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YEAR OF NEWS :
Tuesday, July 14, 2015
I remember last year a veteran volunteer of Care Service Group asked the Dharma teacher to shed light on a question: “How can we urge and advise devotees afflicted by troubles to ‘let go’?” The monastic replied, “We don’t advise others to ‘let go’ when we ourselves haven’t really experienced and realized ‘letting go’.” Not long ago, I heard a long-time devoted supporter of ours claim: “I’ve achieved letting go.” So, I deeply feel that many people have actually misunderstood and misapplied the Buddhist expression, “letting go” (放下), when they haven’t deeply delved into practice and attained thorough enlightenment. This is why ancient patriarchs and masters seldom used this expression in teaching the Dharma. After all, in our short life of cultivation, understanding our self is already as hard as looking for a needle in a haystack, not to mention entering the stage of letting go of what is “mine,” which is an even longer journey to go.
It is said: The Master can lead you to the door, but you cultivate on your own. The Venerable Master Sheng Yen had brought forth the Bodhi-mind to cultivate the Bodhisattva Way and had wasted no time to benefit all living beings in his lifetime.
One must seek progress in the ordinary and display luster amidst adversity; One must seek advancement in a state of harmony and see hope amid hard work; One must seek abundance in the midst of stability and demonstrate serenity in training; One must seek wisdom amidst silence and show compassion in action.
On Novemeber 22nd, the International Meditation Group took a field trip to Dharma Drum Mountain to see the preparations and decor for the upcoming Great Compassion Liberation Rite of Water and Land. The rite itself took place from November 29th to Decemeber 5th.
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.