Venerable Master Thich Nhat Hanh Unveils the Joint Exhibition of Chinese Calligraphy Works at DDM

8 April, 2011, has marked a special and wonderful occasion for all Buddhists in Taiwan. The internationally renowned Buddhist Master Thich Nhat Hanh, founder of the Plum Village in France, paid his second visit to Dharma Drum Mountain.

This was his first visit to the DDM World Center for Buddhist Education in Jinshan District of New Taipei City. He previously met with the late Venerable Master Shen Yen at Nung Chan Monastery in 1995 where they shared their views on Chan.

Master Thich Nhat Hanh is one of the most respected Chan Masters in the world today. He is also a poet and human rights activist for the promotion of peace. Born in central Vietnam in 1926, he joined monkhood at the age of sixteen.

When the Vietnam War broke out, he immediately confronted the dilemma of deciding whether to adhere to an isolated life, or to plunge himself into the work of assisting villagers suffering from the war. Nhat Hanh, however, decided to do both by establishing the 'Engaged Buddhism' movement. Since then, his life has been dedicated to the cultivation of inner transformation for the interests of individuals and the society.

In 1982 he founded the Plum Village, a Buddhist community in France, where the Master continues his work to alleviate the suffering of refugees, political prisoners, and hungry families in Vietnam. He has also been nominated twice for the Nobel Peace Prize for his long-term dedication to peace movement.

The respected Chan Master Thich Nhat Hanh visited the Center not only to honor his old friend, Master Sheng Yen, but also to give a key Dharma talk in the Grand Buddha Hall, in addition to presiding over the inauguration of a joint exhibition of Chinese calligraphy works by himself and the late Master Sheng Yen.

The joint exhibition is currently held at the Auxiliary Hall in the Center and free to the public from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. until 23 April. Over 100 delicate pieces of calligraphy works are being displayed.

DDM’s Abbot President, Venerable Guo Dong, warmly greeted the arrival of Master Thich Nhat Hanh. He said that he was grateful for this special opportunity of exhibiting Chinese calligraphy works by two great masters in the Center. He believed that the beauty and compassion displayed by the characters of two compassionate masters’ would inspire and benefit people.

The Master said that life today is full of anxiety and pain, and many people’s minds are full of anger and jealousy, and many face depression. Unfortunately, they often resort to seeking material pleasures in the hope that it can ease their suffering. “This actually does no good and only harms one’s mind,” the Master said.

“Only after stopping and listening to one’s own pain, can pain be relieved and compassion be nurtured,” the Master stressed. On the other hand, the Dharma is ever-present; it is not confined to the monastery. The enjoyment of the Dharma is as easy as one breathes and walks.

The inspirational talk in the Grand Buddha Hall attracted over 500 people. In closing his remarks, Master Thich Nhat Hanh agreed that there will be greater cooperation in the future between Plum Village and DDM for the purpose of purifying one’s mind and for social good.

Master Thich Nhat Hanh’s remarkable visit ended with the viewing of the Founding History Memorial Hall and the Wish Fulfilling Guanyin Hall to commemorate his old friend, Venerable Master Sheng Yen.

(by Jin Yang/edited by Jessica Chow)

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