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Friday, August 01, 2014
On the very early morning of August 1st, 2014, a deadly gas explosion almost destroyed a downtown district of Kaohsiung situated in the southern Taiwan. The explosion shortly caused a series of explosions that killed at least 24 people and injured 271 people.


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Those planning to tie the knot in 2014 can exchange their marriage vows before the Buddha at the 20th Buddhist group wedding ceremony to be held at the Dharma Drum Mountain World Center for Buddhist Education on January 11. DDM expects 64 newlyweds-to-be to be married at the joyful and sincere ceremony. Registration is now open but availability is limited. DDM welcomes soon-to-be happy couples over the age of 20 to be married with the blessings of the Three Jewels.
The Great Compassion Water and Land Dharma Service 2013 will begin from 30 November to 7 December.

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From 12 July to 10 August 2013, over 400 students from elementary school through to high school in Sichuan attended the four ‘life education’ camps. DDM Social Welfare and Charity Foundation (DDMSWCF) and DDM Young People Development Department have been conducting these camps since 2009 to educate on ‘Protecting the Spiritual Environment’.
The turnaround in parents’ attitude towards their children’s decision on ordination may be the result of community recognition of the long-standing contributions made by DDM towards society stabilization and community benefits. DDM hosted a pre-ordination event on 18th August at the DDM’s International Banquet Hall, Jinshan, New Taipei City where DDM’s Abbot President, Venerable Guo Dong, met the parents and family members of postulants who will soon be monastics. The event created an environment of warmth and cohesiveness among parents in relation to their children’s decision to be monastic. It was also an opportunity for older monastics to witness a social change where the decision of the younger generation to renounce was recognized and accepted by parents.
The Abbot President of DDM, Venerable Guo Dong, was invited to attend the Interfaith Dialogue for religious leaders on September 7, 2013. The dialogue, which was hosted by the Manningham City Library in Melbourne coincided well with his recent visit to Australia. The conferees included H. E. Zimwock Rinpoche (Buddhist, Tibetan), Rev. Helen Summers (Interfaith Council), Ven. Phuoc Tan (Buddhist, Vietnamese), Ven. Chi Kwang (Buddhist, Korean), Fr. John Dupuche (Catholic), Murray Davies (Bahai), Fr. Peter Martin (Anglican), Jasbir Singh Suropada (Sikh), and Dhakta Dasm (Hindu). In addition, Ms Jennifer Yang, Mayor of Manningham City and Dr. Chin Tan, Chairman of the Victorian Multicultural Commission also attended the Interfaith Dialogue.
Dharma Drum Mountain’s 2013 DDM Youth Camp for Cultivating Excellence concluded on 19 July. Although the camp was postponed for one day due to Typhoon Soulik, over 100 students attended to reap the benefits of Chan meditation under the guidance of the Venerables. They were deeply moved by the Dharma teachings and found happiness from within.
The first Chan meditation camp for high school students organized by the Dharma Drum Young Buddhist Society (DDYBS) was held at DDM’s Xinxing Monastery in Taitung. About 100 students attended the camp to experience a different summer vacation.
At nine o’clock on the morning of September 3rd, the Abbot President of DDM, Venerable Guo Dong greeted a party of monastics led by Venerable Pu Ren from Jiezhuang Lu Temple at the Wish-Fulfilling Guanyin Hall at DDM to deepen the Dharma friendship of the two monasteries. The two Abbot Presidents earnestly talked on the topic of education and they created karmic ties by giving presents of dharma literature with each other. In this atmosphere of sharing, Venerable Guo Dong encouraged the Venerables present, despite the diverse backgrounds they may be from, to play the role of spreading the Dharma and to assist sentient beings in purifying humanity and society.
As part of a four-day trip organized by DDM Social Welfare and Charity Foundation (DDMSWCF), on August 14th DDM led fifty-seven (57) children from the Jiaxian District, a mountainous area in Kaohsiung, to visit the old streets and farmhouses in the countryside in Jinshan, New Taipei City to appreciate the scenic landscapes in the vicinity together.
It was a beautiful autumn day in Taipei when I attended the one-day retreat at Fagushan (Dharma Drum Mountain).
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