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Monday, March 12, 2018
From Friday January 26 to Sunday January 28, Dharma Drum Mountain in Toronto had the pleasure of hosting a 3 day meditation retreat with Venerable Chang Hu, at Crieff Hills Retreat Center in Pushlinch, Ontario. During this retreat, Venerable Chang Hu provided very in-depth guidance on many aspects of the meditation practice, including posture, methods and setting up a daily life practice and attitude. Perhaps the most important theme that was brought up throughout the retreat was the importance of relaxation: how to relax, why relaxation is so necessary to meditative practice, and the way relaxation embodies the teachings and practice. Venerable Chang Hu guided the group of fifteen participants through gentle moving exercise, massage, standing exercise, and other techniques to deepen one’s awareness of the body prior to using the meditation method. These instructions were supplemented with very detailed understanding of the energy flows throughout the body and how they can become blocked through improper daily posture, excessive computer use, and other issues. I had the pleasure of volunteering as the timekeeper for this special event, and the following is a brief write up of some of my observations.

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In the spirit of helping those who could not attend this 3 Day Retreat, I would like to share some of my experiences of this retreat itself. Also, I would like to comment on and relate what I learned through Guo Xing Fashi's thorough and insightful teachings and Chang Wen Fashi's guidance.

I came across Master Sheng Yen’s book “Chinese Orthodox Buddhism” quite by chance. I picked it up from a monastery in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. As is common in many Asian countries, books on Buddhism can be found free of charge, donated for distribution by kind hearted individuals who wish to share the joys of the Buddha’s teachings with others. I was 7 years old.
The annual Hong Kong Book Fair was held on July 23 to 29, 2008 at Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, Wan Chai. DDM Hong Kong Branch set up an exhibition booth in that period.
13 May (Tue)

※ DDM quickly assembled a relief team following the earthquake.
In the afternoon of 12 May 2008 a devastating earthquake measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale struck Sichuan Province in China, leaving tens of thousands dead. It is estimated that the death toll will keep escalating.
3 May (Sat)
* Burma ravaged by cyclone
On 3 May (Sat), Burma was hit by the tropical cyclone Nargis, with the Irrawaddy Delta being the most hard-hit area.
Time: April 2008

I'm writing this report as I wait on my 9pm flight which was switched to 7:15pm, only to be delayed indefinitely. The seven day Ch'an retreat at Dharma Drum SanYi DIY Centre has been a very fruitful experience. Due to the variety of experiences I will categorize them for easier reading.
Sydney DDM held a 4 and 7 day retreat at Karuna Sanctuary, 3 kilometres west of Katoomba in the Blue Mountains area, approximately two hours drive west of Sydney in the state of New South Wales, Australia.
With a deep bow and joined palms we conveyed the blessings on behalf of Venerable Master Sheng Yen and Venerable Guo Dong, the Founder and Abbot President of Dharma Drum Mountain (DDM) respectively, to victims of the severe snowstorms that ravaged the southern provinces of mainland China. We handed a bag of relief supplies, worth approximately RMB$100, to the victims as our demonstration of empathy toward their hardship and sufferings in these difficult times.
The Ganges-Brahmaputra river system in Bangladesh is the largest river delta in the world, and most of the country has been formed over the river system's sediment plain. This unique geographic feature is prone to regular flooding, making life, especially for poor people, susceptible to the effects of natural disasters.

"Congratulations! You have experienced the true compassion" said Ven. Guo Lu. "I believe your understanding about compassion came from others' talks or from books, is it so?"

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