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Tuesday, January 10, 2017
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.


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Last Sunday nian fo

I went to the Pu Xian Jiang Tang with my mom to attend the nian fo chan. There were over 26 people attending it, too. We had nian fo, bai fo and rao fo. My favorite part of the day was stomping our feet on the floor when we rao fo, it is called bo zhou san mei walking. I had never learned it before and never imagined that nian fo could be so interesting. It was fun seeing people doing it in so many different poses. I hope there will be another time when we will do this again.

On Saturday the Venerable Guo Hui held his second lecture on the Complete Enlightenment Sutra. The hall was packed and many people had their pads out, ready to take notes. The amount of enthusiasm for such a difficult sutra was impressive to say the least, although I should have expected it after two years at Dharma Drum Vancouver Center.
On May 24, a large congregation of aspiring bodhisattvas from around the world was gathering in beautiful Vancouver’s University of British Columbia campus. They are here to receive transmission of the bodhisattva precepts from representatives Abbot President Guo Dong, Venerable Guo Xing, and Venerable Guo Pin from Dharma Drum Mountain. With ~300 people wishing to attend this once-in-a-lifetime event, much preparation needed to be made beforehand for the event to be run successfully.
We would like to take this opportunity to express our sincere appreciation and gratitude for your (plus the various Fa Shi’s and volunteer’s) guidance and assistance during the Transmission. From the registration procedure, preparatory resources, meals, rehearsals, accommodation, instructions and procedures, to the receipt of our Transmission certificates, we have been very well taken care of.
A dharma friend had told me a few years ago about receiving the Bodhisattva Precepts and the boost they gave to her practice. So when I heard that the Dharma Drum Vancouver Centre will offer for the first time the transmission of the Bodhisattva Precepts I was delighted and signed up.
Shortly after arriving in Sydney, Fashi's fully packed teaching program immediately cranked up to top gear! From chan retreat, Dharma talks and caring sessions, through to intense Dharma instrument practice sessions running four days in a row.
Below is what I'd like to share some of my experiences during the Huatou retreat at Dharma Drum Vancouver Center in April 2016. I am a relatively new practitioner who has been meditating sporadically for about 3 years and then daily for the last 1.5 years. Prior to this event, I participated in four 7-day meditation retreats (Rinzai style) at the Vancouver Zen Center.
I just attended the recent 7 day Huatou retreat. Although I have been practicing Zen, in another lineage, for nearly 8 years and have attended many 7 day retreats, this is the first 7 day retreat hosted by Dharma Drum that I have attended. The style of this retreat was quite different from what I have been used to. I was favourably impressed.
I was truly blessed again this year to be able to participate in a 5-day English meditation retreat. The retreat was led by Venerable Guo Chii and assisted by Venerable Chang Xian (Fashis) who had wisely and creatively arranged the program. We were blessed with good weather, good food and some of the best Dharma talks from Master Sheng Yen (Shifu).
As with the two previous lectures on Sustainable Development, Venerable Chang Ji (常濟) did an excellent job in the third lecture which focused on water.
Through the use of slides, video and other presentation aids the issues were well articulated and captivated the audience. I was particular interested in the discussion on our water footprint and how subtle changes in our behaviour can dramatically reduce our consumption of water.
Upon reflection, I would agree with Venerable Chang Ji (常濟) that the planet is regrettably in the anthropocentrist era and that is incumbent on all of us to step up and do our part to conserve and manage our water resources.
I am looking forward to the next lecture.

By Tony Van Rooyen
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