I think each round of confession should be a general, with the emphasis on the specific misdeed. But most important of all, we have to first understand what we have done wrong so that we will feel remorse and see the need to make things right. At this point, it will no longer be a matter of general or specific, because there are too many misdeeds to be confessed, each misdeed will end up to be a specific one
It’s not really a matter of how many times to perform the confession before we move to the next confession, it’s more of the sincerity in admitting our faults and the genuine promise to not repeat the mistake. No point in making 10 rounds of confession everyday but to lose mindfulness at the very next minute and commit the same mistake again, right?
I just started going through the videos by 如俊法师.
I like that in his first video, he walks through the benefits of doing the 35 Buddha Confessions.
I see that one main benefit is to help us overcome difficult situations in our life. This definitely helps form the motivation for me to try to understand more and put into practice the 35 Buddha Confessions!
I learnt one important point. We are not to dwell on our wrongdoings in doing the 35 Buddha Prostrations, rather to rejoice with ourselves that we have the opportunity to repent and that with each prostration, we are inching forward on our path to cultivation.
In the video, someone asked:“Typically when someone is deep in suffering, they do not have the strength nor determination to even start doing the repentance. How then can we help these people?”
The analogy given by Venerable Ru Jun was very apt. At 44:25, he mentioned that we will need to take the leap of faith by trusting those who have walked the path. Liken to someone who has ascend to the summit of a mountain will give you the advice that, the view on top is breathtaking… Persevere and you will enjoy the same experience soon upon reaching the top.
If you are the climber who hasn’t started, will you choose to start your climb by believing in those who have completed their climb?
We can contemplate further on this point to see how we could develop further compelling narratives to help those around us to start the climb.
Venerable Ru Jun’s QnA portion (starting from 35:33 mark) helped me with some of my own queries and challenges:
whether we have to the full prostration for the 35 Buddhas Confession to get the benefit (around 42 min mark)?
even just reciting the names of the Buddhas carries benefit. So this can help people who do not yet have the inclination or the time to do the full prostration. With more belief, one can progress from reciting, to doing “small prostration” then to the full prostration for greater effect.
if one does not have a altar, can one do the 35 Buddhas Confession (around 50:50 min mark)?
facing such constraints, one can carry along images of the Buddhas or even just visualise in one’s mind the Buddhas!
如俊法师 provides a metaphor on the benefits we can get by relying and having faith in Buddha -
For example, you would have heard of people whom have gotten themselves into much debt and they don’t have the financial means to pay it off. However, these people have some good friends that are better off financially. And the friendship is good and his friends help take on his financial burden.
In this cases, these people in debt did not have to actually earn the money to pay off their debts. What was required is to establish a relationship with these more well-off friends.
So in our case with Buddha, we can depend on Buddha to purify our negative karma by building our connection to Buddha (e.g. doing the 35 Buddhas Confession).
I probably did not explain it well. We can refer to 如俊法师 discourse here (in Chinese) from the 6:30 minute mark to the 8:57 minute mark.