Fo San Sharing (4)

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By Yew Lye Hin

I was fortunate to be given the opportunity to participate in the Fo San and thus am deeply grateful to Wei Wu Shifu. My gratitude also goes to Zhen Chan Fashi, Zhen Xin Fashi, Zhen Jue Fashi, Zhen Yuan Fashi, Zhen Liang Fashi, and the other Sangha members of Than Hsiang Temple, for without them, there could have been no Fo San at all. It is due to their kind compassion and tireless efforts that a lot of us were given this opportunity to practice some spiritual cultivation in the recitation of the Amitabha Buddha-name.

I also have great gratitude for Sis. Su Wah and the many volunteers (like Bro. Kean Teong, Sis. Gaik Yen and Sis. Meixin to name a few), who not only sacrificed their time and effort, but also their chance to partake in the Fo San, so that they could prepare and serve our meals for us. Bro. Wong especially lit up each meal with his cheerful face and broad smile. It made our meals such joy to partake and made me resolve even more to accomplish my spiritual cultivation so as to show my appreciation and gratitude.

On the first day, Zhen Chan Fashi very ably instructed us in the proper manner to turn left or right, bow, kneel, prostrate, and sit. He also taught us the correct way to hold the sutra book, and put on, take off and fold the hai ching. He was assisted in all his instructions by Zhen Jue Fashi and Zhen Liang Fashi demonstrating the procedures up on stage. Such visual presentations are worth a thousand words and we all learnt well, especially from Zhen Jue Fashi, who was most immaculate, proficient and disciplined in her movements. She made wearing the hai ching a spiritual art form. Zhen Liang Fashi is not to be lessened in her demonstrations. She was equally adept and her movements had a simple and natural beauty to them. Thanks to the instructions and demonstrations, I now wear the hai ching with confidence and do not look such a mess as before.

Before we took the Eight Precepts, Wei Wu Shifu had earlier explained the Eight Precepts and what it meant to observe them, so it was with confidence and determination that I took the Eight Precepts from Wei Wu Shifu and I ask for his compassion and magnanimity if I had broken the Eight Precepts in any way.

The first day of Amitabha Buddha-name recitation, circumambulation, walking and sitting meditation was initially difficult as I found myself stumbling as if tipsy with alcoholic drink and I had to battle sloth and torpor in my attempt to achieve a one-pointed mindfulness. Coupled with the dullness of my mind was that my mind tended to wander back to my work, so it was a battle to calm my mind. The next day was better as my walking with the recitation of the Amitabha Buddha-name was more concentrated. Thus my steps were more steady and firmer. While my mind was more alert, I still had to keep bringing back my wandering mind. Nevertheless, there were instances when my mind was clear and calm and I enjoyed the dharmic bliss, however, brief they were.

I am thus truly and deeply thankful to be given this chance to participate in the Fo San. May I encounter no obstacles in my path to Buddhahood.