|Dear Dharma Friends and Devotees,|
As the birthday of Amitabha Buddha approaches, Hsi Lai Temple will conduct the annual “Amitabha Dharma Service” from December 24～31, 2017. According to the sutras, “Reciting the Buddha’s name gains limitless merits; making a full bow to the Buddha eradicates endless unwholesome karma.” The merit of reciting the Buddha’s name is truly auspicious because it helps us realize our intrinsic Amitabha nature, eradicate the karma of our defilements and be reborn to the Western Pure Land. In the pure land, we can see the Buddha, hear the Dharma and develop the views and understanding of the Buddha.
During the service, participants are encouraged to recite the Buddha's name or transcribe the Amitabha Sutra as additional practice. At the conclusion of the service, an “Amitabha Triple Contemplation Service” will be conducted on December 31 at 1:30 pm, the merits of which will be transferred to the departed loved ones of our devotees for rebirth into the Pure Land. All are welcome to attend and share in the joy of the Dharma.
Rising Dawn of Success
Venerable Abbot Hui Dong
Abbot, Hsi Lai Temple
|"Amitabha" refers to Amitabha Buddha, and therefore, the “Amitabha Chanting Week” means seven days of chanting the holy name of Amitabha Buddha. Why chant for so many days? Because by chanting the name of Amitabha Buddha, we can slowly stop our delusional thoughts and attachments, and slowly calm our hearts. This also indicates that time is needed to stop thoughts of delusions and attachments, and time is also needed to find inner peace. Thus, the more days we chant, the more we can achieve that goal. When the heart is at peace, the heart will be pure, happy, and clear. It is only when we use this heart to live, that we can conduct our affairs and treat other people with harmony in mind, and become a happy and carefree individual.|
A peaceful heart also allows us to connect with Amitabha Buddha; and once connected, we become Amitabha Buddha, thus the term “this mind itself is the Buddha.” Our hearts will be filled with infinite light, enough to light up ourselves and others, thus an “infinite light.” Similarly, our lives will continue endlessly, with more time to improve oneself and bring benefit to others, thus “endless life.” When we become “infinite light” and “endless life,” then we are Amitabha Buddha.
This chanting teaching and practice is called “Pure Land teaching and practice.” In our busy lives, we can chant the holy name of Amitabha anywhere, anytime without the limits of space and time. Thus, this Pure Land teaching and practice is also called “The Easy Way,” as it is the easiest, simplest, and highest level of cultivation in our lives. But during chant, we must focus on this important point: let the chant come from the heart, let the voice exit from the mouth, and let the sound enter through the ear. Listen carefully to each phrase and word, so that it is clear in our minds. If we do this with sincerity, then we can achieve peace in our hearts and connect with Amitabha Buddha.
Furthermore, the benefits of chanting the names of the buddhas are endless. Below four benefits that people should understand:
1. The protection of the buddhas: People who chant the names of the buddhas will have their protection. They will no longer be afraid or be defeated.
2. The meeting of many kind friends: People who chant the names of the buddhas will have pure hearts and be able to amiably receive others. Thus other kind individuals will want to become friends with such people.
3. Full of good fortune and wisdom: People who chant the names of the buddhas will find wisdom in their hearts, and with this wisdom, they will create affinities with others and find good fortune.
4. Die happy: People who chant the names of the buddhas will have no fear in their hearts. With mindfulness, they will find peace and happiness at the end.
To celebrate the birth of Amitabha Buddha, Hsi Lai Temple welcomes all devotees to join in the Amitabha Chanting Week dharma service. We welcome all to chant from the heart, and to transfer the merits of the chanting into happy families, peaceful communities, and prosperous nations.