The Dedication of Merit Ceremony for 2021 North America Buddha's Light Cultivation Year was held from November 4 to 7, at Hsi Lai Temple, during the Medicine Buddha Dharma Service. Many Fo Guang members diligently participated in a yearlong cultivation marathon. Their sincere hope was that through the recitation of Heart Sutra, mantras, and Buddha’s name, the world would find much needed ease from the COVID-19 pandemic and the hearts and minds of all people would become more stable and calm. As of November 7, the total number of registered practitioners was 1,244. The total number of Heart Sutra recitations was about 4.38 million, the total number of Medicine Buddha Mantra recitations was about 2.5 billion and the total number of recitations of Buddha’s name was about 4.2 billion.
The devastating pandemic caused social unrest and panic among many people. As Buddhists, it is our hope to inject more positivity into the world by uniting ourselves through the power of faith to help people settle down. Therefore, North America of Fo Guang Shan declared 2021 as the "North America Buddha’s Light Cultivation Year". Participating Fo Guang members collaboratively practiced together in an effort to bring stabilization and comfort to people’s hearts and bring peace to the world. Venerables, devotees, Fo Guang members, and Dharma friends from around North America were invited to participate. The participants could choose to recite the Heart Sutra, or Medicine Buddha Mantra, or Buddha’s name, a combo, or all three.
In addition, as encouragement to the participants who recited more than 1,000 Heart Sutras, or 50,000 Medicine Buddha Mantras, or 100,000 Buddha’s name in a month’s time, their names were posted upon the “Wall of Honor” on the event’s website.
Some devotees shared their personal experiences during this cultivation process. Because of this event, their family set aside time each and every day to gather together and practice; as they did, warm compassion and loving-kindness increased within their family, allowing them to live more harmoniously.
The mother of BLIA Westminster Subchapter Advisor Ye Limei, Mrs. Ye who is 90 years old, devoted one entire month to complete the transcription of the Heart Sutra and recite the Buddha's name to show her support to this event.
Wu Bilian, president of San Gabriel Subchapter II, reflected how she felt some pressure to continue to practice every day. But as she continued, she developed diligent perseverance and felt inspired to complete the task. After several months of practice, the Buddha’s name became planted within the field of eight consciousness of her mind, and the Buddha’s name has been continuing to replay within her mind. She hopes to participate in similar events in the near future, so she will have even more opportunities to continue her practice.