2018 10th Anniversary

Baolin Chan Monastery Tenth Anniversary celebration and the Three Refuges and Five Precepts Transmission Ceremony

Earnestly invited by the Dharma supporters, on 14 October 2018 the venerable Abbot of Chungtai Chan Monastery came to Melbourne and conducted the Tenth Anniversary Celebration and the Three Refuges and Five Precepts Transmission Ceremony.

At 9:30am, about 700 people — community leaders, disciples and members of the public from many different cultural backgrounds — gathered at Baolin, and respectfully invited the Abbot to give a Dharma talk.

The representatives made a light offering and vows before the Buddha. The venerable Abbot cut the cake, making great wishes for the Tenth Anniversary, amid joyful applause from the crowd.

The president of Dharma Supporters Association, Huizhen Zheng, made a speech. She expressed the gratitude of all disciples that Chungtai Chan Monastery established Baolin in Melbourne to disseminate the Dharma and benefit people and, further, that the Abbot personally came to conduct the Tenth Anniversary ceremony.

The Abbot gave a Dharma talk, starting with a direct reference to our mind — the mind that is listening to his talk right at this moment — revealing that our mind can generate myriads of phenomena. Importantly, the mind from which all phenomena emanate is where the great treasury of merit can be found.

Countless merits are accumulated from realising the mind, understanding the mind, mastering the mind and abiding in the mind. Therefore, there is a treasury of merit in everyone’s mind.

The Pure Mind, The Countless Treasury.

This is precisely the meaning of “Baolin”, the name given by the Grand Master Wei Chueh. It is for us to understand, through learning Dharma at Baolin, that “the pure mind intrinsic to everyone is the source of countless merits and rewards”. This is because “the original nature of the mind is the truth, realising the original nature of the mind is following the truth to certain degree”.

There would be no obstacles in our way if we follow the truth, thus accumulating merits, having peace and happiness, and avoiding difficulties, calamities and danger. Better still, we will have achievements in our family life, studies and careers. This is how we obtain the real benefits of the Dharma.

How can we avoid being empty–handed with the benefits of Dharma or satisfying ourselves with limited benefits, as if they were sufficient?

The Abbot pointed out that we obtain Dharma based on sincere respect — that basic respect and trust enable us to start to learn, and investigate a “bold hypothesis” that Dharma can really benefit us.

To obtain the benefits of Dharma we must transform emotional and irrational cognitions, or understandings, into rational ones. Through trial and error, we carefully confirm or prove the hypothesis ourselves. The steps of “trust, understanding, practice and proof” have scientific basis, the important point is to investigate and examine Buddha’s answer to the “imposition of suffering”.

Buddha’s answer to counter the imposition of sufferings is the “awakening of the mind”, with the accumulation of merits and wisdom as the specific practice to obtain awakening. The cultivation of wisdom can eradicate delusions, while the cultivation of merit can purify three negative karmic forces. Really, we can only be liberated from suffering and enjoy happiness by breaking the vicious cycle: delusion arising from an unguarded mind; the deluded mind causing bad karma; and bad karma resulting in suffering.

Therefore, awakening is the key to end suffering and to be happy. When the awakening dawns on us, the truth can be proven that “all sentient beings have innate Buddha nature, but its manifestation is clouded by delusions and attachments”. Being awakened to this realization enables us to really benefit from Dharma.

It is Chungtai and Baolin’s mission to lead all sentient beings to obtain awakening, and help us realise our Buddha nature. With empirical methodology, dialectic thinking and vivid words, the Abbot explained the essence of the Buddhism in a rational and scientific way.

The audience, fascinated by his talk, experienced moments of Dharma joy. With the three-hour talk passing in the blink of an eye, the audience still wanted the talk to continue. Chungtai’s Dharma teaching resonates with the mind of all sentient beings.

Following the Dharma talk, was a delicious vegetarian lunch for all in a joyful atmosphere.

The venerable Abbot then conducted the Three Refuges and Five Precepts Transmission Ceremony at 2pm. As the Abbott mentioned in his talk, it requires extraordinarily good fortune to get the chance to know Dharma of the mind — the core of Buddhism in the southern hemisphere — and even rarer for us to have the precious opportunity to take the Three Refuges and Five Precepts transmitted by the venerable Abbot who, with his great compassion, came across the seas.

About 300 disciples took the Three Refuges and Five Precepts transmitted by the Abbot as Precept master, became a Buddhist and vowed before the Buddha to keep the precepts purely and to walk the Bodhi path.

With deep gratitude, about 350 Dharma supporters respectfully invited the Abbott to the Baolin Tenth Anniversary celebration dinner at 6pm. Members of the Children’s meditation class sang and recited The Vows of Bodhisattva Samantabhadra and The Four Tenets of Chung Tai in English. Then, the members of the Tai chi class performed, seamlessly integrating zen and martial arts.

Philip, a member of English meditation class, played on his piano two songs he composed for the Tenth Anniversary, “Moon in the Water” and “Morning Snow”. Disciple, Yiting, performed the wonderful Erhu Solo, “The Fantasia of Sanmenxia”. Jinxiang, a disciple from Taiwan, played on his flute the “Song of the Three Jewels”:

“…Now we know that the Three Jewels are the real refuge for us, we shall trust and devote our lives to the Three Jewels as long as we live…”

The celebration of the Tenth Anniversary is the culmination of Baolin carrying on the great vows of Grand Master Wei Chueh — to spread Zen Buddhism and Dharma teaching — and the culmination of practicing the Bodhisattva way, tirelessly by the Abbot and Shifus to fulfil the Tathagata’s mission. It’s also the result of endless support of disciples and Baolin students.

Looking back, we reflect on where we can improve, observe our mind while in action, be mindful to know the truth, and awaken our mind to realize the Buddha nature. Looking forward, we will work together, led by the Abbot and enlightened teachers, to help everyone find the treasury of merit in their mind, and to cultivate the pure land of the human world, for Chungtai’s Dharma teaching to spread and take root.

Sutra Class Angela Teh/傳慈

The great day has finally arrived after such enormous planning and preparations by the Sanghas. The devotees and community put forward their giving, their sweat and most of all, their deep spiritual hope that the success will benefit all sentient beings in the ten directions.

The Dharma talk given by the venerable Abbott of Chung Tai. There were so many pointers of cultivation in his speech. They were simple to understand, direct to follow, and precise to the practice in the Path of Liberation.

With this knowledge, we should put more effort, more determination, more perseverance in our cultivation for Liberation from the cycle of life and death in this life time. We should understand that this lifetime is so precious, so rare. We should not waste any more time. Our main obstruction is ignorance and attachment, and the Grand Master has given us the knowledge and tools to overcome them. We are, indeed very blessed to have such wise and learned Teachers to guide us through the door way of Enlightenment.

We are very, very grateful. And the highest form of gratitude that we, as students, can give, is to achieve what our Teachers have set out to teach. And have the compassion to help others for the benefit of all sentient beings.