Three Thousand Buddhas Repentance Ceremony Sermon
Date: Jan 30th, 2023
Place: Cham Shan Temple
Event: Three Thousand Buddhas Repentance Ceremony
On January 30, 2023, the Buddhist Association of Canada Cham Shan Temple hosted the 18th “Three Thousand Buddhas Repentance” Lunar New Year Blessings Ceremony.
Inside the “Hall of Five Contemplation,” the solemn ceremony was led by the President of the Buddhist Association of Canada and Abbot of Cham Shan Temple, Ven. Dayi Shi who, together with more than a hundred donors and followers, chanted and prostrated to the 3,000 Buddhas to bring blessings in the new year.
Ven. Dayi Shi states: “participation in the “Three Thousand Buddhas Repentance” ceremony is to practice Buddhism in accordance with Buddha’s teachings and as such will bring incredible merits to the participants.
The Cause and Condition of Worshipping the “Three Thousand Buddha Repentance”
This ceremony originates from Siddhartha Gautama’s original teaching that, prior to the passing of innumerable kalpas, the Buddha heard the name of fifty-three Buddhas and felt a sense of great happiness in his heart. The Buddha then shared these fifty-three names with the others and upon propagation, three thousand people heard these names in the end. These three thousand people then chanted these names all together in homage, and such “cause” led to the “effect” of these three thousand people eventually becoming Buddha themselves.
The earliest reference to the benefits of worshipping Buddha’s name can be found in the ancient Buddhist scripture of “Avatamsaka Sutra” or the “Huayan Jing.” Siddhartha Gautama, after he was enlightened and attained Buddhahood, also made reference to this in his early teachings, except that only the great bodhisattva were the only ones who has the capability of fully understanding this upon hearing this for the first time.
The most important chapter in the Avatamsaka Sutra is the Universal Virtue Bodhisattva’s Practices’ and Vows’ Chapter, and the Samantabhadra Bodhisattva’s Ten Great Vows’ King is the most basic concept to be observed by Buddhist practitioners. One of the “Great Vows’ King” is worship of the various Buddhas. Only through worshipping Buddha can one appreciate humbleness, which brings along ceaseless learning and personal growth.
The Merits of Participation in “Three Thousand Buddhas Repentance”
1. Extinguish the negative karmas accumulated through previous lives. Through worshipping the 3,000 Buddha Repentance, one can cleanse their mind and attain purity, which will greatly augment the process of practicing Buddhism. There is a Buddhist saying: “Past negative karmas are all caused by the fundamental three poisons of greed, hatred and ignorance, produced by one’s own physical, verbal, and mental misdeeds. Originating from our body, speech, and mind, we now come repent before the Buddhas.” Through the repentance on our past evil karma, our physical, oral, and mental states can be purified.
2. Promote good merits and virtues by extinguishing evil karmas. As was frequently said: “Pay homage to Buddha once shall extinguish as much negative actions as there are grains of sand in a river. Chant the name of the Buddha once shall bring about uncalculatable good fortune.”
3. Obtain wisdom. The event is held early in the year in order to allow participants to obtain wisdom at the start of the year which will help them in all their endeavors throughout the year.
Ven. Dayi Shi has summarized Siddhartha Gautama’s 49 years of teaching into two verses: “Perceive with Wisdom; Reach out with Compassion”. This is our master for how we should live our lives after starting the practice of Buddhism and allows us to start living a life of wisdom. Furthermore, it is always good to perform virtuous deeds and charity and eventually be reborn in the Western Pure Land. The truly wise person shall attain a cheerful heart and freedom to the body. There will be liberation of the body and the mind.
The Abbot hopes that everyone can practice diligently during the 7 days to sustain purity of the body, mouth, and mind, and using a devoted, happy, and thankful mindset to worship the 3,000 Buddha Repentance. No matter whether one is walking, sitting, standing, or lying down, as long as one is mindful of the name of Buddha whole-heartedly, they will experience incredible resonance with Buddha.