Gratitude Ceremony on Medicine Buddha Sutra During Sangha Summer Retreat
Grand Master Wei Chueh, the founding patriarch of Chung Tai Chan Monastery, in his compassionate vow to liberate all sentient beings, established the harmonious sangha assembly. He propagated the Buddha Dharma to stabilize and purify the mind of all people. In grateful remembrance of the Grand Master’s compassionate efforts, all sangha members sincerely requested the observance of the summer retreat period by holding the Medicine Buddha Gratitude Ceremony at Chung Tai. All monastic disciples at branches also chant this sutra as daily service.
At Buddha Gate, from April 30 to July 23, we invite all friends and disciples to join us in the daily recitation of the Sutra of the Medicine Buddha Lapis Lazuli Radiance Tathagata and monthly ceremony on 4/30, 5/28, 6/25 & 7/23. A completion ceremony will be held on 8/26 at Chung Tai.
May the Three Jewels be merciful to us; may the merits of our pure practice benefit all our benefactors above as well as all those in the wretched realms. We dedicate these merits toward peace in the world and all sentient beings, so that all may eradicate all their afflictions, be free from calamities, and attain enlightenment.
Daily Chanting Schedule：
|7-8 am||Mon, Tue, Wed, Fri|
The origin of Sangha Summer Retreat
The Sangha Summer Retreat originates from the Buddha’s time. In India, the sangha either went to meditate in the mountains, by the rivers, or practiced walking meditation in the forest. During the monsoon season, their alms bowl and clothing were often drenched or washed away by the rain waters. Therefore, the lay disciples pleaded with the Buddha to provide a sheltered place for the sangha; they would then make offerings of food to the sangha so that they could concentrate on their practice and not suffer from the summer rains.
In his compassion, the Buddha set aside a summer retreat period from the 16th day of the 4th lunar month to the 15th day of the 7th lunar month; during that time, lay disciples offered food, clothing, bedding, medicine, and other necessities of daily life to the sangha so that they could peacefully and vigorously cultivate the Way. During those three months, the sangha would not go out except to take care of their parents and teachers, and to carry out the work of the Three Jewels. This period of time is known as the “three-month summer retreat and 90-days of tranquil living.”
The Liang Huang Jeweled Repentance liturgy was written at the request of Emperor Wu of the Liang Dynasty (502-557 CE) for his deceased queen, Empress Chi, who committed many destructive acts and harmful deeds out of anger, jealousy, greed, and ignorance during her life. As a karmic retribution for her bad deeds, Chi was reborn as a python snake, causing her intense pain and suffering. She begged the Emperor to save her. The Emperor sought help from a famous Chan master, Master Bao Zhi, who advised that the karmic obstacles of the Empress could only be cleansed by making repentance and paying homage to the Buddha. Selecting text from the sutras, the Chan Master compiled a ten-chapter repentance liturgy with prostrations to over two thousand Buddhas. Emperor Wu made sincere repentance on behalf of his deceased queen, and dedicated the merits to the Empress and all sentient beings. As a result of his sincerity and dedications, the Empress was reborn in Trayastrimsa Heaven. For over a thousand years, practitioners have recited the Liang Huang liturgy to sincerely pay homage to the Buddha and make repentance.
To follow the founding patriarch of Chung Tai Chan Monastery, Grand Master Wei-Chueh’s great compassion to liberate sentient beings from sufferings, Buddha Gate Monastery has been hosting Liang Huang Jeweled Repentance Ceremony yearly since 2006. Through this practice of repentance at the end of year, it is such as a spiritual clean-up. With a pure body and mind, we welcome a whole new year. In 2017, this ceremony will be hosted from 12/24-12/31. On 1/1, 20178we will have a blessing ceremony to welcome the new year of 2018.