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Repentance through Confession, Chanting and Prostrations - Bowing Repentance with Devotion

I know that my past faults were left uncorrected, yet I know that in the future I may mend my ways. I know that I have not been off the path of confusion for very long, and I am aware of today's rights and yesterday's wrongs. (Tau Ywan-ming, “GWei-chyu Lai Tsz”)

“'Of all bad karma which I have done based on beginningless greed, hatred, and stupidity, committed by body, mouth, and mind, I now repent and reform.' greed, hatred, and delusion are found at the root of our actions, even those which seem to be motivated by selflessness, love and knowledge. Difficult to understand as this at first seems, it will be born out by sufficient inspection.

The body, mouth and mind are the vehicles which perform the actions motivated by the three poisons: greed, hatred and delusion. The body is capable of killing, stealing and sexual misconduct. The mouth spews forth false speech, confused prattle, harsh speech, and slander. The mind governs body and mouth through greed, hatred, and wrong views]]. These are called the ten paths of unwholesome conduct, and they constitute the Greater part of our conduct. However, they can be transformed into their opposites by our efforts; this is called turning toward the good. To Change is simply to repent. Repentance is no emotional outpouring, no futile regret over spilt milk. We regret, we Change and that is all there is to it. One gradualy learns to stop doing all manner of bad and move towards all that is good. This is the conduct of the superior person. It is very simply the way by which one begins to leave the confused and troubled state of an ordinary mortal to become a Buddha. It must be done not merely with words and superficial conduct but in the very depths of the mind and consciousness. Therefore, once we begin to put our daily lives in order, we find it necessary to seek out a good advisor. He remonstrates with us and teaches us the Proper means of cultivation, and thus we eliminate the accumulated garbage in our minds, stop the deeply ingrained habits which continue to produce ever more garbage, and attain true freedom.

”'offenses arise from the mind; use the mind to repent. When the mind is forgotten, offenses are no more. mind forgotten and offenses eradicated, both are empty. This is called true Repentance and Reform.' The acts of the mind are greed, hatred, and stupidity. The mind wanders and reels about a uni[[verse of its own thinking, planning, scheming, measuring, and calcuLating. Like a monkey]] loosed in a grove of ripe fruit trees, the mind clambers on everything, grasping, pulling, and making a general mess. This mad mind directs our daily activities of body and speech; hence all our offenses are ultimately derived from the mind. Everything, in fact, that has name and form, that is labelled and known as distinct from other things, is a product of the mind.

“We must cut off offenses at the root. thus what we must reform is not merely our behavior but the very depths of our minds. We must take our petty realms of consciousness and expand them until we are capable of including all good deeds as well as bad ones. reform is in the mind, not in the shallow surface layers of what we know as the thinking mind, but in the deep, hidden wellsprings of consciousness which can only be reached through Great effort. When we reach such depths we pass well beyond the

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limitations of thinking and verbal constructs. This is what is meant by 'mind forgotten.' It is important to understand that this does not imply a simple forgetfulness of our wrong deeds. Rather it is a total pasSage beyond all normal thought, through which we reach the very source, and there wash off the accumulated dust.

“There are, ultimately, very few who need not listen to the words of the text, for, as it is said:

The Sagely man has few errors;

The superior man Changes his errors;

The petty man covers over his errors;

The stupid man sees no errors.” (WM 9-11)

The ”Entering the Dharma Realm“ chapter of the Flower Adornment Sutra recounts a Repentance of the pure Youth SuDhana:

He remembered how he himself in the past had not practiced bowing and reverence, and he immediately decided that he would practice them with all his might. He further remembered how in the past he had not been pure in body and mind, and he immediately decided that he would concentrate on reguLating and cleansing himself. He further remembered how in the past he had created all [sorts of] evil karma, and he immediately decided that he himself would concentrate onavoiding and stopping it.

He further remembered how in the past, he had given rise to all false thoughts, and he immediately decided that he would constantly rectify his thinking. He further remembered how in the past, his cultivation of all practice had only been for the sake of himself, and he immediately decided that he would enlarge the scope of his mind, so that it would Universally extend to all conscious beings.

He further remembered how in the past he had intently sought for states of desire, constantly harming and depleting himself, without its having any flavor. And he immediately decided that he would cultivate the Buddha Dharma, and nurture all his faculties, and use them to find peace himself.

He further remembered how in the past he had given rise to deviant and distorted reflection]]s. And he immediately decided that he would produce thoughts of Proper [[views and give rise to the vows of a Bodhisattva. He further remembered how in the past, he had toiled day and night at doing all evil affairs. And he immediately decided that he would bring forth Great vigor in accomplishing the Buddha Dharmas. He further remembered how in the past he had underGone birth in the five Destinies without any benefit to himself or to others. And he immediately decided that he wanted to use his body to benefit and aid living beings, accomplish the Buddha Dharmas, and attend upon all good knowing advisors.

Upon making such reflection]]s, he became very happy. (EDR VIII 2-4)

The Sixth Patriarch HWei-Neng explained Repentance this way:

What is Repentance and what is reform? Repentance is to repent of past errors, to repent so completely of all bad actions done in the past out of stupidity, confusion, arrogance, deceit, jealousy, and other such offenses, that they never arise again. reform is to refrain from such transgression in the future. Awakening and cutting off such offenses completely and never committing them again is called Repentance and Reform.

Common people, stupid and confused, know only how to repent of former errors and do not know how to reform and refrain from transgressions in the future. Because they do not reform, their former errors are not wiped away, and they will occur in the future. If former errors are not wiped away and transgressions are again committed, how can that be called Repentance and reform? (PS 178).

formal Repentance is often done publicly, individually before the Great Assembly, or communally by bowing Repentances such as the Great Compassion Repentance or the Repentance before the Ten Thousand Buddhas.

1) Chinese: Chan hWei , 2) Sanskrit: , 3) Pali , 4) Alternate translations: Repentance and Reform, confession]].

See Also: One Hundred Dharmasshame and remorse.

BTTS References: UW ?; PS 120, 176-178; WM 9-11; UW 30-31, 144-145; TT 87-96 (verse of Repentance of Universal Worthy Bodhisattva); EDR VIII 2-4, 69-73; FAS-PII]](3) 9-10; FAS Ch22 29-34 (”Treasury of shame“), 35-41 (”Treasury of Remorse“); RH (”Repentance before the eighty-eight Buddhas“).

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repentance.txt · Last modified: 2018/02/26 18:13 (external edit)