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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.
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.
As part of his significant initiatives to spread Chinese Buddhism to the world, Master Sheng Yen, the founder of Dharma Drum Mountain, led Chan practices in person at the Wujimen Martial Arts School in Russia in 1998 and 2003.

Over the past two decades, in memory of Master Sheng Yen’s grace, the practitioners of Wujimen School have keep practicing Chan and translating the Master’s books. This dedication continued when, with earnest gratitude for the Dharma, Ivan Kapalin, the disciple of the founder of Wujimen, led a pilgrimage of seven members of the Wujimen School and with one Swiss dharma friend to the World Center of Dharma Drum Mountain and the branching monasteries in Northern Taiwan, during the period of January 9th to January 23th, 2018.
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