Vesak 2018 Reflection

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Vesak, a day that commemorates the Birth, Enlightenment and Parinibbana of the Historical Buddha, Gautama that had graced this Earth. It is not uncommon to find temples all over the world having activities on this day. Some can be ceremonial and ritualistic; but some are surprising to me.

I have observed for the past many years, there are different empowerment and blessing rituals that direct devotions to other worship icons in Buddhism other than the rightful protagonist for the day.  I will not be surprised if people come to me to ask have I done any 3 steps 1 bow or bathing the baby Buddha ritual; the type of things you do on Vesak usually.

Really?

Does doing any of these helps one to reflect and ponder more deeply on the Birth, Enlightenment and the Parinibbana of Sakyamuni Buddha?

I used to set up a little bathing the baby Buddha ritual too but I did reflect on the 15 virtues that one should be minded when performing the ritual.

I was sharing with a kalyanamitra that ceremonies and rituals are meant to allow partakers to take in by emphasizing the meaning and depth of it through solemnizing the proceedings.

I find it more purposeful if we remember that the Buddha had taught because He would have wanted us to improve our lives by living a Dharma-inspired and Dharma-driven life. Sure, some blessings and ceremonies may bring some seemingly miraculous results but nothing is more miraculous than impacting and improving our lives with the Dharma.

I urge and look forward to a more reflective and introspective spiritual living for you and I.

Ser Ming
on a blessed Vesak Day 2018

從《妙法蓮華經》來看《衛賽節》

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《衛賽節》是佛教裡的一項佛陀紀念日。是為了紀念佛陀誕生,成道和涅槃的日子。雖然有些佛教傳統對於這些事宜的紀念日有偏差,但本地則是遵循了世界佛教友誼會所擬定在五月的月圓日為《衛賽節》。一般寺廟裡頭,無論那個傳統的佛教,都有有一些祈福,放生,浴佛等等的節目或儀式。其中最典型的當然便是浴佛了。

浴佛(或灌佛)是《衛賽節》一項很具象徵性的儀式。向在水盆中間的悉達多太子的雕像進行淋浴的動作,彷彿重演當時佛陀降誕的那一幕。那重演佛陀降誕可否由甚麼意義?可能對一般信眾就覺得只要參加寺廟的活動,多少能累積些功德甚麼的。這點我們是可以隨喜,畢竟見到了象徵佛陀的塑像而生起了歡喜心,這是很不錯的。比較有認識的應該就會參考《浴佛功德經》裡所描述的浴佛能得十五種功德。通常在這塊,學人會比較注重對於經裡說的"成就十五殊勝功德而自莊嚴",來解說自己在浴佛的當兒,自己內心也得起觀照反思自己的思維,行為可否與《浴佛功德經》裡的十五種功德相應。那奉行《妙法蓮華經》的「法華行者」們又該如何看待浴佛這一項儀式呢?

來看回《衛賽節》的本意,就是來紀念佛陀佛陀誕生,成道和涅槃的,而從《法華經》裡確實有教法,可以在您浴佛時,用來內省而提醒自己在「法華」的道風上。

舍利弗!云何名諸佛世尊唯以一大事因緣故出現於世?諸佛世尊,欲令眾生開佛知見,使得清淨故,出現於世;欲示眾生佛之知見故,出現於世;欲令眾生悟佛知見故,出現於世;欲令眾生入佛知見道 故,出現於世。-《妙法蓮華經·方便品》

在勺子舀起香湯給悉達多太子第一灌沐時,想到佛陀的降誕,回憶起以上這一段的重點,便是佛陀的現世是為了讓我們得以「開佛知見,示佛知見,悟佛知見,入佛知見」。這憶念一起,提醒自己佛陀並非無原由的兩千多年前的印度降誕。

『一切世間天、人及阿修羅,皆謂:『今釋迦牟尼佛, 出釋氏宮,去伽耶城不遠,坐於道場,得阿耨多羅三藐三菩提。』然,善男子!我實成佛已來無量無邊百千萬億那由他劫。-《妙法蓮華經·如來壽量品》

在勺子舀起香湯給悉達多太子第二灌沐時,想到佛陀的成道,回憶起以上這一段的重點並了解到佛陀的成道便是弘法的開始。因我們的根器的不同而應機說法。

我本行菩薩道所成壽命,今猶未盡,復倍上數。然今非實滅度,而便唱言:『當取滅度。』-《妙法蓮華經·如來壽量品》

在勺子舀起香湯給悉達多太子第三灌沐時,想到佛陀的涅槃,回憶起以上這一段的重點便是釋尊一直與我們同在。而釋尊還在行他的菩薩道喔,這表示著從《法華經》的角度,佛陀的涅槃非靜態,而是以另一姿態持續的給與我們鼓勵和力量。

在結束時,憶念起一下這一段,如果能真的背誦出來更好:

諸有修功德,柔和質直者,則皆見我身,在此而說法。-《妙法蓮華經·如來壽量品》

這是信受本佛久遠實成釋迦牟尼佛一項很重的教法,而以上這段所講的"諸有修功德"當然便是以《法華經》的行法理解來進行,別被外面一般對《法華經》不了解的人給唬弄一番。

來個總結,以「法華行者」的角度,浴佛儀式連結以上的憶念是可以使其更有意義,但如果沒有浴佛的話,也可以自己參閱《法華經》看看以上所提到的經文,自己內省的體會一番。

祝 衛賽節過得充實,過得有意義
南無久遠實成大恩教主釋迦牟尼佛

斯明 節慶隨筆
明悅居予願堂

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The Lotus Sutra – an overview

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Lotus Sutra is not a scripture of big volume and this had made me very impressive with the various writers and academics who came before me that had researched and wrote scriptures that are much larger in volumes. Continue reading

Who is Sakyamuni Buddha?

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The Buddha’s birth name was Siddhartha Gautama. Siddhartha means one who has accomplished a goal and Gautama refers to the family name.

There are a few ways that we can look at the Buddha. Continue reading

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Skanda Deva

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Skanda Deva is one of the eight celestial generals that are under the command of Virūḍhaka, the Guardian of the South, according to Mahayana belief. Skanda Deva was known for his speed and hence taking it that He is fast to heed prayers that seek protection.  Continue reading

Happy Year of the Goat…!!!

VaradaShrine150219-1

Wishing everyone a very Happy, Successful and Abundant Year of the Goat ahead!

It is coming to a full week-3 living in my new place and I was glad to have done my Shrine Settling Consecration done a few days before the CNY, which is today, despite still going through the tidying up phase at this moment.

I like to thank my wife for her support, understanding and the various aid that she had chipped in over the last few weeks. I had performed a set of liturgy this morning mainly to wish for the longstanding of the Dhamma.

I would also like to thank to my family and friends who gave positive feedback with regards to the layout of my home shrine. I do hope that the aesthetic of my home shrine will allow others to appreciate the image of Lord Buddha better and in time to grow interest and probably even take faith in His very wonderful Dhamma.