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.
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.
The 6th International Conference on Contemporary English Buddhism and the Thought of Master Sheng Yen was held at the GIS National Taiwan University Convention Center, Taipei, Taiwan R.O.C. on July 1, 2016. Organized by the Sangha assembly and Sheng Yen Education Foundation, the opening ceremony started at 9:00 am with 74 articles presented in this three-day conference. Ven. Guo-Dong, the Abbot President of Dharma Drum Mountain, indicated that this conference is a follow-up to the teaching and thought of Master Sheng Yen; Dharma Drum Mountain hopes to open dialogues and discussion on Buddhism’s further contribution to the society as well as its role in purifying the heart and society through Buddhist practices in our daily lives.
Dharma Drum Mountain Sangha held its fourth Followers’ Forum, a two-day event, at the NTU GIS Convention Center on June 29th, also marking the completion of DDM’s founder Master Sheng Yen’s chronicles, which includes some changes and updates up until his death. The Forum’s first session, entitled “Who, Will Continue the Legacy of Dharma Drum Mountain? An Outlook Inspired by the Master Sheng Yen’s Chronicles,” evoked over 600 participants’ memories of Master Sheng Yen about his actions and aspirations to benefit sentient beings. They expressed gratitude for being able to meet this good teacher and Dharma friend who inspired their Buddhist practice, which has greatly enriched their lives.
On June 18th, 2016, Dharma Drum Institute of Liberal Arts (DILA) and Dharma Drum Sangha University held a joint graduation and program completion ceremony at the International Conference Hall of Dharma Drum Mountain World Center for Buddhist Education. In both academic dress and the Buddhist scarf, graduates sang the Song for the Three Jewels that signifies benefitting others to mark the meaning of graduation. Before awarding the certificates, Ven. Guo Dong, abbot president of DDM, and Ven. Hui Min, president of DILA, along with representatives of the teaching faculty, handed the scarves and candle lamps to the 40 graduates, as an encouragement for them to walk the Bodhisattva path with courage. More than 400 relatives and friends of the graduates also attended the ceremony and gave their blessings.
The 6th Seminar of Master Sheng Yen’s Thoughts, organized by the Sheng Yen Education Foundation and the Dharma Drum Mountain sangha, will take place at GIS NTU Convention Center from July 1 (Friday) to July 3 (Sunday). The agenda and application form (Chinese and English) are now available on line for people to download and register. Persons interested in Buddhist research and Dharma study are welcome to join the seminar and interact with the attending scholars.
More information at:http://www.shengyen.org.tw/
To carry forward Master Sheng Yen’s great vow of spreading Chinese Buddhism, DDM’s Chan Meditation Center in New York regularly holds a lay Bodhisattva Precepts ceremony for both Eastern and Western practitioners. On May 22nd, the Chan Meditation Center held its seventh lay Bodhisattva Precepts ceremony, which lasted for four days and three nights. The Abbot President of DDM, Venerable Guo Dong, the Deputy Abbot of DDM, Venerable Guo Pin, and the Abbot of Chan Meditation Center and Dharma Drum Retreat Center, Venerable Guo Shiin, were all present and together presided over the retreat as Bodhisattva Fashi.
At 10:30 a.m. on May 21, Governor General of the Solomon Islands, H.E. Sir Frank Ofagioro Kabui, together with his wife and other guests, visited Dharma Drum Mountain World Center for Buddhist Education, accompanied by Victor Te-Sun Yu, Taiwan’s ambassador to the Solomon Islands, and his wife. Ven. Hui Min, DDM’s chief monk, Ven. Guo Hui, DDM’s vice abbot president, and Ven. Guo Guang, DDM’s director-in-chief, among other DDM Sangha members, jointly welcomed the visiting guests. They paid a visit to the Grand Buddha Hall and the Founding History Memorial Hall, and over tea they talked about the friendship between the people in Taiwan and the Solomon Islands, in an amicable, joyful, and warm atmosphere.
On the morning of April 22nd, 2016, Ven. Xue-Cheng (學誠和尚), the President of the Buddhist Association of People’s Republic of China and the Abbot of Beijing Longquan Monastery (北京龍泉寺), and other distinguished guests were traveling to Taichung. Along the way they paid a visit to Baoyun Monastery, Dharma Drum Mountain’s central educational center in Taiwan. The visiting monastics were recieved by Dharma Drum Mountain Abbot President Ven. Guo-Dong (果東方丈) and the Director of Baoyun Monastery, Ven. Guo-Li (果理法師), who served as guides as their guests came to understand the educational program of Dharma Drum Mountain's urban monasteries and experienced the Dharma ethos therein.
Dharma Drum Mountain New Jersey Chapter’s new center in Edison, New Jersey, was inaugurated with a consecration ceremony on May 14, 2016. The brand new center was packed with some 400 participants, including monastics, devotees, and volunteers, who watched a short film, titled “Starting from Zero,” in memory of Master Sheng Yen, as a token of gratitude to the Master for his great vow in founding Dharma Drum Mountain and fostering the establishment of the Chapter’s new center.