Master Sheng Yen Makes Vows for Peace on the Eve of the Lunar New Year

On the eve of the new lunar year, 6 February 2008, approximately one thousand Buddhists packed the Dharma Drum Mountain World Centre for Buddhist Education in Jinshan, Taipei, to celebrate the arrival of the Lunar New Year.

In spite of the wet chilly weather, spirits were high as the attendees counted down to midnight when six rings of DDM's Lotus Bell marked the arrival of the New Year. The Bell's majestic chimes echoed through the DDM World Center spreading a sense of peacefulness.

Present at the Bell ringing ceremony were Venerable Master Sheng Yen, Venerable Guo Dong and DDM's Sangha community. Honored guests including Kuomintang's presidential and vice presidential candidates, Ying-Jeou Ma and Vincent Hsiew respectively; the ruling Democratic Progressive Party's presidential candidate, Frank Hsieh; Taipei County Magistrate, Hsi-Wei Chou and many celebrities also attended the ceremony.

After the ringing of the Lotus Bell, Venerable Master Sheng Yen was the first to wish everyone peace and happiness in the New Year. Master Sheng Yen described the New Year as a year for "making good vows." He said, "If everyone practices beneficial deeds and speaks positive words in their daily life then our world would be filled with more trust, harmony, peace and stability…Good deeds show no difference to magnitude."

Master Sheng Yen's words explain the motivation behind DDM's Good Vows Light Up the World Program. The Program is aimed at encouraging people to make vows of positive deeds. According to the Master, making positive vows bring about good effects, not only for the person making the vow but their family, country and community.

In light of the upcoming Taiwanese election in March, Master Sheng Yen took the opportunity to encourage the presidential candidates of both the DPP and the KMT, and Taiwan's main political parties, to be good leaders for the benefit of Taiwan and its future generations. The Master said that he was looking forward to seeing all political activities truly serving the people and bringing about peaceful development.

The night's celebrations concluded with participants queuing up to personally ring the Lotus Bell. The ringing-bell activity continued until 3:00am.

As part of the Lunar New Year festivities, DDM has also set up exhibitions at the DDM World Center to acquaint people with the wisdom of the Dharma, the beauty of DDM and the compassion of Venerable Master Sheng Yen. The exhibitions include "Discovering the Underground Palace," "Venerable Master Sheng Yen's Chinese Calligraphy Artworks," "Worshipping the Shakyamuni Buddha," the Tea Culture Exhibition", "Circling the Lotus Bell", and more.

(Reported and photos taken by Jin Yang/edited by DDM Australia Editing Team)

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