Buddhist-style Joint Birthday Celebration for the Elderly Held at Nung Chan Monastery

On the 20th of October, 2007, Nung Chan Monastery held Dharma Drum Mountain's Buddhist-style Joint Birthday Celebration for the elderly, a yearly event that expresses thankfulness to DDM's long term supporters, carries out loving care for the elderly, and promotes traditional filial piety .

The celebration is opened to the eldery of two categories: the general public above the age of 70, and those Dharma Drum Mountain senior supporters who live in the Taipei district and are above the age of 65, who have been long-time devotees often joining DDM's activities. Registration is free of charge. Those qualified "birthday-stars" who take part in this celebration are given a small gift.

The celebration started at 10.00am with a Dharma Assembly of chanting lead by the Dharma Teachers/monastics of Nong Chan Monastery and directed by Venerable Guo Jian. A Ceremony of Taking Three Refuges was conducted for those who intended to become Buddhists. After the ceremony Ven. Guo Jian gave a speech by saying: a Buddhist household can be established if the younger generation takes good care of the older generation, while the older generation also gives more loving care to the younger generation. He encouraged people to become volunteers and join group practice during their available time, in this way they could cultivate personal merits while also cultivating wisdom. After the short speech, the monastics of Nong Chan Monastery gave blessings to the "birthday-stars" by offering them recitation bracelets.

It was especially honorable to have had the presence of Mr. Chen Yu-Xin, who was the former Vice Magistrate of Taichung County who in his speech, congratulated the "birthday-stars" who had taken the Three Refuges and Five Precepts, by saying that after becoming a Buddhist, starting from today, they should emphasize the cultivating of both merit and wisdom in daily life, as real wisdom comes only through the arising of compassion from our inner heart.

The Choir of Dharma Drum Mountain directed by Miss Lim Qian-ru, presented two songs accompanied by a pianist. "Line Dance of Metropolitan" presented the most contemporary dances originating from America, performed by twenty ladies between the ages of 45-65. The special trait of the performance was the American country music which served as the background for the dance. Another cheerful moment for the "birthday-stars" was the Chinese comic dialogue presented by DDM's followers which presented the benefits of learning Buddhism.

Two "birthday-stars" with the ages 96 and 95 were selected to be the oldest and the second oldest of all participants. There were 18 couples who participated in this celebration, with one couple's marriage of sixty-three years selected as the longest term marriage-age of all. Special gifts were given to the above four "Birthday-stars" as memorabilia.

The celebration ended with the ceremony of cutting the birthday cake, and the participants, observers, and family members of "Birthday-stars" were all invited to have a delicious vegetarian lunch prepared by the Monastery.

(contributed by Venerable Chang Lv)

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