DDM Global News

Venerable Guo Huei, DDM’s new abbot president, pledges in his inaugural vow to propagate Chan Buddhism

On the same day 12 years ago, Master Sheng Yen passed on the position of abbot president to Ven. Guo Dong (果東法師) by handing the authentication tokens, including the organizational charter of DDM, over to him. In the ceremony this year, Ven. Guo Dong passed on his position over to Ven. Guo Huei as the sixth abbot president in the same ritual. When Ven. Hui Min (惠敏法師), in charge of supervising the transfer, shared the ceremony’s theme: “Inherit the Past and Inspire the Future: Swan geese flying together in paradigm”. Followers were deeply touched by the warmhearted atmosphere of unity.

Ven. Guo Dong, the former abbot president, expressed that of the three authentication tokens, the DDM organizational charter and Master Sheng Yen’s guiding principles were approved by the Sangha representatives’ assembly and entrusted to the abbot president for implementation. The 108 Buddhist prayer beads are a reminder to urge the abbot president to cultivate a pure mind by practicing the three Buddhist principles of precepts, concentration, and wisdom; and extinguish the three afflictions of greed, anger and ignorance. Just as Master Sheng Yen once said, by keeping these three tokens in mind, the abbot president will be able to successfully help the DDM Sangha and himself grow in merit and wisdom.

Ven. Guo Dong urged followers to trust, support, protect, and affirm the new abbot president. He said that DDM is a group guided by its core values, which relies on all its members to share the tasks and obligations. Like a navigator, the abbot president’s duty is to lead DDM’s monastic and lay followers aboard the same Dharma boat to sail toward the shared goal. The monastic members may have to change their assigned positions on a regular basis, but the task of purifying people’s minds and society should remain a permanent endeavor in our future lives.

The newly elected abbot president then took his oath before the Buddha, “I will cultivate myself and do my share; practice the Dharma amid phenomena; support the resident community; and fulfill an abbot president’s duties, by adhering to the Dharma, monastic rules, and DDM’s organizational charter, protocol, and guiding principles.” “I vow to carry out and realize Dharma Drum Mountain’s vision, spirit, direction, and approaches as proposed by Master Sheng Yen; give of myself for the benefit of others; and take continuing the legacy of and promoting Chan Buddhist teachings in the world as my own mission.” “I pray for the Three Jewels’ compassionate safeguard; I will constantly remain aware of the law of causality; I will strictly observe the precepts at any time and places, and keep on learning. I shall make vows and fulfill them, to repay the kindness of the Three Jewels, the sentient beings, as well as the Buddhist sangha as a whole. I vow never to retreat and retrogress.”

Afterwards, Ven. Guo Huei expressed his deep admiration and appreciation to Ven. Guo Dong, the former abbot president, for his selfless devotion to unifying DDM’s monastic and lay members over the past 12 years on behalf of its sangha. He sincerely urged all to keep embracing the shared aspiration, striving together to help “uplift the character of humanity and build a pure land on earth.” He wished Buddhist teachings could remain longer in the world, enabling more people to settle their body and mind by experiencing the wisdom of the Dharma. He also prayed for peace and harmony in society and the world, where people can live in genuine happiness.

Hundreds of distinguished guests, including elder monks and prominent figures from the Buddhist circles, made a special effort to attend the ceremony and give their blessings. Mitomo Kenyo (三友健容), Master Sheng Yen’s good friend in Japan and also Ven. Guo Huei’s adviser for his doctoral dissertation said that while Master Sheng Yen was characteristic of his steady and peaceful deportment, Ven. Guo Huei is known to strictly uphold the precepts—the teacher and the disciple sharing many similarities in personality. Besides offering his congratulations, he also kindly reminded the venerable to always wear a smile on his face like Guanyin Bodhisattva, be open to different opinions, embrace people calling for help, and apply the Buddhist spirit of equality to bring monastics and laypeople together, practicing cohesively under the one great canopy of the Buddha and bodhisattva’s merit and wisdom.

Wang Jiuling (王九令), current president of Dharma Drum Mountain Dharmapala in North America, who took the Three Refuges under Master Sheng Yen in 1995, saw this visit as a most precious opportunity to meet with over 140 followers of DDM from different parts of the world at the DDM complex. He remembered the former abbot president’s frequent visits in North America to show his care for local devotees, thereby earning their high respect. Also, he took this special occasion as a chance to convey his gratitude. In the meantime, he expressed his personal trust and support toward Ven. Guo Huei, a rigorous scholar of Buddhist studies and DDM’s new abbot president, who always shows loving-kindness. As one of the participants in this abbot president succession ceremony, he was deeply touched by the former abbot president’s supportive expectation, as well as the newly abbot president’s profound aspiration to continue the Buddhist endeavors.

Iris Wang (王翠嬿), the vice president of DDM Dharmapala in North America and the founder of DDMBA Chicago Chapter, who is now in charge of the publication of Master Sheng Yen’s works in English, said she was greatly inspired by witnessing Ven. Guo Dong handing the three authentication tokens to Ven. Guo Huei, especially the DDM’s organizational charter and guiding principle of anti-corruption stressed by Master Sheng Yen. As a veteran Buddhist practitioner living in a foreign country, she made a special effort to travel back to Taiwan to attend this ceremony. She praised the volunteers’ contribution and expressed her gratitude to Ven. Guo Dong for his effort to share Buddhist teachings abroad for the benefit of overseas followers. She also forwarded her keen support for the new abbot president.

As a shared asset for society, DDM stated that Buddhist essentials will never be subject to the fast-changing digital era we live in, and that DDM will firmly uphold the central value of “spreading Chinese Chan Buddhism, with Protecting the Spiritual Environment at the core, to achieve the purification of the world through the Threefold Education”. Ven. Guo Huei will preside over the Three Refuge and Five Precepts ceremony at the Buddha Hall of DDM World Center for Buddhist Education starting from 2 p.m. on September 29. Members of the public are welcome to come and take the refuge, starting their journey of practicing, protecting, and promoting the Buddhist practice, helping the further development of Buddhism.

Chang, Yao-Chung (張曜鐘); Patricia Yang (楊淑婷)
DDM Cultural Center (法鼓山文化中心)
Elenda Huang (頤嵐達)
DDM Editorial Team, Chang, Chia-Cheng (張家誠)