Ven. Talagala Sumanaratana Thero visits LJM when the Monastery completes 2023 Spring Meditation Retreat

Ven. Talagala Sumanaratana Thero visits LJM when the Monastery completes 2023 Spring Meditation RetreatMarch 12 saw the completion of the 2023 Spring Meditation Retreat of the Ling Jiou Mountain Buddhist Society (LJM), when monastics and the laity received Ven. Talagala Sumanaratana Thero, a distinguished guest from Sri Lanka and an old friend of LJM Abbot Master Hsin Tao. The Venerable gave his kind instructions to the LJM followers on how to live a life with practice of Buddha dharma and mindfulness and stay away from “harmful habits” to accumulate virtues and blessings that can bring benefits to both current and future lives. The Venerable also offered his wish that all the LJM followers enjoy a life with good health and peace, while perfecting the journey to enlightenment soon.

Led by LJM Head Master Chang Tsun, Master Heng Chuan of the LJM Religious Assembly, and Master Wen Hsu of the LJM Reception Hall, monastics and the laity greeted the Venerable and his entourage at Wu Sheng Monastery. The guests were invited to explore the scenic beauty of the Monastery, worshiping at the Founder’s Hall before arriving at the Golden Buddha Hall of Sheng Shan Monastery to offer lamps, precious umbrellas and circumambulate to show their devotion to the three Golden Buddhas from Thailand. The Venerable and his entourage also recited sutras during their visit to the two places mentioned earlier.

Exchanging experience of Dharma promotion, the Venerable commended Master Hsin Tao for all-out endeavoring to benefit sentient beings

Ven. Talagala Sumanaratana Thero shared his lifelong experience of Dharma promotion with Master Hsin Tao, who he admired and praised as “a humble practitioner of Buddha dharma who possesses great kindness and compassion while properly leading a monastery in compliance with the instruction of Buddha.” The Venerable acknowledged Master Hsin Tao’s long term effort on promoting love and peace, saying that he believes that the LJM campaign will benefit more and more people in the world through providing them the access to Buddha dharma. Master Hsin Tao has done a great job by showing the world the authentic methods of upholding disciplines, practicing generosity with kindness as well as practicing Chan (Zen) Meditation, said the Venerable, adding that the teaching of Chan Meditation in particular would greatly benefit the practitioners for reaching the ultimate wisdom and enlightenment.

In his lecture to the LJM followers, Ven. Talagala Sumanaratana Thero unveiled the four keys for attaining a happy and peaceful life. They are the possession of a determined faith to the Three Jewels, the practices of upholding disciplines and generosity upon the instructions of Buddha, as well as the ultimate wisdom for Awakening. He encouraged the followers to live a life that spares no effort on advancing Dharma practice, managing the worldly belongings with mindfulness, practicing generosity with least personal attachment, and safeguarding the merits and virtues gained while maintaining the determined faith to the Awakened One. The practice will not only benefit the current life, but it will also bring us lasting happiness in the future lives, said the Venerable. He also instructed that there are four ways to cultivate merits and virtues by self-discipline, staying away from alcohol and gambling, and always acting with kindness. Indulgence, alcoholism and gambling, on the other hand, will lead one to impair the accumulated merits and virtues as they are all non-virtues, he explained. The Venerable expressed a wish to see all the LJM followers to understand that being able to know and learn the wisdom of Buddha is a wonderful blessing that deserves every one to strive for progress every day until reaching the ultimate enlightenment.

Ven. Talagala Sumanaratana Thero expressed his gratitude to Master Hsin Tao and the LJM members for their warm reception. He shared his observation with Head Master Chang Tsun before departure for Sri Lanka. The Venerable affirmed that Master Hsin Tao has exemplified the truth that a person with a pure and clear mind will succeed with remarkable contributions now that everything he did was motivated with selflessness and purity. The pure and selfless mind of Master Hsin Tao wins him international recognition and devotion of all the LJM followers, observed the Venerable, who expressed his endorsement. He invited the LJM members to visit Sri Lanka for him to do the honors.

The profound ties between Sri Lanka and the LJM since 2005 has best manifested Master Hsin Tao’s ideal of creating a “ Global Family for Love & Peace.” The LJM initiated a donation campaign and participated in a religious effort of building temporary housing to the victims of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, which was seen as one of the deadliest disasters in modern history. Bilateral exchanges furthered as the LJM chose Sri Lanka as the venue to carry out its annual ritual of “Mercy Release '' as part of the LJM Water, Land and Air Dharma Assembly. Since then, the LJM has saved numerous lives of cattle from the slaughterhouses in Sri Lanka. The animals were then sent to local poor families to help farming and therefore enjoyed a peaceful end of life. In 2020, the LJM was able to save the life of 108 cattle from being slaughtered in Sri Lanka.

In 2005, Sri Lanka presented the LJM a branch of “Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi”, or the Great Bodhi Tree, which is believed to grow from a cutting of the historical sacred Bo Tree under which Buddha attained Enlightenment. The daughter of Indian Emperor Ashoka, Sangamitta Maha Theri, brought the tree cutting to Sri Lanka and it is said to be the oldest living human-planted tree in the world with a known planting date in 288 BC. The LJM planted the tree later the same year with a grand plantation ceremony at Wu Sheng Monastery. The 2023 visit of Ven. Talagala Sumanaratana Thero to the Monastery symbolizes the latest progress of the two parties in furthering their Dharma connections.