In order to provide a chance for devotees to practice self-cultivation and observe the eight precepts for one day and one night in the monastery, Hsi Lai Temple held the Eight Precepts Retreat during the weekend of 3/28 and 3/29. The 150 participants were largely BLIA members from the Greater Los Angeles Area, Nevada, Boston and Phoenix.
According to the Uposatha Sutta (Observance Sutra), Buddha said “Uposatha is comprised of eight factors a noble disciple observes, the observance of which brings glorious and radiant fruit and benefit.” The Eight Precepts Retreat has been a long-standing practice of disciples in Buddhist countries.
After checking-in, all participants assembled in the Main Shrine requesting Venerable Abbot Hui Dong to be their Precept Master who gave instruction and guidance to the meaning of the eight precepts. The ceremony continued for one and a half hours with Requesting the Sacred to Witness the Ceremony, Repentance of Negative Karma, Taking Refuge for the Precept Body, and Pledging Vows.
The Abbot of Fo Guang Shan, Most Venerable Hsin Bao, addressed as the Instruction Master to all the practitioners, said that through understanding and with practice are two basic ways of enhancing our wisdom. By realizing interdependent origination and cause and effect, one can eliminate worry and anxiety in the mind and decrease attachment. Practicing Buddhism is the best and auspicious investment in life. One’s future will be brighter by paying diligence to your practice and keeping faith.
For one day and night, the devotees practiced observing silence, meditation, sutra transcription, chanting and living within a monastic Sangha community. A group photo with the Abbot and guiding venerables was taken before departing.