2007 Family Camp at DDM Michigan: A Success
On the night of June 8 2007, DDM Michigan launched its two-day camp at the Metteyya Buddha Village, the practice site for followers of DDM Michigan. This is the second year that DDM has hosted the touring family camp in the United States, with Michigan as the first stop. The camp activities were led by four of DDM's Venerables from Taiwan.
The theme of the touring family camp in the United States was to examine the ways in which the richness of the Chinese culture could be shared with young Chinese Americans.
For Chinese parents who have been brought up with strong influences from the Confucian tradition, raising children in the States has been somewhat challenging. The educational system in the United States places less emphasis on traditional values such as respecting the elderly and cultivating patience and concentration. The individualistic ways of thinking popular in American society often gives rise to lower tolerance and self-awareness.
The two-day family camp at Michigan was fun and educational. The camp included many inspirational activities such as tea Chan, Eight Form Moving Meditation, Walking Chan, and other games that enabled participants to learn in an enjoyable way of how to calm their minds to allow increased awareness and respect of the natural surroundings.
Metteyya Buddha Village is close to 10 acres of beautiful natural environment abundant in plant and animal life. This created a perfect setting for "Exploring Nature", one of the scheduled programs.
Young participants were asked to write down what they had heard and observed whilst walking in the trails of the woods. They were also given the opportunity to stop and remain quiet and still, with their eyes closed, to listen to the surrounding nature with the "heart".
"Tea Chan" was designed for children to learn about the nature of "respect". The concept of Tea Chan originated from the Tang dynasty in China, when Chinese people blended the culture of tea tasting with the spirit of Chan.
The young participants gained an understanding and sense of the meaning "living is Chan, Chan is the living" through learning the etiquette and concentration involved in tea serving. Through this practice, children were able to demonstrate their respect, concentration and gratitude through serving the tea, without the need for words.
The teachers and Venerables led everyone in song and dance around the camp fire on Saturday night, making it a highlight of the camp, along with the entertainment that the children had prepared.
On the final night, everyone joined palms in prayer for world peace and hope to meet again in 2008.
(translated by Jin Yang/edited by DDM Australia Editing Team)