In Chinese ‘Chuang Yen’ means adornment.
In Buddhism, we use Wisdom and Compassion to adorn our world. These two are the foundations of Buddhism. Buddha’s teachings are about how to develop our own wisdom to solve our own problems.
The main obstacle of developing wisdom is our ego view (self centered). Compassion is one of the tools to loosen up that view, and clear the obstacles. By helping others, we can see our own problems. This is how we can start to cultivate, to attain wisdom. In other words, with wisdom we turn ourselves from our own worst enemies to our best teachers.
The Buddha statue (55 feet including the pedestals and base):
- It is the largest one in western hemisphere. It is 37 feet high. It is made of marbles. The marbles were first grinded into powder, then remolded into the statue.
- It gestures symbolizing that we are made of four elements and emptiness (5 fingers of the right hand), and the consciousness ( the one left finger holding by the right hand). There are other explanations though.
- The pedestals of lotus flowers (8 feet) symbolize wisdom. The lotus grows out of mud which symbolizes that we attain wisdom through hardships.
- The base (10 feet) which is decorated by Bodhisattvas.
- The Bodhisattvas are those enlightened beings whose vows are to help others to relieve from their sufferings and get enlightened. They possess great compassion for all sentient beings. They are very feminine looking. It is because the compassion in Buddhism is likened to motherly love. Mother always forgives their little ones. If they do something wrong, it is because that they don’t know better. With proper guidance, they will do right. In Buddhism, gender is not an issue. You can be an abbot if you are a nun. If there are any restrictions, it is due to societies’ customs.
It is out of gratitude that I prostrate.
When I prostrate to the Buddha, I prostrate to everyone in between I and the Buddha.
Because without their devotions and efforts, I would not be able to learn the great teachings of the Buddha.
Gratitude is a wholesome state of the mind. We should keep our mind in the wholesome state as much as possible. Similarly can be said about offerings.
Wooden fish – Fish always has its eyes opened which symbolize that we should always be mindful on what we do and think
The alms bowl – The monastic people go for alms round which provides laypeople an opportunity to practice charity, and monastic people an opportunity to practice humbleness. We need to have humbleness to learn the great and extraordinary teachings of the Buddha.
The drum – In the old times, drums were used in the battle fields. It now symbolizes that we fight our enemies within.
The bell – It sends out the awakening calls. It reminds us that we should strive for the ultimate enlightenment.
Vegetarianism – In Buddhism, Compassion is practiced as reciprocity to all living beings. So we practice vegetarianism whenever possible.
Environment – We are connected and dependent on our environment. We should take good care of it, and not abuse or exploit it. If we have to chop down a tree which is too close to the house, then we can plant a couple more away from the house.
Gratitude – Buddhists do the 5 contemplations at the meal time. We should always cherish whatever we have at present, and be grateful to all who made this possible.