Overseas News


Dharma Talk at DDM Malaysia

Nothing is permanent, and that was what one could deduce immediately when we returned to BGF, on a second trip with Chang Wen Fashi, to live and share Dharma moments with BGF again.

The 'we' here refers to 3 of us from DDM: Chang Wen Fashi, Wen Wei, and me.

And what is least expected always turned out to be a surprise, and what a pleasant surprise this visit was, when one compared with our first maiden visit a few months back.

Firstly, 17th Jan 2010 is a Sunday, and a Sunday when another great Dharma happening was taking place where we expect lots of English Buddhist audience will be attending - the Ajahn Chaah Remembrance event where international and local Sangha of related traditions gathered in KL together. So we were expecting a very challenging low turn up.

Secondly, we were expecting familiar participants only and in lesser number, at the same area when Chang Wen Fashi first delivered her Dharma talk.
And thirdly, we were humbly expecting a quieter and less participative audience.

With blessings, we experienced an unforgettable gatherings of the followings:

1) There simply were so many happy new faces greeting Fashi on a Sunday morning! There was even a senior Pusa who had served Shifu in UK more than 20 years ago when Shifu visited UK then.

BGF came up with a special program : Sunday@BGF , where parents will bring along their little ones for the entire Dharma Sunday, and the children will be looked after by volunteers while their parents were all encouraged to join in a special Dharma class. Our Chang Wen Fashi happened to be taking part in the class for those happy parents!

2) Pampering the future generations, the elders and Chang Wen Fashi made way for the children to stay at the main shrine while the talk was hosted in their books-table-full library. A glance in their library revealed that even though BGF is an English centre, they DO have lot of Chinese collections too.

3) The participants were so active and lively - they even SANG!

The title of the talk - Introduction to Chan / Zen, was something we hope we could make use of as a platform to introduce Chan in a series of talk to BGF. If this talk is well received, we will have the confidence to follow up in a series of talk.

As usual, a short and moving puja / chanting settled our mind : it is simplicity and sincerity in action - a non-rigid-ritual of flower and incense offerings by lay participants (BGF has no monastics) to the Buddha.

Then all the adults were moved to the library level - I recalled in a talk by the famous Ajahn Brahm he used to joke that this level is the 'heavenly realm' as it is one floor higher than the main meditation hall! So to heaven realm we went, and as the picture below reveals, it is one with limited space too (i.e. Heavenly realm has limited seats!)

With such tight space (incidentally, Religious-real-estate is indeed extremely precious in Malaysia), Chang Wen Fashi kicked-start the talk by guiding all to participate in the 8 form chan movement exercise. Since I was asked to demo, which I regretted, there is now no photos to proof just how so many of them managed to exercise in such space, and they did it with so much concentration. Right after a few exercises, we received inquiries from one senior participant - do you have CD/DVD on this?

What happened next was pretty unconventional - Chang Wen Fashi asked all to share their understanding of Chan, in groups, and they were all truly engaged in serious discussions, and happily got up to present their views and opinions of what Chan / Zen is all about.... not knowing that they were in fact helping Fashi to shape the lecture.....

And here was the list of what they thought Chan / Zen is all about:

So What is Chan?

Chang Wen Fashi made all of them happy by explaining all that they have shared are Chan! And by then, all the points were dealt with one by one in greater detail, and for once, I could not help but to conclude that this is indeed a lively manner to bring forth the broader meaning of Chan, and it does really make a great impact on the participants.

Some of the interesting observations from the floor were :

1) ' Chan reminds me of a monk with a bamboo stick! Hitting at students in meditation!'

2) ' There is this thing call Kong An but what is Kong An? '

3) ' Oh I thought Chan has slow walking meditation only not realising there is a fast walking too '

4) ' There is so much joy and it is not so serious all the time ....'

The third point set off the stage for a lot of laughter when Chang Wen Fashi demonstrated how fast walking is performed, and the fact that one would not be miss the train when one practices fast walking meditation and still wish to meditate!

Even though it was only a 2 hour session, time flew very quickly, the talk left a very joyful imprint on all of them, as they were all spontaneously holding their palms in laughter when the talk 'ended'.

Sunday@BGF was meant to be a new and relax way for all parents and kids to experience the joy of Dharma at BGF. None of us from DDM was aware of such arrangement (as a Dharma talk is typically pretty dry and serious) but it all jived very well! More so when the talented iGEM singers came on stage to share their songs with all together, in a duet style. Even the founder / president Dato Victor Wee joint the class just before it ended, and all of us sang into their tunes, with Dato performing a challenging piece on solo.

This, is just the beginning of a series of talk. To find ways to share the Chan lineage and bringing its essence to the Sunday class will be our next challenge. We look forward to this and more in the coming months, as Chang Wen Fashi continues to prepare us for the upcoming talks.

(by DDM Malaysia)

| More
Back to news list

Your are here : OverSeas News > Dharma Talk at DDM Malaysia