anology of a great cloud raining down on all the grasses, trees, forests and medicinal herbs and each according to its nature, fully receives the moisture and grows. In the same manner, all living beings irrespective of whatever nature, size, color or creed, all living beings alike, receiving the rains of Dharma, each according to their roots and potentials, does grow and will eventually bear fruits. Faith strenghtens even more in my heart. I do not have, not even the slightest doubt regarding the Tathagatha’s teaching in this.
Venerable Master Hua once said, ”Don’t come to the mountain of treasures and return empty handed.” Indeed, I did not. I went to CTTB empty handed, and return with boundless treasures and blessings, not only for my own benefit but for the benefits of the many. CTTB as I see it, is a place where the proper Dharma dwells. It is like a vehicle which chauffeurs people to their destinations. The vehicle in itself, is not the destination. Nobody owns it and nobody should be attached to it just like people has to get out of the vehicle when they arrived at their destinations. Therefore, I do not own this experience and blessings, but by the compassionate powers of the Buddhas, Bodhisattvas and sages of the ten directions, I am merely honored to be given a chance to taste the Dharma as taught by the Buddhas. These treasures and blessings I gained, belongs to the Triple Jewels and the entire Dharma Realm. It is always there to provide support and comfort the hearts of living beings. I am ever grateful to the Venerable Master Hua for this legacy he left for us. He brought the Dharma right into my heart and I am proud to say, I have not live this life in vain.
May the proper Dharma dwells long in the world for the welfare and benefits of the many. Amitofo.