Introducing World Peace Gathering 2017 and Mandala
Hello everyone, today, I would like to talk about our 2017 World Peace Gathering.
This is a gathering that we organize yearly in December. It has another name, “The Boundless Light Assembly.” Why is it called Boundless Light? Boundless Light is one of the thirteen titles of the Amitabha Buddha. Some of his titles are Limitless Light Tathagata, Boundless Light Tathagatha, Unobstructable Light Tathagatha, Pure Light Tathagata, etc. All these titles have the word “Light” because it is the Light within us, the immense clarity within us, which is also the emanation of infinite love. Therefore, as we gather at this assembly, we need to unfold this inherent limitless clarity, this innate boundless love. Before we leave this world for the Amitabha Buddha’s Pure Land, we need to cultivate at this Boundless Light Assembly first.
This year, like every year, we will have the “three steps, one bow” and Amitabha heartfelt repentance. The Amitabha repentance is essential because it pays homage to the great characteristics of the Amitabha Buddha. We can make vows to reach the Amitabha Buddha in our heart and mind and in the Pure Land right at this moment. The method is from the Avatamsaka Sutra. As many people can witness the Amitabha Buddha in this mundane life, we manifest his value in this life. That is why we call it the Amitabha Buddha Assembly.
This year, the World Peace Gathering has a unique aspect than last year. Instead of having the Amitabha Buddha Mandala, we will have the Great Compassionate Kwan Yin Mandala. We can also call the Great Compassionate Kwan Yin Mandala the Healing Mandala of all terminal illnesses. What is a terminal illness? It is an illness that has no cure or has advanced to a stage where it can no longer be cured.
First, we could refer to natural disasters as illnesses, such as the floods in Houston, Florida, and Vietnam, the earthquakes in many places and the wildfires in California. Second, there are the human-made sicknesses. What are the human-made illnesses? One of them is the new phenomenon in this modern time - the mindless mass killing by heartless gunmen. Twenty, thirty years ago, we never heard of this. Now, there are more and more significant killing sprees. This is a terminal illness of modern day society.
Next, we should consider illnesses that caused by food and drink. The toxins that result from processing the food and beverages bring about many terminal diseases. That is a reason for us to eat a healthier diet. We also need to take concrete action, use the power of our cultivation to inspire and change the corrupted minds into wholesome ones, and help the sick to heal.
The above examples are the reasons we could not pray on our own but have to rely on the healing power of the Great Compassionate Kwan Yin Bodhisattva.
Why are we not doing the Amitabha Buddha Mandala this year with the Amitabha as our host but instead we have Kwan Yin Bodhisattva?
At the center of the Mandala, we will place the statue of Kwan Yin with six hands to symbolize the healing power for the human illnesses: greed, anger, ignorance, arrogance, doubt, and improper view. Six hands cure six fundamental causes of sufferings to help liberate us and ease illnesses of the populace and individual and natural disasters.
To achieve that, we need the collective focusing power (or Samadhi power) of a big group. The Samadhi power is the power that the Buddha mentioned in helping Maudgalyayana's mother. The Buddha relied on the transference of merits from the collective Samadhi power of the holy order to save Maudgalyayana's mother, liberating her from hell and delivering her to the bright light of Nirvana.
Now, we also need that kind of collective Samadhi power, but how do we find it? I would like to ask that you invite as many monks and nuns as you can. Ask those who practice genuinely to lend us their Samadhi power so we can dedicate the merits to help all sentient beings.
First, we need the collective Samadhi power from the attendees. Next, we need the power of love. What is the power of love? It is the collective power of love from the loving and caring people in attendance. Hopefully, they will be the ones who will take part in the short-term altruistic home-leaving program. In this program, they will practice for 7 days, from November 30th to December 7th, then attend the Assembly for 3 days, December 8th, 9th, and 10th, and return the precepts on December 11th.
For these 11 days, the temporary home-leaving monks and nuns will help exponentially expand the collective power of love. Such power will attract the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas from the ten directions; they will then use their miraculous power to heal the natural disasters and human-made diseases.
This task then is a group effort in which we should all participate. It is best if you can enroll in the home-leaving program or the Dharma protector program for 10 days. If not, please help to spread the words to all your loved ones, family, and friends. Those who care can help us pray in the 3 days, December 8th, 9th, and 10th, at Anaheim Convention Center, to lessen the natural disasters and illnesses.
Each of the three days is a whole day workshop, but if you cannot be there the entire day, then attend as much as you can. Please check out the link: www.phaphoidida.com for more information.
Please join me and all the loving and caring people to spread the light of the Amitabha Buddha.
Thank you, everyone.
Dharma Master Heng Chang
(Translated and transcribed by Compassionate Service Society)