Last Sunday, a group of carrot farmers participated in BW Monastery’s first Lamrim Recitation Competition (广论开卷有益背诵大赛), as one of the two bilingual teams to recite the English Lamrim text. It was an eye-opening, jaw-dropping, mind-blowing and heart-warming experience to witness people of all ages going up on stage to recite verses groups after groups, with great fluency and redefining the meaning of creativity. Memorizing is no easy feat, especially for those who have left school for a long time. Furthermore, the challenge escalated with added movements, formations and dialogues to remember. These days, we don’t even remember phone numbers. Yet, more than 500 people spent great efforts memorizing and rehearsing Buddha’s teachings over the last few months.
Formed by 3 classes, our youngest “farmers” have only learnt Lamrim for around 6 months when news of the competition was released late last year, and they enthusiastically motivated one another to join 2 senior classes for the competition. (Mega rejoice for their courage and diligence! *Big applause*) When deciding on the passage to recite, the benefits of relying on the teacher was chosen. Not only is it an early chapter that everyone has learnt, it is also the core and foundation in our stages of path to enlightenment, to achieve ultimate happiness and eradicate all sufferings.
Inspired by Shifu’s wisdom and compassion to introduce organic farming decades ago, and how the farmers had persevered with their unwavering faith in Shifu, everyone unanimously voted for “The Carrot Farmers” as our group name. Back in those days when organic farming was unheard of, when poor harvest and ugly crops grew from contaminated soil, when anxiety filled hearts worrying that all efforts will go to waste, the farmers chose to follow Shifu’s words. Not depending on what they knew, not basing on how they felt nor (immediate) outcomes to make decisions, the strength of faith shown in relying on the teacher well led to their overwhelming success years later. It made Lamrim text come to live and is evident how Buddha’s teachings remain applicable and relevant in our daily lives. Through re-enacting the story during the recitation, we sincerely hoped that the recitation will bring to everyone’s minds our teachers and what they have done for us, make aspirations to learn from our teachers life after life, and purify our afflictions like how the soil was eventually freed from contamination with organic farming.
Hence, when it was announced that we won 2nd place for the competition, it certainly felt like a gift from Shifu. The entire performance also wouldn’t have been successful without the wonderful teammates brought together by Shifu, who are so talented and resourceful, and supported in everyway possible, whether to motivate, lead, coordinate, prepare slides, prepare props, and work on pacing, diction, pronunciation etc.
Like what Abbot Jing Yuan mentioned, we have pioneered a novel way in reciting the Buddha’s teachings that may led to new, captivating approaches in propagating the Dharma. The invaluable rapport built on the foundation of dharma will also lead us to be together and support one another for a long, long time.
We are all winners of the competition! May Dharma remain in this world forever!
Penned by PJ, S15G027E
(also care coordinator of S18G008E, the “youngest farmers”)