“The lotus flower blooms most beautifully from the deepest mud” – Buddhist Proverb
In the Buddhist tradition, the flower that rises above the muddy waters represents the act of ascending above all desires and attachments. According to Buddhism, this is the key to achieving spiritual enlightenment. Despite the flower having its roots in the mud, it grows upward in the direction of light. This is believed to represent the aspiration to rise above and move towards light. The lotus, therefore, symbolizes the journey from darkness (as depicted by the muddy pond) to the light of knowledge or wisdom.
Photo taken in the Leal Senado Square, by me.
The Amitofo Care Centre (ACC) – which comprises of an administration centre, children’s dormitories, youth dormitories, preparatory school, kindergarten, library, activity centre, medical centre, vocational training centre, religious centre, CBO etc – is founded and directed by Buddhist clergy from the East with an aspiration and mission to directly rear and care for orphans of Africa within the humanitarian and educational umbrella. The main principles of ACC are based on local African culture, Chinese culture and Buddhist philosophy which are given to the orphans in need. This is considered a unique and remarkable characteristic of ACC although it must be stressed that none of the orphans have taken refuge to Buddhism, as we respect their religious freedom and will allow them to choose their own religions as they enter adulthood.
After an arduous ten years ACC’s caring programme has spread from one location to a number of African countries benefiting thousands of children and adults alike. ACC’s compassionate and philanthropic foot-prints have been left not only in South Africa but also in Swaziland, Burkina Faso, Chad, Gambia, Sao Tome and Principe, Nigeria, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Cameroon, etc. as well as Taiwan, Hong Kong, Mainland China, Singapore, Malaysia and several South American countries as St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The total orphans that ACC has adopted to date number around 3000.
The current ACC is in association with three charity institutes namely; the Yuan Tong Culture and Care Association (R.O.C.) , Pu-Hsein Educational Foundation of Taiwan and the Amitofo Charity Association in South Africa that continuously organize and manage ACC operations along with financial support.
Venerable Hui Li, born in Taiwan and tagged as the ‘African monk’, founded ACC specifically for African orphans in the early 90’s and is still the residing chairperson. With his enthusiasm and big heart to bring love and care to the orphans
Ven. Hui Li has been awarded the “Loving of Life” medal by the Chou Ta-Kuan Foundation of Taiwan. He has also been invited by a number of First Ladies of certain African countries. Some of whom refer to him as the Buddhist Albert Sweitzer in praise of his significance and contributions thus far. Nowadays ACC, and Ven. Hui Li, is widely recognized as an international charity and educational institute and sponsored by numerous people in Asia.
The concept of ACC is based on a “Big Family” or “Children’s Village” idea. A group of 16-20 children are put together like a family with one nanny, one ‘mommy’, and one child-care teacher who all live under one roof. These adults are responsible for managing the home and taking care of the children. Twelve families will form a “Village” that provides a domestic atmosphere so that the orphans may experience the warmth of family. Consequently they may experience a social life, interacting with each other as well as learning the responsibility and obligations a resident ought to undertake.
PRESENT & FUTURE
At present the Head Quarters of ACC, the Amitofo Charity Association, is located in South Africa. The ACC in Blantyre, Malawi, is in the process of building a staff dormitory and the Yuan Tong elementary school while in Lilongwe, Malawi, plans are being set up with regards to construction. The ACC in Harare, Zimbabwe, is undergoing phase one of its construction of 30 buildings expected to be completed by the end of the year. In Swaziland and Lesotho construction began in October 2008 with ambitions to start providing shelter for orphans in those regions after one year or so of construction.
Last night, I and my fiance went to a Buddhist Ceremony. We stayed out the crowd and stood on the left side near the stage. I couldn’t believe that the Iphone 5S from my mom could capture the images so clearly from far away. 😀
So happy to join the 100 Million Mani Recitation for the first time.
The event will be held between September 10 to 13, 2015, at Tsim Sha Tsui District Kaifong Welfare Association. Last year, I attended the closing ceremony musical performance. It was great and very spiritual. This year, I would love to join the “Collecting 100 million OM MANI PADME HUNG” recitation event to dedicate to world peace and bring all religions and ethnic groups into equal and harmony association. I’m looking so forward to attending the event.
Another beautiful song that I would love to share with you here on WordPress. It sings by Imee Ooi in Sanskrit. Here is the lyrics in Sanskrit. It helps to release negative karma, create blessing and abundance for those who hear it.
ARYA VALOKITESHVARO BODHISATTVO GAMBHIRAM
PRAJNAPARAMITA CHARYAM CHARAMANO
VYAVALOKAYATI SMA PANCHA SKANDHAS TAMSH CHA
SVABHAVA SHUNYAN PASHYATI SMA
IHA SHARIPUTRA RUPAM SHUNYATA SHUNYATA EVA RUPAM
RUPAN NA PRITHAK SHUNYATA
SHUNYATAYA NA PRITHAK RUPAM
YAD RUPAM SA SHUNYATA
YA SHUNYATA TAD RUPAM
EVAM EVA VEDANA SAMJNA SAMSKARA VIJNANAM
IHA SHARIPUTRA SARVA DHARMA SHUNYATA LAKSHANA
ANUTPANNA ANIRUDDHA AMALA AVIMALA ANUNA APARIPURNAH
TASMAT SHARIPUTRA SHUNYATAYAM NA RUPAM
NA VEDANA NA SAMJNA NA SAMSKARA NA VIJNANAM
NA CHAKSHU SHROTRA GHRANA JIHVA KAYA MANAMSI
NA RUPA SHABDA GANDHA RASA SPRASHTAVYA DHARMAH
NA CHAKSHUR DHATUR YAVAN NA MANO VIJNANAM DHATUH
NA AVIDYA NA AVIDYA KSHAYO YAVAN JARA MARANAM
NA JARA MARANA KSHAYO NA DUHKHA SAMUDAYA NIRODHA MARGA
NA JNANAM NA PRAPTIR NA BHISMAYA TASMAI NA APRAPTIH
TASMAT SHARIPUTRA APRAPTIVAD BODHISATTVO
VIHARATYA CHITTA VARANAH
CHITTA AVARANA NASTITVAD ATRASTO
VIPARYASA ATIKRANTO NISHTHA NIRVANA PRAPTAH
TRYADHVA VYAVASTHITAH SARVA BUDDHAH
PRAJNAPARAMITAM ASHRITYA ANUTTARAM
SAMYAK SAMBODHIM ABDHISAMBUDDHAH
TASMAT JNATAVYAM PRAJNAPARAMITA MAHA MANTRO
MAHA VIDYA MANTRO ‘NUTTARA MANTRO SAMASAMA MANTRAH
SARVA DUHKHA PRASHAMANAH SATYAM AMITHYATVAT
PRAJNAPARAMITAYAM UKTO MANTRAH TADYATHA
GATE GATE PARAGATE PARASAMGATE BODHI SVAHA
ITY ARYA PRAJNAPARAMITA HRIDAYAM SAMAPTAM
This is Prajna Paramita Hrdaya Sutram from Imee Ooi. When Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva was practicing the profound prajna paramita, he illuminated the five skandhas and saw that they are all empty, and he crossed beyond all suffering and difficulty.
“The Buddha continued, “…I found that some are born with wisdom, but others are dull and ignorant.” He said, “They are disrespectful and unfilial towards their parents. These defiant children are ungrateful as they do not think of the deep kindness of their parents. It is indeed very sad to witness this…” “As you all know, when our mother is carrying the baby for ten months, it is as though she is carrying a heavy burden. She cannot sir or stand at ease, neither can she eat or sleep properly.” “She looks very tired as if she has been sick for a long time. When the baby is due for delivery, the mother must endure very intense pain with blood flowing out profusely.” “In the process of giving birth, she falls unconscious many a time because of the acute pain. It is only after she has gone through innumerable suffering that the child is born. Yet on top of everything, she is still very worried about the safety of the child.” “She will only be at peace when she knows that the child has been born safely. She will always carry him with her wherever she goes.” “She will breast-feed her child until her legs and hands are very tired, yet her heart is very joyful. Moreover, she has to wash the child’s dirty clothing.” “When the child wets the bed, the mother will sleep on the wet spot while she moves the child to a dry and clean position. She does this without any complaints!” “For three years, the child feeds on the mother’s milk which is transformed from her blood. The mother gets so thin and weak by providing the child with nutrients.” “Parents spend lots of time and painstaking effort to nurture their children from the time they are born, through the periods of childhood and youth till adulthood. They instruct their children in the ways of propriety, righteousness and virtuous conduct.” “When the children become adults, the parents will be busy preparing them for their marriage besides providing them with the necessities and money to establish their careers.” “Parents only hope that the children will quickly settle down and establish their own families and careers. For the sake of their children, they do not mind enduring all hardship!” “Parents will never expect their children to repay their kindness, neither will they mention it!” “If the child were to fall sick, the parents would be so worried that they felt as if their hearts were burnt by fire. Very often, they would also fall sick due to their anxiety over their child.” “It is only when the child becomes healthy again that the parents gradually become less anxious.” “Parents go through all sorts of hardship in nurturing their children and only wish to see them mature into adults. But some children become unfilial when they are grown-up and do not take care of their parent.” “They just ignore their mother’s advice or talk back rudely. They stare angrily at their parents as if they were looking at their enemies.” “It is indeed distressing to witness these unfilial children bullying their elders, hitting and scolding their brothers, with no regard for the family ties or the social etiquette.” “They have attended school but they do not follow the teacher’s instructions. They ignore the advice of their parents and brothers and go against them in defiance.” “These arrogant and impolite children do not greet or bid farewell to their parents when they go in and out of the home.” “They act according to their own decisions without seeking their parents’ advice. As the elders always find excuses to forgive them for being young and ignorant, they are easily let off.” “Later, they become even worse and are terribly ruthless and cruel. Not only do they not listen to advice, they develop a hostile mentality.” “Finally, they leave their relatives and wholesome friends to seek the company of evil people. With time, they also adopt unwholesome habits. They become so deluded that they cannot differentiate the good from the bad and hence bring great harm upon themselves.” “Once they are lured by their bad friends and evil people, they will just abandon their parents and homes to stay in other places.” “Some may make a living by doing business or other jobs there. As the years pass by, they accomplish nothing, but instead become old and sorrowful.” “Some will just settle down and get married there without going home even when they are old. They could not care less about their roots and origins.” “There are some even more unfortunate people who stray away home and make friends with evil people. As they are not cautious enough, they are framed and harmed.” “…or they may consort with evildoers and get involved in outrageous crimes which will eventually land them in jail!” “Some are sentenced to heavy penalty and die in the jail. Others may be afflicted by illness, mishaps and poverty.” “They are in such a sorry plight that people just look down on them and no one takes care of them. Their diseases become beyond cure, they die and rot by the roadside.” “Exposed to the sun and the rain, their corpses decay, leaving the bones in this place away from home. They are then forever separated from relatives and families and let their parents down.” “These unfilial children feel that all is over after their death. They will never realize that their parents have been constantly worrying and thinking about them day and night since they left home!” “Some may pass away in sickness and with resentment! Even if they were to become ghosts they would still be attached deeply to their children and constantly thinking of their children! Mother’s love is indeed very great!” “Some children are slack in their studies. On top of that, they are often in the company of bad friends and follow unorthodox deviant teachings.” “They act like rascals and bully the good. They create havoc wherever they go!” “They drink excessively, gamble and go against the law. Even their brothers get implicated.” “Such conduct brings great misery to their parents. They leave their home early in the morning and loiter outside. By the time they reach home, it is already mid-night.” “They will never greet their parents, or enquire after their well-being. The lonely parents are left feeling that life is empty and meaningless.” “They do not support or take care of their parents. The parents grow old, haggard and feeble, yet they are still burdened by these unfilial children.” “By right, the father or mother who is widowed should receive extra care and attention from their children. But in reality, many children just leave them aside to suffer cold and hunger.” “They do not enquire after the well-being of their parents. The sad parents weep in silence secretly and can only blame themselves for their unfortunate circumstances.” “By right, children should take good care of parents, but, the unfilial children do not bother to take upon themselves this responsibility. Their parents are greatly humiliated and fear being ridiculed by others.” “Very often, we can see a son who works hard so as to support his wife and children. He spares no pains to please his wife!” “Yet he treats his parents coldly like strangers. He always listens to his wife’s advice and will do everything to satisfy her wishes,…” “…while he refuses to listen to the advice of his parents. Sometimes, he will argue with them, totally lacking in respect for the elders. This really hurts the parents’ feelings deeply.” “Some daughters are quite filial before their marriage. But, after that, they become unfilial!” “They become resentful when their parents give them some comments!” “They have deep affection for their husbands and children but become gradually estranged from their parents. This really grieves their parents!” “Some daughters may move to reside in another place with their husbands, away from their homes and parents. They simply forget their parents and do not think of their parents at all.” “They act as if the family ties are severed. Day and night, their parents long for their daughters to come back. They cannot eat and sleep in peace. They are so grief-stricken that it is as though they are being hung upside down.” “Parents are always thinking of their children. The immense kindness of parents is truly vast and boundless.” “Their love is limitless and indescribable! Even if the unfilial children were to repent before a deity, it is still impossible for them yo be free from the negative effects of their unfilial actions.” After listening to the Buddha’s exposition on the deep virtuous kindness of parents, the multitude of virtuous ones were extremely sad. Some prostrated themselves in deep respect! Some were very remorseful and beat their chests! Blood flowed out from their hair pores and they fell unconscious as they were grief-stricken. Later, when they woke up, they all cried loudly, “It is really painful! It is truly sorrowful! Unfilial children really cause so much sorrow for their parents!” “After considering our past conduct, we know how that we have committed heavy negative karma*. Just like the night-travelling spirits, we wander everywhere in total darkness!” “W live like the drunkards or dreamers who are befuddled and cannot think properly for we never realize how deep our wrongdoings are!” “Now upon hearing the Buddha’s teaching, we are like people who have just awakened from a dream. We deeply regret our past misconduct. When we think of our unfilial and inhumane behaviour, we feel as though our internal organs are ablaze!” “May the compassionate World Honoured One have pity on our ignorance. Please grant us a chance to make amends. Please tell us how to repay the deep kindness of our parents!” By using eight analogies to illustrate the wondrous Dharma, the Buddha taught His disciples, “As you wish to know how to repay the deep virtuous kindness of parents, I will explain it to you now!” “If there were a man who, carried his father on his left shoulder and his mother on his right shoulder and circumambulated Mount Sumeru, with his skin being torn and his flesh being cut because of their weight,…” “With his bone marrow being cut through and blood flowing down to his ankles, and he continued to do this throughout hundreds of thousands of kalpas*, and he would endure it without a complaint, yet he would still be unable to repay the deep kindness of his parents.” “If there were a man who, during a famine, had cut off all his flesh and minced it finely to feed his parents,…” “…so that they would not be hungry, after practising such filial piety for hundreds of thousands of kalpas, he would still be unable to repay the deep kindness of his parents.” “If there were a man who, for the sake of his parents, had used a sharp knife to cut out his heat with blood flowing profusely, and he was not afraid of all the suffering…” “…and he continued to do this throughout hundreds of thousands of kalpas, he would still be unable to repay the deep kindness of his parents!” “If there were a man who, for the sake of his parents, had to endure the pain of hundreds of thousands of sharp knives piercing through his body throughout hundreds of thousands of kalpas, he would still be unable to repay the deep kindness of his parents!” “If there were a man who, for the sake of seeking peace of mind and longevity for his parents, had lighted his body as an offering of lights before the Buddha, throughout hundreds of thousands of kalpas, he would still be unable to repay the deep kindness of his parents.” “If there were a man who, for the sake of repaying the kindness of his parents in enduring toils and hardships in bringing him up, had to be boiled and burnt with his bones broken and his marrow extruded, throughout tens of thousands of millions of kalpas, he would still be unable to repay the deep kindness of his parents!” “If there were a man who, for the sake of fulfilling his responsibility as a son, took upon himself the effects of his parents’ negative karmas and had to swallow redhot iron pellets such that his body was burnt and injured badly,…” “…and he continued to do this throughout hundreds of thousands of kalpas, he would still be unable to repay the deep kindness of his parents.” After listening to the Buddha’s exposition on the various deep kindness of parents, everyone was indeed very sad and tearful. They could only cry but could not think of how to repay the deep kindness of parents. They were truly ashamed. Together, they sought the Buddha’s advice, “World Honoured One! We have indeed done wrong, but we still do not know how to repay the deep kindness of parents!” When the Buddha saw that they were genuinely remorseful, He told them, “If you wish to repay the virtuous kindness of your parents…” The Buddha said, “Write out this Sutra; repent all past wrongdoings and make offerings sincerely to the Triple Gem.” The Buddha continued, “Observe the pure precept, practise the wholesome Dharma and generosity. Then, you are a genuine filial child. Otherwise, you are just a hell-being.” The Buddha then continued to tell Venerable Ananda and the rest, “People who are unfilial will definitely fall into the Great Avici Hell when they die.” “The length and width of this hell are eighty thousand yojanas*. It is surrounded by iron walls and covered with iron netting so that the hell-beings cannot escape.” “The whole hell is ablaze, with thunder roars and bright bolts of lightning which set things aflame. Molten brass and iron fluids are poured onto the hell-beings’ bodies. Brass dogs and iron snakes chase after the hell-beings and devour them.” “The suffering is acute and unbearable as everyone is burnt to ashes. Moreover, there are countless hooks and sharp spears in the air…” “The ground is covered with axes, hammers, spears, hills of knives, trees of swords and other instruments of torture.” “At any time, they will aim accurately at the hell-beings so that the hell-beings will be chopped, hacked or stabbed to death.There is no end to such countless acute sufferings for the hell-beings.” “After they have undergone such punishment, they will then be sent to other hells. They have to endure the torture of their bodies being rolled over by iron wheels.” “The wheels travel to and fro until their guts are ruptured, their bones are broken, their skins are torn and their flesh is squashed. Within a day, they have to endure suffering akin to dying ten million times.” “These hell-beings have to endure such torture and acute sufferings because in their previous lives, they have committed the grave offences of being unfilial and rebellious!” After listening to the Buddha’s exposition, everyone was very ashamed and remorseful. They cried sorrowfully and implored the Buddha, “What must we do to repay the deep kindness of parents?” The Buddha answered, “If you wish to repay the virtuous kindness of your parents, the best way is to print this Sutra and circulate it widely. If you can make a contribution to print one copy, you will obtain the merits and virtues to see a Buddha.” “If you can print ten copies, you will be able to see ten Buddhas. If you can print a hundred, a thousand or ten thousand copies, you will get to see a hundred, a thousand or ten thousand Buddhas.” “The Buddhas will always protect those who have made contributions to print Sutra for the benefit of sentient beings. By the power of the Buddhas, the donors and their parents will be born in the heavens and will never fall into hells to undergo sufferings.” After listening to the Buddha’s teaching, Venerable Ananda and the multitude, including the Heavenly Dragons and the Eight-fold Division, the Wheel-turning kings and others were very sorrowful. They were ashamed of themselves. They repented sincerely before the Buddha, “From now onwards until the infinite future, throughout ten million kalpas,…” “…we would rather have our bodies crushed into fine dust than go against the Sagely Teaching of the Thus Come One. We would firmly uphold the Teaching.” “We would rather have our tongues plucked out and ploughed with an iron plough so that the blood would flow out profusely like a river…” “…and we vow that even after hundreds of thousands of kalpas, we would not go against the Buddhas’ Teaching. We would rather travel to and fro among bladed wheels,…” “…and be stabbed by the knives so that both the flesh and bones are all pierced through and we would still not go against the Buddha’s Teaching. Even if our bodies were tightly wrapped with iron netting and the pain was unbearable,…” “…after hundreds of thousands of kalpas, we would still not go against the Buddha’s Teaching. We would rather have our bodies minced to a sauce by knives,…” “…with the skin, flesh, veins and bones all mixed up and indistinguishable, throughout hundreds of thousands of kalpas, we would never go against the Buddha’s Teaching!” Venerable Ananda arose calmly from his seat. He asked the Buddha respectfully, “World Honoured One! What is the name of this Sutra? Please tell us so that we can abide, uphold and practise it accordingly.” The Buddha told the assembly, “This Sutra is known as ‘The Buddha’s Teaching On The Difficulty In Repaying The Deep Kindness of Parents.‘ May all of you abide by the teaching, uphold it and practise it accordingly.” At that time, after listening to the Buddha’s exposition, Ananda and all the disciples, the heavenly dragons, the Eight-fold Division and others were very joyful as they clearly understood the practice. Everyone resolved to abide by t he Buddha’s Teaching forever. They would always uphold the practice of filial piety as their duty. After that, they made obeisance to the Buddha and then withdrew. Glossary: Kalpa: a very long period of time that cannot be measured in terms of days, months or years. Karma: intentional action, that is, a deed done deliberately through body, speech or mind. Yojana: a unit of mileage in India. There are four definitions of the yojana as representing 15 km, 20 km and 30 km respectively. The most commom definition is the definition of one yojana as 20 km. You can download the apps “IDharmaBook” to get the ebook in Itunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/idharmabook/id390054391 Book Title: The Buddha’s Teaching On The Difficulty In Repaying The Deep Kindness of Parents (Filial Piety Sutra) Published by: Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery, Awaken Publishing & Design
“The first verse of praise on the virtuous kindness of protecting the foetus – it is very difficult to be born as human. We are able to attain a human form only after many rounds of rebirth for many kalpas*” “Besides we also must have close affinity with our present parents who provide the suitable conditions for us to come to this world.” “At around the fifth month, the vital internal organs of the foetus are developed gradually. At the beginning of the sixth month, the six senses – eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body and mind are developed.” “The weight of the foetus increases daily. The mother feels as though she is carrying a lofty mountain.” “The foetus kicks and moves about in the womb. The mother is never at ease as she feels as though she is undergoing the fury of earthquakes and windstorms.” “The mother always worries about her child. As she is very tired, she seldom cares to dress up. All her fine clothes and mirrors are put aside.” “The second verse of praise on the deep kindness of enduring suffering on the verge of delivery – after carrying the foetus for the full ten months, she is going to deliver the child.” “Every morning, the mother feels as though she is seriously sick. She feels sluggish and drowsy.” “Her worries and fears are indescribable. She gets very anxious about the baby and cries whenever she thinks about the safety of the baby.” “She will tell her relatives and friends sadly, ‘I am not worried about myself. I am just worried that death will befall my baby!'” “The third verse of praise on the kindness in forgetting her suffering after the delivery – as she has exhausted her energy in delivering the child, she feels as if all her internal organs are being torn apart.” “She struggles painfully and many a time, she falls unconscious. For the sake of her child, her blood flows out profusely just like when a sheep is being slaughtered.” “After surviving such an agonising experience, on awakening, her first thought is to enquire after her child.” “When she knows that her child is safe and sound, she is full of joy, holds him tightly in her embrace and smiles with relief!” “But her joy does not last long as she is again afflicted by unbearable pain. Previously, she has forgotten her pain in her joy over the newborn baby, but now she has to endure the agony of a painful body again!” “The fourth verse of praise on the kindness of swallowing the bitter taste while giving the delicacies – the kindness of parents is deeper than the sea. With unbounded love and concern, they take care of their children throughout the day and night!” “Parents’ love for their children is indescribable. They will never be displeased with their children.” “Parents are comforted when their children are warm, full and happy. They do not mind enduring the sufferings of hunger and cold themselves.” “The fifth verse of praise on the virtuous kindness of shifting her child to a dry and comfortable position while she remains at the wet spot – the loving mother takes meticulous care of her child. At night, when the child wets the bed,…” “…the mother will quickly move the child to a dry place while she remains at the cold and wet position without any grumbles!” “As long as her child can sleep in comfort, she does not mind her own discomfort.” “She breast-feeds her children and brings them warmth and health. Her embrace is the sagely refuge for her children.” “She will cover them with her sleeves so that they will be protected from the cold.” “Parents take good care of their children, hoping that they will grow up happily and healthily. Many a time, the mother cannot eat well or sleep well in her anxiety over her children.” “The sixth verse of praise on the deep kindness in breast-feeding and nurturing the child – the kind mother resembles the great earth which supports and nurtures the myriad forms of life.” “The stern father resembles the vast sky which protects and nurtures all living beings under its shelter. The father’s love for his children is the same as the mother’s.” “The virtuous kindness of all parents is the same. As long as you are their child, they will never dislike you no matter how ugly you may be.””And they will never get angry or be disgusted with you even if you are physically deformed or crippled.” “On the contrary, they will love you more and give you extra care because you are their beloved child. The kindness of our parents is indeed very great!” “The seventh verse of praise on the loving kindness of washing away the filth – Mother was once a beautiful lady with a well-adorned body and a pretty face which was comparable to a cottonrose hibiscus.” “She was vibrant with energy and healthy. Her eyebrows resembled the young and fresh willows.” “Her rosy complexion glowed with youthful vigour.” “However, for the sake of her children, she so overworked herself that her beautiful looks were lost and she became old and haggard.” “Her hands which were originally smooth and soft are now rough and covered with wounds and cuts due to too much washing for her children.” “The kind mother is indeed a pitiful yet respectable lady. For the sake of taking care of her children, she sacrifices her precious youth unconditionally in exchange for a tired and haggard look!” “The eighth verse of praise on the deep kindness of thinking of her child who has to travel afar – it is indeed unbearable to lose our loved ones in the event of death.” “It is also unbearable to be separated from the child who has to travel afar. The mother is sad as she is separated from the child by great distances.” “Day and night, the parents always think of their child. They pray to Buddha and Bodhisattva to protect the child, hoping that the child will come back safely as soon as possible.” “Some children just leave their homes for many years without sending any messages to their parents. The old parents are drowned in tears day and night, looking forward earnestly to the return of the child.” “Just like the old and heartbroken ape in the jungle that has lost its young, their wailing is indeed sorrowful and unbearable.” “The ninth verse of praise on the deep kindness of understanding and sympathizing with their children – it is indeed difficult to repay even one part out of ten thousand parts of the deep kindness of our parents!” “Just as the saying goes, ‘It is impossible for a fine strand of grass to repay the benefits it receives from the sunlight in three springs!’ When a child has to undergo hardships and sufferings, the kind mother will pray throughout the day and night, wishing that she can undergo the sufferings on behalf of the child.” “She only hopes to takes upon herself the hardships and sufferings of her child. A mother’s love is truly very great!” “When a child has to go on a journey, the kind mother’s thoughts are always with the child, worried that the child may not be able to endure the cold weather.” “She is worried that the child may be unable to endure the suffering. If she were to know of the child’s slightest sufferings, she would be so sad that she would not be able to sleep at night.” “The tenth verse of praise on the deep kindness of showering immense concern over her children – the loving kindness of parents resembles the brilliance of the sun and moon which shines on all corners of the Earth!””In the passing of every moment, the parents are always thinking of their children.Such kindness is indeed very deep.” “Their thoughts are always with their children, whether they are staying with the parents or away from home. Even if the parents are a hundred years old, they would still be concerned over their 80-year-old child.” “If we were to say that there must come a time when they could love us no more, then it must be only when they were no longer in this world!” “After expounding on the ten types of great virtuous kindness of our parents, the Buddha told Ananda, “By contemplating the myriad of sentient beings,…”
…(to be continued)
You can download the apps “IDharmaBook” to get the ebook in Itunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/idharmabook/id390054391
Book Title: The Buddha’s Teaching On The Difficulty In Repaying The Deep Kindness of Parents (Filial Piety Sutra)
Published by: Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery, Awaken Publishing & Design
Filial piety is defined as showing respect, love and reverence for parents, elders and ancestors. In ancient Chinese ethics, filial piety is considered as the prime virtue and the basis of all right human relations, and it is even considered as the most important moral to ensure a peaceful and happy family and society.
I found this free distribution book in Singapore at the Buddha Tooth Relics Temple. The content is so touching and true. Two friends of mine love it so much and shed tears after reading the whole book. That’s why I would love to share it with you here. Hoping it could touch your heart as well.
The Buddha’s Teaching On The Difficulty In Repaying The Deep Kindness of Parents (Filial Piety Sutra)
At one time, the Buddha was at the Jeta Grove in Sravasti, together with two thousand and five hundred Bhikshus and thirty-eight thousand Bodhisattvas Mahasatvas. One day, the Buddha, together with His disciples, walked to the southern part of the city. Suddenly, they came upon a pile of bones by the roadside. Immediately, the World Honoured One bowed down to make obeisance to the bones respectfully. When His disciples saw that, they were puzzled, “Why did The World Honoured One bow to the bones?” Venerable Ananda put his palms together and asked the Buddha, “World Honoured One! You are the Great Teacher of the Three Realms. You are the kind Father of all sentient beings. You are greatly revered by the people in the world and you are held in high esteem by us!” “Please tell us the reason for making obeisance to this piles of bones. What are the causes and conditions behind it?” The Buddha told Ananda compassionately, “Good question indeed, Ananda! All of you are my foremost disciples and have been cultivating for a long time but there are things which you may not understand yet.” “This pile of bones could have been the bones of our ancestors, or they might have been the bones of our parents from many past lives. How can a man not pay respect to his parents?” “That is why I bowed respectfully to them.” The Buddha continued to say, “Ananda, now you can divide the bones into two parts. If the bones belonged to a man, they would be white and heavy. But, if they belonged to a woman, they would be dark and weigh less.” Venerable Ananda then asked the Buddha, “World Honoured One! This is what I cannot understand. In this world, a man is dressed differently from a woman. He adorns himself with robes, belts, shoes, hats and other fine attire so that we can identify him as a male at a glance.” “A woman will adorn her body with powder, cosmetics and perfume. Just by looking at her dressing, we know that she is a lady!” “But when they are dead, only the bones remain. There is not much difference in those bones. How can we differentiate them?” The Buddha said seriously, “If a man always goes to the temple to listen to explanations of the Sutras and Precepts, makes obeisance respectfully to the Triple Gem – Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, and recites the Buddha’s name diligently, upon his death, he will have bones which are as white as jade and are heavy.” “As for a woman, if she were to be immersed in love and emotions while she was alive, did not listen to the Sutras or make obeisance respectfully to the Buddha, and felt that her sole duty was to give birth, nurtures children, and breast-feed them…” “…how could she not get weak, thin and haggard because the milk was transformed from her blood? Besides, every child needs more than eight stones of milk for his growth.” “That is why after her death, her bones are darker and lighter.” “When Ananda heard that, he felt such great pain in his heart, just as though he was being stabbed with a knife. He cried sorrowfully and asked, “World Honoured One! How can I repay the virtuous kindness of my mother?” The Buddha told Ananda, “Listen carefully! A pregnant woman has to endure ten months of suffering.” “During the first month of pregnancy, the life of a foetus is as precarious as a dew drop on the grass, which has condensed at dawn and might disappear by mid-day.” “During the second month, the embryo congeals like a piece of curd.” “During the third month, it is like a piece of coagulated blood. During the fourth month, the foetus gradually assumes a slightly human form.” “During the fifth month, the vital organs such as the head, two hands and two legs are formed.” “During the sixth month, the essence of the six senses are developed. They are the eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body and mind.” “During the seventh month, the three hundred and sixty bones and joints are formed.” “Besides, the eighty-four thousand hair pores are formed. During the eight month, the brain is almost fully formed and is endowed with mind-consciousness and knowing faculty.” “After that, the nine apertures on the body are opened. They are the two eyes, two ears, two nostrils, a mouth, the anus and the urethra.” “When the foetus is nine months old, it often kicks and struggles in the womb, just like the vibration of Mount Sumeru. The mother can seldom get a good sleep, neither can she eat properly.” “From the first moment when the foetus comes into being until the moment it is born into the world, it gets its nutrients by feeding on its mother’s blood.” “On reaching the tenth month, all the vital organs are fully developed. The foetus is ready to be born.” “After carrying the foetus for then months, the mother has undergone immense suffering. In order to ease the birth of her baby, the mother’s blood flows out like a river!” “In a smooth delivery, the baby will flow along with the blood and emerge with the four limbs curling inwards and its head facing downwards, without causing any injury to its mother.” “But in a difficult delivery, the baby will kick and struggle its way out, and hence causing great pain to its mother.” “It is as if the mother’s body is cut by a thousand knives and the heart is pierced by ten thousand arrows. The mother’s agony is really appalling.” “As children, we should never forget the suffering our mother went through when she gave birth to us. Otherwise, we will be worse than animals.” “Our kind mother had endured immense suffering during the process of delivery. If we were to go into details, there were at least ten types of deep kindness which were bestowed upon us by her.” “The first type is the kindness of caring for and protecting the foetus in the womb in every possible way. The second type is the kindness of enduring extreme pain during the delivery.” “The third type is the kindness of forgetting all her sufferings and worries after the delivery.” “The fourth type is the kindness of feeding her child with all delicacies.” “The fifth type is the kindness of letting her child sleep well in dry and warm conditions while she endures wet and cold conditions.” “The sixth type is the kindness of breast-feeding her child to ensure that he is healthy without thinking of her own well-being.” “The seventh type is the kindness of washing away the filth of the child without a care for her hands which get dirty or for her skin and flesh which get split by contact with the cold water.” “The eight type is the kindness of always thinking of her child who has to travel afar. She is always looking forward anxiously to the homecoming of the child and always thinking of the child tearfully.” “The ninth type is the kindness of being willing to undergo suffering on behalf of her child as she loves him dearly.” “The tenth type of kindness is her everlasting love and affection for her child.”
…(to be continued)
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Book Title: The Buddha’s Teaching On The Difficulty In Repaying The Deep Kindness of Parents (Filial Piety Sutra)
Published by: Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery, Awaken Publishing & Design