January 1st in the Chinese lunar calendar, is chinese Spring festival, it is the biggest holiday in china. It is also the holy birthday of Maitreya Bodhisattva – the next Buddha in the saha world. This is a special and joyful holiday that is celebrated by many. Hua Zang Si in San Francisco held a Dharma Assembly to celebrate this important occasion. It was the first Dharma Assembly of the year and it was held on a beautiful sunny day. Many laypersons participated in the event.
At the entrance of the temple is an oversize marvelous statue representation of a jolly, laughing Buddha: Maitreya Bodhisattva (the next Buddha in this Saha world). It is such a warm welcoming sign. The big belly not only means jolly, it also means tolerating the intolerable things in the world. So when you look at the statue, you will start to feel that learning Buddhism is happy and kind.
The Dharma Assembly was an opportunity for people to come together and celebrate the teachings of Maitreya Bodhisattva. It was a time for reflection and meditation, as well as a chance to learn more about the teachings of Buddhism. The atmosphere was filled with positivity and joy, as people came together to celebrate this important holiday.
In Chinese culture, Maitreya Bodhisattva is seen as a symbol of joy and tolerance. As practitioners of Buddhism, we are encouraged to strive to be like the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas by cultivating a broad mind, open heart, and great tolerance.
One of the key principles of Buddhism is patience and forbearance, particularly under insult. This is seen as a key aspect of self-cultivation and it is important to remember that everything in the dharma realms can change from ordinary to holy. This means that even difficult situations can be transformed and overcome through the practice of patience and tolerance.
Patience and tolerance are not just passive qualities, but rather active ones that require effort and practice. We must actively cultivate them in our daily lives and strive to maintain them even in difficult situations. Through this practice, we can transform our own minds and hearts, becoming more like the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas that we strive to emulate.
At the Dharma Assembly, we chanted the Eighty-eight holy Buddha name jeweled repentance sutra, in hopes that the Buddhas will wash away all of our sins and negative karmas. After the chanting, we offered a meal to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. The event concluded with a dharma talk given by Dharma Master Ruohui.
During her talk, Dharma Master Ruohui emphasized the importance of faith, vows, and actions for disciples of Buddhism. She explained that faith is the foundation of our practice, and that with strong faith, we will have the determination to follow the Buddha’s teachings and put them into action in our lives.
The Dharma Assembly was a meaningful event where participants not only had the opportunity to reflect on their own spiritual growth but also to make an impact on the world around them. During the assembly, the participants returned the merit to all living beings, holding the hope that they shall be rid of suffering, obtain happiness, and have the opportunity to listen to authentic Buddha Dharma.
The act of returning merit is an important aspect of Buddhist practice as it is believed that by dedicating the positive energy generated through our spiritual practice to the benefit of others, we can help bring about peace and prosperity in the world. By returning merit to all living beings, participants were able to contribute to the collective well-being of the world and make a positive impact on the lives of others.
Furthermore, the participants also held the hope that by listening to authentic Buddha Dharma, they will be able to perfect their fortune and wisdom, leading to a more prosperous and peaceful world for all. This is the ultimate goal of Buddhism, to help all beings to find inner peace, happiness and liberation from suffering.