DDM Caring for Life Award: carrying out the great vow of compassion and wisdom

Dharma Drum Mountain Humanities and Social Improvement Foundation held the International Caring for Life Award and Caring for Life Forum at the Kuo Kuang Hall of Chinese Petroleum Corporation Building, Taipei, at 1:30 p.m. on September 24. The award aims to encourage groups and individuals committed to the value of life to help advocate a healthy view of life in society. Vincent Siew, Taiwan’s former vice president, Frederick Chien, president of the Cathay Charity Foundation, and Ven. Guo Dong, abbot president of Dharma Drum Mountain, were invited to present awards and certificates to the winners: Que-Dai Shumei for the Individual Compassion Prize, Zhuang Fuhua for the Individual Wisdom Prize, and the Taipei Spinal Cord Injury Foundation for the Great Vow Group Prize. The award signified their perseverance, dedication, and compassionate wisdom for the benefit of others.

Que-Dai Shumei, winner of the Compassion Prize, expressed with a touching tone that she owed a lot to the people who had kindly given her support down the road. Although the after school tutoring class had initially experienced difficulties, she believed that with the perseverance to keep going, she could change the lives of much more children. She hopes that the Mrs. Que’s After School Tutoring Class can keep going in order to benefit more students in need of help.

Dubbed as the “Taiwan’s Helen Keller” and the “girl communicating using the code,” Zhuang Fuhua, winner of the Wisdom Prize, lost her eyesight and speech ability due to a childhood fire accident, which also led to her paralysis from the neck down. But she never gave up. She thanked the judges for their affirmation and expressed her wish to dedicate the prize to her mother, whose birthday coincided with the date of the award. In return, Zhuang’s mother wished her daughter all the best in the future, increasing in wisdom.

Huang Heming, executive director of Taipei Spinal Cord Injury Foundation, the winner of the Great Vow Group Award, received the prize on behalf of the foundation. He said that the most difficult part in taking care of patients is after they have left the hospital. This is the main reason why the foundation had been established in the first place: to keep offering assistance to the patients and their families. The DDM’s Great Vow Prize serves to affirm the services provided by the Spinal Cord Injury Foundation, and the efforts of the patients in recovering from their injuries.

Ven. Guo Dong, abbot president of DDM, said that the winners actually acted like bodhisattvas and angles by offering themselves as examples for people to learn from. Previous and present winners may be suffering physical pain, but they are not afraid of the pain and suffering, and can instead help the suffering people. They touch and inspire people with their lives, enabling people to see that even in the face of distress a person with courage never stops moving forward, but will stride in tender yet determined steps to transcend the self while encouraging others. Their stories allow Dharma Drum Mountain to share how they illuminate and radiate as a spiritual practitioner.

Li Yunxuan, a fourth-grade student, and Zhang Xingyue, the goodwill ambassador to promote the Six Ethics of the Mind campaign, were invited to play the piano and sing for the ceremony. Along with a sign language show given by the Buddhist music moving meditation team, their performance together helped convey the calm and happiness we can enjoy by having peace of mind.

After the completion of the ceremony, DDM Abbot President Ven. Guo Dong, Taipei City Mayor Ke Wenzhe, National Science and Technology Center for Disaster Reduction Director Chen Hongyu, and documentary film director Qi Bolin, shared their views on the subject of “Pure Mind, Pure Land: exploring the safety of land from within,” in which they expressed their concerns about our land affected by the climate changes, and offered their advices on environmental protection in terms of image, technology, administration, and spirituality. At the beginning of the forum, clips from “Beyond Beauty-Taiwan from Above,” a documentary film directed by Qi, were played to invite participants to reflect on the problems we are facing, which we should learn to tackle by changing our minds, achieving the inner pure land, and thereby building a pure land on earth.

Former Taiwan vice president Vincent Siew also praised the touching stories of the winners and their inspirational spirit of contributing to society. He said that if people struggling with their situations can learn to change their way of thinking then they can help themselves out of the situation. DDM Humanities and Social Improvement Foundation expressed that by launching the Caring for Life award and forum that highlights respecting and relishing life, it hoped to remind people of the importance to care for lives and urge the public to apply the idea of protecting the spiritual environment, as well as to affirm the value of life and appreciate the beauty of life. Caring for Life Award and Forum will continue to be held in the future, allowing the light and warmth of life to illuminate every corner of the world.

Reporter: Chang Tienpei (張田沛)
Photographer: Huang Hsuanwen, Wu Chiafeng (黃暄文、吳嘉峰)
Translator: Frances Liu (劉珮如)
Editor: Chiacheng Chang (張家誠)

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