DDM Anhe Branch Monastery Hosts a Buddhist-style Joint Birthday Celebration for the Elderly
DDM has hosted the Buddhist-style joint birthday celebration for the elderly for twenty consecutive years at every branch monastery. The purpose of the event is to promote filial virtue of respecting and loving our parents and the event is usually held around the time of the Double Ninth Festival. This year DDM Anhe Branch Monastery hosted the event on October 10 with over 500 elders and their family members participating. Participation rate was at a record high compared to previous years and the atmosphere was warm and touching.
Venerable Guo Xu, Director of DDM Anhe Branch Monastery, said this particular birthday celebration helps to maintain the traditional values of having an elderly at home. It is like having a treasure and life long experience. The maturity, wisdom and experience of an elderly are treasures that young people should value highly.
Venerable Guo Xu illustrated that Japanese refer to senior citizens as “Ningen Kokuho”, which means Living National Treasures, people who have contributed to society and the nation. For example, after retiring from the government, older people can still serve in private enterprises or contribute to public welfare activities. In other words, even though one is getting older and older, one can continue to contribute to society. Venerable Guo Xu also encouraged elders to accept the concept of ‘descendants all have their own blessings’, to recite Buddha’s name more, to live healthily and wisely. By learning the Buddha Dharma we can reduce our vexations, and the more we live, the younger we are; the older we grow, the more exciting life we lead.
The Abbot President of DDM Venerable Guo Dong also attended the event to offer care and encouraged elders by saying, “Adversity turns around, and prosperity becomes infinite. Be gentle and humble, and everyone shall get along with delight and joy. ” He also said that children may feel pressure from their parents’ lectures, even though the intention is good and done with love and care. When confronted with disagreement, parents should recite the Buddha’s name to maintain composure, try to put down attachments and prejudice views, and step into the shoes of the children. By doing so, the relationship between parents and their children will improve. As for the children, they should cherish the physical bodies given by their parents and through this practice to develop the same compassion and wisdom as Buddha Bodhisattvas.
The Abbot President also explained the true meaning of happiness in light of the social problems contributed by domestic factors. He said that if one waits to receive happiness others, then it is very difficult to find real happiness, therefore, he encouraged participants to transform their mind and thoughts, cherish their surroundings with gratitude, devote their lives to benefiting others and to repay all merits we’ve received. Through this process, one will discover that true happiness is right at present moment. Vexations and attachments will be naturally cease, and society will become full of blessings and warmth.
Mrs. Yang, who participated in the event, shared her motto, ‘Make unlimited contributions with a limited life’ with other participants. She wishes that everyone can place the utmost effort into performing good deeds and saying good words with a good heart, so as to let small virtues become big virtues and fulfill DDM’s vision of, ‘Uplifting the character of humanity, and building a pure land on earth.’
(Translated by Tom Hsieh/Edited by DDM Australia Editing Team)