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HEARING THE SOUNDS OF THE REPENTANCE SERVICE AT TIANNING TEMPLE, CHANGZHOU (EXCERPT)

by Xu Zhimo (1897 - 1931)
English translation: Zhi Yue

I listen to the sound of the repentance service at Tianning Temple! The drum sounds, then the bell, followed by the gong.
Then the woodenfish, and then the Buddha’s name… The sound of chanting echoes in the Main Shrine, slow and inundated, like countless conflicting waves coming to a unison, like countless contrasting colors being purified, like countless altitudes in the world disappearing.

The harmonic sound of the Buddha’s name, bell, drum, and gong pervades the universe─dissolving all defilements for a moment in time and gathers all the causes and conditions of innumerable centuries.

Where does this great harmony─the brilliance of a sea of stars, the music of the universe, the powerful current of life─come from? It stops all movements and ceases all disturbances. At the edge of heaven and earth, within a golden shrine, in between the brows of the Buddha image, inside my sleeves, near my ears and temple, inside my organs, inside my spirit, inside a dream…

The joy flowing from perfect enlightenment manifests from the unshakable calm of a great, majestic, nirvanic, and boundless harmony!

── from Xu Zhimo Quanji (Complete Works of Xu Zhimo)