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In April 2018, after a ten-year absence, Ven. Gou Yuan, the Abbot of Dharma Drum Retreat Center, returned to the St. Louis Branch in Missouri to lead Chan retreats and conduct Dharma lectures; this provided a rare chance for the local as well as international students to practice and experience purification of the mind.
Editor Notes
Gilbert Gutierrez, an attorney in U.S., also a seeker all his life, studied various martial arts and mind arts but couldn’t be satisfied until encountering with Master Sheng Yen.
He received Master’s teachings as well as Dharma transmission and started to propagate Chan Buddhism to the West ever since he became one of the Dharma Heirs of Master Sheng Yen.

How did he make all these possible?

It’s been three days since the retreat ended. I’m on a plane to Toronto, soon off to visit relatives and then to DDRC for the Time Keepers class and the Meditation teachers course. My wonderful wife is beside me. She was on the retreat as well. She’s meditating and I’m typing.

I could go on about the retreat itself; the fantastic teacher, the great food, the wonderful volunteers. I could talk about what I learned there about my sitting, about the dharma. In short I could write about all the things others write about, and in a sense I have....just now. All the above is true. But from my perspective, here on this plane 2 days later, something much more important comes to mind.

From May 17 to May 20, 2018, Dharma Drum Mountain Chan Meditation Center held its 8th Bodhisattva Precepts Ceremony for lay practitioners in the Dharma Drum Retreat Center in New York. Abbott President Ven. Guo Dong (果東法師), Ven. Guo Yuan (果元法師) and Ven. Guo Xing (果醒法師) hosted the ceremony as the “Three Bodhisattva Dharma Masters.” (受戒三師) The Bodhisattva precepts ceremony lasted for four days and three nights and was attended by 76 lay practitioners who were seeking to receive bodhisattva precepts and supported by 14 monastics from the Eastern and Western coasts of the United States and 23 lay volunteers.
From Friday January 26 to Sunday January 28, Dharma Drum Mountain in Toronto had the pleasure of hosting a 3 day meditation retreat with Venerable Chang Hu, at Crieff Hills Retreat Center in Pushlinch, Ontario. During this retreat, Venerable Chang Hu provided very in-depth guidance on many aspects of the meditation practice, including posture, methods and setting up a daily life practice and attitude. Perhaps the most important theme that was brought up throughout the retreat was the importance of relaxation: how to relax, why relaxation is so necessary to meditative practice, and the way relaxation embodies the teachings and practice. Venerable Chang Hu guided the group of fifteen participants through gentle moving exercise, massage, standing exercise, and other techniques to deepen one’s awareness of the body prior to using the meditation method. These instructions were supplemented with very detailed understanding of the energy flows throughout the body and how they can become blocked through improper daily posture, excessive computer use, and other issues. I had the pleasure of volunteering as the timekeeper for this special event, and the following is a brief write up of some of my observations.
During March 31 to April 5th, Venerable Hui-Min, the Principle of Dharma Drum Institute of Liberal Arts, made a special trip to the States to share his insights of the Dharma. Initially invited by Department of Asian Language and Culture, University of Michigan, he shared a series of curriculums of “Chan and Brain Science “; and gave a public speech for nearly 120 participants, on the topic of “Mindful Dying: Hospice care in Taiwanese Buddhism” in Rackham Amphitheater.

DDM followers in Michigan were taking this precious opportunity to meet Venerable Huimin, also invited him to give a lecture of “The Compasses to Pleasures, Chan practices, and Brain Science “in Lansing Buddhist Association Amitabha Village Retreat Center.
On March 1 to 3, 2018, the First International Workshop for Buddhism Dictionaries was jointly hosted by Department of Cross-Cultural and Regional studies, University of Copenhagen, and Buddhism Studies Department, University of Poona, India.

All representative scholars were coming from Hamburger University, School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences in Paris, The University of Tokyo, Deccan College, and Dharma Drum Institute of Liberal Arts in Taiwan; they joined altogether so as to explore the better ways of making compilations and studies of Critical Pāli Dictionary, which brings significant benefits to better comprehend and learn Buddhism literature in Pali.

For a long time, I searched for answers about the meaning of life. In 1975, I happened to participate in a meditation course led by two Lamas, and heard them say, “You don’t have to believe anything I say. You should still think about it and put it into practice, to see whether what I have said benefits you.” From then on, I developed an interest in Buddhism.
On March 31st, 2018, Theravāda Buddhist Council of Malaysia (TBCM) and Nalanda Institute Malaysia (NIM) co-hosted the “2018 Inaugural Summit of Buddhist Leaders” . The summit’s objective was to enable Buddhist leaders to get to know their mission, and to identify the spirit and mindset required for the mission. The leaders built a model of Buddha Dharma practice to provide positive direction and influence to their own organizations. The leaders interacted with each other through courses, games and discussions. Nearly 80 English-speaking Buddhist leaders attended the summit from all over Malaysia.
From February 7th to 11th, the fourth “IDCC- Inner Dimensions of Climate Change- Asian / Pacific Youth Ecologists Forum” was held jointly by Dharma Drum Mountain Buddhist Association (DDMBA), The Global Peace Initiative of Women (GPIW), and Earth Charter. The forum was held at the Asian headquarter of United Nations in Bangkok, Thailand and Sathira Dhammasathan.
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