Awaking Camp: Starting off a journey of “the enlightened.”

On Jan 19 -29, Dharma Drum Sangha University held the 16th Awakening Camp at Chan Hall of DDM World Center for Buddhist Education. More than 130 youth participants from the US, Spain, various countries of Southern-East Asia, Hong Kong, Macau, China, as well as Taiwan got together and had 11- day monkhood experiences, starting off a journey of “ the enlightened.”

All participants started their experiences from cutting off the hair of the head, followed by practicing majestic presence, ordination ceremony rehearsal, paying homage and respect to ancestral masters, then joining the reunion dinner with monastic group.

On the fourth day, all attendees began their formal monkhood experiences from the eight precepts ceremony that symbolized renunciation of vexations. The ceremony was hosted by DDM Abbot President Venerable Guo Huei (果暉法師) as Preceptor, and Vice Abbot as Venerable Guo Xing (果醒法師) as Precept instructor.

Through practicing Buddhist etiquettes and majestic manners, participants could walk in to the daily practices of an enlightened and cultivate better understanding in Buddhist and Chan perspectives of life. In addition, under the compassionate aspiration and exemplary lives that Zen Ancestral master and late Master Sheng Yen had shown, they were drilled to the practices that always return to the present moment so as to have a taste of the inherit Buddha nature in oneself.

“Does taking precepts constrain our body and mind? “

Venerable Huimin, the Principle of Dharma Drum of Liberal Arts, made a point that

“The meaning of precept is to cultivate the good habits, to be freed from those bad ones. Thus taking precepts is in fact the remedy for getting true liberation. “

In answering various sharp questions such as

“Does it generate karma if the researchers kill animals for the science experiments?”

“What is the true justice?”

and “How should we deal with the addictions to the smart phones”,

Venerable Guo Xing (果幸法師) brought in the cardinal spirit of Buddhism little by little during the QA sessions.

At daybreak, through sincere prostrations altogether, participants prayed Buddha and Bodhisattva’s merciful bless on all sentient beings. In the last evening, the Night of Appreciation, Camp Director Venerable Chang Xing (常惺法師) and Monastic Advisor Venerable Yan Dao (演道法師) guided all attendees trying to put into action based on the insight of self-reflections and self-awareness been cultivated over the past 10 days, followed by sustaining the strength as if the inexhaustible lamp.

“In the next three decades of my life, I hope to have a root-and-branch revamping in my mind.”

Chen, Yan Hong (陳彥宏), who used to engage in caring for terminal cancer patients, could accordingly put efforts onto practices through contemplating his habitual tendency of craving and escaping.

Coming from the U.S. and called herself as an academic person, Tian-Jing (田靜) shared her feeling that

“In here, I clarify many questions of my doubts and questions deep inside and thus have a spiritual dialogue with late Master Sheng Yen.”

Even with less sufficient Mandarin proficiency, through the explanations and supports from the teammates, she was very delighted and fully engrossed to the first-encountered Buddhist etiquettes and majestic manners learning.

To conclude, Venerable Chang Xing agreed to the point that,

“We are not in an urge to aspire anything, or trying to make any significant achievements; whereas stay unruffled and fully focused on every encounter at each of the present moment."

Texts: Dharma Drum Monthly
Photos: Lee Fan (李東陽); DDM Sangha University
Translation: Elenda Huang
Editing: DDM Australian Editorial Team

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