TEN FEELINGS OF VESAK CELEBRATION AND MONASTIC ORDINATION CEREMONY AT PHÁP NHÃN TEMPLE
First, I would like to express my deep gratitude to the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha that shows me the right, happy, peaceful, and bright path in life. I would like to express my deep gratitude to my Parents who gave me birth, nurtured, and have educated me to become a talented and virtuous person in life. I also would like to express my deep gratitude to donors and givers who continue to give support, food, drink, and other things so that I can safely cultivate, learn, and apply the Buddhadharma in my daily life to benefit oneself and others right in the present life. Today, although the Vesak celebration and my monastic ordination ceremony at Pháp Nhãn Temple has ended, I have had time to reflect and would like to share 10 key points that I feel most excited about in my newest Dharma propagation journey.
1/ The weather was absolutely wonderful on Vesak day. A few days before Vesak celebration, the weather forecast indicated a possible chance of rain or thunderstorms, but as the time approached our Vesak celebration day, the chances of rain or thunderstorms diminished and disappeared altogether. What we had was a nice cloudy day with a pleasant breeze followed by a bright sunny afternoon. The Dharma guardians did indeed bless and protect us on our most auspicious day.
2/ Though there was so much preparation required and work to be done to make Pháp Nhãn Temple ready for our most wonderful Vesak celebration day, the Temple was decorated very well. The flags danced beautifully in the wind and the long banners brought regal honor to the outdoor Buddha hall. For the last year and a half, the Temple was left simplified in the absence of guest because of coronavirus, but on this wonderful Vesak day, all the best decorations and signs were taken out of their storage and were to set up in honor of the Buddha, the Dharma, and His wonderful Sangha. The festive and inviting nature of Pháp Nhãn Temple was restored to its original glory. The decorations at the Temple were beautiful and ready by the time everyone arrived to all our participants’ excitement
3/ On this Vesak day, we had a most wonderful turnout of Dharma Sisters and Brothers. My heart felt overjoyed with the presence and support of the Sangha. In the Buddhist hall, Buddhists and non-Buddhist followers including my family completely filled the hall. It was wonderful to look out over the Temple property and see so many Brothers and Sisters in the Dharma come to visit and celebrate Vesak day and my Novice ordination.
4/ The presence, witness, and support of monastic people was so wonderful. There was a total of four Vietnamese Monks, including one most Venerable Master, two senior Venerable masters and one Venerable nun. Also two most Venerable Sri Lankan Bhantes, and two Venerable Thai Bhikkhus and finally our respected Master Thích Trừng Sỹ and Sư Cô Hạnh Minh, Dharma student of Pháp Nhãn Temple. This means there were 10 total venerable monastics overseeing and supporting the ceremonies this Vesak day. I was filled with great Dharma joy and a zealous heart to see so many respectful Masters of the Dharma on this great day.
5/ The Dharma was shared most clearly and joyously. The Vesak message read and written from our respected president Joe Biden as well as the United Nations Message of Peace, brought great honor to our ceremony. Regardless of our ancestry and nationality, we are all Americans and citizens of the great world. By hearing how renowned the Buddha’s teachings are in our own country and in the rest of the world makes me feel so connected to all other beings. The meaning of the Dharma shared and heard at the ceremony on that day in both Vietnamese and English were wonderful, clear, and lively, and made people happy, excited, impactful, and interested.
6/ My Mother’s heartfelt speech. Normally my Mother is a quiet person that generally keeps to herself, so for her to stand in front of the crowd, especially the wonderful monastics and laypeople, and for her to share her heartfelt words was extremely emotional. There were many people who shared her heartfelt message and found it extremely touching, including my stepfather. Though she is a woman of few words, what she shared and spoke came directly from her true heart. I had many people come to tell me how they were touched by her sincere words and this made me so happy and proud of her courage and true love. Even though there might not have been many people able to understand English this didn’t seem to matter because the language of her heart spoke clearly and had an impact on many peoples’ understanding.
7/ The bathing of the newborn Baby Buddha was sincere and happy. Much reverence was given in bathing the Baby Buddha on our auspicious celebration day. The beautiful multicolored flower petals that decorated and made fragrant the water, the large sunflowers used to ceremonially bathe the pure newborn Baby Buddha, flowers arranged on the Buddha’s table brought natural beauty to the whole great event. Everyone had such great happiness and reverence for the ceremony as they approached the stone newborn Baby Buddha statue and bowed, then continued to bathe Him with the fragrant floral water. I could see the joy and great honor in every heart of all my Dharma Sisters and Brothers.
8/ A feast worthy of all participants. I was so honored to see a great bounty of food brought by so many faithful Dharma Brothers and Sisters. There were so many familiar personal favorites of mine and new wonderful dishes and desserts for me to try. I am never not amazed at how delicious and fragrant all the food is. I can taste the love and dedication in every bite of this wonderful lunch meal. On this Vesak day, people made food offerings to great Sangha while singers and musicians also made songs offerings to great Sangha. The food nourished our health and body while Dharma music served to refresh the mind.
9/ As for the novice practitioner ordination, I am so honored and humbled to receive this novice ordination in front of so many dedicated Monastics and the Sangha body. The ordination went so smoothly, the words and sentiments were very heartfelt and clear. I was filled with great joy being able to read my heart letter in front of the Sangha clearly and wonderfully in English while our Dharma Sister Diệu Thúy shared and read it in Vietnamese very deeply and touchingly. My heart as well as other people attending were deeply moved when she read my letter in Vietnamese translated by Master Thích Trừng Sỹ. I know she shared it with genuine love and great clarity to the entire Sangha. I feel truly blessed to have such a loving and kind Dharma family, and this motivates me to try to practice and learn to my best ability every day so I can apply the Dharma to benefit the many right in the present life.
10/ This was a Great Vesak Day and ordination ceremony and gives me much deep gratitude to many people. The number of people who made food and drink offerings to the Sangha and the number of others jointly cleaned the tables and chairs and washed the dishes very diligently. With the right thinking, I have felt very clearly that everyone is making efforts to serve and protect the Three Jewels in the spirit of joy, harmony, peacefulness, and solidarity on the day of Buddha’s Birthday and my ordination ceremony. Through the great events on that ceremony day, in my personal view, this is a good mark of a true Sangha. All people happily come together with their true hearts to serve, protect, and support the Triple Gem for both material and spiritual support. I am so proud of their grateful and useful works. As for me, in order to bring the right confidence and true faith to many people, after leaving my secular life for monastic life at Pháp Nhãn Temple, I try to study, practice, and apply the Buddhadharma in daily life to bring benefits for oneself and for others right now and here in the present life.
Namo The Original Master Sakyamuni Buddha
Dharma Brother Pháp Thanh