Centenarian Joins Zhai Ming Monastery’s Joint Birthday Celebration

Dharma Drum Mountain held the 22th Buddhist-style Joint Birthday Celebration for the Elderly at its Zhai Ming Monastery at 9 a.m. on September 5, as part of an effort to promote its Protecting the Social Environment campaign launched in 1994. Many senior citizens attended the celebration, including a 100-year-old lady, Zeng-Jian Acao, who made a special effort to take part, marking the auspiciousness of the event.

Ven. Guo Hao, a resident monastic at Zhai Ming Monastery, led some 200 family members of the participants in prayer for prosperity and longevity. As a special welcome to the elderly, the Monastery arranged a Chinese comic dialogue show and a chorus performance by a group from Taoyuan City, adding to the joyful atmosphere. In addition, to showcase the virtue and culture of filial piety a tea-serving ceremony was organized, in which the younger generation kneeled down and bowed to their elder family members while serving them tea in a most reverent manner, embracing them affectionately, greeting the cool season of autumn with all heart-felt warmth.

Both from Taoyuan and nearly 70 years old, Hsu Qiusheng and his wife, Zhao Yue-ai, are long-time supporters for Dharma Drum Mountain and have participated in its activities and events since 2001 when they took the refuge and became Buddhists. They felt the dignifying solemnity of the joint birthday celebration brought them even more abundant joy and spiritual richness than the blessings received from their children, friends, and relatives. “My mother’s secret to keeping fit and healthy is continuing farming herself. Until three years ago, my mother-in-law still insisted on doing the farming in person,” her daughter-in-law, Zheng, said, while expressing her thankfulness to the Dharma teachers at the monastery and all those who support DDM for organizing this event that makes the elderly all happy, enabling them to embrace the joy of Dharma.

During the prayer and vow-making ritual, Ven. Guo Zhou, director of Zhai Ming Monastery, urged everyone to learn the insight and loving-kindness inspired by Mater Sheng Yen’s video Dharma talk, and bring home the blessings and Dharma joy from abbot president Ven. Guo Dong’s caring address, in which he used an expression—“Transform the mind to change the world”—to invite all participants to use prayers to transform their mindset and keep in mind to benefit both the self and others. He also encouraged the elderly to keep developing themselves by joining the Dharma courses and programs tailor-made by Dharma Drum Mountain, thereby enriching their lives and enjoying greater happiness.

Dharma Drum Mountain upholds humanistic care for the world, and expects to bring care to the elderly while sharing the concepts of Buddhist doctrines, to help them use a broader perspective to transcend the physical body, look to the infinite future, and appreciate the value of existence by viewing the self and others as a whole. This most meaningful way to celebrate birthdays not only benefits the people having their birthdays, but can best inspire their family and friends.

Translated by Aron Lan / edited by Chiacheng Chang.

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