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Wednesday, November 20, 2019

I have been a member of DDM for a few years and speak mostly English but the community has always been accommodating by providing translations. I haven’t been to classes taught by monastic teachers for quite some time but am certainly grateful to get a chance to go to this series of classes. Although the classes were in Mandarin, I feel that I learned fully what was taught in the classes.

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The recent one-day retreat on March 9, though perhaps a bit short by some standards, was a good introduction for newly-initiated meditators such as myself to get our feet wet with a more sustained effort and the opportunity to improve the breadth and quality of our practice. In addition to familiar practices, leader Ven. Chang Wu introduced us to mindful eating, which transformed a normally mundane act into a pleasant one comprised of appreciation and focused awareness. Lunch seemed to very naturally invite our attention --crunchiness, softness, flavour and smell giving way to a sense of the body receiving "reinforcement". Food, instead of being edible merchandise, became a gift from the world that produced it.
From February 5 to 9, 2019, I participated in three ceremonies during Chinese New Year at Dharma Drum Mountain Los Angeles Center. These ceremonies were the Diamond Sutra Chanting Ceremony, the Medicine Buddha Dharma Ceremony and the Guanyin Blessing Ceremony.
When I first went to a retreat at the Dharma Drum Retreat Center, I wanted to learn how to improve my practice of meditation. I didn’t understand that meditating without studying Dharma would never get me on the path I wanted to be on. I learned some of the basic principles of Buddhism during the week of that retreat—enough to make me want to study more.
My name is Nadine, I have been meditating daily for over a year. I have attended 2 Chan retreats at Dharma Drum Vancouver Centre (DDVC). One 7-day retreat and one 5-day retreat.

A little poem I wrote right after the retreat.

trees, silent; insects, voices 樹默蟲吟

water illuminates the green blue sky 水照青藍

deluded, realized 似迷似悟

with a fresh new mind 初心油然

I am very grateful to have been accepted to the end of year Seven-day Buddha's Name Recitation Chan Retreat in CMC, NY (Chan Medication Center in NY).

It was my first recitation retreat also the first one I can get to go home at the end of each day. It was getting more and more each day and I think it helped to establish one’s daily practice.

What does Dharma Assembly mean? To my understanding, Dharma Assembly means a group of people coming together to learn and practice the Dharma. It should embrace much more than just chanting for good health, wealth and blessings. Why do we need to follow so many rituals at a Dharma Assembly? What the true meanings of these rituals and why they are necessary? I wanted to find out.
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