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Monday, October 23, 2017
Hugo is a psycholocial counsellor from Mainland China to study Counselling at NTNU. He was introduced by a western freind to come to International Meditation Group (IMG) to practice Chan Meditation and to get more connections with DDM. He had something to share on his experience during the past few years.


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This past weekend, from March 24 to 26, 2017, I took part my second three-day Chan meditation retreat at Dharma Drum Vancouver Center. Initially, I was worried about potential leg pains and wasn't feeling too hot about my life in general either. From Friday night until Sunday afternoon I faced hardship and deprivation, but came out at the end quite happy and ready to try more retreats.
When Dharma Drum Vancouver Center announced classes on chanting of Buddhist prayers and praises, I was thrilled. The opportunity to learn more about the unique Dharma instruments was intriguing and, more importantly, I wanted to learn how the chanting could enhance my practice
On February, 25, Dharma Drum Vancouver Center held its first Buddhist Chants and Practice class. This is the first of two classes on applying chanting to Chan practice.

We learned about the origin of Buddhist chants in India, where Buddha’s teachings were not initially recorded in writing and were instead passed down orally through chanting. Buddhist chanting emanates from one’s calm mind and compassion. There are five benefits of chanting - it energizes the body, improves memory, recharges the mind, sounds soothing and facilitates the reciting of Buddha’s sutras.
During the weekend of 2/4 and 2/5, DDM NJ Center held a meditation retreat in memory of Master Sheng Yen’s passing. We were honored to have Ven. Guo Yuan, the abbot of Dharma Drum Retreat Center and one of Master Sheng Yen’s Dharma heirs, came to lead this meaningful program with us
Friends and family, sisters and brothers in the Dharma: Happy Lunar New Year! Dharma Drum Vancouver Centre was filled with peaceful chanting, family laughter, and the spirit of sharing during the weekend celebration of the Year of the Rooster on January 28th and 29th, 2017. This year’s theme was humility and peace.
I had an one-of-a-kind New Year’s eve at the end of 2016. There were no countdowns, but breath counting. There was no champagne and wine, but hearty vegan soup. There was no cheering crowd, but people to share silence and dharma talks. I feel refreshed and grounded after this three-day meditation retreat. When I heard about this retreat, I thought it would be a new way to celebrate 2017; it wouldn’t hurt to try it. I have to admit that Venerable Chang Wu has been very persuasive that doing Chan meditation is the best self-care.
Like many of my classmates in the Buddhist Teachings Program, I grew up seeing and following our parents going to temples, burning incense, and praying to Bodhisattva and other spiritual beings in hope for their protection. In my heart, although not understanding how it all works, I was told holding a deep respect in my heart will grant me the protection I hope for. Seeing countless others in the temple bowing and trembling, I thought in certain way, like a society needs its rules and punishments, fear was the driving force in religion that keeps all of us inline.
I doubt whether words can fully express my feelings about the 6-day Service that I attended from Nov. 29 to Dec. 4, but I know it was a very special experience to me.
I was amazed by the conduction of the Service. Every movement was so organized, smooth, effortless, like being lifted with magical energy. The Shanga and the venerables have lead the whole service with pure compassion that brought out the best participation from all attendants.
We were very blessed and honoured to have Chang Seng Fa Shi who flew from Taiwan to give a series of talks and to conduct a single day retreat in Melbourne. Although Fa Shi came straight after her Indian Pilgrimage, she showed no sign of fatigue. Her natural serenity and composure won lots of admiration and envy among the attendants. As I was asked to write a report on the one day retreat, I shall put my focus only on that mind opening day.
The Silent Illumination retreat offered by the Dharma Drum Vancouver Center (DDVC) on October 15-22, 2016 was my seventh 7-day retreat since the start of my meditation practise in late 2014 and my third 7-day retreat at DDVC. As with the previous two DVCC retreats I participated in, it was all about in-depth teaching of the method by describing all the details of it, practicing it, and helping the participants to understand the global perspective as well as nuances that arise on the way. The material was also well linked to simple everyday-life examples, which deepened the overall understanding and further facilitated learning.
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