Living Buddha Lian Sheng presided over the Amitabha Buddha Bardo Ceremony on September 9, 2023
Introducing his new book, “A Flower for You,” which deciphered the teachings of Venerable Monk Xu Yun
On September 9, 2023, Living Buddha Lian Sheng presided over the annual Amitabha Buddha Bardo Ceremony organized by Seattle’s Ling Sheng Ching Tze Temple. Held at Rainbow Temple, the lunar-July event saw the debut transmission of the teachings and empowerment of the Noble Guanyin (Arya Avalokitesvara) Wealth-over-Lifetimes Practice. He also unveiled his new book titled, “A Flower for You,” witnessed the love declarations of the newlyweds, and officiated ordinations of his disciples.
President Tsai Ing-wen, Vice President Lai Ching-te, Taiwan Nationalist Party Chairman Chu Li-lun, New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-yi, Evergreen Foundation founder Terry Gou, and many other government officials, legislators, and council members sent congratulatory messages. Devotees from various countries on five continents, representing fields such as politics, medicine, law, business, music, and academia, gathered at the ceremony.
During the ordination ceremony, Dr. Huang Yi, a 39-year-old medical doctor, expressed his desire to fully renounce worldly life. Living Buddha Lian Sheng remarked that in reality, there is neither body nor mind, and true renunciation involves recognizing that true nature is inherently thus [Buddha-nature]. In the ceremony for bestowing the Bodhisattva Precepts, Living Buddha Lian Sheng encouraged the congregation, emphasizing that Bodhisattvas are the cause of Buddhahood. Shakyamuni Buddha became a Buddha after fulfilling his Bodhisattva role for five hundred lifetimes of selfless dedication and aid to sentient beings. Living Buddha Lian Sheng urged the newlyweds to recite the Buddhas’ names regularly and aspire to have harmonious and spiritually enriched families under the blessings of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.
Buddhas and Bodhisattvas possess great compassion and utilize various esoteric methods to alleviate the suffering of sentient beings, with the ‘Noble Guanyin Wealth-over-Lifetimes Practice’ being one of them. Living Buddha Lian Sheng explained that Mahayana Buddhism employs precepts, meditation, and wisdom to eliminate greed, hatred, and ignorance. However, Tantric Buddhism offers expedient means, as stated in the Vimalakirti Sutra, “Greed, hatred, and ignorance are also Buddhism.” Who in this world can eliminate greed completely? Even the aspiration to become a Buddha or Bodhisattva, to help sentient beings, or to attain heaven and avoid hell, is rooted in desire. The term, “the world’s wealthiest,” has two meanings: one is becoming a Bodhisattva, the wealthiest celestial, and the other is becoming the wealthiest person in the human realm during this brief worldly life. Therefore, refrain from doing evil, practice good deeds, and further cultivate this Dharma, combining mediation and wisdom. This way, you can achieve the fruition of Buddhahood and become the most affluent person, allowing you to generously assist countless impoverished people.
“A Flower for You” is the 296th book by Living Buddha Lian Sheng. The flower here does not refer to worldly flower but symbolizes the profound meaning of the Prajnaparamita. In ancient times, when Buddha was on Mount Lingshan, he held up a flower to the assembly. No one understood his meaning except for Mahakashyapa, who smiled. Buddha then said, “I possess the treasury of the true Dharma eye, the marvelous mind of Nirvana, the True Nature beyond form, and the profound and subtle Dharma. This Dharma is not transmitted by words but is directly pointed to the mind.” Thus, a lineage of Patriarchs carrying on this transmission has continued through the ages, greatly enriching the Zen tradition in the Central Plains.
Most chapters of this book begin by discussing the life experiences and realizations of Venerable Monk Xu Yun, followed by Living Buddha Lian Sheng’s analysis. Venerable Monk Xu Yun, a renowned monk from the late Qing Dynasty to the early Republican era, upheld strict precepts and was a prominent figure in the Zen Buddhist tradition. Throughout his life, he endured numerous trials and tribulations, but remained unwavering in his commitment to the path. He once sat in meditation without moving for nine days in Bangkok, Thailand, causing a sensation nationwide and prompting even the Thai king to pay his respects. By delving into the various events and insights of Venerable Monk Xu Yun through the guidance of Living Buddha Lian Sheng, readers will gain a deeper understanding of the intricacies of Prajnaparamita and nature of emptiness. They will realize that meditativeness is present in all activities, unaffected by external circumstances, free from impure thoughts, and capable of dispelling all worldly afflictions, resulting in a pure and luminous inner state.