Over a Thousand Followers Take Refuge With Venerable Master Sheng Yen

On the morning of 22 July, 2007, 1 652 followers of Dharma Drum Mountain gathered at Nung Chan Monastery in Beitou district of Taipei City, the origin of DDM's compassionate vows, to take refuge in the Three Jewels and the Five Precepts.

In spite of differences in age and background, all followers were similarly jubilant about taking refuge and the five precepts in a ceremony personally conducted by Venerable Master Sheng Yen. Several followers had traveled from the United States, Canada, Japan and Vietnam especially to take part in the ceremony.

Venerable Guo Dong, the Abbot President of DDM, gave his warmest congratulations to the attendants for becoming Buddha's devoted disciples.

Venerable Master Sheng Yen also took the opportunity to introduce DDM's ongoing campaign on ethics and explained how family ethics, enterprise ethics, environmental ethics, living ethics and ethnic ethics lead to peace and harmony.

The Master acknowledged feelings of anxiety experienced by people in Taiwan, the rise in the suicide rate, the price of food and general public insecurity even though the Taiwanese society is, relatively speaking, fairly stable and peaceful.

He explained how people can change their social surroundings for the better by simply changing what is in their mind. Furthermore, Venerable Master Sheng Yen asked the refuge takers to treat people with tolerance and compassion regardless of their culture, race, language or religion. For instance, we should treat the ten thousand people recently released from the prison by the Ministry of Justice with tolerance and compassion and provide them with assistance so that they can gradually make a positive contribution to the society.

In his closing speech the Master said, "Whenever there is peace in the mind, there is peace." The easiest way to find inner peace is to chant the holy name of the Buddha. The Master also encouraged Buddhists to frequently practice Chan meditation and the Dharma as a means of gaining wisdom and inner peace.

(translated by Jin Yang/edited by DDM Australia Editing Team)

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