Dharma Drum Mountain Welcomed Spouses of the American Episcopal Bishops

Anglican describes the people, institutions and churches as well as the liturgical traditions and theological concepts developed by the Church of England. A part of the Anglican Communion, the Episcopal Diocese of Taiwan that was founded in 1954, is affiliated to the Eight Province of the Episcopal Church (USA) in an administrative sense. It is however, an independent diocese as it subscribes to “Autonomy in Communion”.

On the other hand, Dharma Drum Mountain is a Buddhist group that advocates and promotes the concept of “Protection of the Spiritual Environment”; dedicated to the uplifting of humanity and to the construction of pure land on earth. Its founder, the late Venerable Master Sheng Yen had vowed to improve the quality of education, culture as well as Dharma teaching and practices. He often communicated with experts in technology, arts and culture, just to name a few, in addition to collaborating with those from other religions to realize his vows.

The Episcopal Diocese of Taiwan hosted a conference of the American Episcopal bishop for the first time since its establishment in Taiwan 60 years ago.

In conjunction with the conference, twenty eight of the bishops’ spouses visited the DDM World Centre for Buddhist Education (DDMWCBE) in the morning of September 19. These ladies behaved just like any tourist would, with no sign of discomfort in a different religious environment. Nevertheless, their tolerance and respect for diversity astounded the appointed guides when these honored guests prostrated to the Wish-fulfilling Guanyin even though it was indicated that they were not expected to do so; the guides demonstrated the prostrations as per their usual routine in paying respect to the Wish-fulfilling Guanyin and these guests promptly followed their actions. This kind of open-mindedness that goes beyond restriction of religions is highly admirable and commendable.

In addition, these guests also took part in Chan (Zen) calligraphy in which they focused on breathing and the moment when writing. The Chinese characters that were popular amongst these guests are “God Loves People” as well as “wisdom” and “compassion”. Perhaps the popularity of “wisdom” and “compassion” is due to the fact that it resonates with the aspiration of most people. These guests also took the opportunity to learn Chan (Zen) meditation and after receiving guidance from Ven. Chang Xuan, they proceeded to meditate. Thereafter, Ven. Chang Xuan explained that meditation practice is beyond religion and race; similar to needing food every day regardless of religion and race, everyone can meditate. Moreover, it has been medically proven that meditation can alleviate sleep disorder. This visit concluded with guests expressing their gratitude to the guides.

(By Tom Hsieh/Edited by Leefah)

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