Graduation at Dharma Drum Sangha University: continuation of the work of the Tathagata’s family to benefit all sentient

“Bodhisattvas endure great difficulties to alleviate all sentient beings from suffering without fear; through the attainment and liberation of sentient beings, these difficulties are transformed into happiness and peace.” On June 17, 2017, DDM Sangha University held its graduation ceremony for eight graduands who would be joining members of the Sangha in their mission to “uplift the character of humanity and build a pure land on earth”. Witnessed by an audience of two hundred consisting of relatives and friends, these students received their scrolls from Venerable Guo Dong, the Abbot President of DDM, at 5 p.m. This scroll presentation was accompanied by the meaningful rendition of “The Bodhisattva Path”.

Stand firmly by your principles and conviction

“Stand firmly by your principles and conviction, empower colleagues, respect and care for others, open to communications, and constant self-evaluation” are the guidelines that Venerable Guo Dong follows ever since he was ordained. Venerable Guo Dong also cautioned the graduates to be mindful of their thoughts at all time, be humble and optimistic, strive for self-improvement, as well as to be understanding and to respect others. Peace can naturally be achieved when issues are resolved with an open mind and a humble attitude.

Strive to relieve all sentient beings from suffering

The Abbot President further advised the graduates to practice Dharma in their daily lives, safeguard themselves and others, as well as strive to relieve all sentient beings from suffering. They should cultivate compassion, wisdom, and gratitude as these are a form of blessing. For example, they should be grateful to their parents for “gifting” them with an able physical body that enables them to practice Buddhism; and cherish the good roots, merits and karma that made it possible for them to connect with Master Sheng-Yen. Moreover, Venerable Guo Dong urged the graduates to emulate the Tathagata’s family, and make it their life-long goal to perform good deeds beneficial to all sentient beings.

Life-long devotion and sacrifice to Buddhism

On behalf of all the graduates, Venerable Yen Ding delivered a commencement speech urging the graduates to dedicate themselves to the betterment of all sentient beings as well as to the cause of Buddhism. By reflecting on past actions as well as cultivating compassion, wisdom, harmony and respect, they would appreciate the greatness of parental love as well as Master Sheng-Yen’s spirit of “life-long devotion and sacrifice to Buddhism”. Venerable Yen Ding also hoped that the graduates would uphold their vows of renunciation and Bodhi-mind that are based on the Dharma Drum Lineage of Chan Buddhism so that the presence of Dharma Drum Mountain could be felt wherever they are.

Unexpected well wishes and felicitations from senior monks

The atmosphere at the ceremony was warm and lively amidst unexpected well wishes and felicitations from senior monks and rehashing hilarious moments together as student monks. Relatives and friends were impressed by the vibrant energy at Dharma Drum Sangha University.

Family members came all the way from Malaysia to attend the graduation ceremony

Venerable Yen Chien was even more inspired to spread the Dharma with his family’s support; nine of his family members, spanning over three generations, came all the way from Malaysia to attend his graduation ceremony. His sister, Lee Yun Sing, who attended the graduation ceremony with her one-year old child, said that her brother’s choice to be a monastic enables him to channel his love and serve the community in a greater capacity.

From a volunteer to a fully ordained monk

Due to Ven. Yen Hwai's good relationship with colleagues before and after taking the monastic path, about 30 friends and relatives of him attended the ceremony to celebrate his graduation. Chou Jing-Yun, a volunteer who serves at Refreshment Area at DDM, as well as other volunteers, is very proud of Venerable Yen Hwai’s achievements, from a volunteer to a fully ordained monk. These volunteers are very impressed with the venerable who is always smiling and hope that he would continue to motivate everyone to greater success in their practice.

A mother witnessed her son’s happiness with his chosen path

Similar to all the parents whose child chose the monastic life, Mrs. Yu Lai Ho was full of sorrow and regret when her son first informed her of his choice. However, she is now very glad to witness her son’s happiness with his chosen path. In addition, with her son as a student here, she has the opportunity to serve as a volunteer at Central Kitchen DDM; during this process, she has grown more matured and changed for the better. She hopes that her son would strive to benefit all sentient beings as a venerable.

Report: YaoChung, Chang
Translation: DDM Translation Team
Editor: Leefah Thong

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