A Most Auspicious Sunday
March 2018 would definitely be one of the months of highlights for my classmates and I. On this auspicious month, we had the opportunity to witness the first ordination ceremony at BW Monastery. Twenty-one of our Dharma brothers went on a 9-day short term renunciate retreat program whilst our classmate Xavier took his long-term ordination vows.
The whole ceremony took about one and a half hours. Before commencement, Venerable Jing Yuan reminded all laypersons who were there to witness this meritorious event that becoming a renunciate must be for the right reasons. It must not be due to wanting to escape from the troubles that one faces in the mundane world, broken or failed love relationships. It must be due to the firm desire to transcend cyclic existence of life and death and for the benefit of sentient beings. If one does not have the necessary conditions yet for life-time commitment, the short-term program was a means to plant the cause for longer term fruition in the future. Also, the life of a renunciate may not be easier than one living in the mundane world.
Venerable Jing Yuan was the spiritual guide to whom the dharma brothers took their renunciate vows from. The prescribed passages included praises to Buddha, vows to transcend cyclic existence, repentance before the final dedication. Venerable Jing Yuan also removed the last bit of the hair that was left on the scalp of the Dharma brothers, to signify non-attachment. Thereafter, he handed a robe and alms bowl to the newly ordained.
A critical part of the ceremony consists of prescribing the ten precepts that were part of the Vinaya (ethical discipline or code of conduct). This was initiated by Venerable Ru Quan.
The ten precepts to be observed are: 1- Abstain from killing, 2-Abstain from taking what is not given,3-Abstain from sexual misconduct, 3-Abstain from false speech,5-Abstain from use of intoxicants, 6-Abstain from taking food after midday, 7-Abstain from singing, music, dancing, and going for any kind of entertainments, 8-Abstain from use of perfume, garlands, adornments and beautifying the body with cosmetics, 9-Abstain from high or luxurious sleeping place. and 10-Abstain from taking money.
Post the ceremony, we were also able to make offerings to thirty Sangha members. Venerable Ying Yuan reminded us in offering not to differentiate the seniority of the Sangha members, but with give with a sincere and joyful heart.
Xavier to whom we now addressed as Yuan Man Shi said he was moved to tears during the ceremony. We rejoiced deeply with his noble aspiration to propagate the Dharma. We were delighted to take photos with him, and with Venerable Ben Si too.
While celebrating this joyous occasion, we also connected over a simple vegetarian meal which was provided by Joyfest.
Rejoice with the BWM Sangha community and all attendees!
Leow P Shan (15G023E)