Monday, August 26, 2013

Adventures in Mahayana: Ling Yen

Dhr. Seven and CC Liu, Wisdom Quarterly; Ling Yen Mountain Temple, California
Amitabha Buddha (center) with his female assistants Mahasthamaprapta Bodhisattva and Kwan Yin Bodhisattva, Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, China (Tengu800/wiki).
Ling Yen temples worldwide are in the Taiwanese Pure Land tradition and branches of Ling Yen Shan monastery near Puli, Nantou, Taiwan, founded by Master Miao Lien (wiki).

Ksitigarbha vowed to save beings from the hells
ETIWANDA, California - Far from the city, up a dirt road on the face of a small mountain, on 400 acres of rural, nearly barren sagebrush exists Ling Yen, a Mahayana nunnery dedicated to monasticism and spreading the blessings of Master Miao Lien.
He made 49 vows to save suffering beings in the manner reserved in Western thought to St. Issa (Jesus Christ Bodhisattva). This is well within Pureland tradition.

There are, of course, other great bodhisattvas (beings who have vowed to become full buddhas and delay their own liberation to save all others from suffering). The greatest vows were made by an amazing savior-figure named Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva.

He is said to have declared, "I shall attain buddhahood only when every last sentient being has been saved; furthermore, unless hell itself is completely emptied of suffering beings, I vow never to enter buddhahood."

Goddess Kwan Yin is the Bodhisattva of Wise-Compassion for all (AmitabhaBuddha)
His birthday will be celebrated from September 2-8, 2013 in upper Rancho Cucamonga, in the former Tongva settlement known as Etiwanda. (The Tongva were the indigenous First Nation people of Los Angeles).

To celebrate the birth of this great being, Ling Yen Temple will hold a special Ksitigarbha Service.

Amitabha Pureland (dawaarts)
The Great Vow Bodhisattva, as Ksitigarbha is known, is one of the four major bodhisattvas. His compassionate vow affects the living as well as the dearly departed. All of the merits accrued from reciting the sutras and chanting the Buddha's name (usually the favored buddha of Mahayana devotion, Amitabha or Amitofo, rather than the historical Shakyamuni Buddha) will be transferred.

The transfer of merit benefits living relatives, eradicating karmic obstructions and increasing virtuous roots, and departed relatives extending back for seven generations, freeing them from suffering and helping them attain bliss by promoting their rebirth in the Western Pure Land (a heaven conducive to cultivating the perfections and pursuing liberation from death and rebirth).
  • Ksitigarbha Dharma Service
  • Sept. 2-8, 2013, 8:00 am-9:40 pm (daily)
  • 13938 Decliff Dr., Etiwanda CA 91739
  • Telephone: (909) 463-0189
"Family" goes back seven generations.
One of the most important teachings in Buddhism is gratitude. All sentient (feeling) beings are our past parents and future buddhas. In Mahayana Buddhism July is the month of "filial piety." This means repaying our countless previous parents' kindness and help. One reveres present parents and strives to benefit those of the beginningless past. The Sutra of the Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha Fundamental Vows" refers to a Mahayana discourse on filial piety. It is said that by reciting this sutra, one achieves an understanding of cause and effect. We obtain 28 kinds of excellent benefits and in time achieve buddhahood. Moreover, we deliver our foes and relatives. Ksitigarbha's vow benefits those still living and the departed. This service is very special and an opportunity not to be missed. Come, join in, and benefit countless beings.

Namu Amida Butsu (Shane James Kramer)
THE MASTER'S 49TH VOW: Master Miao Lien, founder of Ling Yen Mountain Monastery in Taiwan and a worldwide movement to benefit others, vowed to help ALL beings who ask him, who call for him, who have seen him, or who have so much as heard his name.
  1. Sunday (9-1-13): Sanctuary Purification Ceremony where participants who desire to sleep over in the monastic compound, both males and females, register in advance.
  2. Monday: The Eight Precepts and Fasting Ceremony 8:00 am, morning service at 8:30 am.
  3. Daily recitation of Sutra of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha and recitation of his name.
  4. Wednesday: "Universal Worship of the Buddha and Bodhisattva" in the morning service to celebrate the birthday.
  5. Thursday: The first day of the eight month of the Chinese lunar calendar with recitation of the Jeweled Censer Praise (Incense Anthem Pao Ting) and prostrate to the Mahayana Buddhist Patriarchs.
  6. Saturday: Three Steps One Prostration Pilgrimage at 7:00 pm.
  7. Sunday (9-8-13): Taking Guidance Ceremony will be held in the afternoon (with advance registration).
  • MERIT: The temple welcomes practitioners to sow fields of blessings by donating toward the vegetarian meals offered to the public, which helps establish positive affinity.
  • During this Dharma Service, plaques for the living and departed will be available, with large plaque accommodating up to eight people.
  • Remember: Participants requesting to stay in the temple overnight must register in advance.

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