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.
Dharma Drum Vancouver Center (DDVC) held a refuge taking and Buddha bathing ceremony on the morning of 23 May 2015 (North America time zone). The Abbot President Ven. Guo Dong was present to express concerns and blessings, and to bath the Buddha statue as well as one’s innate Buddha-nature with over 220 followers on the joyful Buddha’s Birthday.
On Sunday, May 24, 2015, Dharma Drum Vancouver Center (DDMVC) Celebrated Buddha’s Birthday. The entire Center was filled with guests, many of whom were visiting for the first time.
The day began with a welcome and blessing from Ven. Chang Wu, the director of the Dharma Drum Vancouver Center. She explained that the goal of the Center is to strengthen our connections with our community and to spread the Buddha’s teachings in simple and joyful ways. She also emphasized the Center’s determination to strengthen its friendly relationships with local Buddhist organizations, including Thrangu Monastery and Ling Yen Mountain Temple, both of which sent representatives to this event.
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.