Dharma Drum Mountain Global Followers Assembly: DDM encourages everyone to contemplate others as Guanyin Bodhisattvas

Sharing the same faith to realize the compassionate vow, over 10 thousand Dharma Drum Mountain’s followers from around the world gathered at the DDM World Center for Buddhist Education at 10 am on November 1 to pray for blessings for the suffering, in a joint meditation and by performing a Dharma service, in which they recited the name of and prayed to Guanyin Bodhisattva, aspiring to emulate and model the spirit of the Bodhisattva. With all participants rejoicing at the reunion in a heartwarming atmosphere, this is the second global followers assembly since DDM’s Global Members Meeting 16 years ago, which launched the Fivefold Spiritual Renaissance campaign.

DDM abbot president, Ven. Guo Dong, stated that inviting followers to attend this assembly marking the 10th anniversary of the DDM complex signifies a reflection of our initial aspiration and resolution, as well as a welcome to the first students of Dharma Drum Institute of Liberal Arts (DILA). The venerable also urged followers to remember Master Sheng Yen’s expectations, to arouse a great compassionate mind by emulating and learning to be a Guanyin Bodhisattva, to continue to help create a better future for ourselves, our group, and our society by taking up the responsibility to purify human minds and society, and to uphold our vision of uplifting the character of humanity and building a pure land on earth.

The venerable also indicated that DDM Sangha has recently been working on “deepening education and care, purifying the morality of the world and shaping organizational culture”, in hopes to help followers develop self-affirmation and cultivate contribution. DDM will work together with different NGOs to improve and transform society, our country, and the world, to realize our mission to spread Chinese Chan Buddhism, with Protecting the Spiritual Environment at the core, and to achieve the purification of the world through the Threefold Education.

Towards the end of the assembly, the abbot president invited followers to make a vow, saying, “I vow to emulate and learn to become like a Guanyin Bodhisattva; living in the midst of all beings, I want to learn to contemplate all beings as a Guanyin Bodhisattva for me.” This is an effort to purify human minds by learning and practicing the Bodhisattva’s great compassion and ease in contemplating the world, thereby bringing brightness in our life, family, and career. By doing so, we help lighten up the prospect of society, our country, and the world by constantly reciting the name and being mindful of the Bodhisattva.

“Aa single person’s power may be insignificant, so through joint prayers followers accumulate their individual small good to accomplish a great good for society. They bring positive energy to the whole world, showing care and concern towards society and the earth,” said Lian Zhifu, leader of the 2015 DDM Global Followers Assembly special project. A Dharma service was held during the assembly to pray for blessings for all those struck by natural disasters, wars, impoverishment, and diseases. This serves to encourage participants to develop an altruistic spirit to help and benefit others by acting like a Guanyin Bodhisattva.

Ten years ago, to mark the Guanyin Bodhisattva’s Renunciation Day, DDM World Center for Buddhist Education used the phrase “The Rising Great Compassion” as its inaugural theme. November 1, 2015, the following day of the Guanyin Bodhisattva’s Renunciation Day in the lunar calendar, became like the first day of school in the lifelong learning of Protecting the Spirit Environment. On behalf of DDM followers, Chen Jianan, president of Dharma Drum Mountain General Association of Dharma Supporters, expressed gratitude towards Master Sheng Yen by reminding all the followers to recognize the value of religious belief, which takes care of our faith and confidence, as well as our families, groups and communities. The Master said we should realize that the value of blessing is not about personal enjoyment. Instead, only by counting, cultivating our blessings and sharing what we have with our family can we always have blessings.

The challenges to promote Buddhist teaching in the west lie in the differences in language, communication, and culture. As Agnes Chow from Australia said, not many people really come and join group practice. Nonetheless, volunteers still believe that as long as people are willing to come even for once, they can always benefit from the experience. By simply giving of their efforts without asking for returns, volunteers take it as an opportunity to grow in the face of different situations. Agnes also shared that people in the west often started learning Buddhism after seeing how the Dharma has changed their family and friends in a positive way. Therefore, after learning Master Sheng Yen’s teaching and modeling the monastics’ example, we should first transform ourselves before talking about moving and changing others. This is also why overseas followers planned this special trip to Taiwan.

DDM held DDM Talks for people to learn and share the meaning of Protecting the Spiritual Environment, aiming to “develop ourselves by benefitting others, guide our life-long learning with spiritual purification, and engage in comprehensive education through life-long learning.” After the assembly, followers were offered a guided tour around the DDM complex and to visit DILA, to see the physical manifestation of Master Sheng Yen’s great compassionate vow. DDM expects that its Extensive Academic Education efforts can attract more people, generations after generations, to come and jointly build a pure land on earth.

Translated by Sherry Lai / Edited by Chiacheng Chang.

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