DDM’s Chan Practice Activity to Celebrate the Buddha’s Birthday Day

By applying the methods of Chan practice that allow us to relax our body and mind, we will find everywhere to be a happy land. At 11 a.m. on May 8, also the Mother’s Day, Dharma Drum Mountain held a “Protecting the Spiritual Environment: Stop, Relax, and Enjoy” event. Thousands of people joined in this group practice activity in which they also learned to practice the Eight-Form Moving Meditation. At around 3 p.m., Taipei City Mayor Ke Wenzhe, the representative of volunteers’ families, together with DDM’s abbot president Ven. Guo Dong, as well as the participants, all sincerely performed the Buddha-Bathing Ritual, as a token of gratitude for the Buddha and to show thanks to all the parents.

By using the pouring rain in the afternoon as an analogy, Ven. Guo Dong reminded participants to reflect on a Buddhist expression: raining the Dharma rain, rumbling the Dharma thunder, beating the Dharma drum, and turning the Dharma wheel. Most people in modern society live a busy and hectic lifestyle and often suffer stress at work. DDM launched the “Stop, Relax, and Enjoy” activity to help people transform their mind into one of positivity and purity in all situations they encounter in life, by stopping and slowing down a while for relaxation and reflection. This will improve the quality of our mind, enabling us to face the reality, deal with problems with a healthy mindset, and remain unaffected by both internal and external phenomena. Therefore, this sudden downpour of rain can be taken as Dharma rain to refresh our minds and remind ourselves of our endeavor to purify people’s minds and society.

As a blessing to all for the Buddha Bathing Festival as well as the Mother’s Day, Ven. Guo Dong shared with participants his adages: “Keep peace of mind in both agreeable and adverse situations. Maintain a calm and concentrated mind by practicing Chan and Buddha-name recitation. Have a sense of shame and repentance, and you can purify your mind. Dharma joy and Chan delight generates from the mind as bright as a mirror. Be grateful, repay kindness, and give of your life. With compassion and wisdom, you will enjoy happiness and harmony.” Ven. Hui Min, president of the Dharma Drum Institute of Liberal Arts, also shared by saying that all sentient beings of the present are future buddhas. The big rain inspired us to expand the idea of bathing the Buddha. It signified that we should make an effort to live out the spirit of Buddhism in life by starting small, practicing it in family, work, and society, thereby making the world a better place to live.

Hundreds of young volunteers from across Taiwan led participants to dance in all joy. As the song “Pure Awakening” finished, participants gave a big applause for the program. Volunteers used recycled paper cups, plants, and ropes to create a SRE interactive installation art, and invited participants to do the Eight Form Moving Meditation by following the direction as shown in the art work, to experience the ease and freedom in “Stop, Relax, and Enjoy.”

“It was quite a special experience to do Eight Form Moving Meditation and dance to the music in the rain,” said Xiao Yuying, a young volunteer from Kaohsiung. Watching people around concentrating in the present moment without being disturbed by thunder and rain helped herself calm her mind and realize the benefit of Chan practice in facing changes in the environment. Also, she felt delighted to see people’s joyful expressions when standing on the stage and leading them to dance.

The Buddha Bathing Ritual and Sutra transcribing were especially popular activities. Participants first practiced walking with a bowl of water before using the water to bathe the Buddha. The venerables then presented peach-shaped cakes as a blessing to everyone. Mrs. Chiu and her daughter from Nanshijiao, and Miss Chiu together with her 80-year-old mother expressed that they learned of the event through an advertisement on the MRT, and this was the first time that they had bathed the Buddha and transcribed the sutra. They all agreed it was a most meaningful way to celebrate the Mother’s Day.

DDM set up a “spiritual post office” this year to help people send out their love to their mothers, friends, and relatives with the amulets, which contain sutra transcriptions, and postcards. Huang Shuen from Beitou completed 20 copies of such amulets with great patience, to be sent out to her mother, as well as her friends and relatives in China. Mrs. Chou, a grandmother from Wanhua, joined her child and grandchildren for this sutra transcription activity. Seeing her five-year-old granddaughter transcribinge the sutra in full concentration, the grandmother felt happy and agreed that transcribing the sutra was a wonderful experience that indeed brings calm and peace to the mind.

DDM hopes that, through the Eight- Form Moving Meditation and the SRE event, among other Chan practice activities, more people can enjoy peace of mind by always “keeping your mind where you are,” and by constantly “being aware of the relaxation of the whole body.” DDM also encourages adult children to spend time with their parents on the Mother’s Day, by taking part in this event, enjoying the benefit of Chan practice while appreciating the beauty of life.

Translated by Frances Liu (劉珮如) and edited by Chiacheng Chang (張家誠)

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