The Extensive Academic Education of DDM Hosts a Competition: Introduce a Book within 5 Minutes

Reading can bring joy to people, but sharing what you read with others can bring even more joy to reading! At the end of 2012, Dharma Drum Buddhist College hosted its first competitive event “Introduction to a book within five minutes” during its library week. The competition comprised 4 to 5 people, each of them having 5 minutes to introduce a book. The event aims to promote the trends of learning and sharing knowledge on campus. Given the success of the competition – having become one of the most popular school activities – the school is now determined to host the competition, which will form a diversified and vivid way of learning on campus every year.

From 2:30 to 5:00 pm on October 2nd, 15 competitors participated in the game of “Introduction to a book within five minutes in autumn.” The competitors were divided into Sangha students, teachers, volunteers and venerables. More than 120 spectators attended the competition. Spectators listened to how the competitors introduced books and were intrigued, opening their eyes to a new approach to reading in an easy and joyful atmosphere.

This event was brought to the campus by Venerable Hui Min who got the idea from the “Book Review Game” prevailing amongst the Japanese youth population. This game extended from universities to communities, having a promoting effect for bookstores in Hokkaido, Japan. NHK World Radio Japan reported that universities in Japan have now successfully set up “Book Review Clubs” and promote such trends in elementary schools, junior high schools and libraries at all levels to let the habit of reading become the norm of modern people.

“Book Review Game” is an activity that can be held spontaneously at any time. In the game, competitors are required to introduce a book in no more than 5 minutes. The audience is then given three minutes to ask questions. The host of the game controls the game’s time and procedure, and the staff responsible for keeping time reminds the competitors of their remaining time. The motives of the competitors were clear and winning the prize or award had very little to do with it, but rather the pleasures of reading, sharing, and learning how to think and express oneself. After listening to the competitors’ introductions, all spectators vote for the book they most want to read.

Judging from the promotion of the “Book Review Game” on campus, Ven. Hui Min said that the “Book Review Game” can start from the assemblage of relatives and friends, and extend to all gathering venues such as clubs, families, classrooms and communities. By doing so, the assemblage will no longer be a venue for gossip and nonsensical talk; instead, it will gradually increase the cohesion of the attendees, help people share their knowledge, and uplift the living quality of families and communities. Therefore, the game is undoubtedly a game of benefiting ourselves and others, and worthwhile to be sustained and extensively promoted.

This autumn was the fourth time for the extensive academic education of DDM to host the “Book Review Game.” The organizer this time was Dharma Drum Sangha University (DDSU) which invited teachers, students, staff of DDSU and Dharma Drum Buddhist College, and volunteers of DDM to participate in the competition. Ou Yang Chang-Yun, who has served as a volunteer at DDM’s Visitor Service Office for many years, immediately signed up for the competition with excitement as soon as she read the information about the competition. She wanted to introduce and share the late Venerable Master Sheng Yen’s biography: Footprints in the Snow, whose strokes are relaxing and vivid, and whose content is touching. She thinks this biography is the most special amongst the many biographies of the late Venerable Master Sheng Yen because it clearly demonstrates the whole life of the late Venerable Master Sheng Yen.

Venerable Chang Sui, who just graduated from DDSU, introduced The Joy in Loving: A Guide to Daily Living with Mother Teresa, and was asked why she, as a Buddhist Venerable, wanted to introduce a Catholic Sister’s diary. She answered that Mother Teresa had practiced offering care and love which was worthwhile to be learned by everyone. From Mother Teresa’s noble deeds, she realized it is not necessary to go to a distant place to liberate sentient beings; instead, offering care in one’s surroundings can start to liberate sentient beings. Sometimes even a smile can bring hope and light to those who are suffering a great deal.

Venerable Chang Sui ended her introduction citing the late Venerable Master Sheng Yen’s encouragement to Bhikshuni Sangha. The encouragement said that a talent’s value is not found at the educational level or in the skills of reciting the Buddha’s name and sitting meditation, but is found in the grand tolerance, humbleness, and the noble deeds of sacrificing themselves for the benefit of others. For instance, Mother Teresa and Venerable Cheng Yen did not have splendid academic background, but they both had extraordinary compassionate vows. She also recalled from her graduation that senior monastics urged them to be a water pipe that delivers the Buddha Dharma to the whole world. Till now, she still encouraged herself to continually have humility, repentance and gratitude, which also let her – a water pipe for delivering the Buddha Dharma – stay purified and benefit people around her at any moment.

(Translated by Tom Hsieh/Edited by DDM Australia Editing Team)

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