葉親法 講於2011年6月6日星期一晚 萬佛城大殿 A talk given by Dr. Raymond Yeh on June 6 (Monday), 2011 at Buddha Hall of CTTB
VM, DMs, and all the wise Advisors:This is Chin Fa. This evening is my term to practice Dharma talk and I would like to share some of my experiences during the 10k Buddha Repentance session.
Allow me first to thank all the Dharma Masters who led the recitation for such a long period of time which benefited all the participants tremendously. As I’ve never participated in the 10k Buddha Repentance session in any serious manner before, this year I made sure to allocate time to participate fully as part of my New Year resolution. However, just five weeks before the session, I had my second surgery in 6 months. It was the first major surgery of my life which required me to stay in the hospital for 5 days. According to both my Chinese medicine and Western medicine doctors, my two surgeries within 6 months caused a lot of damage to my body. For example, I was not able to perspire, my skin became extremely dry all over, suddenly I had 6 cavities in my teeth, most likely due to chemicals they put into my body that caused dry mouth, and of course my dramatically declined energy level. But worst of all is that I tried to meditate two weeks after my surgery, and there was neither the feeling of chi movement nor any warmth from the Dan Tien.
As I walked into the Long Life Hall on the first day of the bowing session, I was not sure that I could do much bowing, as the surgery resulted in a 5 inch cut right in my abdomen. I felt extremely tired after just a couple of hours and had to go back to sleep although I was able to do the whole session in the afternoon.
The first 2 to 3 days were very hard for me physically and I was not able to do anything else after bowing. Not only I was physically exhausted, I also found that usually if a Buddha’s name was a bit longer, I simply did not remember it when I began to bow down. While I attributed this to my loss of short term memory, it bothered me a lot nevertheless.
My friend Andrew was next to me for those first few days and sympathized with my struggle. He kindly taught me how he bows effortlessly in making the transition from one center of gravity to another during the bowing movement. While that helped some, the relative fast transition sometimes caused me to feel dizzy. So, during the last 3 days of the first week, I modified what Andrew taught me and bowed slowly so that my bowing became a continuous movement rather than discreet steps. I was able to feel much more at ease and less physically tired. On the last day, I also decided to add continuous recitation, i.e. to also recite while bowing down, along with my Tai Chi style bowing, and that made the whole day zip by without me feeling tired.
Unfortunately, I needed to help a film maker, during the second week, interview people about the school. But I was able to fully participate during the last 8 days of bowing.
From the very beginning of this second round, I bowed and recited Buddha’s names continuously based on the experience of the first week. As each day went by, I was less tired and began to regain my vitality. When I went to DM Heng Yang’s talk, I was not sure I could sit on the floor even in half lotus for 90 minutes anymore, especially after a whole day of bowing. Not only was I able to sit, but I also felt the chi movement back for the first time since my surgery.
Over all, I benefited tremendously from the bowing session. I summarize them into two specific categories of benefits:
1. It helped to recover my functions, for example:
- It helps me to be mindful and I was able to remember the Buddha’s name in my recitation while bowing down, even if the name was long. In fact, usually my eyes were closed. When I need to recite a new Buddha’s name, I simply open my eyes and glanced at the Sutra, then I closed my eyes and would remember it when I began to bow;
- One day during last week of bowing, I happily discovered that I perspired. Now, my skin is no longer very dry anymore;
- My vitality is back, and
- My chi flow is mostly back;
Although my doctors told me it will be a 6-months recovery process for my 2nd surgery, I felt that I’ve pretty much recovered after the repentance session, only 2 months after surgery.
2. It enabled me to understand what it means to be supple both with mind and body. As I bowed and recited continuously, my body became supple and my mind simply lost track of almost all other things that’s going on around me. As time went on, my mind was so relaxed like a piece of cloud floating freely in the air. Every bow seemed effortless and every Buddha’s name brought out joy or meaning. Many times tears just flowed out. In fact, every time when we recite the verse “I wish to be born in the western pure land” in the rebirth hall, I could not stop my tears.
This experience of supple mind, as a consequence of deep repentance, reminds me of these verses:
When the mind moves, karma arises. But where is the karma if the mind does not exist? The mind is at ease after repentance, Like a piece of lazy cloud floating in the blue sky.
Of course, the reason why the mind could be at ease after repentance is due to the fact we connect with the great vows of Buddhas in the process. For me, as I bowed, I felt the cleansing effect on my whole being as my mind became suppler. For example, I often thought of things that I did wrong in the past such as saying something to my Mom when I was young that hurt her feelings. These memories would cause me a great deal of unease as they arise. But as my mind became supple during the repentance session, I no longer attached to these deeds of the past. After the repentance session, I now can go back to these unpleasant moments and smile at my Mom and we will smile together, even though she is no longer alive. This is very interesting as the process can bring us from a historical perspective, where we face obstructions of space, time, and other factors, into an ultimate perspective, or eternity, where there is no obstruction.
As the supple mind can change the past, it can also influence the future as the future is made of NOW. With a supple mind, we may touch the eternity. In other words, the process of bowing allows us to flow into the ocean of vows of Buddhas, which helps to make our mind supple and may enable some our original capabilities. This provides us a glimpse of eternity, although every one of us may have a different glimpse of it due to different functions we recover during the process. This reminds me of a riddle that came to me two years ago. Here it is:
Once upon a time, eons ago,
I came face to face with Eternity.
Ever since that chance meeting,
A shadow seemed to follow me around,
although no one was in sight whenever I turned.
Then I plunged into life in full force,
taking everything in as real—
even flowers in a dream!
Life rolled by with increasing speed, and
The memory of my chance meeting blurred.
As my other memories also began to fade,
The footsteps of my shadow became distinctly louder.
One day, I saw all my memories went up in smoke, and
My mind, emptied of the load it carried for eons,
Relaxed like a piece of cloud, floating freely in the blue sky.
I suddenly heard the quickened steps of my shadow loudly approaching,
Before I had a chance to turn around, he merged into me!
Shocked and fully awakened, I opened my eyes,
The Eternity stands right in front of me, smiling broadly.
But wait a minute, “He is me!”
as I merged into him.
Given the benefits I received from the repentance session, I’ve incorporated the process I learned into my practice at home each day. CTTB is indeed a unique place because it provides many Dharma events like the repentance session so that people have a chance to touch the Eternity in one way or another.
I mentioned that during the second week of the session, I needed to take off to accompany a film maker interviewing students, alumni, teachers, and old disciples about what makes the school special. These interviews bear witness to the uniqueness of CTTB from another angle. To summarize it in one word of their collective thought, the word would be “embodiment”. The volunteer teachers and parents who gave up their career to come to CTTB to volunteer all embodied the spirit of compassion in making this world a better place for all. I feel so happy for all of our students and especially the young children who moved here with their parents. Not only are they so blessed to be in such a pure environment now, but also because they begin developing a supple mind at such a young age. As the sages say: “when the mind is supple, the land is pure”, the students will be able to create “pure lands” around them and define “success” on their own terms wherever they will be in the future. Amitabha!