YEAR OF NEWS :
Monday, April 25, 2016
The Origin of Bathing the Buddha
Over 2,600 years ago in ancient India, Queen Maya of Kapilavastu gave birth to Prince Siddhartha, who later became Shakyamuni Buddha, under the ashoka tree in Lumbini Garden. The newborn Prince, pointing one hand up at the sky and the other downwards to the earth, said, “In heavens and on the earth, I am the singularly supreme.” This meant that, having gone through three great incalculable eons of practice and about to attain Buddha-hood in the human realm, he was the most superior among all the heavenly and human beings. At that very moment, two streams of pure water came down from heaven to bathe the Prince’s body. Since then, Buddhists have been celebrating the Buddha’s birthday by performing the Buddha Bathing Ritual.
The first shave to clean all unwholesome karma. The second shave to purify all wholesome karmic roots. The third shave to be ordained to deliver sentient beings. To perfect merit and wisdom - to be clothed in compassion.
These sayings reflect the pursuit of the ultimate meaning of life by the Buddha more than two thousand and five hundred years ago through the renunciation of fame and power.
In the morning of 12th September 2015, thirteen newly ordained novices paid respect to the Triple Gem and their family at the Grand Buddha Hall as their compassionate vows to be ordained were fulfilled on the birthday of Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva. With the warm wishes of some six hundred attendees, the 2015 Dharma Drum Mountain Sangha Ordination ceremony was successfully completed.
On September 2nd at 10am, Precept Master Ming Tong, abbot of Huiyan Temple (Chùa Huê Nghiêm) in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, visited DDM World Center for Buddhist Education accompanied by 24 monks and laity, to learn about Buddhist education as carried out by the Buddhist sangha in Taiwan. He was welcomed by Ven. Chang Wei, who introduced DDM’s mission—to spread Chinese Chan Buddhism, with Protecting the Spiritual Environment at the core; and to achieve the purification of the world through the Threefold Education—to the guests.
Dharma Drum Mountain held the 22th Buddhist-style Joint Birthday Celebration for the Elderly at its Zhai Ming Monastery at 9 a.m. on September 5, as part of an effort to promote its Protecting the Social Environment campaign launched in 1994. Many senior citizens attended the celebration, including a 100-year-old lady, Zeng-Jian Acao, who made a special effort to take part, marking the auspiciousness of the event.
The Wish-Fulfilling Guanyin Hall at DDM World Center for Buddhist Education is one of the most popular spots for visitors to take pictures and pray. The pool in front of the hall, which reflects seasonal changes, is an ideal place for meditating on the water and contemplating the rain. The heavy rain could not dampen the enthusiasm of 260 volunteers during a three-day stone cleaning activity. Working around the pool in the rain wearing their rain coats, rain boots, and bamboo leaf hats, they joined hands together to clean the stones, focusing on the work at hand and remaining unaffected by the external condition of continual heavy rain, thereby realizing the meaning of Chan in motion.
Climate change is no longer a new issue; nevertheless it is an essential challenge of this century that requires the total commitment of all people.
A major repentance ceremony named after Emperor Wu of the Liang Dynasty was held at DDM’s Nung Chan Monastery from August 16th to 22nd this year. The first day saw over 7,000 participants from different parts of Taiwan attend.
This ritual, also named the “Compassionate Monastery Repentance Ritual”, follows 10 volumes of rites extracted from Mahayana Buddhist texts and the names of 1275 Buddhas. It was written with the intention to lead practitioners through the practice of repentance in its true sense by acknowledging one’s faults and repenting them. More than regretting wrongdoings, repentance requires one to apply wisdom for the seeds of one’s affliction to wither, so as to attain purity and liberation. It also arouses compassion towards sentient beings who are suffering, poor and needy which is an important aspect in the cultivation of the Bodhisattva practice of benefitting oneself and others as one aspires for Buddhahood.
As an organization which emphasizes the cultivation of blessings and repaying kindness, Dharma Drum Mountain (DDM) conducts Ulambana Festival assemblies at various local and overseas branches.
During the auspicious seventh lunar month (between 2015/08/14 and 2015/09/12), assemblies at branches including the Chung-Hwa Institute of Buddhist Culture, Nung Chan Monastery, Chan Meditation Center in New York, Los Angeles Center, Dharma Drum Vancouver Center and the DDM Buddhist Center Malaysia will be held. It is hoped that through these assemblies, people can share the merits they have gained from their virtuous acts of learning the Buddhadharma as well as reciting the Buddha’s names or sutras with all sentient beings in the ten directions to relieve them from various sufferings..
Severe landslides caused by Typhoon Soudelor bought untold suffering and isolation to the residents of Wulai (烏來) and Sansia (三峽) region in Taiwan. In an effort to lessen the suffering of these residents, Ven. Guo-Qi, Secretary General of Dharma Drum Mountain Social Welfare & Charity Foundation (DDMSWCF) led volunteers and staff to immediately transport emergency supplies such as instant noodles, water, canned food and lighting equipment to Wulai Guishan Activity Center and Sanxia District Office late into the night of August 10 as well as at the break of dawn the next day. Ven. Guo-Qi expressed his gratitude to the relief workers of the emergency operation centers who worked tirelessly.
“Wearing the ceremonial robe makes me look like Harry Potter!”
”Why should we observe noble silence when we eat at the monastery?”
On July 20 and 21 2015, twenty three youth of the Rotary International 3520 exchange program from twelve countries in Europe and India attended a Dharma camp in Dharma Drum Mountain World Center for Buddhist Education and Zhai Ming Monastery which left unforgettable memories to many.
Buddhism is a great way of life but how do we ensure that it is passed down to future generations? The Dharma Drum Institute of Liberal Arts (DILA) invited Rev. Sumi Loundon Kim, Buddhist chaplain of Duke University and minister to the Buddhist Families of Durham (BFD), North Carolina, to conduct lectures in addition to a dharma-parenting workshop on July, 5. This workshop was held at DDM Yun-Lai Monastery with more than 50 lay-people as well as monastics as participants.