布施慈悲,點亮心燈 文/菲律賓海天禪寺英文研經班學員 傳止


Ocean Sky Chan Monastery was introduced to me by my mother. At the beginning, my mother would literally force me to go. Despite this, I was still able to finish beginners’ and intermediate meditation classes without understanding what was being taught. Everything changed after I graduated from college. There were questions lingering in my mind. I told myself, “Okay, I’ll give it a shot. I’ll go with my Mom to Ocean Sky with an open mind and I will not have any thought or judgment.” And I did go. I remember I came during the last day of summer camp. At first, it still felt weird because it was all new to me. Surprisingly, when some volunteers and my sister’s co-volunteers talked to me, it felt different. They talked to me as if I’d been coming to the monastery for as long as my Mom, sister, and brother did. The experience changed my perception of Ocean Sky. From that day onwards, many wonderful things have changed in me.

With that simple gesture of making others feel welcomed, it definitely had a big effect on newcomers like me and our perception of Ocean Sky. A lamp was lighted through that act of kindness and warmth that I received from the people.

Volunteering for me is a way of giving back, to say “thank you,” and to share and spread the teachings that I learned in the monastery. I encountered different tasks and different people every time I do volunteer work. It challenges me as a person and in my practice. But it doesn’t bother me. In everything that I do, I definitely learn something new. The teachings don’t end after listening to the Dharma talks, the lessons also need to be applied.

To love all that you do and consider it as part of your life can make work easier and happier for you.” This was one of the many teachings that struck me the most. It changed how I feel towards my work. There is no easy job if you are just there for the wrong reasons and it will not help you in any way. Every day you wake up just to wait for the day to end because for some reason, you did not find complete happiness in your work, from the people around you, and even in your life. But when you do things because it is your life and you enjoy every bit of it, no matter how tired you are, whether physically or emotionally, you will always find joy and fulfillment in it. There is this feeling of great joy in me whenever I see other people happy because I am able to help them.

However, sometimes it is not only happiness we bring to other people. I know I am not perfect nor can I please all the people; but it does not stop me from helping other people as much as I’ve also benefited from them. These people may not know how they’ve affected my life whether negative or positive. I still would like to thank and say sorry to them in as many ways that I possibly can. As a cultivator, there are still many things that I need to learn and for sure, my learning never ends.

Right now, a single thought is in my mind, “Pay it forward.” The single light that I am holding is not enough to dispel the darkness we are encountering. But if I share that light, the brightness around me would keep expanding and become even brighter. This will not only help myself, it will also benefit others.

Reflections by Betty Lim


I was born and raised in a Filipino-Chinese family. Although I did accompany my parents to visit and pay respect in Buddhist temples every weekend, at that time, I could not differentiate between the three Buddha statues in the main hall from Guanyin Bodhisattva which I heard Mom often mentioned. In 2013, Dad passed away, and two years later followed by my Mom. We followed the burial service in Buddhist way out of the respect for my parents. During the 49 days of mourning, we chanted Amitabha Sutra which I found interesting yet difficult to understand. That was when I decided to attend classes in Ocean Sky Chan Monastery.

After decades of living with and taking care of my parents, their sudden departure drove me to feel deep sorrow, anxieties, hatred, and frustration. I felt life had become meaningless and subsequently lost my purpose. Luckily, at that time, I had just started my classes learning Buddhism in Ocean Sky.

Under the compassionate guidance, comfort and care of the Dharma Masters, I learned about impermanence in this world. I also realized that apart from being grateful to my dear parents who brought me into this world and raised me, I also have an ultimate important duty: to make offerings to and respect my Dharma Parents, i.e., the Three Jewels, and to support and protect Buddhist temples.

My four years of study in Ocean Sky, such as joining meditation classes, chanting sutras, cultivations, and attending ceremonies and so forth, have resulted to a big turning point in my life. My impatient hot temper has tamed and cooled down through the practice of calm mind taught in classes. I used to be intolerant, unforgiving and uncompromising. Little by little, the teachings of compassion in class have made me learn to forgive, understand and tolerate others. I realize the best way to get rid of sufferings is to let go of all hatred, greed and all kind of emotions and attachments.

In fact, my relatives and friends are so surprised to see the big change in me, even more astonished to find I am now introspective, self-repentant and non-complaining! I have taken the Three Refuges and Five Precepts, and at the end of 2016, I also took the Lay Bodhisattva Precepts. Lay Bodhisattva Precepts, as guided by Dharma Masters, are observed not only to keep pure precepts, but also to benefit others as well as myself. I am now able to extend my concern to my relatives, friends and even the Dharma brothers whom I barely know, and to comfort and offer help especially to the sick and the departed ones. Our compassionate Dharma Masters intentionally arrange schedules for volunteer works in the temple for everyone to take turns in cultivating merits and wisdom. I am lucky to be one of them. In the process of forming good affinity with others, I can feel true happiness within me in helping others. Although I never expect anything in return, surprisingly, the incredible merits have just bounced back to me! The more friends and less enemies means lots of relaxation and joys in life!

It is indeed difficult for me to reverse my decades-long bad habits. Given the bad influences in this sinful and suffering world, every time I am faced with unfavorable incident, I would be stricken with a bad thought. However, I would constantly remind myself that I have to apply the Buddha’s teachings of compassion, tolerance, and forgiveness, and to look at myself, to examine my actions, to feel remorseful and to repent. Thereafter, I would immediately switch to good thoughts. I still find it difficult to let go of my attachment and love for my departed parents who had sacrificed their whole life for me. However, I have confidence that in the process of learning Buddhism, I will be able to overcome and let go gradually.

It is indeed the best merit in this life to become a Zen disciple, and I would like to express my deepest gratitude to our dear Founding Patriarch Grand Master Wei Chueh, who had devoted and contributed his life to building a very solemn and pure Chung Tai Chan Monastery, a perfect place for meditation and cultivation. Also to all Dharma Masters for their untiring efforts in preaching and teaching us. I have nothing to repay them, except to stay diligent in my study of Buddhism, forming greater affinity with all sentient beings, and strictly keeping all precepts and supporting Buddhist temples!