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Wednesday, November 26, 2014
While Buddhists do not believe in the existence of a creator-god, the existence of the universe cannot be doubted, nor can the existence of life be denied. According to Buddhism, the most basic elements that comprise the universe are empty of self-nature, and the elements that comprise life are also devoid of self-nature. This lack of a separate self-nature, called emptiness, is the only unchanging truth in the universe. That it is an unchanging truth implies that emptiness has no beginning and no ending: emptiness is the true state in which the universe and life have always existed.
On behalf of myself, my wife, Ling, and her mother, I am writing to express our deepest joy, gratitude and honor to Venerable Shifu Sheng Yen, Venerable Guo Dong, the monks and nuns of Dharma Drum Mountain, and all the laity and supporters making possible the Refuge ceremony on November 2, 2008, at the Nung Chan Monastery in Beitou, Taiwan. We are particularly thankful and appreciative for their great compassion in sharing this event with us.
Don’t ask me why I came to this Awakening Camp, and don’t ask me if I will become a monastic in the future. There are just too many answers, and also because there’s really no answer, and especially because even if there were an answer, it would not matter.
Where did I come from? Where do I go thereon? When there are conflicts between the inner self and the external environment, how do I resolve them? Between expectation and reality, success and failure, good and bad, wholesome and evil, life and death, is there a general guideline, which applies to all circumstances, that we can follow when we are confused and lost? As a beginner practicing the Buddha Dharma for less than two years, I came to Dharma Drum Mountain with many questions in mind.
On Saturday 25 October 2008, the International Meditation Group (IMG) held a one-day Field Retreat at Dharma Drum Mountain World Center for Buddhist Education (DDM). A total of nineteen participants including four international visitors took part in this special event.
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.
Theravada Buddhism has been endorsed as the national religion in Burma (officially known as the Union of Myanmar) since 1044. It is therefore natural for the Burmese to have incorporated Buddhist customs into their daily life. No wonder Myanmar's opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi described her people as peaceful and tranquil - two beautiful characteristics which could be ascribed to the Burmese devotion to Buddhism.
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.