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2015 Joint Beginner’s Seven-day Retreat held by Dharma Drum Mountain Malaysia and Singapore

It was the first beginner’s seven-day retreat held together by Dharma Drum Mountain Buddhist Center Malaysia and Dharma Drum Mountain Singapore at Puzhao Buddhist Vihara(柔佛州普照寺) in Malaysia from 20-27th September 2015. There were 91 retreatants, including 34 retreatants from Singapore and one from Hong Kong.

The seven-day retreat was led by Venerable Gue-Che (果徹法師), Venerable Chang-Chan (常參法師), Venerable Chang-Ying (常應法師) and Venerable Chang-Li (常禮法師), who came far away from Taiwan. The retreat program includes sitting mediation, standing mediation, sleeping mediation, eight-form moving meditation, morning and evening service, walking meditation, prostrations to the Buddha, yoga exercises, dharma talks, and working meditation, whereby retreatants can apply the method in motion and in stillness to be clearly aware of everything, and relax their body and mind. The retreatants were often given guidance by the venerables about the concepts and methods for Chan meditation; for example, entering into sitting meditation (入靜), the seven points of sitting, sitting meditation(止靜)methods like, relaxing the body and counting the breath, coming out of sitting meditation(出靜) and massage. Participants learn to leave the body to the cushion, and their thoughts to the method, to relax the body and mind at all times. The venerables also corrected the sitting posture of the meditators from time to time. There were interviews on the last three days of the retreat and attendees found it very beneficial for them.

Throughout the seven days, whether retreatants became aware of their own tension through the awareness of bodily sensation, or saw their habitual tendencies while practicing walking meditation, or discovered their disobedience during working meditation, or received inspiration through Master Sheng Yen’s lectures to adjust their perspectives, each participant has a unique set of reflection, feelings and learning of methods to calm their body and mind.
On the Chan retreat ending day, Venerable Guo-Che (果徹法師) reminded all participants compassionately that on the path of learning and practicing Buddhism, as you sow, so shall you reap and benefit from the buddhadharma, accumulating merits in the process of benefitting oneself and others. She also encourages everyone to be a supportive cause to one another on the path of practice towards the achievement of the ultimate goal of Bodhi. Therefore, the retreat ending date is not the terminal point but the beginning of practice in Buddhism.

Reporter: Liang Yan-lin (梁演林)
Photographer: Wang Jhih-siang (王致祥)
Translator: Kate Wan-chi Huang (黃婉琪)/ Edited by Ven. Chang-Ji (常寂法師)

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