Is my mind calm? Do I understand the world? Sixty-two registered the One-Day English Buddhist Retreat, on Feb. 19th, seeking more calmness and greater understanding. Participants from Canada and from across the United States, including California, Florida, Washington, and Michigan gathered together, 1 - 5 p.m., to continue the online series of retreat held once a month from January through March, organized by the Department of Social Education and Outreach of Hsi Lai Temple.
Continued seeds of calmness and clarity seemed to grow in minds, as Venerable Jue Ji, Superintendent of Fo Guang Shan Xiang Yun Temple in Austin, Texas, guided participants on how to understand their relationship with the world by observing their emotions, and offered four ways to calm their minds and their bodies using “The Four Bases of Mindfulness”— contemplate the impurities of the body, contemplate the suffering of feelings, contemplate the impermanence of the mind, and contemplate the phenomena of non-self. In life, if we can know and see things as they really are, and understand that there are two sides to a coin — good/bad; beautiful/ugliness — then we will be content, carefree, and more able to accept things the way they are.
During the meditation session, Venerable Hui Cheng led participants to stop scattered thoughts through counting the breaths. "How do you get yourself to focus again when you notice your mind starts to wander off?” Venerable responded, "When you become aware of it, try to bring yourself back to the situation you were working on, and repeat the practice over and over again until you become more and more focused.
"How do I repent for the mistakes I made in the past?” queried a participant. In the Q&A session, Venerable Hui Dong, Abbot of Hsi Lai Temple, cited the example of Angulimalya, who committed serious crimes of killing people during the Buddha's time, and was able to achieve enlightenmentafter sincere repentance.