The 2006 Winter Philantrropic Relief at DDM

On 10 December 2006, Dharma Drum Social Welfare and Charity Foundation hosted the 2006 Winter Philanthropic Relief at Dharma Drum Mountain World Center for Buddhist Education in Jinshan Township, Taipei County.

In addition to granting scholarship to students and to delivering goods, such as rice, cooking oil and winter clothes to the low-income households, students from Jinmei Elementary School, Jinshan High School and Dharma Drum Social University performed many animated and joyful performances with the theme of loving care.

Honorable guests, including Jingyi Wang, President of DDM Social Welfare and Charity Foundation, Chuntsai Hsu, Director of Jinshan Township Office, Changming Tsai, Director of Wanli Township Office, Suduan Yang, Director of Social Affairs Bureau of Taipei County Government, Chunfan Li, Principle of Jinmei Elementary School, Jinfu Lien, Principle of Jinshan Elementary School, Yunyin Chung, Principle of Jinshan High School, attended the activity and delivered their the warmest support and blessings.

This tradition of the Winter Philanthropic Relief derives from the compassion of The Most Venerable Master Dongchu fifty years ago. In 1956, Venerable Master Dongchu organized seven-day retreats for reciting the Buddha's name and collected donations to buy rice, cooking oil, clothes, and so on. These goods were distributed to the low-income households and orphanages in the districts of Beitou, Danshui, Sanchoung, Yilan, Taoyuan and Xinzhuang.

This way, the poor could celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year with food and warmth. Since then, it has become a tradition of DDM to hold the winter relief as the New Year approaches. Now, aside from the low-income households, the elderly who live alone, victims who suffer from the 921 earthquakes in central Taiwan, the unemployed and people who need emergency relief are also embraced with loving care by DDM Social Welfare and Charity Foundation.

Venerable Chang Zong mentioned in the Blessing Ceremony that Dharma Drum Mountain is the site of Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva (Guanyin). There are three Guanyin statues situated in the Center: The Inceptive Guanyin, The Wish-Granting Guanyin and The Welcoming Guanyin. Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva is the Bodhisattva who always appears to relieve people's sufferings whenever and wherever people make the requests. Therefore, Venerable Chang Zong encouraged everyone to learn about the compassion shown by Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva, to sow the seed of compassion inside their hearts, and to spread the Guanyin's compassion to others.

Children's lovely performances were unfolded after the Blessing Ceremony at the Grand Buddha Hall. Their creative, open, energetic and very meaningful performances have won the warmest and biggest applauses from participants. For instance, a short drama of "New Snow White", performed by students from Jinmei Elementary School and Dharma Drum Social University, metaphorically described about the value of life in accordance with the idea of "Cherishing Life" - recently promoted actively by Venerable Master Sheng Yen for suicide prevention in Taiwan.

Dharma Drum Mountain (DDM/Fagushan) is the Buddhist group that is actively promoting the idea of "Spiritual Environment" in society. Thus, volunteers of DDM Social Welfare and Charity Foundation engaging in works of philanthropic assistance are following the compassionate ways of Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva. They aim to provide material relief to the disadvantaged groups, and also to provide loving care to their spiritual needs.

(translated by Jin Yang/edited by Chiew Shin-Yee)

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