DDM Global News

Online Workshops Held by Dharma Drum Mountain Buddhist Centre Malaysia with over 100 Participants Exploring Together the Issue of Life and Death

Updated November 18, 2021
At every stage of life, we constantly experience sorrows, happiness, partings, reunions and separations in life and death. With the ongoing pandemic, people tend to unconsciously slip into states of depression, sorrow, anxiety, and all kinds of negative emotions in the face of helplessness, unpreparedness, and regrets. In order to address this, Dharma Drum Mountain Buddhist Centre Malaysia held two online workshops on Oct. 31 and Nov. 4, 2021, with the theme "Pick Up, Let Go, See Through Life and Death." In total, 154 volunteers and benefactors participated. Together, they explored life and death and learned about Dharma Drum Mountain's ideas and methods for end-of-life caring.

There were three sessions for each workshop, leading the participants to "cultivate hope by realizing impermanence"; "let go of life and death"; and, finally, understand "life is finite, whereas the power of vows is infinite," such that participants are able to explore life and death systematically with each step. The workshop covered the teaching video of Master Sheng Yen, founder of Dharma Drum Mountain (DDM), participants' sharing, small-group discussions, as well as question and answer sessions with the Venerables. The goal was to encourage all the participants to learn from each other and construct a correct Buddhist worldview, based on the principle  that all phenomena are impermanent.

DDM's end-of-life caring aims to disseminate education about life and death. The idea of "assistive chanting for the deceased, greeting with sympathy and caring, memorizing through Buddhist rituals" is to extend wishes to the living and the deceased through Dharma services. Master Sheng Yen once said, "Only when the living find peace will the deceased be at peace." A solemn Dharma service not only helps the deceased depart peacefully; it also educates the family in a way that can help convert their sadness and sorrow into sincere wishes, through chanting Buddha's names and sutras to those who have passed away.

During the small-group discussion session, participants shared their perceptions of life inspired by the workshop, and how they learned to be grateful for all of life's adversities. Thanks to such adversities, one is able to accumulate compassion and wisdom along the way in practice, thereby allowing one to peacefully face the ending of life while nourishing the beginning of the next life.

Approaching the end of the workshop, Venerable Chang Zao, director of DDM Malaysia, reminded all the participants to practice with the mindset of caring for all sentient beings and benefiting others, as well as devote oneself to helping others with selfless vows. With enduring persistence, one is sure to broaden their mind, and become more peaceful when facing impermanence in life, thereby transcending birth, ageing, illness, and death.

Text: Tseng Xiu-rong (曾秀容)
Photos: Dharma Drum Mountain Buddhist Centre Malaysia 
Translation: Olivia 
Editing: YKL, Keith Brown