Reported by Rev. Lian Yi / translated by Sue T
After the Chicago trip, True Buddha School Root Guru, the Living Buddha Lian Sheng and the group continued their journey to Charlotte, North Carolina on November 12 2006 to perform the consecration ceremony of the Charlotte Chapter.
Charlotte The True Buddhist Society was formed in September 1991. With hard work and dedication, the manager and the board of directors initiated the building of the new chapter. Construction was completed in December, 2002. During that period, Root Guru, Living Buddha Lian Sheng, was in retreat and the consecration ceremony was deferred.
When the time was right, on November 12, 2006 Grand Master arrived at the Charlotte chapter to perform the consecration ceremony. The host chapter welcomed Grand Master and provided hospitality, including an extended length white car and a lion troupe and drummers to welcome Grand Master when he arrived at the temple.
Upon arrival, Grand Master first performed the solemn opening ceremony of the shrine. Dharma sister Pauline Lee spoke on behalf of the chapter and extended the chapter`s heartfelt thanks to Root Guru and all the masters, lamas and dharma members for their presence.
One dharma sister vowed to become ordained. Grand Master conferred her ordination and gave her the dharma name Lian Yi (蓮誼). Four other dharma members took the Bodhisattva precepts for laity and more than 20 people took refuge in Grand Master. The ceremony was witnessed by Grand Madam, Master Lian Hsiang , Master Lian Ning, Master Lian Zhe, Master Lian Wen, Master Lian Yuan, 20 monks and nuns and a few hundred disciples.
Grand Madam Master Lian Hsiang gave a dharma talk in which she commented on the resemblance between the Charlotte chapter and the Seattle chapter. She mentioned that the statue of Padmakumara enshrined on its altar looked `young and cute`. Grand Madam also stated that she had served Grand Master and helped the True Buddha School with all its affairs for more than 30 years. She now hoped to find assistants who must be industrious and have a strong sense of commitment and dedication to help Grand Master and Grand Madam who have given so much time, energy, and dedication to sentient beings.
Grand Master has finished his 191st book and has begun his 192nd book. After the completion of the 200th book, there will be a big celebration. From reading the books one can appreciate Grand Master`s wisdom, since his writing comes from his inner self which provides guidance for all sentient beings.
Even though the statue of Padmakumara looks youthful, one can not be forever young. The length of time to be youthful is limited, so one should adopt the attitude of detachment from the material world, and continue diligent cultivation to achieve permanent happiness.
When one receives a response from the instantaneous wealth empowerment, one needs to give to others, do charity work, help with the publication of sutra books, building temples, orphanages, old age homes and perform meaningful duties. Happiness does not derive from wealth; happiness from cultivation and meditation is the ultimate joy of the cultivator. Grand Madam included the following in her talk: The Golden Mother`s Seven Great Dharmas which help with health and longevity.
Grand Master expressed the importance of Homa offering, Treasure Vase Energy Yoga, Inner Fire Yoga, and stated that Tantrayana cultivation emphasized the response of own`s personal deity, during the `Great four elements` segregation one can leave the physical body and enter Buddha hood. The second level of call would be the radiant light of the Bodhisattva to guide one into Buddhahood.
Homa offering trains your concentration which is the initial step of yoga. Your offerings please the heaven realm. Fire offering is one of the special dharmas in Tantrayana practice.
The empowerments by Grand Master included Instantaneous Wealth, Golden Mother`s Seven Great Dharmas, Homa offering, Treasure Vase Energy Yoga, and Inner Fire Yoga,
On November 13th, 2006, Grand Master returned to the Charlotte Chapter. He did 21 push ups as a form of paying homage to the deities. This was followed by the planting of a maple tree outside the temple by Grand Master and Grand Madam with blessing and purification.
A group picture was taken in front of the temple. The visit of Grand Master is definitely a milestone in the history of the chapter.