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Monday, August 13, 2018
At the beginning of 2018, the Venerable Chang-Fa from Lan-Yang monastery was invited by the Dharma Drum Humanities & Social Improvement Foundation(法鼓山人文社會基金會) to help mentor the dedicated volunteers serving the Crisis Support Hotline (關懷生命專線), which operates once a month.


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At the beginning of 2018, the Venerable Chang-Fa from Lan-Yang monastery was invited by the Dharma Drum Humanities & Social Improvement Foundation(法鼓山人文社會基金會) to help mentor the dedicated volunteers serving the Crisis Support Hotline (關懷生命專線), which operates once a month.
Exactly 15 years ago I met Master Sheng Yen, and started to practice the method of silent illumination (mozhao chan). For several reasons, Ven. Master Sheng Yen remained my favorite and closest teacher.
I am very glad that I visited this retreat! For me it was the first great encounter with Ch'an Buddhism. Of course, I was a little interested in this before. When I was reading the book "Wisdom of Chan" of Master Sheng Yen, I was attending a retreat only for a half day. Also, I heard something somewhere in conversations, but I did not really understand their meaning. And I'm glad that I become more familiar with this tradition in such an atmosphere and with such a leader.
Life is such an amazing and colorful game of reflections. Wherever we are, we carry out the experiences from within ourselves, painting everything with various colors. Do you notice that the mind, even in its most beautiful, magical places, can bring an unpleasant sense of complaints, past grievances and sufferings?
I was one of the in-charge for the seven-day retreat arrangements, working with Guo Xing Fashi (果醒法師) from the 30th of April until the 7th of May. It was the first time for me to take care of so many things like location (Chan Hall, participant rooms, toilets, kitchen and so on), special issues of some participants, rearrangements after the arrival of Venerable Guo Xing Fashi and two other monks (Venerable Yan Jian Fashi (演建法師), Venerable Yan Guang Fashi (演廣法師)), who helped him to conduct the retreat.

Hi! I am Maria from Russia. I’m thirty years old and I’d like to share with you how I became a Buddhist and how I was an interpreter during the retreat in Moscow urban this May, led by Venerable Guo-Xing (果醒法師).
We arrived in the 8th of January to Fagushan Monastery (Dharma Drum Mountain World Center for Buddhist Education) and stayed in Taiwan until the 23rd of January. Our Russian group consists of 7 people, six from Moscow and one from St. Petersburg. In addition, there was one person from Switzerland and he was already at the lay people’s quarters at the monastery when we had arrived. Therefore, our pilgrimage program can be called International Pilgrimage.
I had no preconceptions entering into this experience. I have attended many retreats at DDRC, but this was the first ritual function I participated in. I had heard that this ceremony was only conducted every few years, so when I saw it listed on the website I had to go for the opportunity.

The first impression that landed had to do with its size. It was easily more than twice the size of any DDRC retreat I had attended in the past. The whole hall was filled with participants and volunteers.

Many things were similar to previous experiences. The food was still some of the best in the whole wide world. The volunteers and monastics brimming with compassion, always on hand to be of assistance whenever it was required.
Hugo is a psychological counselor from Guangdong. He shared something with our friends at IMG (International Meditation Group) of Dharma Drum Mountain.
Among the natural farming approaches that I know of, only Mr. Masanobu Fukuoka's approach is based on the philosophy of Buddhism. He emphasized that the philosophy behind farming is the most important thing.

When Mr. Fukuoka was 25 years old, he had an awakening experience. His thoughts therefore concur with Buddhism's dharma. In his books, "The One-Straw Revolution" and "The Natural Way of Farming", Mr. Fukuoka emphasizes that farming should be guided by Buddhist philosophy. He named his natural farming approach as Farming method of the Dharma or the Buddhist farming method.
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