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One-Day Buddha-mindfulness Retreat at DDM Buddhist Center Malaysia

Usually, the Dharma Drum Mountain Buddhist Center Malaysia organizes One-Day Buddha-mindfulness Retreat activity on every Labor Day (May 1st) in the hopes that more devotees may take part in on the holiday, and this year is no exception.

On that day, their Chan Hall couldn’t be any more solemn with over 70 attendees crowding in, together with the monastics for Dharma instruments—Yuezhong (悅眾), and the monastics for discipline— Weina (維那), both of whom highlighted the ceremony as if auspicious clouds decorated the hall.

Before the Buddhist ceremony, the Jianxiang (監香), functioning as a supervisor, , Ven. Chang-zun (常尊) praised those diligent attendees who spent the holiday on spiritual practice or virtues and merits development, largely showing their wisdom. For the chance was not common, Dharma teachers persuaded the public to let go of their concerns temporarily similar to storing carry-on items in library’s lockers. Purposes of this group practice covered from “praising the Buddha”, “chanting around the Buddha”, “sitting upright to recite sutras and mantras” , “taking a pause in silence”, to “worshipping the Buddha”, “performing repentance prostrations” ahead of “daily evening service”. Ven. Chang-zun continued with smiles on, “we invite everybody to join the intensive group practice in order to reach the lotus pond in the Western Land of Utmost Bliss spiritually. Each one of you deserves the title of good ‘spiritual friend’.”

Because a good portion of attendees were first-time comer, to help everyone construct correct concepts regarding reasons to recite the Buddha's name, it’s necessary to watch videos about its benefits and methods on which Ven. Master Shen-yen shed light. Master stressed in films, “one should collect one’s mind in the manner of commemorating the Buddha like a son misses his mother when reciting sutras and mantras. Besides, one should be mindful of one’s deluded thoughts, too; it’s okay to have those thoughts, only if one always observes inwardly in line with correct methods of Chan practice, namely, ‘wherever lies the body lies the mind; relaxing the whole body whilst fully aware of this relaxation.’ Through reciting the Buddha’s name, worshipping the Buddha and performing repentance prostration, we hope ourselves can purify personal bodily, verbal and mental karma.”

In the session of burning the 1st incense stick, the intensive group practice started as Buddhist chants rose up, followed by circling around the Buddha under the guidance of Weina. Everyone circled around the Chan Hall inside and out at identical pace, as if lotus was going to bloom out of ground with every step, in coordination with chants of Buddha’s name. Jianxiang continually reminded the public of engaging in reciting mantras wholeheartedly as loud as possible; then, people sat back to keep on their recitation. In the session, the Buddhist chants rose and receded like waves of tide, reechoing from rear to front line, which filled up the entire space. Sitting in such sonic field was like exposing to a lotus kingdom.

Earlier than Buddha worship, Jianxiang also reminded everyone of practicing this part as sincerely and humbly as possible. One should imitate Bodhisattvas’ great personality, spirit and broadmindedness in worshipping the Buddha. After a break for lunch in tranquility and mindfulness, the ceremony came to the 1st incense session again in the afternoon, i.e., repentance prostration practice. Likewise, Jianxiang hoped everyone could confess to and repent of one’s own evil karma created in the past in front of Bodhisattvas from the bottom of one’s heart, while making a vow not to break precepts from then on since this opportunity was not common.

As the ceremony proceeded to the session of burning the last incense, Weina praised the Buddha once more. Subsequently, the session directly cut to recitation in sitting position. Jianxiang asked everyone to value the remaining evening service through reciting Amitabha Sutra more enthusiastically. Finally, everything perfected as soon as Verse of Transference resonated in the air. Jianxiang concluded the ceremony by encouraging everyone to attend group practice repeatedly, saying, “In the time when catastrophe happens frequently, it’s much necessary to have the power and thought to settle people’s mind down. For DDM offers an eco-friendly cloud platform aiming at praying for blessings, we hope everyone can take advantage of and propagandize it widely.”

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