A Deeper Understanding of Life and Respecting My Parents—— My First Dizang 7 for the Youth
This was the first 7-day retreat that I attended, despite these retreats not being something that I’d usually consider attending at all. Part of the reason I attended was that this retreat was specifically designed for teenagers, especially international students and students like myself who came here at a young age and have adapted to the life here. Nevertheless, the retreat was still difficult as sutra and Buddha’s name chanting sessions required kneeling.
Throughout the 7 days many learning materials were shown to me. The learning materials, which were put together through the hard work of groups of volunteers in China, now have been carefully selected by the host of this retreat to better suit the teenagers of Canada. These learning materials have taught me not only a little about Buddhism but also some basic concepts about life. I shall talk about these as I go on. Repentance sessions started on the day of the animal-feeding ceremony and continued till the last night. It was something that I took very sincerely since the learning materials were very effective in explaining the related Buddhism concepts.
This retreat has probably been the most important and significant for me in terms of understanding Buddhism as well as why practices like sutra chanting and prostrations are necessary. Since I have always sort of drifted on the surface, I can’t really say that this retreat has made me 100% Buddhist. However, as I mentioned I have indeed learned a lot and I have come to form my opinion that came away from this retreat. I have at least understood on a deeper level the significance of respecting my parents, and to expand that respect to all living things including animals, bugs, and everything else.
The idea of reincarnation makes me appreciate life itself: No matter how fragile it is, to be kind and considerate to all things not only for my own sake but for others’ sakes as well. Repenting for my past behaviours and attitudes towards my parents, as well as many animals that have been brutally killed so that I could satisfy my taste buds in the past. I felt so disgusted at just how these animals were slaughtered, even more so for the live animals that have died because I wanted to eat fresh meats in the past and for the animals that I had personally killed including an earthworm, couple of silkworms as well as breaking the leg of a young chicken by accident that I have since forgotten until now. As basic as this kindness to all sounds, I have come to realize that the basis of it comes from my respect for my parents, because parents are the reason that I am here today, which means that I owe everything to them, and anything or anyone else that I claim to love would be fake if I can’t even love the ones that brought me into this world.
The concept of cause and effect has been something quite familiar to me but never understood completely. But this time I feel like the reason that my leg was hurting so much after the animal feeding ceremony was my specific liking towards eating chicken legs as well as for breaking that chicken’s leg when I was little. After I repented on the last day, my leg was entirely pain-free by the time I went back home. It’s the reason that I have now planned to be vegetarian even while I’m away from home, not only because of the cause and effect reason but also due to the brutality of how these animals are killed even if it’s not by my own hands.
I have also learned that I should always look for my own mistakes rather than blaming others, but it’s incredibly hard, especially when others are blaming me as well. But I suppose that’s why no one becomes enlightened that easily. As I’m nearing the end of my university life, I feel that this is a good time to start learning how to be a better human being.
All in all, this experience was quite enjoyable and fruitful, not to mention I also got to meet new people. It has also been a great experience of not only learning about Buddhism, but how to be a good human being as the things I’ve learned intertwine with life principles like the golden rule. On a final note, I want to give my thanks to those volunteers that put the learning materials together, also to the people that made this retreat possible as well as the people that attended.
加拿大 多伦多 Charles（男 21岁 ）