DDM Global News

The Premiere of Master Sheng Yen, a Charitable Film to Bring Peace to People's Minds


After more than two years of making, the documentary Master Sheng Yen premiered at Ambassador Theatres Taipei at 1:30 pm on August 30, 2020. DDM's abbot president Ven. Guo Huei, as well as two special guests Huang Yun Ling and Alan Ko, were invited to watch the film, along with over 700 other viewers. Produced by the Sheng Yen Education Foundation, the charitable film of Master Sheng Yen's story in sharing the Dharma shows how he strived to find a way out when encountering the seeming dead-ends, demonstrating his compassionate vows during hard times and his wisdom in challenging situations. The film is scheduled to be shown in more than 70 other rounds across Taiwan.
After the premiere, Cai Qingyan and Yang Bei, chairman, and chief executive of Sheng Yen Education Foundation, who also served as executive producers for the film, expressed gratitude to film director Zhang Zhaowei, monastic and lay practitioners of the DDM, and the people who signed up for tickets. Also, coincidently, both Zhang and Cai agreed that the idea of letting go best represented their feedback for the film. Zhang said that watching the story of Master Sheng Yen's life inspired him to let go of his insistence of wanting to change society and the world by making documentaries, and also helped him overcome his crisis in work, enabling him to keep moving on with his career of making documentary films.    

Cai explained that it was because the Master never stopped improving himself and letting go of the sense of self-superiority that he was able to renovate Buddhism and establish Dharma Drum Mountain with an aim to uplift the character of humanity and build a pure land on earth.  Master Sheng Yen tells a story of how an ordinary person could make extraordinary contributions. The film hopes to inspire the general public who are not familiar with the Master after viewing.
The film draws on stories from Master Sheng Yen's autobiographies, chronicles, and interview videos. As Yang recalled what prompted her to make this film, she said that she had always felt apologetic for not being able to finish an autobiography for the Master as he expected. Therefore, after she first met Zhang in 2016, she immediately thought of making a documentary on the dignity of life and death, as an alternative way to fulfill his wish.

As DDM abbot president Ven. Guo Huei said, this film again reminded him to remember his teacher's kindness and put his teachings into real practice. The Master might have encountered countless difficulties and setbacks in his life, but he never forgot to give of himself for the sake of the Dharma and sentient beings. As the modernization of Buddhism takes education and system as a fostering force, thus the Master often said,“The Dharma is so good, yet so few people know about it, and so many people misunderstand it.”For this reason, he also wrote the Orthodox Chinese Buddhism and promoted the Four Kinds of Environmentalism. Ven. Guo Huei expected that the film could not only be appreciated as art but also serve to inspire people about life.
Sheng Yen Education Foundation believes that given the pandemic's global impact, people would be reflecting more on their lives. The film of Master Sheng Yen's life will prompt viewers to reflect deeper on their life, gain more insights, and attain greater peace of mind.     
Text:  Zhang, Yao-Zhong (張曜鐘)
Photos:  Li, Dong-Yang (李東陽)
Translation: Xiao, Chen-An (蕭宸安)
Editing: Chang, Chia-Cheng (張家誠); Shi, Min (史敏)

Click here to know more about Master Sheng Yen.