YEAR OF NEWS :
Tuesday, October 27, 2015
What a blessing it is when Dharma Drum Mountain can fulfill its mission to uplift the character of humanity and uphold its commitment to furthering Buddhist education all in one day. Sunday, October 18th may have been just another cloudy fall day but DDVC was alight with the curiosity and enthusiasm of 34 Simon Fraser University (SFU) humanities students taking a course in Buddhist studies. Lead by their professor Michael Newton and his wife Kate McCandles, both Soto (Chn. Caodong) priests with Mountain Rain Zen Center in Vancouver, these students got to have a taste of some delicious cheesecake and Dharma Drum's unique flavour of Chan.
Dharma Drum Mountain founder Master Sheng Yen once said, “Chan practice helps one know oneself, affirm oneself, and transcend oneself. By using the methods of Chan practice at any time and place, one becomes more aware of one’s thoughts, as well as one’s own strengths and weaknesses. This is ‘knowing ourselves.’ Through knowing ourselves, we are able to master our own mind, and come to affirm and transcend ourselves.”
On May 16 and 17, Dharma Drum Mountain Malaysia Center held a two-day “Spiritual Health” Chan retreat at Chin Swee Caves Temple in Genting Highlands, allowing 89 retreatants to experience calm and relaxation of mind in a serene surrounding far away from bustling and hustling city.
Dharma Drum Mountain Buddhist Center Malaysia (DDMBCM) organized a Buddha bathing ceremony on 3 May 2015, drawing 300 devotees and more to participate in for cultivating and sharing the merits and virtue.
Usually, the Dharma Drum Mountain Buddhist Center Malaysia organizes One-Day Buddha-mindfulness Retreat activity on every Labor Day (May 1st) in the hopes that more devotees may take part in on the holiday, and this year is no exception.
Dharma Drum Vancouver Center (DDVC) held a refuge taking and Buddha bathing ceremony on the morning of 23 May 2015 (North America time zone). The Abbot President Ven. Guo Dong was present to express concerns and blessings, and to bath the Buddha statue as well as one’s innate Buddha-nature with over 220 followers on the joyful Buddha’s Birthday.
DDM Melbourne Chapter was truly privileged to have Chan teacher Zarko Andricevic from Croatia to share the joy of Dharma through a series of activities, including a Beginner Chan Meditation workshop, two public Dharma talks and a five-day Chan Meditation retreat. Teacher Zarko is one of the five Western Dharma heirs of the late most Venerable Chan Master Sheng Yen, the founder of Dharma Drum Mountain.
On Sunday, May 24, 2015, Dharma Drum Vancouver Center (DDMVC) Celebrated Buddha’s Birthday. The entire Center was filled with guests, many of whom were visiting for the first time.
The day began with a welcome and blessing from Ven. Chang Wu, the director of the Dharma Drum Vancouver Center. She explained that the goal of the Center is to strengthen our connections with our community and to spread the Buddha’s teachings in simple and joyful ways. She also emphasized the Center’s determination to strengthen its friendly relationships with local Buddhist organizations, including Thrangu Monastery and Ling Yen Mountain Temple, both of which sent representatives to this event.
At 10 a.m. on May 17th (North America time zone), the DDM Chan Meditation Center (CMC) in New York held a Buddha Bathing Ceremony, in which DDM abbot president Ven. Guo Dong was invited to give a Dharma talk on “cherishing the conditions, creating positive connection.” Afterwards, he gave a much-expected book signing of his recently-launched book, Forgive and Let Go, to Form and Live in Favorable Conditions, creating a sense of festival filled with joy in the Dharma.
Every year in May, Buddhists will participate in bathing the Buddha statue to commemorate the Buddha’s Birthday, signifying purifying their mental, verbal and physical actions, an essential endeavor to realize the aspiration to achieve the Buddhahood. On May 16th DDM’s New Jersey Chapter (DDMBANJ) organized a Buddha Bathing Ceremony, in which Ven. Guo Xing, abbot of Chan Meditation Center, was invited to preside over the ritual and give a Dharma talk. Also participating are Ven. Guo Dong, abbot president of DDM, who was currently on a tour in North America rendering care for the devotees, along with 10 other monastics from the DDM sangha. The ceremony this year drew a crowd of participants, with all seats occupied and some having to stand all the way through the ceremony, creating an extraordinarily solemn ambience at the venue.
A Richter scale 7.8 earthquake struck Nepal three weeks ago on 25 April 2015, shortly followed by another 7.3 magnitude devastating tremor on 12 May 2015, wreaking havoc on already destroyed structures and further contributing to the rising death toll and casualty numbers. In addition to commissioning humanitarian relief aid volunteers to assess and outreach to the tragedy with the immediate aid through donations and other resources, the Dharma Drum Mountain Social Welfare and Charity Foundation (DDMSWCF) further sets goals to focus efforts on supporting infrastructural and human rebuilding as well as future sustainable development in the region. Moreover, through active engagement and anticipated cooperation with other local Taiwanese organizations, it is hoped that resources and supplies would reach the severely shaken remote villages and mountainous areas, counteracting the imminent South Asian monsoon season.