Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Beat the Dharma Gong, Proclaim the Sutras

Two Sundays ago, Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche said something meaningful. It was so meaningful that it still struck a cord in my heart afeter 2 weeks and I truely need to share it here. And I'll leave it to the "winds and water and whatever" (:) hahaha, it means "causes and condition; not fengshui) to see where it goes after that. But one thing for sure, it needs to be mentioned because Rinpoche's assistant told me that at the individual level, each and everyone has got a responsibility to uphold the dharma. Yes, therefore, someone got to play his role!

So, Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche had observed that in our country we are so lucky to have so many temples. Indeed, there are so many beautiful and big temples everywhere. However...

However, there are only so few lefthome persons, i.e. monks and nuns. It doesnot matter Theravada or Mahayana. He said that it's like having so many plates on the table but not enough food to put on every plate. I take his comments positively and I see this as an encouragement. He further exhorted us to make sincere requests from our Mahayana “Si-fus” to turn the dharma wheel, in particular the Mahayana Sutras. This is actually my main purpose and I am now in full prostrations to all Mahayana masters, or people from their organizations. I know there are monks who are members of this group and also members connected with Chinese Mahayana temples or even Theravada temples.

The requests is for Venerables and Reverends, to teach and proclaim the Tripitakas, in particular the Sutras. When Venerable Master Hsuan Hua was alive, he was very active in teaching this and that sutra. For every significant word or term, he would have lengthy explanations. I am taking Chokyi Nyima’s advice and would like to make requests from those organizations or temples, and even Theravada ones, to in turn make requests from your resident monks to teach sutras (or suttas in Pali) such as:

- Dhammacakkapavatana Sutta, Mangala Sutta, the nikayas, the pitakas, etc etc from the Theravadian side,

- The Wonderful Lotus Sutra, the Amitabha Sutra, the Master of Healing Sutra, the Ksitigarbha Sutra, the Surangama Sutra, the Avatamsaka (Flower Adornment) Sutra, etc etc. The Mahayana school is so rich in these sutras that it is a pity not to teach it in a formal way.

It is inadequate to just let lay Buddhists study it by themselves. Of course, anyone can read, recite and study it themselves, but it is really different to have a Master sitting there on his dharma seat and teaching it sentence by sentence beginning with “Thus have I heard”.

I am not fortunate enough to hear a Sutra teaching from the late Venerable Master Hsuan Hua in live audience when he was alive. I have only read his Sutra commentaries. But recently I had the fortune to go listen to His Eminence Choden Rinpoche teach and explain the Heart Sutra (the Tibetan version). I knew that reading scripts and books would not have the same profound experience as listening it “LIVE” from him as if I was in front of the Buddha Sakyamuni himself. Therefore, I made a special extra effort to go and get my first Sutra Lecture. I knew that for such important teachings and from a teacher highly regarded by my Guru – Kyabje Lama Zopa – as potentially able to gain realizations if we prepare our minds for it. So, I prepared my mind for his teaching in the way that I know. And even though, I have only the karma to attend his first day teaching, it was a wonderful wonderful teaching that I will never never forget. The imprint of “a flash of lightning” will forever be in my mind. In these kind of Sutra teachings, I personally think it is important to be part of such assemblies because it will create future causes for us to be part of the future Buddhas’ assembly. It may also create causes of us to have visions or dreams of the Buddha’s actual assembly. So, I am happy to be part of the assembly that evening. And I hope more of such Sutra assemblies will be forthcoming.

So, I beseech all the relevant Masters, Gurus, Rinpoches and Venerables to teach the suttas/sutras and the rest of the other baskets of the Tripitaka, as doing this would really benefit all sentient beings as well as prolonged the Buddha sasana.

And if I have said something wrong in your view, I beg your forgiveness. But my heart is sincere in doing this. I take my leave now.

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