Joining the Journey on the Bodhisattva Path with Courage: Dharma Drum Institute of Liberal Arts and Dharma Drum Sangha

Joining the Journey on the Bodhisattva Path with Courage: Dharma Drum Institute of Liberal Arts and Dharma Drum Sangha University’s Joint Graduation & Program Completion Ceremony

On June 18th, 2016, Dharma Drum Institute of Liberal Arts (DILA) and Dharma Drum Sangha University held a joint graduation and program completion ceremony at the International Conference Hall of Dharma Drum Mountain World Center for Buddhist Education. In both academic dress and the Buddhist scarf, graduates sang the Song for the Three Jewels that signifies benefitting others to mark the meaning of graduation. Before awarding the certificates, Ven. Guo Dong, abbot president of DDM, and Ven. Hui Min, president of DILA, along with representatives of the teaching faculty, handed the scarves and candle lamps to the 40 graduates, as an encouragement for them to walk the Bodhisattva path with courage. More than 400 relatives and friends of the graduates also attended the ceremony and gave their blessings.

Ven. Guo Dong wrote a calligraphy work that reads “Learn and study at all times and places, to accomplish a perfect cultivation of blessings and wisdom,” as a blessing to the students. In his address, he encouraged them to commence the journey of the Bodhisattva Path with courage and perseverance; take both favorable and unfavorable conditions as contributory conditions and opportunities to cultivate blessings and wisdom; learn to let go of our self-centeredness, and feel the joy of the Dharma in every moment and abide in the bliss of meditation. Meanwhile, he urged them to embrace gratitude for and cherish the Dharma affinity, as well as walk the Bodhisattva path by practicing the Four All-embracing Bodhisattva Virtues and Six Perfections. Meanwhile, DDM will continue to better use its architecture to enhance its education and inspire the students.

Ven. Hui Min expressed his thankfulness to the abbot president and the Institute’s directors for supporting the faculty and facilitating their teaching. By showing photos and video clips of graduation ceremonies in other countries, the venerable explained that different cultural backgrounds will shape the design and development of their respective styles of bachelor gown and form of ceremony. This year, the Institute designed the phrases—“Wearing the Buddhist scarf, with profound wisdom and universal good deeds,” “Passing on the lamp light, with the rising great compassion,” and “Singing to the Dharma drum beats, setting out the journey with courage”— to urge its graduates to regard all sentient beings equally and make a vow of great compassion to practice the Six Perfections and multiple good deeds, benefitting the self and others without regressing.

Graduates then watched a video clip of their campus life. Ven. Ru Wen, representative of the graduating class for the master’s degree, expressed gratitude for many people’s joint efforts to make their learning and studies possible. Late Master Sheng Yen, founder of the Institute, expected its students to practice “Compassion, Wisdom, Harmony, and Respect,” the school motto that also marks the sense of commitment and Bodhi mind required of the students, serving as a guideline for them to correct themselves and seek improvement. She urged everybody to help promote the Institute, so that more people can benefit from its education and support its educational endeavors.

More than half of them being overseas students, the graduates would miss this unique international atmosphere all the more. A Vietnamese student, Ven. De Guang’s master and Dharma brothers took the effort to travel to Taiwan from Vietnam and the U.S. to give blessings to their first graduate from DDM’s higher Buddhist educational institute. As Ven. De Guang and his classmate Ven. Xiu Ying said, graduation marks the start to give of oneself, and they felt grateful to the teachers, DDM Sangha, and volunteers for contributing to the Institute. They will bring the kindness of the Institute to everywhere they go, and help spread the idea of Protecting the Spiritual Environment around the world.

Holding the gratitude cards written by their families for their teachers and classmates, Ven. Yan She delivered a valedictory address on behalf of the graduating class of Dharma Drum Sangha University, earning rounds of big applauses. He recalled giving up an opportunity to study abroad and instead choosing to become a monk and study at the Sangha University to elevate his spirituality. By studying at the University, he had obtained an endless treasure from the Dharma that transcends time and space. He also expressed gratitude to the Dharma teachers and faculty, whose all-embracing tolerance and assistance had greatly enriched their life, and inspired them to vow to share the limitless treasure in the Dharma with all sentient beings.

Li Zhouyuan, president of the student association at DILA, said that the teachers and students interacted and exchanged with each other frequently, so students at DILA and the Sangha University are pretty much like a family. After the ceremony, students who are still studying gave performances and prepared snacks for the graduates, to offer their blessings and wish them a bright future, setting out a journey on the Bodhisattva path and acting as their role models in sharing Buddhist compassion and wisdom with every corner of the world.

Translated by Frances Liu (劉珮如)
Edited by Chiacheng Chang (張家誠)

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