YEAR OF NEWS :
Monday, February 13, 2017
On the Chinese New Year’s Eve, the bronze Lotus Bell inscribed with the whole Lotus Sutra, the first of its kind in the world, sounded its toll as thousands of participants lighted up their inner brightness for the coming new year, amid the ocean of lanterns on Dharma Drum Mountain.
To share social warmth with needy families in the winter, Dharma Drum Mountain Social Welfare and Charity Fountain organized the end-of-year care event at Dharma Drum Mountain World Center for Buddhist Education at 9:30 a.m. on December 17, with around 400 local residents from Jinshan, Wanli, and Keelung participating. Apart from charity materials and gift money, the Praying for Blessings and Spiritual Feast activities also created a heartwarming atmosphere.
With firm strides expressing gratitude to the past and with renewed outlook to the future, tens of thousands of devotees participated in the Sending off the Sages ritual, either on-line or at the altars on Dharma Drum Mountain, at 2 p.m. on December 3, 2016, marking the completion of the eight-day Great Compassion Water and Land Dharma Service. During the Dharma talk session, Abbot President Ven. Guo Dong announced DDM’s 2017 annual topic—“Bring Blessings and Wisdom Home”—to urge people to maintain the great compassion of awakening the self and others in family and daily life, thereby benefitting the self and others. By developing selfless wisdom, equal compassion, endless thankfulness, and unlimited dedication, we will be able to enjoy peace of mind, peace of body, peace of family, and peace of daily activities.
“Cohere Love with Hope,” the “Community Empowerment Forum” was held by the Master Program of Community Empowerment of the Dharma Drum Institute of Liberal Arts (DILA) at DILA’s International Conference Hall on November 25, 2016. With blessings from New Taipe City mayor Eric Chu, DDM Abbot President Venerable Guo Dong, DDM Community University President Tseng Chi-Chun, as well as Chang Chang-Pang, President of the DDM General Association of Dharma Supporters, the Forum included eight leaders of long-term research and devotion to community involvement, such as Venerable Huimin and Stanley Yen, to share their viewpoints.
Let go of the pursuit of pleasure and the burden of possessions, and instead experience spiritual practice at a Buddhist monastery with evening drums and morning bells, to feel the joy of monastic life. The Dharma Drum Sangha University is hosting the 14th Awakening Camp at the Dharma Drum Mountain World Center for Buddhist Education from February 8 to 18, 2017. People with high school education or above and who meet the age requirement are welcome to sign up for this 11-day camp, to allow themselves to awaken to the true value of life by experiencing various aspects of monastic life, including the study of Buddhist views on life, chanting practice, precepts practice, sitting meditation practice, and work practice.
Dharma Drum Mountain held a refuge ceremony at the main Buddha Hall at 2 p.m. on October 1. DDM abbot president, Ven. Guo Dong, blessed the participants with the phrase: lighting up our inner lamp to illuminate a life emulating Guanyin Bodhisattva. Nearly 700 people completed the ceremony in the midst of chanting Amitabha Buddha’s name, and over 20 families registered for the next refuge ceremony. Participants said “happy birthday” to each other to mark the beginning of their spiritual lives.
Dharma Drum Mountain Humanities and Social Improvement Foundation held the International Caring for Life Award and Caring for Life Forum at the Kuo Kuang Hall of Chinese Petroleum Corporation Building, Taipei, at 1:30 p.m. on September 24. The award aims to encourage groups and individuals committed to the value of life to help advocate a healthy view of life in society. Vincent Siew, Taiwan’s former vice president, Frederick Chien, president of the Cathay Charity Foundation, and Ven. Guo Dong, abbot president of Dharma Drum Mountain, were invited to present awards and certificates to the winners: Que-Dai Shumei for the Individual Compassion Prize, Zhuang Fuhua for the Individual Wisdom Prize, and the Taipei Spinal Cord Injury Foundation for the Great Vow Group Prize. The award signified their perseverance, dedication, and compassionate wisdom for the benefit of others.
Chung-Hwa Institute of Buddhist Studies held the 2016 Young Scholars’ Chinese Buddhism Forum at 9 a.m. on September 9. The forum provided young scholars worldwide in Chinese Buddhism with an opportunity of cooperation and a platform of interaction, as well as necessary guidance and support for their research. The second-stage results presentation took place at the International Conference Hall of the institute. Featuring an interdisciplinary and cross-generation discussion on Buddhist studies, the meeting received an enthusiastic feedback from an audience coming from different fields of study.
As the lyrics of the Song Of The Triple Gem goes: “The nights in human and heavenly realms are long, and the universe deluded and dark; so who is going to illuminate it?” The Dharma Drum Sangha University held its 2016 tonsure ceremony on the morning of August 31 at the Grand Buddha Hall of Dharma Drum Mountain World Center for Buddhist Education, for seven student monks vowing to devote themselves to Buddhist practices and benefitting the world. More than 400 people attended the ceremony to extend their congratulations. Ven. Yan Xian, one of the newly ordained, was accompanied by her sister, who performed the “offering the robe” ritual for her before she formally put on the monastic robe. This added a special touch for the ceremony, making the atmosphere all the more heartwarming.
The 20th Liang Emperor’s Repentance Dharma assembly organized by Dharma Drum Mountain, held at Nung Chan Monastery, came to an end on August 12 amid chanting of sutras, followed by the Offerings to Heaven and Yoga Flaming Mouth ritual on August 13. The seven-day service drew a participation of over 40,000 practitioners. On the afternoon of August 13, Ven. Guo Dong, abbot president of DDM, gave a Dharma talk, followed by a Yoga Flaming Mouth food-offering ritual presided over by three Vajra masters, to help deliver beings in the ghost realm. Towards the end, the merit of chanting Amitabha Buddha’s name was dedicated to all the suffering sentient beings in the world, wrapping up the service.
Buddhist teachings and collective power of group practice bring peace and joy to the world. Nung Chan Monastery held the Liang Emperor’s Repentance Ritual on August 7, marking the 20th anniversary of the service at Dharma Drum Mountain. The first day of the Dharma assembly witnessed a participation of over 6,500 people and volunteers at six different altars for group practice. With one-mindedness, participants performing the ritual in unity filled the venue with a positive power of Dharma joy, aspiring to benefit the world and sentient beings through their sincere repentance and devoted cultivation of the mind.