An Unusual Class Gathering – Part 1

Last Sunday, 30th April, instead of having the usual Lamrim lesson, our class decided to gather at brother Boon Ping’s house for a vast offering. To our surprise, on the request of brother Xavier, Venerable Dao Ci was able to join us and led us in offering the 35 Buddhas-Repentance prayer as well as the vast offering. On this auspicious occasion, Venerable also shared with us some of his personal experiences, his journey towards monkhood and answered some questions posed by fellow classmates.

Journey towards monkhood

Venerable shared that when he attended his first Lamrim lesson about six years ago, he did not request for the Lamrim text. However, when he went home that same day, he immediately dreamt of Master Jih-Chang, requesting that he should study the Lamrim text. Over the years, although his work as a photographer was very demanding and hectic, he somehow found time to attend Lamrim classes by putting in effort to re-organize his meetings. His phone that rang incessantly before, somehow stopped buzzing during his lesson time. This was attributed to all the virtuous deeds that he had done in the past, so his Dharma learning process now could be smooth. These deeds included taking good care of his family, being respectful towards the elders, fellow virtuous brothers and sisters and just about anyone.

Venerable’s primary motivation for renunciation and become a monk was to help more people.  He saw various forms of suffering when he was still a layperson. After sharing his desire to join the Sangha with his class monitor, he was advised to speak to Venerable Jing Yuan. At first, he wondered how he could actually meet Venerable Jing Yuan in person.  However, the meeting occurred sooner than expected.

It took place one day, when he was walking down the staircase in the Citiraya Centre and coincidentally, Venerable Jing Yuan was in the opposite direction coming up the stairs. Venerable Dao Ci expressed his intent to Venerable Jing Yuan there and then, and the rest as they say, is history. However, just before leaving for Prince Edward Island in Canada for his ordination, he met with a serious car accident. The whole ordination ceremony was, however, not delayed. Although in pain, Venerable Dao Ci mentioned that he was clearly focused on chanting Namo Guan Shi Yin Pu Sha (Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva). He kept on chanting for as long as possible from the time he was put onto the ambulance and throughout the time spent at the hospital. Also, his main concern was the newlywed whose wedding car was involved in the accident.

Venerable also shared that his ordained name was decided by Venerable Jing Yuan. Dao – meaning the path, signifies his internal focus which is to continue to learn the teachings and keep on this path towards Buddhahood, Ci – refers to compassion. This strongly relates to his personality – unconditional care and concern for others, which is his distinctive trait even before joining the Sangha.

Sharing of some practical tips

  • No matter what roles we are now playing in the mundane world, such as a father, son, daughter, mother etc, play it to the best we can.
  • When heading out with family members or friends who are non-vegetarian, remember that they are the ones trying to accommodate us and not the other way around.
  • Whatever we do, act with pure sincerity and good intention.
  • We can save an ant from death by not stepping or pressing on it, but the next minute someone else may step on it. If so, rejoice in your own intent and act, but do not dwell on the fact that the other person has killed the ant for that is the karma of the ant and the other person.
  • In the Lamrim class, we dedicate merits to those who have passed on or have become unwell. These acts are not to be belittled as the fruits of this virtuous karma would surface through various forms of help rendered to us at a later time. This was what Venerable had experienced himself.

By Leow Pei Shan (15G023E)

Do look out for Part 2 – Some Advice from Venerable Dao Ci, which will be published tomorrow (11 May 2017)