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Bro. Ooi

The LIANG HUANG BAO CHAN directly translated as the Emperor Liang's Repentance Service is attributed to Emperor Liang Wudi (502-549). He was the first Emperor of the Liang Dynasty in China. He had been described by many as one of the more interesting emperors of his dynasty, and his reign was among the longest and most stable of many of the Southern Dynasty's. His given name was Xiao Yan.

Emperor Wudi established and built many universities and extended the Confucian civil service examinations. He decreed that sons of nobles study the classics. He was well read himself and wrote poems and patronized the arts. He adopted Confucian values in governmental affairs but embraced Buddhism as well. He banned the sacrifice of animals and was against human execution. He actually, at some point of time in his life, entered a Buddhist monastery. He also received the Five Precepts and the Bodhisattva Precepts.

According to legend, the empress was reborn in the woeful state of a huge snake because of her negative karma. She appeared to Emperor Wudi in his dreams and begged to be saved from this woeful state. Emperor Wudi asked the Venerable Bao Zhi, a Buddhist monk, for advice to help relieve the suffering of his wife. Venerable Bao Zhi then gathered many high ranking monastic members to help the emperor. Together, they created a 10-chapter repentance book for the emperor.

After performing the Repentance Service by reciting the chapters of the book, the empress again appeared to Emperor Wudi in his dreams to thank and inform him that she was then reborn in the heavens. Today the recitation of the chapters of this book is performed annually in many Buddhist temples. It has become a major Buddhist repentance service named after Emperor Wudi. This service, now called the Emperor Liang's Repentance Service, describes the empress's transformation and what Emperor Liang did so that she could rest peacefully. It also involves prostrations to a number of Buddhas. The chants in many places of this repentance book quoted relevant Buddhist sutras on this subject.