In a world of impermanence, we should repent deeply. We must also pray with a heart of utmost sincere piety. Where do we start? We can express our sincere piety by keeping the vegetarian precept. By adopting vegetarian discipline, we can express genuine repentance. It is through practicing repentance that we can purify ourselves.
During the month of August 2011, Tzu Chi volunteers in Taiwan held the sutra adaptation of the Water Repentance text, bringing to life the more than 1,000 year old Buddhist text in a modern form of stage adaptation. The sutra adaptation expresses the teaching contained in the Chinese Buddhist text known as "Water Repentance" composed by Dharma Master Wu Da, and does so in the form of theatrical sketches, song, and sign language. This sutra adaptation shows the ways in which human beings have created negative karma as a result of their afflictions and inner impurities, and urges all to sincerely reflect and repent.
Dharma Master Wu Da was from Sichuan, China, and lived in the late Tang Dynasty. He became a Buddhist monk at the age of seven and was given the Dharma name, Zhi Xuan. When Zhi Xuan was young, he travelled around China to study Buddhism. While travelling, he stayed in a temple where he encountered a sick monk, whose body was covered with festering sores that emitted a foul odor. Everyone kept away from the monk, but Zhi Xuan stayed and nursed him back to health. Before they parted ways, the monk thanked Zhi Xuan and told him that if he ever encountered difficulties, he could look for him in Jiulong Mountain by two pine trees.
From 6 - 28 August, 2011, twenty-four presentations of the “Dharma as Water” stage adaptation were given to the public in various parts of Taiwan, including Taipei, Kaohsiung, Taichung and Zhanghua. With a combination of theatrical sketches, sign language, song and dance, the stage presentations served to introduce the repentance practice to people, inspiring everyone to purify their hearts, and also to help protect life on Earth. The participants, totaling around 30,000, were made up of Tzu Chi volunteers and a group of professional artistes. Altogether, about 250,000 people in Taiwan took part in this “Dharma service”.