Thanksgiving celebration hosted by Chan Meditation Center in NY
In the evening of 14 November 2008, Dharma Drum Mountain hosted a thanksgiving celebration at the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in New York (TECONY).
The celebration, hosted by the Abbot President, gave thanks to the volunteers who had attended the fundraising party held in 2007 for the building of the new Chan Meditation Center and to propagate the Most Venerable Master Shen Yen's compassionate idea of "building a pure land on earth".
Kenneth Kang Min LIAO and Andrew Li Yen HSIA of TECONY, and newly appointed Director, Yuan Rong LUU of the Overseas Chinese Cultural and Education Center in New York were present to demonstrate their continuing support for DDM. Most of the sixty or so guests are generous benefactors for DDM and attended the initial fundraising dinner for the new Chan Mediation Center in 2007.
The event commenced with the viewing of the film "The Old Drummer", which was followed by a live drumming performance by the Dharma Upholders Society of New Jersey. This performance was set in time with the frames of the Venerable Master drumming in the film and captured the hearts of all present.
The drum team captain, Jiu Ling WANG humbly indicated after the warm applause that the drummers merely concentrated on the drumming performance, hoping that one day they too can offer their lives as the Venerable Master has in the sounding of the Dharma Drum.
During the course of the evening, the Abbot of Chan Meditation Center, Venerable Guo Chan introduced Abbot President Venerable Guo Dong and the DDM Sangha. He commented that the Dharma seed spread to the West by the Venerable Master thirty years ago has sprouted, thanking everyone for their ongoing contributions and urging that the path of Bodhisattva be continued by all.
The Abbot President then awarded Ken LIAO a colored glaze in the shape of the DDM emblem engraved with "Jin Shan You Kuang, Fa Lun Chang Juan" ("There is treasure on Jin Shan's [lit. "golden mountain"] frequent turning of the Dharma Wheel [i.e. propagation of Dharma]"). Also, in appreciation for their unrelenting efforts, the Abbot President awarded framed scrolls of the Great Compassion Sutra for longtime fundraisers Station Manager Chun Yang HSUE of Voice of Overseas Chinese Radio Station and Mrs. Ai Lun YANG..
In a relaxed atmosphere throughout the evening, a delicious vegetarian buffet carefully planned and prepared by Wen Jong JONG was enjoyed and several volunteers who were responsible for invitations introduced guests one by one, exemplifying their achievements to everyone. Guests were from many different walks of life including the fields of medicine, business, local government, accounting and costume design. It is moving that those present all made time in their busy schedules to support the mission promoted by DDM.
After dinner, the Master of Ceremony De Fang HSAO drew attention to the viewing of two film clips, a documentary about DDM’s relief efforts in quake-stricken Sichuan and a presentation on "The Six Ethics of the Mind", setting out the aims of the charity work of DDM and an understanding of the six ethics that the Venerable Master promotes: workplace, family, nature, living, schoolyard and community.
Following the film presentations, the Abbot President gave a talk about how to confront and therefore accept the reality of the sometimes difficult situation caused by the recent global financial "tsunami". These difficulties can cause insecurity in society and the mind- irrefutably the manifestation of the Buddhist notion of impermanence.
As we all come into and leave this world empty-handed except for karma, he encouraged the effective use of Buddhist doctrine in purifying one's thoughts. It is through the understanding of causes and effects that contentment in life and open-mindedness is made possible. Being grateful in favorable times and accepting the lessons to be learnt in adversity cater for the fulfillment of one's role according to the conditions in one's limited lifetime.
The Abbot President pointed out that the fast and multifaceted pace at which modern society runs often creates occasions for momentary loss of spiritual stillness, and that "The Six Ethics of the Mind" promoted by the Venerable Master can provide a complete set of moral values and living standards for an ever chaotic society. As repeated in the film, "ethic is order and order begets power", meaning ethics need to be backed with morals.
Finally, the Abbot President expressed his gratitude to the guests for their continued support and help in the building of the Chan Meditation Center and also his anticipation for a suitable new address when the appropriate causes and conditions arise. Throughout the event, Venerable Chang Ji shared with guests the future goals of DDM, including the devotion to share the teachings of Dharma and Chan with the West to strive for world peace and the amelioration of human qualities.
The last activity to express care and gratitude in the Abbot President's two-week journey for care in the United States was held at the Chan Meditation Center on the 16 December 2008.
(translated by Jin Yang/edited by DDM Australia Editing team)