Pilgrimage with Gratitude --- 105 Sangha members trekked 37 KM as a tribute to hardships experienced by founding Masters
To commemorate the hardships encountered by the Most Venerable Master Dong Chu and Venerable Master Sheng Yen's journey in finding Dharma Drum Mountain, the DDM Sangha Community organized a walking pilgrimage on 18 April 2007.
Setting off in rainy weather from the Chung Hwa Institute of Buddhist Culture at Beitou District, Taipei City for DDM World Center for Buddhist Education in Jinshan Township, Taipei County, 105 Venerables made the trip on foot for a total of 37 kilometers.
Led by Abbot President, Venerable Guo Dong early in the morning, participating Venerables recited the Great Compassion Mantra before heading out for Jinshan via the Yangmingshan-Jinshang Highway. In honor of both Masters’ extensive contributions, the entire 37 kilometer journey was carried out in complete silence.
Venerable Guo Qi, the leader of the trip, regularly reminded participants to relax during the march as volunteers led by Shih Jianchang escorted the group for security.
The assembly marched slowly and orderly under the rain. After passing by the Ma Cao Hot Spring on the Yangmingshan-Jinshan Highway - a well known resort destination in Taipei, the sun broke through the clouds. It was as if Buddha was looking down on His followers, reminding the Venerables to mind their paces.
Determination and stamina were the order of the day. Some older Venerables fell far behind the main team but through sheer will and determination, they managed to persevere until the end. By 6:15pm that evening, some 11 hours after the journey first began, all 105 Venerables arrived safely at the Wish-Fulfilling Guanyin Hall of DDM World Center for Buddhist Education.
At the sharing session the next day, the Venerables not only expressed immense gratitude in being able to complete this momentous walk, they also felt deeply touched by the reflections each participant shared with the group.
According to the Venerables, the walk served as a reminder of the great vow they made when they first became members of the Sangha. In addition, all participants gained a better understanding of the massive strength that is brought forward by practicing in unity.
With renewed determination and compassion, the Venerables are confident the Sangha community will be able to fully take on the responsibilities needed to fulfill Dharma Drum Mountain's vision as inherited from the Most Venerable Master Dong Chu and Venerable Master Sheng Yen.
(translated by Li Shuchin/edited by Jin Yang & DDM Australia Editing Team)