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.
DDM Melbourne Chapter was truly privileged to have Chan teacher Zarko Andricevic from Croatia to share the joy of Dharma through a series of activities, including a Beginner Chan Meditation workshop, two public Dharma talks and a five-day Chan Meditation retreat. Teacher Zarko is one of the five Western Dharma heirs of the late most Venerable Chan Master Sheng Yen, the founder of Dharma Drum Mountain.
At 10 a.m. on May 17th (North America time zone), the DDM Chan Meditation Center (CMC) in New York held a Buddha Bathing Ceremony, in which DDM abbot president Ven. Guo Dong was invited to give a Dharma talk on “cherishing the conditions, creating positive connection.” Afterwards, he gave a much-expected book signing of his recently-launched book, Forgive and Let Go, to Form and Live in Favorable Conditions, creating a sense of festival filled with joy in the Dharma.
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.