Living Buddhadharma, Raining on the Human Realm

Meditation, protecting the environment, education, culture, volunteering─People participate in Dharma Drum Mountain through these approaches.

One by one, Dharma Drum Mountain opens the doors for the protection of the spiritual environment which is everywhere, entrenched in Dharma Drum Mountain's Three Types of Education.

Returning to the Original Intention of the Buddha

Two Viewpoints of Education and Environmental Protection

People do not know Dharma Drum Mountain (DDM) just by visiting the place; rather, they know it by making Dharma Drum Mountain a part of their life.

Odyssey and Renaissance: Causes and Conditions Speak the Dharma
In 2002, DDM returned a stone head of Akshobya Buddha to its place of origin, the Four Gates Pagoda in the Shentong Mystic Power Monastery, in the city of Jinan, Shandong, China. The sculptural fragment, which dates from the Sui dynasty (ca. 700 C.E.), had been donated to Dharma Drum Mountain by a devotee, not knowing its provenance. Upon investigation, DDM later determined that the stone head had been vandalized from one of four standing buddha statues at the Four Gates Pagoda. The decision was then made to return the stone head to its rightful place.

Before returning it, DDM exhibited the stone head at the National Dr. Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall in Taipei, attracting over twenty thousands visitors. Walking into the exhibition, visitors might have imagined that they were actually in the Four Gates Pagoda, noting with anxiety that one of the four buddha statues was missing its head. The statues had been standing there for over a thousand years, but now only three were intact, the fourth a victim of vandals who, one night in 1997, stole the head of the statue facing east.

Guided through the meticulously designed exhibit, visitors learned the history of the Akshobhya Buddha statue, and how the ancient stone head made its odyssey from the Shentong Mystic Power Monastery to Dharma Drum Mountain. Visitors were invited to write their blessings to the ancient buddha on paper created by the museum staff and deposit them into a specially designed blessing wall. During the two-week exhibit some twenty thousand blessings were collected.

After the exhibition , a team led by Master Sheng Yen escorted the stone head back to the Shentong Mystic Power Monastery. A marvel connecting the past and the present was thus fulfilled. The gesture received wide attention and praise from both sides of the strait as well as internationally. In a full-length article, the New York Times reported the story of the stone head and the vision of Dharma Drum Mountain. The United Nation's Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, having proclaimed 2002 the United Nations Year for Cultural Heritage, wrote to Master Sheng Yen a note of appreciation.

In returning the ancient stone head, DDM drew on the occasion to raise public awareness about the need to protect ancient cultural and religious artifacts. In the meantime, it taught the Chan of "protecting the spiritual environment." Master Sheng Yen explained it this way:

"The ancient stone head [of the Akshobhya Buddha statue] came from the Four Gates Pagoda in Shandong. Now we return it to the Four Gates Pagoda ... This is doing the right thing at the proper time; as such 'the Dharma stays where the Dharma is' which is exactly 'protecting the spiritual environment'."

Developing Three Types of Education
When people first learn about DDM from the exhibition of the stone head, they may wonder what Dharma Drum Mountain is all about. In fact, DDM has long been involved in promoting awareness and activism in areas such as education, culture, religion, environmental protection, and uplifting of the character of humanity. DDM is present in many fields of caring for society, advocating new ideas, and purifying the human mind.

Master Sheng Yen founded DDM with two perspectives: education and environmental protection. The former is the essence and the latter the manifestation. Throughout DDM's evolution, Master Sheng Yen has talked about the inner meaning of its infrastructure and facilities.

When DDM broke ground for the first phase of construction in 1993, Master Sheng Yen shared with his followers his ideas for the three types of education through academics, through public outreach, and through caring services.

●Education through Academics aims to provide comprehensive, humanistic education to nurture the talents for building a pure land in the human realm.

●Education through Public Outreach helps to uplift humanity through traditional cultivation and modern education.

●Education through Caring Services promotes living in accordance with Buddhism: caring for and respecting every stage of life, promoting a compassionate and humanistic society.

DDM's vision is to "uplift the character of humanity and build a pure land on earth,to be achieved through concrete programs for The Three Types of Education. In "the Common Ethos of Dharma Drum Mountain," the phrase "to promote comprehensive education?refers exactly to The Three Types of Education. And "to extend loving care to all?is practiced through the four kinds of environmental protection: protecting the spiritual environment, protecting the social environment, protecting the living environment, and protecting the natural environment.

The Four Kinds of Environmentalism

●Protecting the spiritual environment means keeping our mind stable and pure
Pollution in the environment is mostly man-made and human behavior is dependent on human mind. If we practice spiritual environmentalism with sincerity, humility, and loving-kindness, if everyday we clear our mind of unwholesome thoughts, we would lift the character of humanity and live in a pure land.

●Protecting the living environment means keeping our life orderly and simple
Our needs are little; our wants are great. Take only what we need, and what we want is unimportant. In our daily life, cultivate the habits of contentment and few desires, diligence, leanness, and tidiness. Do not waste energy and resources and minimize the generation of garbage and pollutants.

●Protecting the social environment means being dignified and humble in society
Courtesy must arise in the mind and manifest in behavior; it is not just a formality. Protecting the social environment starts with individuals: being dependable, taking responsibility, and behaving properly. Through purifying the actions of our body, speech and mind, we can purify ourselves as well as society.

●Protecting the natural environment means maintaining the co-existence and co-prosperity of the whole earth community
From the Buddhist point of view, the natural environment everywhere is the home village to sentient beings, and everything in the environment is needed for the livelihood of some sentient being or other. The whole earth is the common resource that current and future generations rely and subsist on. The faster we deplete earth's resources the sooner we destroy it. We therefore call on everyone to cherish our blessings, protect and sustain the earth's water and natural resources by careful usage, nonpolluting and not wasting.

At Dharma Drum Mountain, education and environmental protection are two facets of the same thing, each helping the cause of the other. In the spirit of education and environmentalism, DDM invites the public to participate in its events and programs. The building blocks for uplifting the character of humanity and building a pure land on earth are The Three Types of Education: through academics, public outreach, and caring services.

Education Through Academics

Growing Future Dharma Teachers

Our academic efforts provide formal education to individuals, preparing them for advance research, teaching, Dharma ministering, or other professional endeavors. They include the Chung-Hwa Institute of Buddhist Studies (CHIBS) which was established in 1985, the Dharma Drum College of Humanities and Social Sciences which obtained planning permit from the Ministry of Education in 1998, and the Buddhist Seminary of Dharma Drum Sangha University, founded in 2001.

CHIBS: International Stronghold in Buddhist Studies
Renowned Buddhist scholar Zheng zhenhuang has said, "The Chung-Hwa Institute of Buddhist Studies is the first to come to mind in the field of Buddhist studies in Taiwan."

CHIBS was formerly the Institute of Buddhist Studies in the College of Chinese Culture. In 1978, Master Sheng Yen was appointed director of the Institute and Ven. Chengyi was the associate director. In 1987, the Institute was granted formal recognition by the Ministry of Education. Starting in 1992, Prof. Fang Ningshu served as visiting director and Prof. Wu Kuan served as associate director.

Since 1996, Prof. Li Zhifu has served as the director of the Institute. In the same year, Ven. Huimin, an outstanding alumnus of the Institute with a doctorate from the University of Tokyo, was asked to serve as the associate director. In 2004, Ven. Guozhao was invited to serve as the second associate director.

The objectives of the Institute are "to enhance Chinese culture, promote international Buddhist scholarly research, foster a high standard of Buddhist education, and develop ministering talents." The first associate director of the Institute, Ven. Chengyi, was one of the few monks with an advanced degree at that time in Taiwan. His hope for the Institute was to "allow people and scholars interested in understanding Chinese Buddhism to realize that it has developed beyond the stage of popular religion."

The Institute offers a three-year academic program. In addition to Buddhist studies it also emphasizes training in the languages of the Buddhist scriptures such as Sanskrit, Pali and Tibetan, as well as languages widely used in Buddhist research, such as English and Japanese. There are three academic specialities: Chinese Buddhism, Tibetan Buddhism, and Theravadin Buddhism. In addition, the Institute has a curriculum in Information Sciences for Buddhist Studies.

Up to academic year 2003, the Institute has admitted two hundred and eight students, of whom seventy-eight have completed their theses, and one hundred and fifty-three have accomplished required course credits. Among past graduates, six of them have earned doctoral degrees from institutes in the United States, Japan and the United Kingdom; fourteen have obtained master's degrees, and still more than ten are currently furthering their study in Germany, the United States, Japan, the Netherlands, India, Australia and New Zealand. Many outstanding alumni have come back to teach in the Institute, or have dedicated themselves in Buddhist education and other cultural and research works with outstanding achievements.

On the front of international exchanges, the Institute has so far held four Chung-Hwa International Conferences on Buddhism:

1990: Buddhist Ethics and Modern Society
1992: Buddhist Precepts and Modern Society
1997: Pure Land on Earth and Modern Society
2002: Buddhism in the Twenty-First Century

The Institute has established a sister relationship with fourteen universities in the United States, Japan, Thailand, Russia, and Mainland China, exchanging students, publications and research fellows, and inviting internationally renowned scholars as visiting professors and seminar speakers.

Entering the electronic age of the twenty-first century, the Institute co-sponsored with the Yinshun Foundation of North America the establishment of the Chinese Buddhism Electronic Text Association (CBETA), and digitized the Taisho Tripitaka in Chinese, which is regarded as one of the most important electronic Buddhist scriptures worldwide.

Another achievement of the Institute is its abundance of academic publications. The Chung-Hwa Buddhist Journal, renamed since 1987 and known as Hwa-Gang Buddhist Journal in the early days of College of Chinese Culture, has published sixteen issues as of year-end 2004. The faculty and students of the Institute regularly publish research and articles in the Chung-Hwa Buddhist Studies. The Institute also collaborated with Dongchu Publications and its successor Dharma Drum Corp. to publish Buddhist research produced by international and domestic scholars. Till the end of 2004, almost forty volumes have been published in the Chung-Hwa Buddhist Studies series.

Dharma Drum College of Humanities and Social Sciences: Promoting the Education of Humanity and Life
Dharma Drum College of Humanities and Social Sciences obtained its permit for planning and preparation from the Ministry of Education in 1998. Dr. Zeng Jiqun, former director of the National Central Library, heads the university planning and preparation office.

The modern age is marked by rapid technological advances. In today's educational systems much emphasis has been placed solely on the advantages of technology, while education for cultivating humanity and for building character and personal growth have been compromised. Dharma Drum College of Humanities and Social Sciences therefore emphasizes that humanity must lead technological development. The vision of the university is "to bring society to the humanities and to bring the humanities to society" by educating future leaders in the fields of social services and education with humanistic thinking and spiritual capacity.

While the construction of the university is still underway, the preparatory office has already hosted several academic symposia including:

●March 1999: Humanity and its Realization in Society

●January 2000: Family Ethics in the Modern Age─are and Respect

●September 2000: Cross-Strait Young Buddhist Scholars Forum─the Contemporary Value of Traditional Chinese Culture

●October 2001: Technological Development and the Reconstruction of Humanity

●October 2003 (Co-host with Peking University): Spiritual Environmental Protection and Humanistic Caring, and other Symposia.

On the public service front, we have hosted several public dialogue sessions by societal leaders, such as:

●April 2000: Crossing 2000─in Pursuit of Excellence, one of a Dialogue Between Masters series with Master Sheng Yen, Dr. Li Yuanzhe, president of Academia Sinica, mediated by Dr. Chen Weizhao, president of National Taiwan University.

●September 2000: View of Life in the E-era─Promotion of a Living Education, a panel discussion with Master Sheng Yen, Minister of Education Zeng Zhilang and Dr. Chen Weizhao.

The Buddhist Seminary of Dharma Drum Sangha University: Cultivating Monastic Talent for Ministering

The Buddhist Seminary of Dharma Drum Sangha University was formally established in September 2001, fulfilling a long-held wish of Master Sheng Yen, as well as realizing the dream of the late Ven. Master Dongchu. Its motto is: "Compassion, Wisdom, Harmony, and Respect." Ven. Guoguang, former associate dean of the Seminary, explained that the curriculum puts much emphasis on developing the sense of devotion in seminarians. She quoted the founder, Master Sheng Yen:

The mind of leaving-home and the mind of devotion are inseparable. The mind of devotion is in harmony with the awakened mind, as well with the mind of non-attachment. While dedicating to the well being of all sentient beings, the mind will not be troubled by vexations.

In addition to studying basic Buddhism, monastic rules and disciplines, Chan doctrine, history of doctrines, monastery administration, and training in ministry, the seminarians engage in merit-cultivating practices to encourage the growth of devotion: participating in a variety of practices activities, and assisting and servicing during Dharma events. To foster the students' international prospect, the Seminary also stresses training in critical thinking and languages.

Currently The Buddhist Seminary of Dharma Drum Sangha Univeristy has two programs: Dharma Drum Buddhist Seminary and the Postulant Training and Monastic Formation Program. The Seminary program is analogous to a four-year college program, admitting students between the age of eighteen and thirty. As of 2004, the program has admitted four classes. Postulant Training and Monastic Formation Program admits students under the age fifty who are interested in taking up the monastic life, many of whom want to start a new journey in life bonded firmly in service and devotion.

Education Through Public Outreach

Sharing the Benefits of Buddhadharma

The principle of Education through Public Outreach is to expand the influence of Buddhadharma in purifying the minds of the general public and on social customs. There are two major approaches: traditional Buddhist practices and contemporary cultural events.

Traditional practices are encompassed in a whole array of programs carried out at DDM, Nung Chan Monastery, CHIBC, and DDM branches and liaison offices. Activities include Chan meditation, Buddha name recitation, Dharma lectures, Dharma assemblies, study groups, Chan meditation classes, Chan retreats, spiritual environmental protection camps, bodhisattva precept transmission, blessing and taking refuge ceremonies, Buddhism classes, and the Eight-form Moving Meditation classes. Among those, Chan meditation has been the cornerstone of our public outreach education efforts.

Emphasis on Chan Meditation
A look at the semi-annual DDM calendar will show how much emphasis DDM places on meditation. There is an average of one seven-day retreat per month, with retreats suitable for all levels─beginning, intermediate, and advanced. The meditation methods practiced in the retreats have been expanded to include huatou, zhiguan (samatha-vipasyana), and Silent Illumination, as well as the Buddha's namerecitation. The locations could be Dharma Drum Mountain, Sanyi Education Center for Protecting the Spiritual Environment, and other venues.

In 1987, upon returning from the US, Master Sheng Yen held the first DDM seven-day Chan retreat at CHIBC. Later, one-, two- and three-day weekend retreats were added to accommodate working people and to make the experience more widely available. Longer retreats of ten, fourteen and forty-nine days were also added later. The number of people participating in retreats has also increased, ranging from a hundred to more than a thousand. For example, the two-day retreat in fall 2003 had more than sixteen hundred participants from all over Taiwan. Understandably, the work necessary to facilitate such events─planning, processing applications, organizing facilities, setting up living arrangements, caring for the participants, etc. ─is tremendous.

Thus arose a special feature of public events and retreats at DDM: the use of volunteers from all over the area, directed and organized by Sangha members to help with Dharma upholding activities─from guarding the residence, keeping time during meditation, preparing meals, assisting practitioners, manning water and rest stations, and guarding the entrance gates. The wholehearted devotion of volunteers assures an excellent environment for practice.

A Map of Chan Meditation across Europe and the Americas
DDM is regarded in Taiwan as a leader in the practice and teaching of Chan meditation, as well as in protecting the spiritual environment. Internationally, it is getting a reputation of the same kind. Master Sheng Yen says:

Chinese Buddhism, especially the Chan tradition, is not bounded by specific practices or rituals, nor is it limited to any particular object of worship. It just uses Buddhadharma to practice observing the mind, to purify, calm, and clarify the mind. The mind, when free of vexation, is the mind of wisdom and compassion.

He points out that the Chan tradition is all-encompassing, accepting, pragmatic, and inclusive. Because it respects all religious traditions, it is well accepted by people of different cultures and backgrounds, even of different religious beliefs.

The propagation of Chinese Chan to the West started relatively late, only progressing slowly since the mid-twentieth century. Buddhist meditation in the West has been better known through Japanese Zen, Theravadin vipassana, Tibetan tantric, and some Korean Zen. Though not the first to introduce Chinese Chan to the West, Master Sheng Yen has definitely led DDM to the forefront of teaching Chinese Chan across Europe and the Americas.

The first Chan retreat led by Master Sheng Yen was held in 1977 on Long Island, New York, attended mostly by Americans. After a few retreats, Master Sheng Yen found that Western students had a different approach to learning Chan than Chinese students. Westerners were more motivated by quick, practical results and had a strong interest in Buddhist philosophy, while Eastern students were motivated more by faith and devotion. Therefore Master Sheng Yen developed various ways to accommodate different kinds of students.

Each year Master Sheng Yen regularly holds four retreats in the US, where the attendees are a mix of Western and Asian. The first lineage transmission in the West by Master Sheng Yen was to Dr. John Crook of the University of Bristol, UK. Since 1986 Dr. Cook twice traveled to New York to study Chan with Master Sheng Yen, and since 1989 has invited the Master to lead Chan retreats in Wales, UK. Beyond the US and Taiwan, the worldwide map of Chan practice influenced by DDM includes two retreat visits by Master Sheng Yen to Wales in 1992, visits to Poland and Czechoslovakia before that, and since then, visits to Croatia, Germany, Mexico, Russia and Switzerland. Among those places, he has set foot in the UK most often, including the three retreats, and visited Russia twice.

All of Master Sheng Yen's international Dharma propagation trips were initiated and organized by Chan practitioners in the host countries. Some of them attended retreats at the Chan Meditation Center (CMC) or at the Dharma Drum Retreat Center (DDRC) and returned home to start Chan practice groups. Some of them had read Master Sheng Yen's books in English or in translation. Because of the keenly felt benefits, they wanted to learn more about Chinese Chan.

Everywhere he went, after completing a retreat, Master Sheng Yen always encouraged local participants to continue to practice in groups, and to teach and share the benefits of Chan practice to future comers. In the meantime, more and more Westerners came to DDM, especially after the opening of DDRC in 1997, near Pine Bush in upstate New York. The name of the place, Shawangunk, which means "white mountain" in Native American, was transliterated into Chinese as xiang gang ("Elephant Hill") by Master Sheng Yen, implying his hope that the Center will be a place where the noble dragons and great elephants of Dharma practice can originate. The Center spreads across over 120 acres of open land, encompassing a natural lake and beautiful surroundings with landscapes that vary with the season.

One important chapter of the Dharma propagation in the West was Master Sheng Yen's first-ever forty-nine-day Chan retreat at DDRC in 2000, with the Bodhisattva Precepts Initiation and Ceremony marking the final week. More than one hundred practitioners from eleven countries attended.

Cultural Endeavors with Long History and Lasting Future
Many people in Taiwan learned about DDM through reading a book or watching the TV program Great Dharma Drum, and Different Voices. These are examples of the second arm of DDM's education through public outreach: contemporary cultural endeavors. The efforts include print publications, TV and radio programs, audiovisual productions, Internet websites, etc. In particular, the more than one hundred books written by Master Sheng Yen in Chinese, English, Japanese, and the translations of Chan meditation books into 18 languages have played important roles in DDM's public outreach.

Humanity magazine, inaugurated in 1949 was the very first DDM publication. Six years later, Ven. Master Dongchu founded the Chung-Hwa Institute of Buddhist Culture (CHIBC) and started publishing the Buddhist Culture Quarterly and a few Buddhist-studies manuscripts, which were the beginning of modern day Buddhist culture activities in Taiwan.

DDM began publishing under the imprint of Dongchu Publications in 1980. It mainly published scholarly works by faculty and students of CHIBS, as well as monographs by Master Sheng Yen. In 1982, CMC in New York established Dharma Drum Publications to publish English books about Chan by Master Sheng Yen. Even prior to the creation of CMC, while still at the Dajue Monastery (Temple of Great Enlightenment), Master Sheng Yen started Chan Magazine and Chan Newsletter. These publications have been important channels for DDM to share the wisdom of Chinese Chan and to spread its ideal around the world.

In addition to Humanity magazine, a second periodical in Chinese, Dharma Drum Monthly, was inaugurated in December, 1989.This magazine is geared toward the vast number of DDM followers and supporters, providing communication and connection for them. As of 2004 the monthly circulation of Dharma Drum Magazine has reached two hundred and ten thousand. It also has become an important bridge connecting DDM to the general public.

In 1995, Dongchu Publications was reorganized as Dharma Drum Corp., embracing current marketing concepts. In recent years it has achieved outstanding performance in the platforms of Buddhism, culture, and general categories. To date it has published more than one hundred volumes in series such as Guidance in Meditation, Introduction to Buddhism, Sea of Wisdom, Crystal of Literatures, Clear Mind in One Hundred Words, Pure Land on Earth, Traveling Around the World, Pocket Sutras, and Wisdom Notebooks, among others. The acclaimed Wisdom Notebooks deserves special mention in that the volumes in this widely read series combine the insightful words of Master Sheng Yen and the illustrations of renowned Taiwanese artists.

In addition to print media, Dharma Drum Corp. is active in audiovisual production and an on-line bookstore. It also has participated in several international book fairs in Taipei, Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and the United States. These efforts greatly expand the reach of modern Chinese Buddhist culture.

The Dharma Drum Mountain Sangha
Most of Dharma Drum Mountain's public outreach education endeavors are planned and organized by the monastic Sangha, while the DDM Foundation and the business groups support execution and expansion. When Master Sheng Yen returned from the US to take charge of CHIBC, he also accepted the commission from the American Sutra Translation Institute to form its Taiwan branch in Nung Chan Monastery. A few members of the Sutra Translation Institute became interested in learning meditation. This was the instigation of Master Sheng Yen's Chan retreats in Taiwan. Eventually, some members' interest in meditation and Buddhist practice deepened and in 1980, several decided to take up monastic life under Master Sheng Yen. Thus was the beginning of the DDM Sangha.

According to Associate Director Ven. Guoguang, ever since the founding of DDM in 1989, followers all over Taiwan have often requested the establishment of local contact points. The Sangha responded by frequently visiting each locality.

Starting in 1991, DDM unveiled a series of environmental protection initiatives, such as the environmental protection fair, Buddhist-style joint funeral memorials, joint birthday celebrations, and joint weddings. The activities were planned and executed by the Sangha in the early days. Responsibility for these activities was later transferred to the foundation and other groups.

The DDM Sangha is headquartered in the Dharma Drum Mountain, with CHIBC as its first branch, and Nung Chang Monastery as the second. Other branches include the Taipei Anhe Branch, Zhaiming Monastery in Taoyuan, Taichung Branch, Dehua Monastery in Nantou, Tainan Branch, Ziyun Monastery in Kaoshung, Xinxing Monastery in Taidong, and the three Houses in Keelung, Taipei Zhongzheng, Taichung Zhongshan. Overseas affiliates include the Chan Meditation Center and the Dharma Drum Retreat Center, both in New York State.

Education Through Caring Services

Holistic Caring for Life

Education through Caring Services means caring for all members of society equally and universally through Humanistic Buddhism.

In a general sense, the Three Types of Education are covered under caring services. Caring for all stages of human life, from pregnancy, infancy, childhood, teenage, youth, adulthood, to old age, end of life and eventual death, as well as the many aspects of each of the stages, all fall within the scope of Education through Caring Services.

Protecting the Social Environment
As part of caring services, DDM started in 1992 the movement to protect the social environment, with activities such as Buddhist-style joint weddings, birthday celebrations for the elderly, and funerals. The purpose is to lead and influence Taiwanese society through the concept and practice of simplicity, non-wastefulness, and cherishment of blessings. The Interior Minister praised DDM'S leadership on end-of-life caring and praying, and the Buddhist-style memorials, saying, "what we at the Interior Ministry failed to do, Dharma Drum Mountain has achieved."

Every three months the DDM end-of-life chanting group collaborates with the city government of Taipei to hold a Buddhist-style joint funeral and memorial service. A departure from traditional funeral practice, the service is solemn, simple, peaceful, and graceful, filled with the calming chanting of Buddha'S name. Master Sheng Yen said:

From a Buddhist point of view, not only birth brings endless hope, but death also leads to brilliant future ... The ending of life, though not a joyful event, is neither a depressing thing. It is a graceful Dharma event.

The power of the Buddhist funeral memorial can overwhelm people attending one for the first time. They often leave expressing a wish that their own funeral will be like that. Zheng Wenlie, leader of the DDM End-of-life Chanting Group, offered this explanation: "Death prompts people to think about the deeper meaning of life. It releases them from avoiding talking about death."

Master Sheng Yen often stresses that every DDM activity has two purposes: education and caring. The Buddhist-style funeral not only teaches simplicity and gratefulness, but also transforms the traditionally negative attitude people hold towards death. In the caring aspect, it not only memorializes the dead but also comforts and enlightens family and friends, and encourages contemplating the deeper meaning of life.

Education through Caring Services also includes caring for the elderly and the disadvantaged. DDM volunteers regularly visit seniors living alone in their communities and arrange Buddha-name chanting activities for them. When Nung Chan Monastery has Buddha-name chanting assembly or joint birthday celebration for the elderly, seniors in the nearby communities are invited.

Psychological Reconstruction after 9/21
In September 21, 1999, a massive earthquake shook Taiwan, causing record destruction. The central Taiwan region was the most severely affected. Fallen walls, damaged buildings, and the distraught faces of those who lost family members were visible everywhere. Shocking scene after shocking scene of destruction broke the hearts of the whole nation.

After surveying the damaged areas, in DDM's relief action planning meetings and on several public occasions, Master Sheng Yen said:

In the reconstruction after the [earthquake] disaster, peace of mind is of utmost importance ... The hurt and pain in the hearts [of the afflicted] will take ten, twenty years or even longer to heal. But we will not give up. The work of rebuilding the psychology and the mind's peace is hard and slow. As long as there is need, DDM will continue the work.

The psychological reconstruction after disasters is multi-faceted and needs continuous work. Soon after the quake, DDM established calming-mind service stations in Taichung Branch, Nantou, Buli, Zhushan, and Dongshi, providing long-term company and caring for needed residences in the affected areas, helping them to rebuild their lives as well as their confidence in life.

On the anniversary of the earthquake, DDM initiated "ten projects for the psychological reconstruction post-9/21." Cleansing rituals for the affected areas and thanksgiving art festivals offered comfort and strength through art and religion. Spiritual environmental protection camps, cultivating peaceful mind drawings on school campuses, scholarships, peace talks, distribution of cultivating peaceful mind booklets were ways of caring for school age children in the affected areas. One Card One Caring, Darani Chanting One Hundred Million Times, the peace bell, and public service publications on rebuilding peaceful mind helped the general public to rebuild its peaceful mind.

The relief efforts of DDM in the 9/21 earthquake disaster exemplified the organization's philosophy in disaster relief, which is: education to build the mind's peace as the main goal and material aids as the support. In later relief efforts in response to typhoon disasters and the 2003 SARS scare, DDM volunteers who traveled deep into the affected areas, the DDM emergency help stations and the supporting compassion relief foundation, all consistently responded in accordance with the DDM philosophy─ultimately for the peace of minds.

Instilling Concerns for Humanity
In its special two hundredth edition, the renowned magazine Common Wealth named the two hundred most influential individuals in four hundred years in Taiwan. It subsequently selected the fifty most influential ones. Master Sheng Yen was on both lists, cited as 烠he spiritual navigator.?Under his leadership, DDM stood in the mind of the public not only as a religious and public service organization, but also an enlightening social educational organization.

DDM's spiritual enlightenment efforts include the Four Kinds of Environmentalism and the Fivefold Spiritual Renaissance Campaign. The Four Kinds of Environmentalism provides a new vision for environmental protection, and the Fivefold Spiritual Renaissance Campaign brings the wisdom and compassion of Buddhadharma into the daily life of ordinary people.

The Fivefold Spiritual Renaissance Campaign

●Four Fields for Cultivating Peace:
A proposition for uplifting the character of humanity:

Cultivating a peaceful mind lies in reducing desires
Cultivating a peaceful body lies in hard work and thrift
Cultivating a peaceful family lies in love and respect
Cultivating peaceful activitiy lies in being honest and upright

●Four Guidelines for Dealing with Desire:
A proposition for living a free life

Our needs are few
Our wants are many
Pursue only what you can and should acquire
Never pursue what you can't or shouldn't acquire

●Four Steps for Handling Problems:
Resolving difficulties in life

Face it: face the difficulty squarely
Accept it: accept the reality of difficulty
Deal with it: deal with the difficulty with wisdom and compassion
Let it go: afterwards, let go of it

●Four Practices for Helping Oneself and Others:
Getting along with each other

Feeling grateful the chance to develop
Feeling thankful for the opportunity to hone your practice
Reforming yourself through the Dharma
Influencing others through virtuous action

●Four Ways to Cultivate Blessings:
A proposition for increasing blessings

Recognizing blessings is the greatest happiness
Cherishing blessings is the best way of saving
Nurturing blessings, and you'll always be blessed
Sowing the seeds of blessings that blessings may be shared by all

In recent years DDM has emphasized its care for the various humanistic disciplines: in January 2000, the Dharma Drum Foundation for Humanities and Social Science Research Grants was established to further promote the spirit of humanity. The research grants originated from a memorial service Master Sheng Yen had in memory of his lineage master, Ven. Master Dongchu. The Dharma assembly raised more than NT$ 30million. Propelled further by a number of enthusiasts, the fund grew to NT$ 50million and the foundation was established. The foundation encourages people from all ranks of society to fund research arants and assistantships by donating money they would have spent on commemorating milestones in their life, or on family members or good friends, such as marriage, death, birth, or other celebrations. The foundation acts as the manager and custodian of the fund, and distributes the interest yearly by awarding humanity-related research and education. This helps mitigate the risk brought about by single-minded development of technology.

Since its establishment, the Dharma Drum Foundation for Humanities and Social Science Research Grants has left its mark on campuses, in communities, in public spheres and academic fields. It collaborated with National Taiwan University, Peking University, and Tsinghua University to establish Dharma Drum Lecture Series in the Humanities. It collaborated with Taipei National University of the Arts to found the Dharma Drum Lecture Series in on Technology and the Arts.

On the community level, it established the Dharma Drum College of Humanities and Social Sciences-at-Large program in Jinshan, Taipei County, where DDM is located, and published a quarterly Jinshan Sentiment, as feedback to the local community.

The foundation also organized many public lectures, commissioned special research projects and academic discussions.

In addition to the Humanity and Social Science Scholarship and Assistantship Foundation, Dharma Drum Mountain has several other foundations to support the goal of education through caring services.

Dharma Drum Social Welfare and Charity Foundation
Established in 2001, the foundation has the charter of providing social services and domestic or international charity busniness. Its main tasks include visiting and assisting low-income families, seniors, the disabled; women and children services; assistance to disadvantaged groups or individuals in the society; relief aids to families in poor neighborhood or in emergencies; and domestic and international disaster relief.

Chung-Hwa Institute of Buddhist Culture
Founded in 1955 by the late Ven. Master Dongchu, its facility was completed a year later. The mission of the Institute is to propagate Buddhist culture, to support compassion relief, and to promote the idea of humanistic Buddhism. For more than ten years since 1985, the Institute loaned part of its space to the Chung-Hwa Institute of Buddhist Studies, allowing Buddhist higher education and scholarly research in Taiwan to develop and grow to international presence. In September 2001, the Institute of Buddhist Studies moved to its own space in Dharma Drum Mountain. The Culture Institute took on the new responsibility of operating the Chan in Daily Life Exhibit Center, presenting the history and people of Chan, the historical schools in the woods, and daily life implication of Chan, and so on.

Dharma Drum Cultural and Educational Foundation
Beginning operations in July of 1992, the foundation has the charter of extending Buddhist studies, culture, and education, and is responsible for all related public service activities. It is the administration and operation center of DDM, in charge of the planning and execution of all internal or external large-scale public activities.

Dharma Drum Buddhist Foundation
Established in July of 1997, the foundation has the charter of operating religious, social, educational and cultural activities. It creates and publishes Buddhist books, audio and visual productions to propagate the contents of correct Buddhist faith.

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