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First Aid is a strategy applying on people in need of physical health intervention, such as Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation known as CPR, and basic management of trauma before health care professionals intervene. When people suffer from a sudden illness, first Aid can provide the screening to save lives, prevent conditions from worsening, or to promote recovery. But, what about people who need immediate assistance in their mental health? According to the national survey of America, it is found that 18.5% of adults (18 or older) experiences one kind of mental illness in a year. Is there any way for us to help? On April 21, 2018, at Chan Meditation Center of Dharma Drum Mountain Buddhist Association, the Adult Mental Health First Aid Training was offered by New York City Health Department. Many common misconceptions of mental diseases were clarified during the course. We learned how to identify the symptoms of depression, anxiety, psychosis, substance abuse, and Mental Health Crisis.
Last Friday, I had the wonderful fortune of learning from my mom about a Zentangle drawing session happening at Dharma Drum Vancouver Centre (DDVC) in Richmond. Zentangle is a form of pattern drawing that is both creative and meditative. Although I’d heard of Zentangle before, I’d never tried it because I don’t usually draw much. Since this was an introductory-level workshop, I was curious and decided to attend.
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 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.
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.
The summer of 2017 has become the most memorable summer of my life thanks to the one-month visit to the Dharma Drum Vancouver Center (DDVC). I’ve been living on the DILA campus for the past two years and I thought that I really understood what sangha life really is. It had never occurred to me how hard it could be for a foreign religion like Buddhism to survive or struggle to prosper in a foreign context, even though I knew that it was even more difficult in ancient times when most people were conservative or illiterate and resisted things alien to what they already knew.
On February 3, 2018, Ven. Chang Zao, Director of Dharma Drum Mountain Malaysia Center, together with Ven. Yan Xiang were at Sunway University to conduct a training and meditation session. This training program, themed “Discovery Journey of the Mind”, was organized by the Buddhist Association of Sunway University for the preparatory committee of Musical Drama. There were 25 participants altogether.
As part of this year’s high school summer camp (生命美學研習營), I gave a talk entitled “A Westerner’s Perspective on Eastern Religious Traditions and Education” (歐美人士眼中的東方宗教傳統與教育). In order to give the audience some insight into my own personal background, I decided to dedicate the first segment of the talk to introducing the young Taiwanese high school students to some key facts about the religious landscape of modern Western countries.
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