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Wednesday, May 08, 2019
Last weekend I attended the Introductory Meditation Class held by Dharma Drum Mountain Toronto Centre.

Fashi provided different variations of how to sit properly, where to place your hands, and how much to open your eyes while meditating. I appreciated how detailed her instructions were and why it was important to follow them. For example, I had difficulties counting because in the past, I counted on both the inhales and the exhales of the breath. It was mechanical and forced. But when I applied Fashi's method of counting only on the exhales and focusing on the air going through my nostrils with each inhale, the breathing felt deeper and more natural. Another very important tip I got was not to visualize the numbers when counting. In the past, I would close my eyes to visualize the numbers but this only made things more challenging. I often became drowsy. Keeping my eyes slightly opened without visualizing any numbers made it easier to focus as my mind had less thoughts.


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Last weekend I attended the Introductory Meditation Class held by Dharma Drum Mountain Toronto Centre.

Fashi provided different variations of how to sit properly, where to place your hands, and how much to open your eyes while meditating. I appreciated how detailed her instructions were and why it was important to follow them. For example, I had difficulties counting because in the past, I counted on both the inhales and the exhales of the breath. It was mechanical and forced. But when I applied Fashi's method of counting only on the exhales and focusing on the air going through my nostrils with each inhale, the breathing felt deeper and more natural. Another very important tip I got was not to visualize the numbers when counting. In the past, I would close my eyes to visualize the numbers but this only made things more challenging. I often became drowsy. Keeping my eyes slightly opened without visualizing any numbers made it easier to focus as my mind had less thoughts.
Flash back to September 2009, almost 10 years ago, I was facing the first big challenge after I embarked my journey of studying aboard in U.S. Soon upon arrival at the school, I learned that I was declined for a field placement at a local Elementary school. Forgive me for not being able to dive into the reasons of why and how it happened. But I did remember vividly how I felt like when I found out about my alternative field placement. Rather than the word “disbelief”, I think “anxiety” is more fitting in describing how I truly felt inside when I realized I was placed as a Hospice Social Work Intern.
This was my second opportunity to attend a class about how to face the last moments of life from a Buddhist perspective. This class focused mostly on how to help and support the person facing this moment have a more peaceful transition. It also helped me to deeper understand what the affected family members might be feeling and cultivate more compassion for them.




The end of life care workshop on March 23 at Dharma Drum Vancouver Centre is inspiring and comprehensive.

The recent one-day retreat on March 9, though perhaps a bit short by some standards, was a good introduction for newly-initiated meditators such as myself to get our feet wet with a more sustained effort and the opportunity to improve the breadth and quality of our practice. In addition to familiar practices, leader Ven. Chang Wu introduced us to mindful eating, which transformed a normally mundane act into a pleasant one comprised of appreciation and focused awareness. Lunch seemed to very naturally invite our attention --crunchiness, softness, flavour and smell giving way to a sense of the body receiving "reinforcement". Food, instead of being edible merchandise, became a gift from the world that produced it.
From February 5 to 9, 2019, I participated in three ceremonies during Chinese New Year at Dharma Drum Mountain Los Angeles Center. These ceremonies were the Diamond Sutra Chanting Ceremony, the Medicine Buddha Dharma Ceremony and the Guanyin Blessing Ceremony.
When I first went to a retreat at the Dharma Drum Retreat Center, I wanted to learn how to improve my practice of meditation. I didn’t understand that meditating without studying Dharma would never get me on the path I wanted to be on. I learned some of the basic principles of Buddhism during the week of that retreat—enough to make me want to study more.
My name is Nadine, I have been meditating daily for over a year. I have attended 2 Chan retreats at Dharma Drum Vancouver Centre (DDVC). One 7-day retreat and one 5-day retreat.



A little poem I wrote right after the retreat.

trees, silent; insects, voices 樹默蟲吟

water illuminates the green blue sky 水照青藍

deluded, realized 似迷似悟

with a fresh new mind 初心油然



I am very grateful to have been accepted to the end of year Seven-day Buddha's Name Recitation Chan Retreat in CMC, NY (Chan Medication Center in NY).

It was my first recitation retreat also the first one I can get to go home at the end of each day. It was getting more and more each day and I think it helped to establish one’s daily practice.

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