One Thousand People Joyfully Take Refuge in the Three Jewels

At 2 p.m. on September 27, 2014, about one thousand people took refuge in the Three Jewels at the DDM World Center for Buddhist Education. These new Buddhists vowed to learn the Dharma as practicing Buddhists and pledged to observe the Five Precepts. This ceremony was administered by the Abbot President of DDM, Ven. Guo Dong.

During the ceremony, the venerable masters of the DDM Sangha presented a Buddha pendent and a booklet detailing the meaning of taking refuge in the Three Jewels to each and every new follower. The Abbot President also emphasized that the taking of refuge in the Three Jewels and the Five Precepts is for the growth of our innate compassion and wisdom, rather than serve as shackles or vexation. He further congratulated these new Buddhists for the start of their new life and hoped that they will not equate hardship to suffering hereafter. On the contrary, hardship should be utilized as a catalyst to practice selflessness that benefits others.

As the Dharma name given to these new Buddhists of this refuge-taking ceremony is “Yen”, which is role-play in Chinese, the Abbot President encouraged everyone to well play their role in life by cherishing life and making the most out of every day; eliminate unfavorable past karma and cultivate good ones. We should be thankful not only in good times but also in the face of adversity; develop Buddha nature as well as a calm and peace-loving personality to enhance wisdom and remove vexation.

The new Buddhists were moved by such compassionate encouragement from the Abbot President and vowed to be of service to others. For example, Wu Mei-Xuei, who lost her eyesight, felt a strong connection to and was inspired by the message that “hardship does not necessarily bring suffering”. She is also thankful for the care shown by the DDM volunteers who escorted her.

This ceremony was also attended by 30 families then becoming new Buddhists, and sharing their joy and happiness. Fully supporting her parents’ wishes to take refuge in the Three Jewels, Fang Yi-Ni indicated that her family has always felt a deep connection to the Dharma disseminated by the late Venerable Master Sheng Yen. Wang Pei-Yun, on the other hand, was elated that both her family (husband and six-year-old son) and herself have finally fulfilled their aspiration to become Buddhists; this aspiration came from reading the late Venerable Master Sheng Yen’s writing.

How do we start the journey of learning and practicing the Buddha dharma? The Director of DDM Laity Education Department, Ven. Guo Yih recommended introductory Buddhist courses such as “Be a Happy Buddhist” to understand Buddhism before progressing to more advanced courses or programs such as the Merit Field Program, the Buddhist Teachings Program and the Chan Studies Program. In DDM, it is possible to learn any topic of interest in Buddhism in addition to structured courses; Dharma talks are also organized by DDM branches from time to time. Together with the Dharma Drum Forum on the DDM master website, there are numerous ways for the lay people to gain a deeper understanding of Buddhism.

(Translated by Tom Hsieh/Edited by Leefah)

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