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The Concept of Repaying Kindness: To Benefit All Sentient Beings through Actual Practice

Purifying our minds and society through diligent practice of the Dharma at the Dharma assembly:
In Chinese culture, the Tomb-Sweeping Festival is a time to pay respects to one’s ancestors, by remembering their kindness and the value of filial piety.
What is the best possible way to spend my Labor Day weekend? Is it to head on a road trip with friends, to indulge myself in the sun on the beach, or to max out my credit cards at the shopping mall? These things above, I have done them all. However the happiness that they brought me were short lived; in fact, it disappeared right afterwards. It wasn’t until I started to learn about Chan meditation, that I finally found a way to embrace true happiness. So, that is how I spent my Labor Day weekend this year. Apparently, I was not alone. There were more than twenty people who had attended the 3-day Chan meditation retreat at the Chan Meditation Center in Elmhurst, New York. Our lead teacher Ven. Changzhai had mentioned that she was very encouraged to see us willing to join her to practice Chan meditation. Just like every other retreat, I had gained a lot more things this time as well.
It all started in 2010 at the first “Protecting the Spiritual Environment Camp” (心靈環保體驗營) in Mianyang (綿陽)Secondary School in Sichuan in 2010. That was the first time I encountered Dharma Drum Mountain (DDM). At the camp, we played games, learned to relax and listened to Dharma teachers sharing their thoughts on “protecting the spiritual environment”. I realized that this group of people truly sought to help us. Therefore as soon as I graduated from High School, I returned as a volunteer to pass on to my younger friends what touched me. At the same time, I was determined to devote more time to get to know DDM better.
This retreat just passed was my third with Dr. Rebecca Li. To date I have attended two three-day retreats, including this one, and a ten-day retreat she co-lead with Dr. Simon Child. As has always been in the past, this Three-Day Chan Retreat was well run, insightful and moving.
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.

It was 17 years after the Terrorist Attack on 9/11, 2001. As the result of death and injuries, wars, horror, hatred and conflicts, it is still unforgettable after so many years.

Today, the 4th Meal Pack for NYC was held at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum, 46th Street in Manhattan. This event was initiated in 2015 by Tomorrow Together / 911Day.org, that actively promotes the ideal of unity, empathy and service among young people throughout the United States.
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?
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