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No Matter Where I Am, There Emerges the Pure Land

Last year, the annual 8-day DDM Great Compassion Water and Land Dharma Service (法鼓山大悲心水陸法會) ended on Dec 2, 2017, which also was my first time to serve at the rite as a student of Dharma Drum Institute of Liberal Art, it was a practice that was granted by the institute.

During the period, no matter which hall we attended, where we made our repentance prostration, or served as a volunteer to cultivate our merit field, we could always learn to have impartial kindness and make universal offerings to all beings in need. It is also a good way for our schoolmates to cultivate our wisdom and compassion, and give our gratitude to the social support from the general public.

In 2017, I still worked as a volunteer in the team of LIVE services at the Medicine Buddha Hall (藥師壇) and was in charge as the time keeper. Taken this task for the 7th consecutive year, I still kept reminding myself to learn everything, wholehearted as a beginner, during the 4 training courses prior to the rite in particular.

My task over the whole week was to transcribe the texts that the monastic advisor announced in the hall onto the LIVE channel. The on-line users could comprehend the on-going sutra so as to be able to precisely follow the pages and the processes of the rituals. Quite often, however, chanting sounds in the hall become very loud; through the earphones we time keepers have to pay delicate attention on the tonal quality and volume when it became noisy. At that moment, I finally realized that the importance of Chan meditation is namely to fully concentrate and be aware of every present movement. A very good example is when the network error happens, from time to time; it is also a great chance to examine if we could be affected by the external environment, and if we could just calmly follow the emergency SOP.

In the Medicine Buddha Hall, through the great merits derived from Medicine Buddha’s 12 great vows, and Medicine Buddha Mantra (藥師咒) that help to retain good deeds mindfully, the practitioners could reduce their vexations through practicing the methods of Medicine Buddha.

"Just as the former Abbot President said in his dharma talk, no matter where I am, there emerges the pure land.”

Reciting Sutra on the Merit of the Original Vow of Medicine Buddha of Pure Crystal Radiance(藥師琉璃光如來) is not merely for longevity and warding off misfortunes; what is more, as long as the practitioners could affirm their faith and practice the methods, empathy responses would emerge thus all wishes will be fulfilled. As Master Sheng Yen once expounded, the true empathy responses referred to one’s understandings that are reflecting from individual’s inner integrity, after they are listening to the Dharma teachings.

The dharma talks made by the host venerables in Medicine Buddha hall were all about reminding us to practice the methods in time. If, only if, there is only 3 days left in the current life how would you plan for these days? Lots of unspoken words and gratitude, as well as missing benevolent deeds, how would we deal with that condition? Would we get lost in all of our wandering thoughts just like we are doing right now? Or, should we keep up our practice? Causes and conditions are out of our control, yet the one who is able to make the change is ourselves.

The theme in 2017 was “Pure Land on Earth”. Just as the former Abbot President said in his dharma talks, though the Water and Land Dharma Service has ended, it would not be the end point of our practices. “No matter where our body goes, our mind follows.” Furthermore, no matter where our mind abides, there comes our happiness.

I hope that the pure land on earth is just in front of us. With my sincere gratitude and blessings, let’s stipulate to meet next year, in the theme of “Peace and Freedom from Troubles”!!

Text: Chen, Hui-Qiu (陳惠秋)
Translation: Elenda Huang
Editing: DDM Australian Editorial Team

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