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DDM Hong Kong Gathered for a Gala Evening on 7 October

Despite the airport in Taiwan being closed several times on 6 October 2007 due to the ravaging attack of Typhoon Krosa, Venerable Guo Qi together with Mr and Mrs Rong, vice-president of the Association of DDM Dharma Upholder, still arrived in Hong Kong early and safely for the special event. The significance of this event was shown by their support.

The event took place in the scenic Nan Lian Garden with dharma sister Ms Huang Pei-ling, whose fluency in Cantonese, Mandarin and English made her a perfect host for the evening. It began with the showing of the film "How Great is the Dharma Drum" as a prelude to the evening. Then it was followed by a vote of thanks from the event convener Mr Guo Yong-an, who also made an introduction to our counseling master, Venerable Guo Qi. The Venerable then gave us a Dharma talk in which he conveyed a message of care and concern on behalf of Venerable Master Sheng Yen to all of the people present. He briefed us on the vision and mission of DDM, told us about the life story of Venerable Master Sheng Yen and his latest news, as well as explaining to us the objective behind the Master's greatest wish of setting up the Dharma Drum Buddhist College (DDBC). Venerable Guo Qi reported that the College had been scheduled for completion in 2009 if the provision of funding and building construction would be in place as planned. Our humble Venerable Guo Qi jokingly remarked that his dharma name "Qi", in the Chinese character, contained the signs of four mouths, yet he himself was not a person skilful at words.

The evening continued with the showing of a film, called "Wandering Heart with Chan Delights", which was produced by the Audio and Visual Team of DDM Taiwan. The film featured the fund-raising drive for DDBC, showing Venerable Master Sheng Yen, who was in ill-health, completed nearly 500 scrolls of Chinese calligraphy, and his tour around Taiwan to express care and concern for sentient beings, as well as his participation in the exhibition of his calligraphy. With the aim of establishing DDBC so that the three educational goals of the DDM International Buddhist Education Centre can be achieved, Venerable Master Sheng Yen shared his art of calligraphy with philanthropists who supported his vision. His calligraphy went beyond common artistic value. Produced by the hand of a Chan master, these scrolls of calligraphy are manifestation of a Bodhisattva's compassionate vow for Dharma education. The calligraphy, featuring original writings of the Master, encapsulated the essence of the Dharma to which the readers would be led and inspired. This is indeed a good example of non-verbal Dharma teaching. Scrolls and scrolls of the calligraphy revealed the compassion and wisdom of a highly revered Buddhist monk who had committed his entire life to Buddhism. The calligraphy also allowed us to get closer to the truth of the Buddha-dharma and the Chan mind.

There was a big turn-out of nearly 100 Dharma brothers and sisters attended the gala event. The programmes of the evening included a singing performance of the DDM Hong Kong Choir, conducted by Mr Cao Shu-hua. One of the songs presented was "The Work of the Bodhisattvas" with lyrics written by Venerable Master Sheng Yen. Sublime and beautiful, their singing was well received and applauded.

During the sharing session, Dharma brother Mr Chen Tian-ming specially expressed gratitude to all of the supporters, volunteers, Dharma brothers and sisters, who had been giving their continued support to DDM over the past 10 years in terms of dedicated efforts as well as funding. Both Mr Poon Chung-kwong, President of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, and our great Dharma protector Mrs Lin Wang Xin-mei also shared their views and experiences. What inspired and surprised us most was Mrs Lin's deep understanding of the compassionate vows of Venerable Master Sheng Yen and the mission of DDM. Following the sharing session, Mr and Mrs Zhang Zuo-jian immediately committed to supporting the education cause of DDM and wrote out a cheque of HK$300,000 on the spot, and which was then officially received by Venerable Guo Qi. The evening came to a close with blessings made by Venerable Quo Qi and shared by all participants of the night. The delicious food for the event was kindly offered by Dharma brother Mr Qian Shi-rong. We thanked everyone for their participation and all volunteers for their great support.

A series of workshops on Buddhist chanting in Sanskrit was conducted from 19 to 22 October. The workshops were focused on three themes: the role of karma-dana, hand-chimes and the wooden fish drum. The workshop was kindly coordinated by Venerable Guo Jie, whose compassion and great sense of humour made the workshop a success.

The workshops covered teachings by many experts including Buddhist Sanskrit chanting by Venerable Guo Kai; getting to know the role of karma-dana by Venerable Guo Zeng; the encounters of joy-giving and Dharma implements by Venerable Chang Fa, as well as pronunciation of Sanskrit chanting by Mr / Ms Chen Nan-hui.

A group of 25 participants from Hong Kong joined the 7-day Chan retreat in DDM held from 5 to 13 October. Apart from experiencing the Chan delight, everyone was greatly impressed by the developments in DDM. The retreatants highly commended the volunteers for their dedication and professional service, and that every meal was served with yummy good foods.

(article and pictures provided by DDM Hong Kong)

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