With Tzu Chi Foundation approaching its 50th Anniversary, Tzu Chi KL & Selangor is staging the Dharma as Water sutra adaptation performance in July 2015. Combining theatrical sketches, songs and sign language, the performance, adapted from the Compassionate Samadhi Water Repentance Text, leads us to the convenient way of practising repentance and observing a vegetarian diet.
With frequent occurrences of disasters around the world, Master Cheng Yen has repeatedly expressed her worry that time is running out. It is the Master's hope that through the sutra adaptation performance, we will be inspired to learn the Dharma and eradicate unwholesome thoughts to bring peace to the world.
In August 2011, close to 30,000 volunteers in Taiwan presented 26 performances of this sutra adaptation throughout the island, with a total attendance of over 250,000 people. Some 700 Malaysian volunteers who attended the performance were deeply touched and vowed to bring it back to Malaysia.
It has taken Tzu Chi Malaysia about a year to prepare for this performance. Through sutra study groups held in communities, more than 3,600 volunteers and public members have come together to learn the Dharma. They also observe a vegetarian diet and constantly reflect on and repent for their wrong doings, to bring purity to their bodies and minds.
The cast includes Hsu Ya Fen, a well-known Taiwanese opera performer, and famous Malaysian artistes, like Remon Lim, Loo Aye Keng and Laurens Teo, to name a few.
It is hoped that everyone will immerse their hearts in the Dharma, and eradicate all their worries and afflictions through the practice of repentance. When the minds are purified, the righteous teachings of the Buddha will stay eternally, and all beings will have the opportunities to be liberated from suffering and attain happiness, thus bringing auspiciousness to the world.
In a world of impermanence, we must repent deeply. We must also pray with a heart of utmost sincere piety. To show our sincere piety, we must start by abstaining from meat, for only then are we truly showing repentance.
The word "repentance" in Buddhism has two meanings. Firstly, it is the concept of cleansing away our defilements, and secondly, once the mind has been purified, we must avoid it being contaminated by defilements again. Only in this way can we truly say we have repented.
To eliminate our defilements and realize our pure, intrinsic nature, we have to repent for all the transgressions we committed as a result of our past ignorance. As living beings have accumulated negative karma, layer upon layer, the world is now in the Era of Decay, where disasters are constantly occurring. Hence, we must be vigilant, observe the vegetarian precept and practise deep repentance.
Does true repentance come about if one stands in front of a Buddha image and expresses remorse for one's actions? Even in the face of our repeated transgressions, the Buddha would not point out our mistakes. Because He is so compassionate, He will not say, "Why haven't you changed your ways?" Therefore, to eliminate our afflictions and ignorance, we must act now, as the practice of repentance cannot be delayed any longer.
For the past 49 years, Tzu Chi volunteers in Taiwan have worked very hard to give of themselves, showing love and compassion to all equally. Hence, we must mobilize Taiwan to lead the repentance practice so that people around the world can see and feel this movement and be awakened. We hope to inspire goodness in everyone so as to bring about a cycle of goodness in the world.
Every movement that we make, every word that we speak, no matter how subtle, creates karma. Hence, we should be cautious about what we do and say, repent our wrongdoings and not transgress again. This is deep repentance.
We reap what we sow, but as long as we are determined to change our ways, we are still able to correct the negative karma we have created. Therefore, we need to repent deeply and rid our mind of all ignorance and defilements. We have to stop committing wrongs and strive towards all that is good.
Dharma Master Wu Da was a Buddhist monk in the Tang Dynasty. When he was young, he travelled around China to study Buddhism. On his travels, he encountered an ill monk, Venerable Kanaka.
Out of compassion, Master Wu Da tended to Venerable Kanaka and helped him recover his health. Before parting ways, Venerable Kanaka told Master Wu Da that if he should ever encounter problems, he could look for him in Western Sichuan, by the twin pines.
Master Wu Da then continued on his journey. After many years of diligent cultivation and upholding precepts, he became a venerated Buddhist master. The Emperor of China established him as the national master and bestowed a chair made of precious agarwood for him to sit on when preaching the Dharma.
Upon receiving the chair, Master Wu Da gave rise to a sense of self-importance. As he was about to sit in the chair, he bumped his knee on it. The resulting bruise developed into a sore in the shape of a human face, which caused Master Wu Da tremendous pain and suffering. No doctors were able to treat the sore.
Remembering the words of Venerable Kanaka, Master Wu Da went to seek his help. Upon seeing Master Wu Da, Venerable Kanaka told him to wash his sore in the spring at the foot of the mountain.
Just as Master Wu Da was about to rinse the sore, he heard a voice. The voice spoke of the story of Yuan Ang and Chao Cuo from the Western Han Dynasty. Yuan Ang and Chao Cuo were senior officials serving in the government. Out of political motives, Yuan Ang had the Emperor executed Chao Cuo.
To take revenge for this, the soul of Chao Cuo followed Yuan Ang life after life. But, because for ten lifetimes, Yuan Ang had cultivated purity of conduct, there was no chance for Chao Cuo to take revenge.
In this lifetime, Yuan Ang had become Master Wu Da. Because Master Wu Da gave rise to arrogance, Chao Cuo was able to take his revenge as a sore with a human face inflicting pain and suffering on Master Wu Da.
The voice then told Master Wu Da that after Venerable Kanaka taught him the Dharma, he was willing to let go of his enmity. After the voice faded away, Master Wu Da rinsed the sore with the water, and the sore healed.
Realizing that his suffering was the result of the negative karma he had created, Master Wu Da did not return to serve the Emperor but instead built a cabin at the foot of the mountain to repent for his wrongs. There, he composed the Water Repentance Text.
In August 2011, Tzu Chi volunteers in Taiwan presented 26 performances of the Dharma as Water throughout the island. The sutra adaptation expresses the teachings contained in the Water Repentance Text composed by Dharma Master Wu Da, and does so in the form of theatrical sketches, songs, and sign language. This sutra adaptation shows the ways in which human beings have created negative karma as a result of their afflictions and inner impurities, and urges all to sincerely reflect and repent.