Hsi-Lai Temple, Hacienda Heights, CA
This morning I attended year 2006 Medicine Buddha Dharma Service in Hsi-Lai Temple. This was a historical event for me. I had set foot to this Temple every once in a long while when I had some favors to ask from the Gods. I heard the Sutra Chanting every time I visited, but I always brushed it aside as a very superstitious ritual. Something that is kind of beneath me, of course not in an arrogant sense.
Last week, I had consulted the priest in the Temple regarding the possible arrangement of Buddhist Monk's chant in the event of my father's transition. She recommended me to come this weekend to join the service. I promised I will do that for my father, but I was really just want to donate some money and to exchange for the Buddha's chanting and blessing service. I never intended to stay longer than half an hour given the fact that weekends are my favorite days off and I did not want to waste in trivial activities.
As I continue to read "The Seven Storey Mountain" knowing that prayer and chanting are a major part of monastic life, and how Thomas Merton always gained a great sense of communion in a choir, I decided to attend the service from beginning to the end all together about three hours. I was also partly influenced by my sister when she last visited a few months ago. She shared with us her chanting experience.
I was not familiar with the procedure, but there were nuns going about giving us a pointer or two. The translated Sanskrit words were quite odd and difficult to pronounce, so I more or less focused on the soothing chant that filled the air in the Temple. For some unknown reason, I wept and was completely overtaken by the immense power of the chant. For several minutes, I could not stop shedding my tears. I felt as if I was pouring out my life long sorrow in that instant. Eventually, I got hold of myself and started to follow the chanting and prostrated myself humbly to the beautiful smily Buddhas. Deep inside I said to my self, I will bring Buddha home to my heart and to my soul.