YEAR OF NEWS :
Tuesday, January 17, 2017
Promoting Chinese Buddhism had always been a mission of the founder of Dharma Drum Mountain, Master Sheng Yen, who considered Buddhist education as being essential to the future development of Chinese Buddhism. The second Forum on Chinese Buddhism in Recent and Contemporary History, organized by the Sheng Yen Education Foundation, took place at Baoyun Monastery in Taichung from December 18 to 20, 2016, drawing around 20 scholars from Taiwan, China, Hong Kong, France, and the US, who dealt with the problems and challenges of modern Chinese Buddhism in terms of Buddhism education, as well as its future opportunities and direction.
“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.
Smiling Chan Life Hall, which promotes the art of smiling along with Chan teachings based on what the Buddha taught about the mind, held a gratitude sharing meeting at 2 pm on July 29, to show appreciation to volunteers for the time and effort they have contributed. To mark the occasion, the grass and flower seeds contained in the prayer cards people had wrote at the Hall were planted and spread along with Rudrashka seedlings as offerings to Mother Earth, signifying “planting prayers to bring about Bodhi.” The Hall expects itself to inspire more smiles and enable people to enjoy more calm and stability.
Dharma Drum Mountain has announced the winners for its 2016 International Caring for Life Award on July 27, selected by eight judges in the final review. There were altogether 18 groups and individuals on the final selection list for the biennial Award this year.