New Abbot President Venerable Guo Huei:
Seize every moment in my life

“What’s the difference between the lives before and since being the 6th Abbot President of DDM?” someone asked me.

Well, the most obvious difference, in appearance, is an additional string of one-hundred-and-eight Buddhist beads. Also, the DDM Sangha organization has appointed secretaries and attendants at the Abbot President Office to assist me with the administrative affairs; thus all of us become a team of joined forces.

Confidently asserting “To step down is not to retire” , the former Abbot President Venerable Guo Dong (果東法師) is fully responsive to my requests. When I have conflicts in my schedule, he always generously offers his kind supports, by attending some of the events on behalf of me, or representing DDM monastics in religious communication and social care activities. This sense of a team indeed goes with us everywhere.

Ever since taking the mission as the 6th Abbot President, I started to behold many “first–time experiences” of my life. I am very grateful being able to adapt to them alright. My approach to the adjustment is actually simple, just as the old sayings, “a monk cares nothing but tolling the bell one day at a time” (做一日和尚, 撞一日鐘). That is, first take good care of myself, and then take good care of the Sangha and the lay followers, so that all of us can propagate Dharma and benefit the world together.

Roughly speaking, as I see it, there are three layers to the adaptation process. First of all, I should properly take care of my duly tasks. As it is essential and fundamental to upkeep religious practices in a regular and routine manner, I attend daily dharma services in the grand hall with the sangha and take pure meals with the mass as much as I could, and I maintain daily practices of morning sitting meditation and evening prostration to the buddhas.

Second, being the Abbot President I surely have the responsibility of caring for the public as a whole.In the everyday intensive interactions with people of all backgrounds, the monastics as well as dharma followers, at all time I remind myself to adjust and modify, and to always come back to the practice method. That is, to practice “take good care of the mind.”

Lastly, in dealing with the intensive work load as Abbot President, at any time I am simply mindful of what I should do at that time, “just concentrate on the present moment”, the inordinate vexations usually left off then. This is also what the late Master Sheng Yen’s teachings are about, to take care of ourselves so as be able to give more of ourselves.

In fact, learning from the Dharma teachings, we should always take every present moment and every interaction as the most precious and wonderful experience, that is, ” Every moment in encounter is once in a lifetime ” or いちごいちえ in Japanese.

During the process of adaptation, what benefits me most is to learn and make progress together with the monastics and lay followers. I used to be the Vice Abbot President in DDM Sangha, assisting the former Abbot President with the tasks of Dharma propagation. I was mainly in-charge of the academic affairs in the university, undertaking the tasks of the administration, teaching, researches, and services. The daily schedule back then was intensive but routine and stable. Besides, the task of academic research demands focused concentration, thus I had relatively less interaction with the general public. Now, taking the mission commissioned by the Sangha and the monastics, I have many more opportunities to learn and to communicate with the public. I cherish these precious opportunities very much.

As for my personal growth, I commit myself to personally uphold practices of the mind, including sitting meditation, sutra recitation, as well as reciting the Buddha’s name. Yet, in terms of protecting and propagating the Dharma, I need the help and support from everyone. The job of Abbot President is huge, and it is not achieved by me alone. It is the fruit of the devotion and collaboration of many people.

Therefore, with joyful gratitude, I attend daily morning and evening services, take pure meals, and participate in various activities. I sincerely appreciate all the connected conditions that help me grow.All the time I am learning how to deal with things in a better way, and to give more cares for the Sangha and lay followers, which I believe ought to be the most important job of the Abbot President!

Text: Venerable Guo Huei; Dharma Drum Monthly
Photos: Yu-fa Wang (王育發)
Translation: Frances Liu (劉珮如)
Editing: DDM Australian Editorial Team; Shujen Yeh (葉姝蓁)

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Seize every moment in my life