DDM Abbot President in Florida
On 28 October, Abbot President of Dharma Drum Mountain Venerable Guo Dong was invited to the DDM Tallahassee Chan Center in Florida by Associate Professor Yu Yong-Fong from the Department of Religion at Florida State University, where he led the refuge-taking ceremony. Approximately 100 attendees were present to listen to the teachings of the Abbot President and about 40 of them took refuge to be disciples of the Three Jewels. Participants were almost all Americans, a testament to the universal nature of this splendid ceremony.
The Abbot President was very grateful to Associate Professor Yu for his teachings of the Buddhist Dharma and methods of Chan meditation to the public in Florida. He stated that he was very pleased to meet the participants who may have come to the Chan Center for the first time to learn about Chan meditation and Buddhist Dharma. The congregation allowed for a concentration of good karma, Dharma karma and Buddha karma for purifying hearts and minds in the community.
The Abbot President also mentioned that if people come to monasteries often and are inspired through Buddha Dharma, Chan meditation and mindfulness techniques, they can cultivate the potential Buddha-nature of purity and work towards achieving dissolution of their egos. This would also provide relief from pressures in life, encouraging maintenance of a stable, strong mind in a fast-paced, diversified and tense society. Owing to the level of endlessly growing materialistic focus in modern society, accompanied by a general lack of growth in spiritual life, people are prone to cling to their own opinions and focus on the loss or gain of profits, leading to more vexations which further transpire to the people around them.
Thus, the Abbot President encouraged the participants to try to accept positive and negative karmic conditions with gratitude, establish further and better karmic affinity with selfless devotion, to aspire to repay all the merits we have received, to be happy even though we are busy and joyful even when we are tired. When confronted with adversaries, we do not need to respond with anger but treat all circumstances as the nutrients for cultivating wisdom and blessings, which will also become the chance of increasing wisdom and compassion for others. The Abbot President expressed his hope that after taking refuge to be the disciples of Three Jewels, the participants can come back to the branch monasteries of DDM often to communicate, interact and to show the vitality of compassion and wisdom.
At the conclusion of the event, the Abbot President also discussed the Buddha pendant which serves to create karmic affinities. The Buddha pendant has a print of Shakyamuni on one side and a print of Guanyin Bodhisattva on the other side. If we wear the Buddha Pendant and turn the side of Guanyin Bodhisattva outward, it serves as a constant reminder for ourselves to help others, and to learn the Bodhisattva’s spirit of attending to and alleviating the suffering of sentient beings. On the contrary, if we wear the Buddha Pendant and turn the side of Guanyin Bodhisattva inward, it reminds us to be aware of and reflect upon our own behaviors and thoughts. After taking refuge to become disciples of the Three Jewels, all of us become Bodhisattvas, having a heart of compassionate vows to practice the six paramitas and ten thousands acts of the Bodhisattva. We should learn the Bodhisattva’s compassionate and altruistic spirit and spread this to others, in the aim of “uplifting the character of humanity and building a pure land on earth.”
(Translated by Tom Hsieh/Edited by DDM Australia Editing Team)