YEAR OF NEWS :
Monday, February 13, 2017
On the Chinese New Year’s Eve, the bronze Lotus Bell inscribed with the whole Lotus Sutra, the first of its kind in the world, sounded its toll as thousands of participants lighted up their inner brightness for the coming new year, amid the ocean of lanterns on Dharma Drum Mountain.
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.
By applying the methods of Chan practice that allow us to relax our body and mind, we will find everywhere to be a happy land. At 11 a.m. on May 8, also the Mother’s Day, Dharma Drum Mountain held a “Protecting the Spiritual Environment: Stop, Relax, and Enjoy” event. Thousands of people joined in this group practice activity in which they also learned to practice the Eight-Form Moving Meditation. At around 3 p.m., Taipei City Mayor Ke Wenzhe, the representative of volunteers’ families, together with DDM’s abbot president Ven. Guo Dong, as well as the participants, all sincerely performed the Buddha-Bathing Ritual, as a token of gratitude for the Buddha and to show thanks to all the parents.
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.
At 9:30 am on April 5, DDM’s abbot president Ven. Guo Dong and vice abbot president Ven. Guo Yuan, among other DDM Sangha monastics, together with Korean student monks currently studying at Dharma Drum Mountain, welcomed visitors from the abbots council of head temples of the Korean Jogye Order, including Venerables Zheng Nian and Ding Yu. The visiting guests, chiefs of the Order’s various administrative districts and also responsible for offering spiritual guidance to the military, hoped to learn more about the practice styles and management of Buddhist groups and organizations in Taiwan.
On March 2, 2016, Taiwan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs David Y. L. Lin (林永樂部長) presented the certificate of gratitude to DDM Social Welfare and Charity Foundation, among other NGOs, for its long-term contribution to the government’s efforts in humanity care and environmental protection, thereby promoting Taiwan’s participation in international cooperation affairs. Mrs. Ko Bi-Yao（柯碧瑤女士）, deputy chairperson of the Foundation, attended the award ceremony, in which she expressed appreciation to the public for their support while encouraging DDM to keep learning and further devote itself to the benefit of people and society.
The director of Bureau Français de Taipei, Mr. Benoît Guidée, and his wife visited Dharma Drum Mountain World Center for Buddhist Education with a colleague in the afternoon on February twenty-fourth. The abbot president of DDM, Ven. Guo Dong, together with Dr. Po Chang Chen, the dean of Humanities and Social Sciences, greeted the director alongside other representatives of Dharma Drum Institute of Liberal Arts.
Dharma Drum Mountain held the Transmitting the Light of Dharma ritual at Nung Chan Monastery and several other branch monasteries in Taiwan, at 7 p.m. on February 20, to commemorate DDM founder Master Sheng Yen’s lifelong practice, as well as his compassionate wisdom in inspiring people to enter the gate of the Dharma.
A magnitude-6.4 earthquake struck southern Taiwan at 3:57 a.m. on February 6, causing many buildings to collapse. Dharma Drum Mountain Social Welfare and Charity Foundation, together with DDM’s monastics and volunteers in the Tainan area, immediately set up disaster service centers in Yongda Road and at the Kunshan Village Activity Center, near the collapsed buildings, to assist with rescue operations by the military, police, and firefighters and provide tents, flashlights, hot meals, blankets, body warmer packs, and drinking water to the rescue workers and victims. Starting from one day before the Chinese New Year’s Eve, volunteers worked around the clock to provide necessary materials to the disaster areas. At the National Cheng Kung University Hospital, the Chi Mei Medical Center, and in the disaster areas, DDM’s monastics gave out free prayer beads and Great Compassion Mantra Water. They also chanted the Buddha’s name and provided blessings, to console the anxious and grieving families, helping them restore peace in the face of life’s impermanence.
Following the earthquake that hit the Yaan City, Sichuan Province, China, in April of 2013, Dharma Drum Mountain launched a relief project to help rebuild schools in the area. On the morning of January 22, 2016, an opening ceremony was held at the Minxing High School in the Xiushui Township to celebrate the completion of the school’s library and sports field, along with the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of its table-tennis center. The project to rebuild the Duogong Central Elementary School in the Tianquan County, Yaan, was also completed, with an opening ceremony held on the morning of January 21, attended by local residents, as well as teachers and students at the school.