Compassionate Water Repentance Ceremony
The Water Repentance liturgy was written in the Tang Dynasty by the Imperial Dharma Master, Wu Da, who found out first hand that karmic retributions and consequences may remain invisible through many ages and reincarnations, but can never be escaped and must be repaid.
During the reign of Emperor Yi Zong in the Tang Dynasty (mid-9th century), a young monk named Zhi Xuan once went on the road to visit monasteries across the land. In one unremarkable temple he stayed in, he smelled a repugnant odor coming from the neighboring dormitory room. When he went over to check it out, he saw a monk lying in bed, his whole body covered with odorous sores. Due to his hideous sight and odor, everyone in the monastery stayed away from him. However, Zhi Xuan did not abandon this suffering man but treated his sores with kindness and care. With the help of this kind caretaker, the sick monk soon completely recovered. Both men began getting ready to move on in their paths. Before they departed, the recovered monk said to Zhi Xuan, “If you ever find yourself in any catastrophe or trouble, you may come to look for me at Jiulong Mountain in Peng Province, Sichuan. When you see the twin pine trees on the left side of the mountain, you will have arrived at the right place.” With that, the recovered man went on his way.
Many years later, Zhi Xuan’s virtuous conduct and profound practice won him high regard and respect from the Emperor, who knighted him with the honorable title of Imperial Dharma Master and gave him the name Wu Da, meaning “thoroughly enlightened.” In addition, the Emperor granted him a throne decorated with eaglewood from which to lecture the Dharma. As soon as Master Wu Da ascended on the throne, his mind gave rise to the thought, “I am now under one person but above thousands of people.” At this moment, a painful growth shaped like a human face appeared on his knee; the human face had a mouth that would open and ask to be fed, causing the Imperial Master excruciating and unbearable pain. The most famous doctors all over the country were helpless in finding the cure for this hideous tumor.
In his moment of desperation, Master Wu Da remembered the offer given by the monk he cared for a long time ago. He immediately set out to seek this man who could be his savior. When he arrived at Jiulong Mountain, he saw the twin pine trees. Behind the trees stood a magnificent hall where a monk was expecting him with a welcoming smile. The monk consoled Master Wu Da and reassured him that with the pure water from the clear spring below the cliff, the tumor could be completely washed off.
The next day, an attendant boy led Master Wu Da to the spring. As Master Wu Da was getting ready to splash water on the tumor on his knee, the human face on the growth shouted, “Stop! Do not flush me away! Haven’t you read the story of Yuan Ang and Chao Cuo from the History of Western Han?” Master Wu Da answered, “Sure. The two were archenemies in the riotous Western Han period around second century BC. Yuan Ang persuaded the Emperor to kill Chao Cuo, and the Emperor ordered Chao Cuo to be cut in half at the waist.” The human face said, “You were that Yuan Ang who had Chao Cuo killed, and I was that Chao Cuo who suffered that horrific death. When I was being executed, hatred filled my heart, and I swore I would seek revenge at the first chance. Unfortunately for me, for your last ten reincarnations, you have been an eminent monk who has strictly upheld the precepts; therefore, Dharma guardians were always around you to protect you, depriving me of any chance to do you harm. However, when the gift from the Emperor stirred up your arrogant thought for fame and wealth, your tainted mind gave me a chance to get close to carry out my revenge. Now with the purity of the samadhi water, which has been blessed by the Venerable Kanaka, the enlightened sage whom you saved, I can be liberated from hatred, and I will no longer seek revenge.”
The pure samadhi water cleansed away the tumor with the human face, and also the longstanding feud between the two enemies. Master Wu Da wrote the text of repentance, which he chanted every morning and evening to thank the Venerable Kanaka, and named it the Compassionate Water Repentance. During the repentance ceremony, practitioners sincerely wash away the longstanding feud and bitterness in their own minds by reflecting inwards and repenting with a mind of purity and gratitude.
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 May 5 to August 11, 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 6/23 & 7/21. A completion ceremony will be held on 8/11 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.
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 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 the 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 to 12/31. On 1/1, 2018we will have a blessing ceremony to welcome the new year of 2018.
經云：「人身難得，於三寶中，信敬尊重，亦難可得，得聞世尊藥師琉璃如來名號，復難於是。」為感念導師 上惟下覺大和尚創建道場、安僧度眾、慧命再造之恩，中台禪寺於夏安居啟建報恩藥師法會，於8月11日舉行圓滿法會暨總回向。期間，所屬各分院四眾弟子亦同步持續共修三個月。美國舊金山分院佛門寺除了每日共修藥師經，於6/23及 7/21 舉行報恩藥師法會。 伏祈三寶慈光加被，以此法會共修功德，上報四恩，下濟三有；並回向世界和平，國泰民安，法界有情，同霑法益，共證菩提。