Dharma Drum Buddhist College Helps the Freshmen Settle Their Mind before the New Semester Starts
Do you remember what you did on the first day at college? For the freshmen of Dharma Drum Buddhist College (DDBC), they will be taught Chan practice to start the first semester. At nine o’clock on the morning of September 3rd, DDBC taught the the new students Chan practice to let them relax their bodies and experience a clear mind prior to knowing the campus and teachers.
Venerable Guo Jing, DDBC’s representative for greeting the new students, said the reason why DDBC always holds a five-day or seven-day retreat whenever a long vacation ends is in the hope students can settle their minds before the new semester begins. As a result, when they enter the college, it will earnestly help the students understand the related knowledge of Chan practice. Besides stabilizing body and mind, Venerable Guo Jing considers another advantage of learning Chan practice before entering the college, that is to say during the Chan retreat, the students can better identify with the vision of DDM in the videos related to the teachings of the late Master Venerable Sheng Yen and the teachers’ guidance in Chan practice. This is helpful for both the school and its students.
Although the retreats begin with learning about the round cushion and postures of sitting meditation, there are still quite a few monastics who join in the Chan practice. Venerable Kong-Chu, who lived in the U.S. for 25 years and learned Japanese Zen, said he and his British Dharma teachers and brothers have all looked up to the Chinese Chan practice imparted by the late Venerable Sheng Yen, but that it is a pity that Chinese Chan does not prevail in the West. The reason why he chose to study at DDBC is that he used had previously visited Dharma Drum Mountain, and found that it had a pure environment for practice; and that it also placed equal importance on theory and practice hence imparting complete and concrete Buddhism. Thus he made a resolution to study at DDBC despite the distance. He hopes to translate Chinese Buddhism and introduce it to the West after finishing the course he has enrolled in at DDBC.
The tradition of DDBC is to treat every student and staff as family members. After providing an initial experience of Chan practice, DDBC would hold a Welcome Camp so that teachers and senior student can share their experience with the freshmen.
This year’s camp was held in Nantou Meifong (a very beautiful mountainous area in Nantou, in the very centre in Taiwan) on September 5th with the aim to help the overseas students from Thailand, Korea, Vietnam, China, U.S., Sri Lanka, and Malaysia know and enjoy the studying environment in Taiwan.
(Translated by Tom Hsieh/Edited by DDM Australia Editing Team)