YEAR OF NEWS :
Monday, April 24, 2017
Abiding by his last wish, the ash burial ceremony of the late Eighth Vice President of Republic of China, Mr. Lee, Yuan-Tsu, was held at 2.00 p.m. on March 31, 2017 at the Eco-Friendly Memorial Garden of Dharma Drum Mountain World Center of Buddhist Education. Led by honor guards, representatives of the family held his ash box and slowly filed along the winding trail lined with cherry blossoms and banana magnolia trees. Late Mr. Lee’s wish for a natural burial was fulfilled after the hundred participants made their silent prayer and shared their recollections.
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.
The opening ceremony of Lan Yang abode as a Dharma center to provide stable mental and physical practice was held at 10:00 a.m. on July 23. Lin Congxian, the mayor of Yilan, Lin Zimiao, the town’s mayor, Ven. Guo Dong, the Abbot President of DDM, Ven. Guo Shyang, the Vice Abbot President of DDM, as well as various representatives from all walks of life such as Lin Shunnan, Lin Jiamin, Lu Xuelin, Huang Chuqi, and Zhang Changbang officiated the opening ceremony by drawing the curtain to reveal sculptures of the Buddha and the Guanyin Boddhittsatva. In the afternoon, about 300 people took refuge in the Triple Jewels; members of the Sangha then hung Buddha pendents around the neck of these devotees. The atmosphere at the abode was solemn with recitation of the Buddha’s name.
It’s hard for people in Taiwan to imagine how difficult it would be to access Buddhist sutras back in 60 years ago, when not even one single Buddhist monastery in Taiwan had a set of the Tripitaka in their libraries. It was not until 1955 that Master Dong Chu, Sun Qingyang, and Zhang Shaoqi from Chung-Hwa Institute of Buddhist Culture vowed to reprint the Taisho Tripitaka by inviting Chen Cheng, Yu Youren, Master Zhang Jia, and Master Yin Shun to form the Taisho Tripitaka Printing Committee, which then bought a set of Taisho Tripitaka from Japan and began the reprinting in December of the same year. The project was completed in August, 1960.