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Transmitting the light of Wisdom and Compassion, Sydney, 2012

On Sunday 12 February 2012, DDM Sydney gathered together for Transmitting the light of Wisdom and Compassion and the 20th anniversary of Protecting the Spiritual Environment. It was a sunny Sunday morning with about twenty members, family and friends in attendance.

Mum and I arrived a little early to help set up and prepare for the day’s event. The centre was buzzing with members getting everything ready; the flowers were being arranged, grapes washed, chairs put out, both the President (Agnes Chow) and Vice President (Jack Ho) were actively getting the flow of the day’s event in order. Before I knew it, members and guests were seated and ready for the Welcome Speech given by Agnes in English and translated by Jack into Mandarin.

In the welcome speech, Agnes spoke about the significance of today’s gathering. Each year, this event is held to honor the teachings of Chan Master Shen Yen by members renewing our vow to carry on Shifu’s work in spreading the Buddhadharma. We do this by awakening the peace within ourselves with the guidance of the Three Jewels (Buddha, Dharma and Sangha), which then allows us to positively affect our community and ultimately, to transform humanity. There was a reminder at the end to contribute to our ability be it little or large.

Following the welcome speech, Agnes gave a PowerPoint presentation on ‘Protecting the Spiritual Environment’. This year is the 20th anniversary of DDM’s promotion of ‘Protecting the Spiritual Environment’. In this presentation, the work of Master Shen Yen was clearly outlined. We were presented with methods to protect our spiritual environment. A story was also used to illustrate the Eight worldly concerns which brought laughter to the hall. The presentation allowed both members and guests to understand the work of Master Shen Yen. An impressionable quote from the PowerPoint presentation was:

"With true wisdom one will not have any vexations. With true kindness and compassion one will not encounter any enemies." –Master Shen Yen

Before a short break, we experienced grape meditation. We were given a large grape each and asked to eat it for five minutes. This was fun. I popped the grape in my mouth and didn’t quite know what to do with it. Chewing a little by little, first the flesh of the grape and then the seeds. Then the grape just sat in my mouth. I noticed that the taste of the grape was crisp and fresh at the beginning and then by the end, it was just bits of the grape flesh sitting in my mouth with no taste left.

The event closed with the lighting of candles followed by morning tea. Members and guests had the opportunity to have their candles lit and then one by one, we presented our candles to Guan Yin Pusa, made a bow and then one by one, we placed our candles on the altar. This was a beautiful way to end the event, each person quietly bringing their light into the world. Then there was morning tea, lively chatter in the foyer; members and guest bonding over tea and food.

(By Jessie Chang, DDM Sydney)

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