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Abbot President Venerable Guo Dong's San Francisco Visit Gains Success

Venerable Guo Dong, the Abbot President of Dharma Drum Mountain, arrived in San Francisco in the afternoon of 12 July, to deliver Dharma talks over three days as part of his tour of the United States.

The Abbot President's arrival attracted much attention from the local Chinese media. In an exclusive interview with World Journal, a widely circulated Chinese language newspaper in the US, the Abbot President answered questions relating to DDM and took the opportunity to encourage Buddhist readers to work with DDM in propagating Dharma to benefit the public.

In the evening, Venerable Guo Dong attended a banquet prepared by DDM San Francisco members at the home of Mr. Hongrong Ma and Mrs. Suzhen Yeh.

Venerable Guo Dong expressed his joy in witnessing the work and progress made by various DDM chapters on the West Coast in such a short period of time. He encouraged DDM members to persist in their commitment to reaching more people, both East and West to share in the Dharma joy.

On the morning of 13 July, the Abbot President went on a sightseeing tour to the Golden Bridge, Stanford University, the Golden Gate Park and other tourist attractions, taking notes and often asking the tour director questions. His concentration perfectly reflected the spirit of 'living in the present'.

The donation ceremony took place at the DDM San Francisco office the same night. The complete one hundred volumes of Corpus of Dharma Drum Literature, written by Venerable Master Sheng Yen, were given to the Library of Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in San Francisco. Director Weipin Lao gladly accepted the donation on behalf of TECO.

The Abbot President said, through this donation, DDM hopes more people can share and benefit from the compassionate philosophies of Venerable Master Sheng Yen, DDM's ideals and Buddha's teachings. Venerable Guo Qian, Venerable Chang Chi and other honorable DDM's members were all present at the ceremony.

Director Lao (TECO) mentioned that as a Buddhist, he also enjoys reading Buddhist books. He went on to say that he has read many of Master's books while working in Taiwan. He also said he was impressed by the Master's compassion and wisdom, as well as his ongoing campaign in applying Dharma to daily life.

On the morning of 14 July, DDM's branch office in Sunnyvale, San Francisco was officially opened. Venerable Guo Dong personally conducted the opening, refuge taking and purification ceremonies.

Venerable Guo Qian thanked DDM members' for their continued support and unselfish contributions and looked forward to seeing DDM's compassionate ideas being spread further and more widely in the US following the visit of the Abbot President.

The Abbot President remarked, as long as there is one person who agrees with DDM's vision of 'uplifting the character of humanity and building a pure land of Earth', a DDM branch will always be there. He added that Venerable Master Sheng Yen once said, 'respecting life' is the common ethic amongst mankind, therefore, despite differences in race and religion, everyone should work together for a better future and global peace.

After the ceremonies, the Abbot President made a public speech at the Lecture Hall of Cupertino on the topic of 'Living in the Present' which attracted nearly 160 attendees.

In his speech he stated, "It doesn't matter where you are, we all face the same issues around the world. For example, we are materially rich but the quality of our spiritual life has not increased proportionately, our fast-paced lifestyle brought stress and anxiety and we spend our whole life being busy and then realize we have not really lived life fully. Our external environment keeps changing so fast that we can't keep up.

When we are faced with difficulties and setbacks, we have to understand this is a key to change and learning, this is why there's no need to be worried and to feel disheartened. Instead, we should look within ourselves to see how we can benefit others. We have to live life with gratitude.

So, how do we live in the present? We need worry less and be less vexed. Be happy with and seize the present moment, concentrate on doing things that should be done right now, that way you can then live a happy life and benefit others."

The Abbot President's three-day visit to San Francisco concluded and he began the next leg of his tour of the United States in Los Angeles.

(translated by Jin Yang/edited by DDM Australia Editing Team)

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