YEAR OF NEWS :
Friday, July 29, 2016
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.
Every year in May, Buddhists will participate in bathing the Buddha statue to commemorate the Buddha’s Birthday, signifying purifying their mental, verbal and physical actions, an essential endeavor to realize the aspiration to achieve the Buddhahood. On May 16th DDM’s New Jersey Chapter (DDMBANJ) organized a Buddha Bathing Ceremony, in which Ven. Guo Xing, abbot of Chan Meditation Center, was invited to preside over the ritual and give a Dharma talk. Also participating are Ven. Guo Dong, abbot president of DDM, who was currently on a tour in North America rendering care for the devotees, along with 10 other monastics from the DDM sangha. The ceremony this year drew a crowd of participants, with all seats occupied and some having to stand all the way through the ceremony, creating an extraordinarily solemn ambience at the venue.
In the afternoon of 15 May 2015, Assistant Abbot Presidents of Wat Phra Dhammakaya (WPD) of Thailand Venerable Maha Weerawat and Venerable Thawee headed a delegation of 40, including followers and abbots from other WPD branch monasteries, in their visit to the DDM World Center for Buddhist Education, Jinshan, New Taipei City. In addition to visiting Dharma Drum Institute of Liberal Arts (DILA) President Venerable Hui Min and DDM Abbot Vice President Venerable Guo Hui, they also visited various DILA physical structures, the Library and Information Center, the Founding History Memorial Hall, the Wish-Fulfilling Guanyin Hall and the Grand Buddha Hall, conducting a cross-sectoral Buddhist educational exchange between Chinese Buddhism and Theravada Buddhism.
A Richter scale 7.8 earthquake struck Nepal three weeks ago on 25 April 2015, shortly followed by another 7.3 magnitude devastating tremor on 12 May 2015, wreaking havoc on already destroyed structures and further contributing to the rising death toll and casualty numbers. In addition to commissioning humanitarian relief aid volunteers to assess and outreach to the tragedy with the immediate aid through donations and other resources, the Dharma Drum Mountain Social Welfare and Charity Foundation (DDMSWCF) further sets goals to focus efforts on supporting infrastructural and human rebuilding as well as future sustainable development in the region. Moreover, through active engagement and anticipated cooperation with other local Taiwanese organizations, it is hoped that resources and supplies would reach the severely shaken remote villages and mountainous areas, counteracting the imminent South Asian monsoon season.
Through sharing the gratitude in bathing the Buddha and practicing simple but relaxing Chan in the hope of making Mother’s Day the Spiritual Environment-Protecting Day, DDM launched a Chan event themed “Protecting the Spiritual Environment - Stop, Relax, Enjoy” at the plaza of the National Dr. Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall (S.Y.S. Memorial Hall) on 11AM, 10th May, 2015 when Taipei mayor, Ko Wen-je (柯文哲); the commissioner of City Affairs Department, Lan Shi-cong (藍世聰); the director-general of S.Y.S. Memorial Hall, Wang Fu-lin (王福林); the general program coordinator in promoting Eight-Form Moving Meditation, Chen Wu-hsiung (陳武雄); the SRE family representative, Lin Wu-xiong (林武雄), and guests from all sectors were present along with Abbot President of DDM, Ven. Guo Dong; President of Dharma Drum Institute of Liberal Arts, Ven. Hui Min, and thousands of attendees. In gratitude of thinking of its source when drinking water, they’d practiced water-bowl-holding meditation leading to bathing the Buddha as an act of expressing gratitude to all mothers, the Buddha and mother earth whilst making vows for and dedicating the day's merits to the country and the whole world.
Many of us today lead an intense lifestyle. How can we then remain with our natural lightheartedness within our highly-strung and fast-paced lives? This Mother's Day from 11:00AM to 05:00PM on 10 May 2015, DDM has organized a range of Chan practice activities aiming to and themed "Protecting the Spiritual Environment - Stop, Relax, Enjoy" at the plaza of the National Dr. Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall. This is a free event inviting the public to come along with family and friends to experience the calmness and mindfulness of Chan practice. The range of activities include living Chan, scripture transcription, eight-form moving meditation, "dragon bowl" and bathing the Buddha. As a token of appreciation for the participation, a beautiful souvenir headscarf will also be presented to all attendees.
On April 25th, 2015, Saturday, a 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit Nepal and caused heavy casualties. As soon as the calamity had happened, Dharma Drum Mountain, together with all its overseas affiliates, immediately set calamity-quelled tablets to pray for blessings for those in need and the deceased. On top of that, DDM Social Welfare and Charity Foundation will soon dispatch a delegation to Nepal offering care and assistance in cooperation with related local Buddhist organizations.
In view of recent several felt earthquakes in Taiwan, Dharma Drum Mountain appeals to the public to show the empathy of what is called “life community” and pray for the stability of the mind of mankind, peace of the society, and good luck of those in need in Taiwan and all over the world in addition to appealing people to recite Buddha names for reassuring ourselves
DDM hosted the Prayer Ritual for the Lunar New Year at Nung Chan Monastery on March 7, 2015; about one thousand five hundred devotees, volunteers as well as their family members attended this ceremony in which Ven. Guo Dong, the Abbot President, offered his blessings to each and every attendee. In addition, the president of Dharma Drum Institute of Liberal Arts (DILA) provided an update on the current situation and future vision of the new school advocating “Extensive Academic Education”. He is very grateful to the general public for supporting and fulfilling the late Venerable Master Sheng Yen’s great vow to set up a school that brings hope to future generations.
The Dharma Assembly of Transmitting the Light was held at 7:00 p.m. on February 27, 2015 in memory of the late Venerable Master Sheng Yen, the founder of DDM, who passed away six years ago. This ceremony was simultaneously held at Dharma Drum Mountain and its affiliated monasteries, such as the Nung Chan Monastery, Anhe Branch Monastery and Zhaiming Monastery, just to name a few. Ven. Guo Dong, the Abbot President of DDM, led the DDM Sangha as well as nearly a thousand devotees in lighting lamp bowls to symbolize the continued wisdom of the Buddha as well as upholding the late Venerable Master Sheng Yen’s great compassionate vows.
DDM Nung Chan Monastery celebrated the first full moon of the year of the Goat with an event themed “An Evening of Moonlight, Water and Nung (Agriculture) Chan (Zen)” on March 5, 2015. This event started at 6:30 p.m. with scarlet lanterns adorning the silver and white wall that is inscribed with the Diamond Sutra. The illumination of the Diamond Sutra by these lanterns, together with the gentle drop of light drizzle on the Water-moon pool provided an atmosphere full of blessing and joyfulness on this last day of celebration of the Lunar New Year.