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Tuesday, January 14, 2020

David’s lecture titled Even Stone Wears Away held at Vancouver Chan Meditation Centre let me reflect on the importance of healthy habits and the difficulty of eradicating bad habits.

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David’s lecture titled Even Stone Wears Away held at Vancouver Chan Meditation Centre let me reflect on the importance of healthy habits and the difficulty of eradicating bad habits.

I have been a member of DDM for a few years and speak mostly English but the community has always been accommodating by providing translations. I haven’t been to classes taught by monastic teachers for quite some time but am certainly grateful to get a chance to go to this series of classes. Although the classes were in Mandarin, I feel that I learned fully what was taught in the classes.

Fluid, complete devotion personified,
Thrift actions before careless waste;
Leaves me appalled at myself.
Messages of wholesome well wishes sent without a return address;
Practice which ignites many more to come.

Above, expresses my first and only meeting with Venerable Guo Chan on 15.09.19. Making a promise to attend the service in October, I could not help wonder how this service would differ from the one led by Venerable Guo Chan the month before. Below is reflection of yesterday’s Service.
For the last six years Zarko Andricevic has been leading a seven-day retreats at the Dharma Drum Mountain Center in Richmond BC. Traditionally these have been Silent Illumination retreats. This time he led a Huatou retreat. As always, his gentle and insightful teaching was both helpful and appreciated.
On Saturday, September7, Abbot President Venerable Guo Huei favoured us with a talk entitled "A Good Wish for the World" conducted in Chinese with simultaneous translation.
On August 1st at the Vancouver Chan Meditation Centre, Dr. Rebecca Li led more than a dozen guests through a short meditation session, followed by a talk on Harmonizing with the Rapidly Changing World. Dr. Li, a sociology professor at the College of New Jersey, quite naturally emphasized relationships and cultural characteristics in flux. It was a talk to encourage replacement of facile judgements with honest consideration, supported by awareness and compassion.

I attended an event on June 15th at the Chan Meditation Center for a class on the ancient board game Go. My first time at the center and what a great experience, everyone I met was so nice and welcoming.
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.
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