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Thursday, July 18, 2019
On June 29 and 30, the International Conference on Buddhism and Social Science took place on the campus of Dharma Drum Institute of Liberal Arts at DDM World Center for Buddhist Education, following the Development of Chan Buddhism in Contemporary Era forum held on June 28. Nearly 100 scholars and Buddhist monastics from home and from abroad attended the conference, sharing their views on social science with new interpretations and perspectives from the Buddhist point of view.


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On June 29 and 30, the International Conference on Buddhism and Social Science took place on the campus of Dharma Drum Institute of Liberal Arts at DDM World Center for Buddhist Education, following the Development of Chan Buddhism in Contemporary Era forum held on June 28. Nearly 100 scholars and Buddhist monastics from home and from abroad attended the conference, sharing their views on social science with new interpretations and perspectives from the Buddhist point of view.
Having faith in the Three Jewels is certainly the most characteristic feature of a Buddhist. Followers of other, theistic religions either believe only in God (i.e., Jews and Muslims), or in the Holy Father, Holy Son, and Holy Spirit (i.e., [Protestant] Christians), or in this trinity plus the Holy Mother (i.e., Catholics). Because Buddhism is an atheistic religion, Buddhists do not worship the Buddha as a deity, nor do they regard him as the one and only Buddha or as the creator of everything who can absolve all the sins of humankind. Rather, the Buddha is a teacher who can help students change their dispositions, acquire knowledge, and cultivate their bodies and minds; he cannot, however, learn for the students or take entrance examinations for them.
“To build a Pure Land on Earth with the wisdom and compassion of the Dharma”: this core intent of the Dharma has always been upheld by the sangha of Dharma Drum Mountain since its establishment by the late Master Sheng Yen (Shifu). Shifu explained the significance of the ground breaking ceremony, often referred to as ‘opening the mountain’, as thus “To unlock the dormant potential that lies within each of us so that we develop wisdom and compassion, which lead to harmony, peace, happiness and health in society and the world at large. This is the significance of ‘Opening the Mountain’.
To repay gratitude to Shifu and to bring benefits of Chan and Buddhadharma to more people, DDM Sangha will hold two events in June, 2019 – “ Meditation Forum & Workshop: The Development of Chan Buddhism in Contemporary Era” on June 28, and “International Conference on Buddhism and Social Science” on June 29 - 30.

At DDM Sangha’s invitation, scholars and dharma heirs of late Master Sheng Yen from both the East and the West will convene at DDM World Center for Buddhist Education. They will share with the general public their experiences and apprehension in learning and applying Chan, hoping to continue late Master Sheng Yen’s great vows of propagating Chinese Chan Buddhism.
Editor Notes
Gilbert Gutierrez, an attorney in U.S., also a seeker all his life, studied various martial arts and mind arts but couldn’t be satisfied until encountering with Master Sheng Yen.

He received Master’s teachings as well as Dharma transmission and started to propagate Chan Buddhism to the West ever since he became one of the Dharma Heirs of Master Sheng Yen.

How did he make all these possible?

Introduction:

In 1997, Master Sheng Yen led the first Chan retreat in Croatia at the invitation of Zarko Andricevic, founder of Dharmaloka. By following the Master’s footsteps, Zarko started to regularly guide Chan practice in Europe and American, as well as take part in cross-religion dialogues, ever since becoming a Dharma heir of the Master in 2001. After many years of collective efforts, they finally bought the land and built the Dharma practice center, a Buddhist community in Europe focusing on Chan Practice. Now Andricevic is sharing how all this was made possible as follows.
Learning Chan methods and propagating the teachings of the dharma


Rebecca Li, a disciple of the late Master Sheng Yen, learnt Chan Practices from Master Sheng Yen in the US and served as a translator for the Master in many international conferences. Initially skeptical of Buddhism, she is now devoted to the practice of the Path of the Bodhisattva and to the propagation of Chan Buddhism. What causes this change? Below is her story:
QUESTION:

I have heard a Ch'an aphorism which goes something like this: "The practice is important, but the view of practice is even more important." This seems to contradict everything I have ever heard about Ch'an. Ch'an says to drop the ego and subjective views. Any view I can possibly have must be subjective and therefore a distortion of the truth. It becomes yet another obstruction.

Also, isn't an experience an experience, regardless of what the person practices or believes in? If the ego goes away, the ego goes away. What does it matter if the person is an atheist, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, or anything else? If you say that only Buddhists can have experiences where the ego drops, isn't this elitist?


On May 11, one day prior to Mother’s day, nearly 30 participants from Asia, Europe, America, and Taiwan gathered together at Yun Lai Monastery (雲來寺) in the Beitou District of Taipei to experience a unique one-day retreat in English led by Venerable Chang Ji (常寂法師) and Venerable Yan Wu (演無法師).
On May 12 Mother’s Day, which happened to be also Buddha’s Birthday on the 8th day of the fourth lunar month, DDM held a “Family Day – Protecting the Spiritual Environment” event at National Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall, introducing to the general public the Chan methods and the modest simple way of life as Buddha had espoused. More than 30 activities were provided for people to experience a simpler lifestyle as well as arousing blissful enjoyment in Chan. The activities included bathing the Buddha statue, sounding the Lotus Bell, making eco-friendly handcrafts, experiencing living Chan, as well as relaxation exercises.
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