I have just finished proofing my first dharma translation project to make it ready for publication. It’s the re-translation of the Buddhist Liturgy and reformatted with English and hanyu pinyin and later it will be out in digital form. It was unexpectedly long project due to the publisher requirements and will be submitted this week! After speaking with the original translator and editor Ven. Master Lok Tok of the Enlightenment Temple in the Bronx, NY of this dharma text, I was inspired to keep going on it. Amituofo! May many people benefit from this work!
His Facebook photo set has his photos during his retreat time, he is the present abbot of IBS in Taiwan. He has given us the clearest explanation I have ever seen regarding details of how this process of transmission really works. It’s important to really get the correct teachings and from the correct teachers. In the USA we are woefully deluded by the newness of Buddhism, over-reaching for levels or attainments that we do not need or deserve. I am quoting his exact post that appears on the Facebook link. Let me know if it does not work. I only cut and pasted and hope for the best, I’m new to the blog world here.
於2008年，我蒙 本換老和尚慈悲親自傳授，禪門正法眼藏，臨濟正宗法脈。此法法脈源流源自於釋迦牟尼佛，祖祖印心相傳，直到近代虛雲老和尚→本煥老和尚→慧光 (第45代臨濟正宗傳人）。
2008, I received the transmission of the Treasury of the True Dharma Eye in the Noble Linji Ch’an Dharma Lineage with the compassion of my Master, Ch’an Master Ben Huan. This lineage of Dharma transmission trace all the way back to Sakyamuni Buddha. The ancient Masters have transmitted one after another until recent era to Ch’an Master Hsu Yun. Then the Dharma transmission is from: Venerable Master Hsu Yun→ Venerable Master Ben Huan→ Hueiguang (45th generation lineage holder of the Linji Ch’an).
In Chinese Buddhist tradition, there are 3 systems of transmission:
1. Tonsure system: a person become tonsured as a novice monastic under the Master’s school. He/she is given a Dharma name 法號 at the time of tonsure based on the Master’s lineage. This name is also called “the outer name 外號” because it is use by all people to address you. This name is used for life.
2. Ordination system: a novice will become fully ordained as a Bhikṣu monk/ Bhikṣuni nun with the Triple Platform Ordination (Observing the Śrāmanera, Bhikṣu and Bodhisattva precepts) . This ordination must be presided by 10 monks with at least 10 years of seniority with a pure practice in upholding the monastic precepts. In this ceremony, the 10 Masters represent the Triple Gem accepting the novice into the Sangha. At this time, another Dharma name 法名 is given. This name is also called “precept name 戒名 or inner name 內號” because it is use only by one’s Master. This name represents your precept lineage transmission.
3. Dharma transmission system: This system upholds the Treasury of the True Dharma Eye through the generations of transmission. This is the Mind to Mind seal of the Dharma that is beyond the scriptures. At this time, another Dharma name 法名 is given. This is also called “the inner name 內號” and use only by one’s Master. This name represents your Dharma lineage transmission. After receiving this name, one will use this name instead of the name received during precept ordination to write one’s Dharma name (Inner Name)(Outer Name). For example, my Dharma name is “Chang An Huei Guang 常安慧光”, where “Huei Guang” is my name given at tonsure and “Chang An” is given at Dharma transmission.
Therefore, these systems of transmission should not be ended.
It is customary to refer to one’s own tonsure Master as “Gracious Master”, precept Master as “Root Master” and Dharma transmission Master as “Venerable Master.” In Chinese Buddhism, these 3 systems are separate and are not performed by the same Masters. Moreover, due to the strong emphasis on the Dharma, when a person receives the Dharma transmission, he/she is recognized as that Ch’an Master’s Dharma son/daughter. Of course lay Buddhists may also receive this Dharma transmission, but there are very few incidences. Most of the monk/nun who received the transmission has already been tonsured and ordained by other Masters.
An impromptu study of bodhisattva, due to ignorance of most Americans and Europeans of lack of understanding of monastics ordained in the Mahayana traditions receiving additional ordinations as Bodhisattvas and the fact that Theravada monks have been also recognized as compassionate bodhisattas (Pali), it’s not all based on history or ideals the aren’t unreachable in our modern times!
Even the quality is sketchy and a bit messy this little dharma lesson is well written and illustrates clearly that monastics alive today emulate the bodhisattva ideal in their daily life.