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Blog » Dharma Friends » Reflections on repentance » My personal experiences of bowing repentance

My personal experiences of bowing repentance2013-01-10


by Alice Lin
English Translation By Huali Yuan


Today is the last day of Emperor Liang’s Jeweled Repentance session. How does everybody feel? Are you very happy as if you had finally completed a big project, or do you feel so intrigued that you wish the bowing session could continue on for a few more days?

I personally enjoy bowing Emperor Liang’s Jeweled Repentance a lot, because it is a quite complete dharma door of repentance, moreover, from this repentance, I learned that our mind can be so encompassing that it extends to the end of empty space and pervades the Dharma Realm. In the early days when I first started to bow this repentance, I was very happy every time when I heard the chant of “Li Po Li Po De”, because it means one bowing period has finished. Later on, perhaps because I have gained some skills, it became quite relaxing for me to bow repentance, and I often felt how soon an incense period ended, and I even wished that Dharma Masters could combine two incense period into one. Now, no matter whether I was bowing repentance or attending Dharma sessions in the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, I reflected upon myself after each incense period: “Have I taken fully advantage of the time?” Especially in the last few days of a session, I always felt time passed so swiftly that I had not fully used it.

From my personal experiences, in order to make the best of bowing repentance, the most important thing is to put down our body and mind. We all know that we should bow repentance with a concentrated mind, no matter whether we use the contemplation method, or the method of bowing without a single thought which we heard yesterday from tape of the Venerable Master’s lecture, as long as it works for us, it is a good method. However, to gain good results from the repentance, it is also important to put down our body, in other words, relax and soften our body.

I’ve heard many people talked about how they felt calm and not easily lose temper at home, every time after they attended Dharma assemblies. I believe many people had such experiences, so did I. One year, after I finished bowing a week of Emperor Liang’s Jeweled Repentance, In more than a month, I did not get angry, my voice was softened and could not be raised up, my mind stayed calm and stable .In that month, people and things around me did not change, how come I did not lose my temper? I reflected: “ If outside world have not changed, then is it because I myself have changed? Oh! So all these afflictions and temper were originally my own faults.” We thought that it was because other people’s wrong deeds that drove us mad, it was because other peoples’ so and so that made us feel uncomfortable. Well, this is not the case, it is actually because our mind is not big or pure enough that we feel uncomfortable, we lose temper and get afflicted.

Now if we want to get rid of these faults, we have to regain a pure mind, and keep our mind in the state when we were bowing repentance. The reason our mind is not pure is because we have many false thoughts and we are not as concentrated as we are in bowing repentance, therefore, unlimitedly all these are due to our false thoughts. In the chapter of “resolving resentments and unknotting ties” in Emperor Liang’s repentance, it mentions that “In one thought, one conducts forty kinds of evil, in one thought, one opens up eighty four thousand doors of dusty afflictions.” In the Earth Store Sutra, it also mentions that “ In one’s every move and thought, karma is created, and offense is committed.” From this, we can imagine that acting like an unleashed wild horse, our mind has caused us how much trouble and created how many offenses in one day, one month, and up to one year.

Therefore, the most important thing in cultivation is to watch over our mind. It is a little more difficult for us lay people to cultivate, therefore, if we could try our best to set up a pure environment for ourselves by simplifying our lifestyle, reducing social activities, moreover, if we could subdue our mind by virtue of meditation, bowing respect to Buddhas, bowing repentance, reciting mantras, or by keeping the Buddha’s name in mind in daily activities such as eating meals or putting on clothes, then we will sure be able to reach the same mind state as we were in Emperor Liang’s Jeweled Repentance.

In our daily life, we should constantly maintain wholesome thoughts, provide more help to other people, tie wholesome affinities extensively, never tie bad affinities with anyone, and do more good deeds, especially volunteering in wayplace. Although we should not expect rewards of blessing from our wholesome deeds, I can tell you that your efforts will definitely not go in vain. My personal experience is that what I gained from volunteering in wayplace is ten times, and even hundred times more than what I have contributed, for example, obstacles in my cultivation have been reduced, and my heart have become softer. However, only after you yourself really do it are you able to know how inconceivable it is. A few days ago, someone initiated to organize a volunteer group, I hope everyone can register and join the group, since Gold Sage Monastery need help from many volunteers no matter before, during or after the rebuild project. Finally I wish everyone could get together in the Long Hua assembly, and receive predictions from Maitreya Bodhisattva, as what we learned from the last verse of the Emperor Liang’s Jeweled repentance.