Every year during Chinese New Year, Lay Ching has been organizing a group of Malaysian Buddhists – consisting of friends, family and sangha members – to contribute funds to 84000. Over six years, a total of 418 people have made donations, raising enough to sponsor 86 pages to date. Each person receives recognition for their individual donation, but also knows that their community contributed to something far greater. Individual donations range anywhere from $5 USD to $1,000 USD.
“I believe in the power of persistent effort and unity, and also in my teacher’s words of advice: ‘One should not refrain from an act of kindness simply because it is small.’ When there is conviction, there is power,” Lay Ching writes about her effort.
Below, see the thank you letter that Lay Ching wrote to the sponsors, thanking them for their donations, explaining why this project is so important, and dedicating the merit of their generosity. In beautiful language, she explains how the translation of the Buddhist canon into Tibetan and Chinese were so instrumental to the spread of Buddhism, and how the English translations can help spread the Buddha’s words even further.
A Thank You Letter to the “Malaysian Buddhist Group”
by Koay Lay Ching
Dear Dharma Friends and Family,
Good afternoon to all! May all be auspicious!
Today is the 19th day of the “Month of Miracles.” The merit of making donations and offerings is multiplied by one hundred thousandfold during this period. To increase everyone’s store of merit, this afternoon I sent off the funds we raised over the two weeks of Chinese New Year to 84000.
I deeply rejoice in your virtuous intentions and virtuous merits of beginning the year with such extraordinary acts of virtue. I hope that in future years more people will aspire to join us in sponsoring a page of Kangyur translation.
So far, 11,414 pages of a total of 70,000 pages have received sponsorship. There are still 58,586 pages awaiting your enthusiastic patronage.
I feel deeply honored that every year we have been able to collectively sponsor pages of the Kangyur for 84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha, the project spearheaded by Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche in 2010.
This year marks the sixth year [of our annual fundraising]. A total of 418 people have contributed since we started.
Even though we only had a month to fundraise, due to the compassionate blessings of our teachers, the protection of the dharma protectors, as well as the steadfast and unmoving faith of many dharma friends, this precious project was perfectly fulfilled today. This year, we raised $23,780 RM ($5,528.24 USD).
In total, we jointly sponsored 20 pages of sutra [this year]. We sponsored 8 pages in 2011, 23 pages in 2012, 12 pages in 2013, 10 pages in 2014, 13 pages in 2015, and now 20 pages this year. I believe in the power of persistent effort and unity, and also in our teacher’s words of advice: “One should not refrain from an act of kindness simply because it is small.” When there is conviction, there is power.
For the [Chinese] Buddhist canon that we are fortunate enough to read today, we are indebted to Master Xuanzang of over a millennium ago, who traversed thousands of miles to India, scaling mountains and crossing rivers, in order to translate the Tripiṭaka [into Chinese]. It was thus that Buddhism spread throughout the Chinese speaking world. At almost the same period, Tibetan King Trisong Detsen sent high lamas to India to translate the Tripiṭaka into Tibetan. From that time forth, Buddhism took root in Tibet.
Today, even though the original version of the Sanskrit Tripitaka has been lost due to political turmoil and Buddhism has all but disappeared in India, it is thriving in the Chinese and Tibetan speaking worlds and beyond. This bears witness to the fact that the translation of the Buddhist canon played a significant role in the propagation and prosperity of the buddhadharma.
Up until now, less than 5% of the Tibetan Buddhist canon have been translated into modern languages. Therefore, before the rich contents of these precious works of wisdom vanish completely, we must come together to coordinate talents across all sectors—translators, teachers, scholars and those in pursuit of wisdom—to reveal the profundity that these works contain and share them with the world.
I remember having heard the following from Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche:
So long as afflictions exist, samsara will not cease to exist; so long as samsara exists, the buddhas will manifest infinitely. The buddhas will benefit sentient beings in various body, speech and mind manifestations.
Yet, on a relative level, the “body” manifestation of Buddha Śākyamuni has long ceased to exist, having entered into parinirvāṇa 2500 years ago; while the “mind” of the Buddha can only be known by other buddhas. Today, only the surviving “speech” manifestation of the Buddha is still able to exert influence over us.
Therefore, apart from translating the teachings of the Buddha, I cannot think of any other activity with greater merit or that is completely beneficial. Even just having the desire to do such a thing comes from the Buddha’s blessings.
The continued sponsorship of the Tripiṭaka translations, therefore, cannot suffer a single moment’s stall. I hope that in the coming years more aspirants will participate in this sponsorship activity.
Here I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to all the dharma friends who have unceasingly supported and patronized the buddhadharma. May the righteous dharma stay long and spread far. I rejoice in your dharma offerings, a source of boundless merit!
Sadhu Sadhu Sadhu!
Here I will do the dedication:
By this merits may we attain omniscience,
And overcome the evil enemies,
May beings, buffeted by the waves of birth, old age,sickness and death,
Be liberated from the ocean of existence.
By this positive action may all beings
Perfect the accumulation of merit and wisdom
And attain the two supreme kayas
Which arise from merit and wisdom!
By the precious collection of virtue,
May all beings never be separated from the sublime Dharma,
Having completely perfected the purpose of self and others,
Beautify the world by resounding the Dharma Drum.
May the Teaching,source of all benefit and bliss,increase
And in all lifetimes may I engage in Dharma activity,
May all kingdoms increase in auspiciousness,
And may all beings achieve Buddhahood together.
May Bodhicitta, precious and sublime,
Arise where it has not yet come to be,
Where it has arisen, may it never fail
But grow and flourish ever more and more!
May Dharma methods, like the Mandalas of the sun and moon,
Traversing all directions, are renowned by all,
Opening lotus buds of intelligence,
May the teaching of the Buddha spread and increase.
In all our lives, wherever we are reborn,
May we obtain the seven qualities of higher rebirth,
As soon as we are reborn may we encounter the dharma,
And have the freedom to practise it properly,
As well as that, may we gladden the holy teachers,
And practise the Dharma day and night.
Having realised the Dharma may we practise its essential meaning
And in this life, cross the ocean of Samsara,
May we reveal the supreme and holy Dharma to beings,
And work to benefit others without getting discouraged,
By impartially helping others on a vase scale,
we all attain Buddhahood at the same time.
With love and metta,
26th February 2016