The Musical of Water Repentance Sutra 【Photo by Hsieh Chih-hsiang】
In today's times, many people think of Buddhism as a religion with abstruse teachings seemingly disconnected with everyday affairs. Back in the Buddha's time, however, the teachings he gave were very down-to-earth, practical, and relevant to daily life. In giving teachings, the Buddha's aim was to help people to understand the truths of life. Being so, he made sure to teach in a way that people could easily understand and practice.
As the teachings have been passed down over the millennia, however, they have become more complex and difficult to understand. Many people practice Buddhism mainly by reciting sutras. They believe that by doing this, especially by reciting repentance texts, they can create merit and eliminate their negative karma. Actually, the true way to eliminate our negative karma is by self-reflecting, repenting our wrong actions, and changing our ways.
In Tzu Chi, there are many real-life stories of people who once did bad things but have been inspired to change. Through self-reflection, they realized the error of their ways and have turned their lives around. For some, the change has been so dramatic that even their friends and acquaintances say that they are like a completely different person.
These people show us that it is in fact not so hard to change. Their example inspires us to realize that the Buddhist teachings are in fact very connected to our everyday sufferings and can transform our lives if we practice them. These stories are truly modern sutras.
To read real-life stories of repentance, please see:
From Fishing Fanatic to Vegetarian Volunteer
The Repentance of a Three-year-old Girl
The Courage to Do What's Right
Sacrificing Oneself to Benefit Others
Overcoming Cancer through Repentance and a Vegetarian Diet
From Dharma Master Cheng Yen's Talks
Compiled into English by the Jing Si Abode English Editorial Team