One-day Meditation Camp for youths from international youth

On the morning of July 17th, 27 youths, aged 16 to 25, from 17 countries including Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Finland, etc., started their one-day meditation camp at DDM Zhai Ming Monastery (齋明寺), a Chinese Buddhist monastery built with a fine blend of both old and new. “Welcome Welcome Haere Mai,” 12 volunteer group leaders from Dharma Drum for Young People sang loudly upon their arrival, giving them a warm welcome to start the day.

In the opening ceremony, Venerable Guo Zhou (果舟法師), Director of Zhai Ming Monastery, expressed her sincere welcome and expounded on the profound connotation of “Amitabha,” blessing all participants with infinite light as well as immeasurable life. She wished that through Chan practice, young participants could have a taste of the infinite solemnity of Buddhadharma.

The meditation session started with the “8-form moving meditation.” Via the form of “Back Stretching and Bending,” Venerable Chang Ji (常寂法師) from DDM Public Relations Office guided participants to gradually become aware of their own bodily sensations and experience its delicate connection with the mind. Further on, with step-by-step instruction on how to relax and maintain awareness, many members naturally eased into the calm state of sitting meditation. Followed by the practice of lying meditation at noon and outdoor bowl-holding meditation, participants came to realize that Chan is everywhere, both in stillness and in motion.

In the afternoon workshop led by Venerable Chang Zhong (常鐘法師), inspired by two stories named “Cow and crocodile” and “Time-lapse at Iceland” respectively, members were guided to reflect on how a perspective is formed in their daily life. Is there any chance that a biased idea emerges unknowingly, just like a blind man feeling an elephant?

Alessandro from Italy shared that it is quite difficult to see the reality through phenomena but quite easy to form a biased interpretation. The best way to get close to the whole picture is to remain open-minded, without being attached to what one previously thinks of as correct.

In the “Beans-puzzle” game, at the very moment when a stray of beans was suddenly removed, Paulina, from Poland, instantly realized the meaning of “impermanence.”

The vegetarian food provided by the monastery also earned praise from the group. “We just can’t ever imagine vegetarian food to be so delicious!”

After the much lively workshop, Franz from Germany was once again calmed by the solemn atmosphere during the evening service. Though a religious ritual from a different culture, it could nevertheless bring him harmony and tranquility. Qizhang Cai (蔡其璋), one of the group leaders, found it wonderful to welcome, accompany then bid farewell to all the young participants from other countries. The camp ended with everyone viewing the video of the day’s activities in laughter.

Texts: Elenda Huang
Photos: Xu, Chao-Yi (許朝益) More info for Dharm Drum Monthly
Translation: Elenda Huang
Editing: DDM Editorial Team; John Wu (吳俊宏)

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