We are deeply grateful to the Teacher Susan Duan for completing teaching us the Dharma in the Dharma lecture of “Sutra of the Original Vows of Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva” in the past four years. The Teacher's opening speech: The world we live in had been war-torn, for the older generation who were in hard days of flams of war, it’s difficult to find complete scriptures of a Sutra, not to mention listening to the Sutra teaching with peace and stability of mind like us. In addition, from the standpoint of history development, we are in a rare period of time of peace, the Teacher hoped that we can treasure and respect the precious causes of learning the Dharma." The dialogue made us feel deeply grateful for the protection of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas and the compassionate teaching of the Teacher. Additionally, we particularly thank the Teacher for specially arranging one lecture in every two months for the sake of considering that we modern people are busy in daily lives, through such slow speed, giving us an opportunity of completely learning the solemn Buddhist Sutra---“Sutra of the Original Vows of Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva” in this life.
In the last lecture of the "Sutra of the Original Vows of Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva", the Teacher Susan Duan summarized several important concepts that run through the whole Sutra, reminding us again:
It all starts with the very beginning of making the vows. What the "Sutra of the Original Vows of Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva" talks about are Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva’s vows which have been made again and again in past lives accomplished the Bodhisattva’s activities benefiting and saving all sentient beings. The Teacher said that it is the same for us ordinary people, the vows we make will cause the lives we have. Since everything starts from the minds, it is necessary to keep an eye on our minds, observing what kinds of minds we have and what kinds of thoughts we have generated and making good use of our minds to make vows. Don’t be afraid to make vows for worrying about insufficient ability, vow itself is a kind of idea that points to and leads to various future possibilities, it is this idea that guides our subsequent thinking, acting and saying. And it is so-called "At the very beginning of making vows to attain enlightenment and mindfulness, it has been predestined for one to become Buddha. However, to make such vows is more difficult.”
Once we make a vow, we have to do it, the vow without action is meaningless. The "Sutra of the Original Vows of Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva" talks about many “things”, but those things exist on the basis of doing, “things” can’t be done or fulfilled by just sitting there. In fact, it is possible, but the premise is that you have to cultivate to some level, at that time, just need to think with your minds, for example, the Buddha and Bodhisattva can manifest in Samadhi to save sentient beings. Because everything is created from the mind alone, everything in the external material world is indeed created by the mind, when your state of cultivation is high enough, there will be many causes to make what you think come true, even the Guardians of the Buddhist Dharma will help you; if other people are involved, of course, there are other people's own causes mixed in. Nevertheless, we are still ordinary people now, after thinking and making a vow, of course, we must do it through physical action to achieve it.
Some people may ask, doesn't the Dharma tell us not to attach? Since the truth of universe is impermanence and void, so we might as well not to do anything. However, the Teacher said many times during the process of teaching the Dharma in past four years. The void the Dharma says is to make us understand the truth of the universe, and then we wouldn’t attach, not to teach us that we don’t have to do anything.
To achieve true liberation, we have to do and cultivate ourselves in accordance with the Buddha’s teaching in convenient way, The "Sutra of the Original Vows of Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva" teaches many things, these things the Bodhisattva talked about are kinds of “convenience”, for example, making us recite the Buddha’s holy name and respect the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha; making us not to do the things which will result in five incessant karmic retribution; telling us that killing would lead to misfortune and short lifespan, and stealing or robbing would lead to poverty and wretched suffering, it is teaching us not to kill, steal and rob(Chapter 4: “Karmic Retributions of Beings in Jambudvipa). Besides, the scripture teaches us to give and dedicate the merits to the Dharma Realm; making us do more offerings to the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha; making us reverently gaze Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva and keep reciting the Bodhisattva’s holy name regularly one thousand times a day every day for one thousand days, making us recite the Buddha names to the dying one because when nearing the time of death, if they are able to hear a Buddha’s name, a Bodhisattva’s name, or a sentence or a verse from the Mahayana sutras, excepting those with the five great violations of killing and harming that lead to incessant torments(Chapter 8: The Praise of King Yama and His Retinue, the Ghost King, Presiding Over Life, said. Don’t doubt the credibility just because it’s said by the Ghost King, the Buddha had said that the Ghost King, Presiding Over Life, is actually manifested by a great Bodhisattva, and he will become a Buddha named Signless Tathagata); making us cultivate for ourselves because we will receive every part of the benefit; making us not to eat food before the food has been offered to the Buddha and Sangha; making us not to kill other lives when giving birth to baby which keeps the mother and child from peace and happiness; making us not to kill other lives when knowing our relatives or friends are nearing death because our killing, harming, worshipping and offering sacrifices will just render their bad karmic become deeper and more severe, if in this life or in the future the departed one gains elements of holiness and is to be reborn among humans or devas, but because his relatives commit these evil causes for his sake when he is on the verge of death, he will be delayed from being reborn in an upper realm(Chapter 7: Benefiting the Living and the Deceased). And telling us that seeing Ksitigarbha’s image and hearing the Sutra(Chapter 13: Entrusting Humans and Devas), and even chanting and making offerings will gain twenty eight kinds of benefits. The things we can imagine or can’t are all included in the Sutra, but we have to do and chant this Sutra, and it must be with wholehearted reverence(Chapter12: The Benefits from Seeing and Hearing).
After attending the lectures of "Sutra of the Original Vows of Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva," just follow the instructions and examine one’s mind, the bad karma will disappear gradually. In fact, during the past four years, many students who keep attending the lectures and learning the Dharma have a lot of positive changes and fulfilled their wishes in these years. The Teacher said that these are the kindness and virtues of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas and the testimonies of the students' hard work themselves as well.
After the lecture was successfully completed, the Association of Pure of Buddhist, guided by the Teacher, gave the pastry gift box which offered to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas to the audience in order to build good connection. Everyone received the gift box representing the wonderful blessings from the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas from the Teacher one by one and recalled that, during the past four years, the Teacher explained to us the meaning of the scriptures sentence by sentence by taking our vexations which we encountered in life as examples, teaching us how to apply the Dharma to life to solve problems, see “Things” from “Reason,” and reflect “Reason” from “Thing.” The Teacher gave each of us wholehearted and personal teaching and such kindness and mercies were all marked in our mind so that many people couldn't help but turning their eyes red and shedding tears of gratitude, and were deeply grateful to encounter the Teacher who is so compassionate, wisely and intelligently understands our situation. From 2015 till now, we followed the “Sutra of the Original Vows of Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva” and the Teacher's teaching and guidance, did little by little and accumulated slowly. When we looked back, we found that we can really let go of ego more and have less vexations and more smiles than before. At the same time, in the grateful mood, everyone was also reluctant and hoped that they could continuously learn under the Teacher's compassionate teaching (Hopefully the Teacher will give the lecture soon again). Moreover, we made vows to follow the Teacher’s earnest guidance and teaching, continuously make heartfelt vows to leave suffering, let the vows lead the actions, honestly follow the instruction indicating in the “Sutra of the Original Vows of Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva,” and complete vows with the actual actions. Meanwhile, we sincerely dedicated the merits of listening the Sutra and learning the Dharma to all sentient beings of six realms to have the opportunity to learn how to become the Buddha (with full awareness) and listen the Dharma, become aware of the Universe’s truth, keep from suffering soon, and ultimately become a Buddha.
Note: Teacher Duan’s words
Thank the Association of Pure Buddhist for holding the lectures in the past four years. Co-workers devoted a lot of time and physical strength to preceding procedure for each lecture, and even after each lecture, in the work process from putting things/stuffs to their original locations to the preparation of account statements and preparing the article and photos of reporting, everyone overcame many difficulties together and practiced what the Buddha Dharma instructed us. The whole four-year process itself is the real practicing of the Dharma. Your hard work is appreciated with deep rejoicing and thank. Keep doing it!
Note: Chairman of Board’s words
Thanks very much to the Teacher for her leading and hard-work to give us uncountable guidance so that the Association's preparation of lectures can be successfully completed. We will keep it up!
協會兩任理事長 Previous and current chairman of APB
後勤處 Logistics Department (Rear Services)
財務處 Finance Department
資管網站組 Data Management & Website Division
The little baby who has been listening to the Sutra since she was in her mother's womb, and her mother's classmates
Two students came up from Tainan specially for every lecture
Lady who is almost 100 years old still enthusiastically listens to the Sutra
Three generations of the same family come to listen to the Sutra
Deeply thank our compassionate, beautiful and wise Teacher
(附註：本次講座更多相關照片，請至部落格相簿 http://pureclassroom.pixnet.net/album/set/16605001 觀賞。）
(more photos of the Lecture are at http://pureclassroom.pixnet.net/album/set/16605001 )