DDM Global News

Back to Nature – Dharma Drum for Young People Outdoor Hiking Event

Updated July 20, 2022

On July 9th, 2022, Dharma Drum Vancouver Centre invited young generations between 16 years old and 40 years old to join a hike along the Jug Island Beach Trail located in Belcarra Regional Park, Belcarra, BC, Canada. The beautiful trail follows the peninsula along Bedwell Bay and leads to a beautiful rocky beach that overlooks Jug Island. Throughout the hike, the group incorporated meditative practices to help everyone reduce stress and bring peacefulness to their minds.

At the beginning of the event, Venerable Yan He and the event leader, Andrew Chen, gathered the group for eight-form moving meditation to warm up before the hike. Under the clear blue sky, everyone was focused on their breaths and movements. Venerable Yan He asked everyone, "What is the key point of this moving meditation?" People answered, "Where the body is, where is the mind." It can further be interpreted that to always be mindful of being aware and relaxed in body and mind.

After the moving meditation, the group was lined up one by one. Talking was not permitted during the hike and everyone was told to focus on their breaths and spend some quality time with oneself. During the hike, the group remained silent as told. Everyone was very focused. Once the group reached the destination, beautiful smiles were blooming on these young people’s faces, like summer flowers. After taking a quick water break and a group photo by the water, the group quickly headed back to where they departed, the picnic area.

Once returned, Venerable Yan He and volunteers had the lunch table set up already. There were savory foods such as vegan rice balls and braised bean curds, as well as desserts like cheese cakes and fruit. After enjoying the chats and food, the first group activity that followed was trivia questions. Everyone was separated into small groups with people who they were not familiar with. The purpose was to get people to make new friends. The trivia questions were not only related to nature but also related to basic Buddhism. People enjoyed warm-hearted and engaging discussions. Later on, the group who lost the trivia session chanted the Heart Sutra in front of everyone which brought lots of laughter and joy to the crowd.

The second group activity which followed was "holding the water cup." Everyone was asked to hold a paper cup full of water and walk across the big field and then come back to where they started. Venerable Yen He told the gathering the inspiration of this activity, which was a story about a notable practitioner back in the old days, whose king asked him to hold a bowl full of oil. The king asked the practitioner to go around the mountain and then come back with the full bowl. If he spilled any oil from his bowl, his life would be taken by the king. The purpose of this was to give a great push to the practitioner's personal developments. The practitioner did not spill a drop at all during the walk, but just before he reached his destination, he was enlightened and dumped the whole bowl of oil right in front of the king. He was no longer afraid of death, which was later deeply praised by the king. Our young group was asked to participate in this activity by focusing our breaths and not to be affected by the external environment. Everyone enjoyed the process and came back with almost-full cups.

Lastly, the planning team prepared hand-written cards with 108 adages of wisdom from Master Sheng Yen, and Venerable Yen He directed everyone to make a wish in their mind first and then to draw a card. After everyone made wishes and got their own cards, the crowd started sharing their wishes and the adages they received on their card. While sharing wishes and self-reflections on the adages, people's distances were brought closer and everyone in the group could feel the warmth not just from the sunlight, but from everyone in front of them. The group took some group pictures with their cards in hand and the event was successfully completed with young people's laughter and good vibes.
Written by Gina Lin 2022.7.13
Photo:Dharma Drum Vancouver Centre 2022.7.13