Blessing Ceremony for Dharma Drum Singapore's New Premises
Dharma Drum Singapore has been established for 11 years. It upholds Master Sheng Yen's vision to "uplift the character of humanity and build a pure land on earth" by proactively promoting the Buddhadharma and Spiritual Environmentalism and is a centre of Buddhist learning.
Today, the seed of the vow has gradually sprouted and grown. Dharma Drum Singapore has successfully been relocated to a brandnew premises at 100A Duxton Road. On 22 December 2007 at 3pm, we had all gathered at the lovely new place, united in strength, well-wishes and hopes.
The spacious main hall was filled with the fragrance of incense and over 60 participants donned in hai qing. Placed on the altar was a stately statue of Buddha Shakyamuni. Under the lightings, it appeared as if the Buddha was emitting rays of compassion and warmth to alleviate the suffering of all sentient beings trapped in Samsara and consumed with greed, hatred and ignorance. Venerable Guo Qi first explained to us the meaning of the Blessing (Sa Jing) Ceremony. Besides inviting all Buddhas, Bodhisattvas and Long Tian Dharma Protectors to give their blessings and empowerment, what was more important was the ridding of mental defilements in one's mind. As the name of the Great Compassionate Avalokitesvara was recited, great compassionate vows were made to purify oneself and the environment.
Master Sheng Yen said, "In times of stability and harmony, seize the brilliance of today and give tomorrow a fresh new beginning." During the Blessing Ceremony, Dharma Drum Singapore also conducted a Year-End Thanksgiving Ceremony. Venerable Guo Qi was invited to give out souvenirs to Han Mei Lin and all those who had contributed to the successful operation of Dharma Drum Singapore, including Committee members and coordinators of the various sub-groups for meditation, chanting, recitation of Bodhisattva vows, youth activities, spiritual environmentalism and Dharma study. Their collective hard work and dedication had resulted in an activity-filled 2007. May 2008 be a year of continual progress and growth!
On 22 December at 7.30pm at the new premises, Venerable Guo Qi gave a Dharma talk on "How to uplift the character of humanity". Venerable divided the 80 participants into 6 groups to discuss amongst themselves various topics, such as "How did one come into contact with Buddhism?" "How has one changed after learning the Buddhadharma?" "How to practice the Dharma in daily life?" Everyone was forthcoming in sharing their own experiences and some even dropped tears of gratitude halfway through relating their innermost thoughts. The discussion had helped everyone to better understand and to affirm themselves.
Those who do not understand themselves usually find themselves lost, not knowing where to go. They need to turn inwards to observe their mental activities and recognise their own inclinations before they can use the methods of meditation to change. Accepting one's inadequacies will also allow one to dwell peacefully in the current situation and make progress gradually. In order to introduce the methods and benefits of meditation to more people, Venerable Guo Qi was again invited to lead a one-day meditation retreat on 23 December from 9.30am to 5pm at the new premises for 50 participants.
With understanding and practice, the methods of meditation can be used in daily life to conduct oneself with righteousness and honesty. They also help one to make sense of the meaning of life on a deeper level. In that same evening, Dharma Drum Singapore received a distinguished guest, Mrs Goh Chok Tong at its new premises. The president of Dharma Drum Singapore, Mr Xie Shi Yu presented a set of English books on meditation by Master Sheng Yen and a Chinese calligraphy art piece to the guest.
Master Sheng Yen often encourages all Dharma Drummers to make compassionate vows, to treasure and make use of every opportunity that come by and to treat all sentient beings that we come into contact with with a heart of gratitude and compassion. When we use the wisdom and compassion of the Dharma to benefit all sentient beings, we in turn achieve growth. Thus, to benefit others is to benefit oneself.
The aim of the Dharma is to deliver the immeasurable number of sentient beings. Where will this deliverance take place? In this human world, of course. The way to do it is to guide everyone in establishing the right concept and objective for living. To bring warmth to this world, to enable everyone to be well in health, mind, family and career, that is the truly reliable and ultimate well-being. Master, all of us at Dharma Drum Singapore will continue to work hard and do our best!
(Photographs and text provided by Dharma Drum Singapore)