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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.
In May, 2015, I had the chance to attend a nine-day Chan meditation retreat of DDM. I never went to any retreats before and just have a couple of months experience in the Chan practice, so when I first arrived I felt quite nervous and had no idea what was waiting for me.




Saturday November 4th patrons of Dharma Drum Vancouver Centre were blessed to hear a dharma talk from Abbot President Venerable Guo Dong. The turnout was amazing, with chairs spilling out into the lobby and the dining hall at the back. The subject of the talk was a timely one, something that everyone could relate to, namely, how to communicate and get along across generational and cultural lines.
Part One: Memories with Dharma Drum Mountain (DDM)

Hugo is a psycholocial counsellor from Mainland China to study Counselling at NTNU. He was introduced by a western freind to come to International Meditation Group (IMG) to practice Chan Meditation and to get more connections with DDM. He had something to share on his experience during the past few years.
It had been my wish to attend a Chan retreat lasting more than 3 days for a long time. Finally, the moon, the stars, the sun and everything else in my life lined up perfectly. I was able to carve out some time and fly to Vancouver for the 5-day Outdoor Retreat. Here I will share some impressions of my experience from the retreat on Hornby Island from 9/10 - 9/14.


“I think the AC in the van stopped working.”
“It’s not field work unless the AC goes out.”


Mosquitos, sprained ankles, a car tire slipping off the edge of the road, and AC blowing out in the muggy Northern Taiwan climate are all part of a day’s work in the field. Over one hundred religious sites visited, and one week to go. During the Space and Cyberspace Workshop at DILA, three teams were tasked with recording pictures, video, and location data to create a special database of religious sites in the Jinshan and Shimen districts of Northern Taiwan. Faculty and student researchers from thirteen universities worldwide gathered at Dharma Drum Mountain from June 5th to June 16th to learn digital mapping techniques that will help them in a host of digital humanities projects. This workshop is at the cutting edge of research and combines real world field data with interactive mapping technology, bringing innovation to time honored techniques.
Chinese Chan Buddhism blossoms discreetly

From Editors:
Former Swiss pediatrician, Hildi Thalmann, deeply felt the anguish of this transient life, and turned to Chan meditation. In 2004, after participating in Chan meditation guided by Master Sheng Yen, she took refuge in the Three Jewels under the Master; aspiring to disseminate Dharma Drum Lineage of Chan Buddhism as taught by Master Sheng Yen in her motherland. She then founded the Chan Bern Center for Meditation, promoting a four-year educational curriculum. Through translating Master Sheng Yen's literatures and giving lessons, Thalmann's top priority was to help more people obtain correct guidance in Chan practice.
The spring language competition has become something of a small tradition here in DILA. Students look forward to hearing their classmates’ chants, songs, and short lectures. For the students who take part in the competition, this is a unique opportunity to get additional instruction from their language teachers outside of the classroom.
In 2006 when Shifu stopped coming to the US, I went back to Taiwan to see him and promised him that I would build a Chan practice center to honor him and continue his legacy. In 2009 when he passed away, I started a meditation group as a way to repay my gratitude to him, but I didn’t know how I was going to build a center to fulfill my vow. After a few years the small meditation group grew to an extent that we needed a larger space. So we started to look for a suitable land, raise money, and plan the construction.
Despite being only a beginner at meditation, I am very glad that I became involved with this practice. Truthfully, having a weekly class to attend regularly is what gives me motivation to meditate, thus I am grateful for this opportunity. My experience with meditation was beneficial for my stress and exhaustion, and I have certainly gained a lot of insight and peace of mind from these sessions.
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