Bee Lian / Fa Jing (Sutra Study B)
I heard about it, I watched it on video, I was encouraged to make the journey by the Shifus in Bao Lin Chan Monastery numerous times. At last, I am ready emotionally and spiritually to embark on the journey, to feel and experience it myself. Not as a here say, after three years of procrastination.
The journey started on the 10th August 2016. We arrived in Taiwan after about eight hours. There are other dharma brothers to meet us at the airport which was a pleasant surprise. Buses were there to meet us, and we were driven to places of interests all arranged by Shifus. This is a far cry from all my previous travels where I take care of my luggage to transport etc. We were spoilt from day one.
Eventually we arrived at The Holy Place, Chung Tai Chan Monastery and its surrounding areas is ginormous, it stretches as far as the eyes can see and the whole structure is beyond comprehension, I was in awe and filled with admiration of the Grand Master, his foresight, his vision, his meticulous details from building to garden and the trees he picked.
Once inside the monastery, it seems like a city of Sanghas, I have never seen so many bhiksus and bhiksunis all working very hard, keeping the place clean, catering to the needs of about 30,000 people is mammoth task and it was done most professionally, everything seem to run smoothly, how, it’s beyond comprehension.
The size of the building is unimaginable, one needs a map to get around.
In the evening, we met the Abbott of Chung Tai Chan Monastery. The subsequent days just fly by with so many events, chanting, meditations, places to see, monasteries to visit.
The Chung Tai World Museum is another wonder of wonders, filled with countless Buddhist artefacts that dated back hundreds of years. One had to wonder how did the Grand Master managed collections of this caliber and most of all the trust and respect of the donors bestowed on the Grand Master to safeguard such priceless treasures.
Of all the monastery we visited, Ling Quan Temple, will always be special. It was where the Grand Master laid his foundation towards Chung Tai Chan Monastery of today. It was surreal, climbing the steps to the temple, walking the very ground when once the Grand Master tread on, the hall where he once prayed and meditated. The atmosphere was one of peace and tranquility. No desire to leave but grateful to have such experience. The stories that were narrated to us about the Grand Master, his compassion, his wisdom, his uncanny perception have imprinted in my mind and be there for a long time. The concrete table and stools where he conducted his Dharma, and a special disciple in form of a snake attended with its head raised had us all mesmerised.
Feeling of admiration and utmost respect to one who had such Great Vow and almighty strength to carry it through.
Thus his wish to protect Chung Tai Chan Monastery and propagate the Dharma, will, I am sure be carried out
By the Monastic and disciples not only of Chung Tai Chan Monastery but all Centres worldwide.
However, the highlight of the pilgrimage was on the night of the Great Meng Shan Food Bestowed Ceremony,
When all of a sudden and unexpectedly, The Abbot with his entourage of VIPs walked past right in front of us and the ever astute Shifu spotted them coming and motioned to us to stand up. We were the only group among hundreds of people to show respect. The Abbot then said fairly loudly, clear and with pride in Chinese quote in English ‘This is OUR Bao Lin from Australia’, regrettably, we did not say ‘Amitofou’ which would be a befitting response. We were filled with joy.
My sincere thanks to The Abbess of Bao Lin, and all the Shifus who planned and worked very hard to make
sure the journey went smoothly, and that we were all taken care of and at the same time had a wonderful time.
To all the Dharma brothers in Taiwan, their utmost generosity and warm hospitality is very much appreciated.