DM Heng Yi – How to Focus One’s Thoughts

DM Heng Yi – How to Focus One’s Thoughts

Talk by Bhishuni Heng Yi at Gold Buddha Monastery, Vancouver on Feb. 11th 2013

First of all, I wish everyone here a Happy New Year. It is customary that people will give some good tidings in celebrating Chinese New Year such as: I wish you good health, lots of good luck and make lots of money.
The reason that people wants those things is because they think those things can bring happiness. Hence, one single phrase of “Happy New Year” covers all auspicious words we say.

What is “happiness”? I remember when we were in old Gold Buddha Monastery, we had a chance to go a women’s correctional facility to talk to inmates there. We sometimes recited Buddha’s name together, and sometimes we just had a chat with them. Usually they would like to know more about our daily life. They were surprised that we got up at 3:30 in the morning and ate only one meal a day. Furthermore, when we mentioned about our living conditions such as not having a large personal space and not watching TV or any entertainment, they immediately thought that we lived a hard life. Then we visited their areas living and recreational activities. The place was just like a five-star hotel compared to our place. Every room was a suite equipped with a bathroom and a TV. When it’s the time for meals, they could just go to canteen and have their meals. Although their living conditions were far better than ours, they were not happy at all. They wanted to leave that place at any given moment.

Thus, we know when we are not happy in a place, that place becomes our prison. Therefore, if one feels unhappy at home or in some place, he or she will want to leave the scene and is under the belief that he or she can be liberated and happy once he or she leaves that place. Consequently, we constantly hear people say: “I want to shake off the yoke of home. My husband, my wife, or my children make me so angry.” Or “I want to leave this company because my boss or colleague treats me like … so, I cannot continue to work in this company.”

Little do people know that happiness does not come from an external environment. I have a friend who knows a loving couple of which the wife always has a big smile whenever people see her. One time, they went to a party, my friend pulled that happy wife aside and asked her:” It seems to me that you are always happy, is it because your husband treats you very well?” She replied:” No! My happiness has nothing to do with my husband.
Why is that people think my happiness has to be given to me by others? I can make myself be happy. But I sometimes try to make him happy when I found him depressed.” So anyone who can stand on his or her own and yet be considerate of others is certainly a happy person.

Last year, the tumor in my right lung got so big that it pressured my heart and caused pulmonary edema. My body was lack in oxygen and the carbon dioxide level was also too high. As a result, I went into a coma and
was rushed to a hospital. In the hospital, I had to put on an oxygen mask at all times except meal times. The mask strongly forced the oxygen into my lungs through my nostrils and it was fitted onto my face really tightly so that the air couldn’t leak. It made me feel extremely uncomfortable. Whenever it’s time for me to put on the oxygen mask, I felt that I was being tortured and was suffering a lot. On top of that, the mask was so uncomfortable that it made it difficult for me to fall asleep. In many occasions as soon as I managed to start falling asleep, I was called to wake up to take medicine, draw blood, take an injection, measure blood glucose and etc. I felt that due to this sickness, I had undergone all the sufferings there was. At that time, I wanted to leave the hospital badly because I felt I could not take the situation any longer.

But it was not up to me when I can be discharged from the hospital. In this extreme situation that I thought I couldn’t bear, I suddenly calmed down. I realized since I could not change the external conditions, I’d better change the state of my mind. Only when I cooperate with the doctors could I get well and be discharged. Therefore, when the medical staff put the oxygen mask on me again, I would think: “This is good for me. I am eradicating my karmic obstacles now. And it is a higher form of eradicating my karma since the medical staff had to serve me.” When I could not sleep at night I would think: “I am very grateful since now I have more time to recite mantras and cultivate.” Everyday I would brain wash myself like this. Gradually I could take the bitter as if it were sweet. When I fell into a coma for the second time and had to go to hospital, I decided to have the operation. Although it was a serious and a major operation, I cooperated fully and was grateful for everything. The doctor was very satisfied with my recovery from the surgery. So, it is exact proof of what the Buddha said, “Everything is made from the mind alone.”

The former Prime Minister of Great Britain – Margaret Thatcher said, “Watch your thoughts, for they become words. Watch your words, for they become actions. Watch your actions, for they become habits. Watch your habits, for they become your character. Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.” Hence, people at different times and different places have similar interpretation about how our thinking will result in consequences.

(Published in the March 2013 issue of Vajra Bodhi Sea http://www.drbachinese.org/vbs/publish/514/vbs514p028.pdf)

Lighting a Lamp on New Year’s Eve

Lighting a Lamp on New Year’s Eve

Lighting a candle on New Year’s eve will enhance the light of our minds
Saturday, February 9 (Lunar New Year’s eve) – 8:00 PM ~

Our minds will be illuminated and
our ignorance
will be destroyed by the Wisdom Light
when we light up lanterns and make offerings to the Buddha,
we gain the highest insights and enable us to attain supreme wisdom.

According to “Sutra of Merit and Virtue of Offering of Lamps”, it has various kinds of statements about the merit and virtue of offering lamps. If one offers lamps in front of a stupa or Buddha Hall, one will attain four kinds of joyous virtue; an adorned appearance, always being filled with wealth and fortune, having great good roots, and having great wisdom. One will also attain four kinds of purity;: purity in Body, purity in Mouth, purity in mind, and purity in decent companion.

One lamp’s brilliant light quells many years’ of darkness to herald peace.
A thousand lotus flowers’ sweet scent pierces the stratosphere to reach Ultimate Bliss.

­Venerable Master Hua said:

When lighting a lamp in front of Buddhas, one will attain bright eyes. With bright eyes, one will be able to observe things that others cannot see; and they will have a better understanding than others, one will then attain the heavenly eye penetration. One will attain the five eyes; the Buddha eye, the dharma eye, the wisdom eye, the flesh eye as well as heavenly eye, the merit and virtue is thus wonderful.

For years GBM organized the Lamp Lighting Ceremony during Chinese New Year’s eve. The ceremony starts at 8pm. We will recite  the Shurangama Mantra, followed by Ten Small Mantras and The Heart of Prajna Paramita Sutra. The ceremony officially begins when we start chanting “Namo Quelling Disasters, Lengthening Life Medicine Master Buddha”. Lots of participants including non-Buddhists visit Gold Buddha Monastery to wish for good a start in the coming year. This is a meaningful event as non-Buddhists get a chance to know more about Buddhism. Due to an overwhelming crowd, everyone has to line-up and wait for their turn to light a lamp.The ceremony ends about 9pm after transference of merit is done.

From this event, we wish to

Quell calamities and lengthen life,
Have good health and happy spirits.
Increase blessings and  good fortune,
Gentle temperaments and world peace.


May the merit and virtue of lighting lamps,
be universally transferred to all beings
in the Dharma Realm
and may all attain Bodhi fruition.
May all attain bliss and leave suffering,
bring forth Bodhi resolve and attain Bodhi Way.

3000 Buddhas Repentance

3000 Buddhas Repentance

Feb 10-16 (Jan 1st to 7th of the lunar New Year) – 8:30 AM – 4:00 PM

Bowing the Three Thousand Buddha Repentance

Praying for world peace, favorable weather conditions,
the peace and prosperity of all countries and people,
and the eradication of calamities and increase of blessings.
May those who see and hear about this be joyful.
May all gain benefits of Dharma and together realize Buddhahood.

Sutra Copying for Blessings

Sutra Copying for Blessings

Saturday, February 9 (Lunar New Year’s eve) – 1:00 PM – 3:30PM

In cultivation, there are 84,000 kinds of dharma practices, and hand-copying sutras is one of them. Sutra copying can help us focus our minds, nurture our character, and open our wisdom. The Bodhisattva Asanga once said:

“There are five benefits from handcopying a sutra:
(1) One can draw near to the Tathagata;
(2) One can gather in and gain blessings and virtues;
(3) Praising the Dharma is also cultivating;
(4) One can receive offerings from heavenly beings;
(5) One can eradicate offenses.”

In 2006, Gold Buddha Monastery started this tradition called the “First Stroke of Auspiciousness, Sutra Copying for Blessings”. This event was conducted on Chinese New Year’s Eve at 1:30 in the afternoon. All those who participated brought forth their earnest sincerity to hand-copy sutras. This year 2013, we continue to hand copy several sutras; namely, “The Heart of Prajna Paramita Sutra”, “Vajra Prajna Paramita Sutra”, “Great Strength Bodhisattva’s Perfect Penetration Chapter”, “The Avatamsaka Sutra Preface”, “The Sutra of the Eight Awakenings of Great Sages”, “Vajra Prajna Paramita Sutra”, “Medicine Master Sutra”, and “Shurangama Mantra Verses by Venerable Master Hua”.

May the merit and virtue of handcopying sutras,
be universally transferred to all beings in the Dharma Realm
and may all attain Bodhi fruition.
May all attain bliss and leave suffering,
bring forth Bodhi resolve and attain Bodhi Way.

*** [ PDF document share ]   2013 GBM Sutra Copying

2013 Lunar New Year Events

2013 Lunar New Year Events

With joy, we welcome the auspiciousness of spring
Gold Buddha Monastery Celebrates the 2013 Lunar New Year

Saturday, February 9 – Lunar New Year’s Eve

  • Efficacious syllables will shake the Heaven and Earth – recite the Great Compassion Mantra – 8:30 AM – 10:00 AM
  • Carefully copying sutra texts helps us enter samadhi – 1:00 PM – 3:30PM
  • Lighting a candle on new year’s eve will enhance the light of our minds – 8:00 PM ~
  • Compose and sign wishes for the new year – February 9-16

Sunday, February 10 to Saturday, February 16 – 1st to 7th Days of the Lunar New Year

  • Bowing the Three Thousand Buddhas Repentance – 8:30 AM – 4:00 PM

Bowing the Three Thousand Buddhas Repentance

To pray for world peace, favorable weather conditions, the peace and prosperity of all countries and people, and the eradication of calamities and increase of blessings.

May those who see and hear about this be joyful. May all gain benefits of the Dharma and together realize Buddhahood.

Avatamsaka Sutra: Ten Unending Treasury of Precepts Chapter

Avatamsaka Sutra: Ten Unending Treasury of Precepts Chapter

Before the end of 2012, Gold Buddha Monastery wishes to invite you to a Dharma talk on the Avatamsaka Sutra, Ten Unending Treasury of Precepts Chapter by Dharma Master Heng Chih. All talks are in English with Mandarin Chinese translation.

Sutra text:

Bodhisattva Mahasattvas have ten kinds of treasuries which all the Buddhas of the past have spoken about, all the Buddhas of the future will speak about, and all the Buddhas of the present are speaking about. What are the ten?  They are the Treasury of Trust, the Treasury of Precepts, the Treasury of Shame, the Treasury of Remorse, the Treasury of Learning, the Treasury of Giving, the Treasury of Wisdom, the Treasury of Mindfulness, the Treasury of Upholding, and the Treasury of Eloquence.  Those are the ten.

Commentary by the Venerable Master Hsuan Hua:

What are the ten Dharma Treasuries? They are as follows: the Treasury of Belief, the Treasury of Precepts, the Treasury of Shame, the Treasury of Remorse, the Treasury of Learning, the Treasury of Giving, the Treasury of Wisdom, the Treasury of Mindfulness, the Treasury of Upholding, and the Treasury of Eloquence. At present, I’ll just name the ten Dharma Treasuries and then afterwards I’ll speak about them in detail. Those are the ten Dharma Treasury Dharma doors. From out of these ten Dharma Treasuries come all the Buddhas of the past, future, and present. These Ten Dharma Treasuries are their mother.

Gold Buddha Monastery
Date:Dec. 29, 2012 to Jan. 10, 2013
Time:Every Tuesday,Thursday, Saturday, Sunday, 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM
Address:248 East 11th Avenue, Vancouver, B.C., V5T 2C3 Canada
Tel:(604) 709-0248