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Blog » Dharma Friends » Thoughts about studying Buddhism » Remarkable Experiences After Precepts Ceremony

Remarkable Experiences After Precepts Ceremony2014-10-08


By Dan Leong (Gwo Fook)

After receiving the Lay Bodhisattva Precepts at CTTB, I returned home to San Jose the next day.  The week spent exploring the Six Major and the Twenty- Eight Minor Precepts and its implications were invaluable.  Being able to ask the Dharma Masters questions in regard to the Precepts as to what was acceptable or not in this age of modern technology was very helpful.  I would like to thank the Dharma Masters for their hard work in preparing teaching materials for the classes as well as exhibiting patience, compassion and kindness in getting us ready to receive the Precepts.

I am writing this article to share a few observations that I have found to be just remarkable.  The weather for the entire week prior to the day of the Precept Ceremony was sunny and hot.  But on the day of the ceremony there was a cloud cover which cooled the temperature down to what felt like the 80’s instead of the 90 plus degrees of heat on previous days.

A part of the ceremony called the contemplation was changed so that we would have an easier time completing this part.  We were to imagine or visualize a vast blue sky in our mind, and that clouds would fill up the sky. These clouds would be called compassion, wisdom, Dharma, joy, equanimity, the Six Paramitas, and so on.  Then these clouds would rain down on us to deliver into our bodies all the goodness contained in the clouds – the precept substance.  We were told that this was a critical part of the ceremony.  As the ceremony proceeded, I found myself concentrating on the beginning part of the contemplation so much and then I realized I was a page or so behind.  The contemplation step was past – I missed it! I didn’t finish the contemplation!  Even placing post-it reminders in my ceremony book did not prevent me from being out of step.  Needless to say, I was upset with myself.

After the ceremony was completed, still upset, I found a Dharma Master and described to him how I may have missed receiving the precept substance.  He consoled me by saying, “Do not worry”, and that I’ll have time to “work on and grow my substance”.  His words relieved some of my angst (anguish?), but what happened next as we were exiting the Buddha Hall was truly remarkable.  There was a very light, gentle rain falling all around the Buddha Hall.  As I felt rain drops on my head and shoulders, I was fully aware of the rain metaphor we were to use in the contemplation step in order to receive the precept substance.  Historical records show that a chance of rain in early August was less than 3% probability.  Immediately, I thought to myself, if not inside the Buddha Hall, then certainly outside, in the rare rain that was falling, I had received the precept substance.  I was no longer upset and was at ease.

On the evening of my return home from CTTB, my wife prepared a simple dinner for me. She set down a plate of mushroom soup sauce on top of noodles with some vegetables.  After a few bites of the noodles with the sauce which I have eaten before, I started to choke as it felt like some food was lodged in my wind pipe.  I was coughing for several minutes before I was back to normal.  Then it occurred to me to read the label on the soup can. Sure enough, the soup had dehydrated garlic in it, one of the five pungent plants I am to avoid eating.  But was it remarkable that I choked when I did?  I have since carefully read the labels on the foods stored in my pantry and physically separated the foods I can eat from those I cannot eat. This incident has taught me to be more diligent in screening the ingredients in the foods I ingest.

A day or so later, a boy in my neighborhood was taking his dog out for a walk and was walking past me while I was standing in the driveway to my home.  I had seen him walking another dog and started asking him questions about this dog at the end of his leash.  So he stopped walking to answer my questions as I took a few steps closer toward the dog.  He warned me that the dog was very protective so I backed up a few steps not wanting to provoke the dog. The dog sat down, facing me.  He then proceeded to nod his head up and down several times in succession. I wasn’t sure of what I was seeing except that I saw it happened.  When our conversation ended, the dog was still facing me in his sitting position and did not respond to the boy’s urging to leave.  The dog maintained the same seated posture even after several pulls on his leash signaling him to leave.  The boy then stated, “He wants to stay here.”  The dog and the boy finally continued on their way. I was standing there, unsure of what I had just witnessed.  My reaction was, “Oh, my goodness! That was remarkable.”  Should my earlier anxiety about not receiving the precept substance be of concern to me now?  Experiencing these amazing events leaves me with no doubts at all.  Amituofo!