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At the invitation of various social welfare organizations and the Public Service Department, Dharma Drum Mountain Social Welfare and Charity Foundation (DDMSWCF) again sponsored a booth at the Fair for Single Elders at the Taipei City Zoo at 10:00 AM on January 18. Venerable Guo Qi (果器法師), the Secretary-General of DDMSWCF, and Zhixiu Xin (辛智秀), a board member of DDMSWCF, led 14 volunteers from the Wenshan District to bring gifts which signified blessings for more than one thousand senior citizens and families of disabilities and low income. It was heart-warming to see the long line of people wishing each other well.
When Buddhism first appeared in India, there were no specific dietary customs and rules for practitioners. Since religious practices were prevalent in India, most people of faith must have followed generally similar dietary customs. In the early stage of Buddhism, bhikshus and bhikshunis obtained their food by walking door to door through the village, carrying an alms bowl. This manner of subsisting is described by the saying “an alms bowl for food from a thousand households.” To treat everyone equally and to seize opportunities to cultivate karmic relations, the monastics did not choose from whom to receive food; neither were there dietary taboos over whether the food was clean or unclean, sacred or not sacred.
Master Sheng Yen, founder of Dharma Drum Mountain, passed away in February 2009, hence the loss of a most revered spiritual mentor for Taiwan’s society. The Master’s funeral served as his final teaching by example and a valuable Dharma lesson for the public, on the meaning of life and death.

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