DDM Global News

The 14th Great Compassion Water and Land Service 2020: Nurturing Peace of mind, Gaining Access to the Pure Land

The 14th Great Compassion Water and Land Service in 2020 was held at Dharma Drum Mountain World Center for Buddhist Education, Taiwan, from November 21 to November 28. This event was centered on the idea of "humanity," according to Ven. Guo Kai, a member of the preparatory team. The event took place in assembly halls spanning 45 branches worldwide, in addition to providing the option to join the ceremony online. During the event, every participant learned how to take good care of their mind through their practice, as an effort to help purify society. This is why Master Sheng Yen advocated and promoted this service.

To align with the government's prevention measures, only half of the usual number of seats were provided and devotees were encouraged to attend live-streamed assemblies at DDM's branches or at home. For this purpose, DDM provided an optimized live-streamed platform and online liturgy, among other user-friendly services. In addition, for the first time, DDM prolonged the time available to replay recorded live videos, to make it easier for people in areas severely hit by the pandemic to attend the assembly asynchronously.

On the last day, when the Sending off the Sages ritual was held, Abbot President Ven. Guo Huei led the sangha, attendees, and volunteers to make a vow to apply the calming power they had attained during the group practice in their daily life. He also announced DDM's annual theme for the year 2021—"Peace and Ease"—and encouraged everyone to cultivate compassion and wisdom by continuously applying the Buddhist methods of practice, thereby learning to care for themselves and others in the face of impermanence.
"As impermanence is an ordinary fact of life, we should face it with an ordinary mind." The closing short film compared our life to a journey, and pointed out that impermanence is never absent in our life. If we can take good care of our mind, then "everything we see is a scenic view; everywhere we go is a pure land." Ven. Guo Huei quoted Master Sheng Yen's talk of encouragement during the SARS pandemic, when he remarked, "Most of the time we have erroneous views, and have inverted ways of thinking: we tend to take pain as happiness, and the impermanent as permanent. We regard this fragile life of ours and the environment as everlasting and unchanging, and that's why we have fear and a sense of insecurity. Therefore, we should face it, and acknowledge it. With this kind of wisdom, we'll no longer have fear and will be able to live in calm and peace at all times."

"Ven. Huimin explained the Dharma by incorporating scientific knowledge. I found it very beneficial and useful. It inspired me to reflect on the way to live in peace during the pandemic," said Guo Liyi, a devotee from Hong Kong who participated in the assembly via the internet. Wu Xuehua, a devotee from Toronto, Canada, attended the group practice online as a way to pray for the people suffering from the pandemic. Zhang Sumei, who joined the assembly at Ziyun Monastery, Kaohsiung, expressed her gratitude to the preparatory team for enabling remote attendees to feel as if they were on site. "Practicing in a group setting is very different from practicing alone, especially when the sound of group chanting hit my heart. It was so touching," said Xiao Huijuan, who attended the live-streamed assembly at Nung Chan Monastery, Taipei. "Dharma Drum Mountain is like a school designed for Bodhisattva practice!" By applying the method learned from Ven. Guo Xing, DDM's Chan Hall master, Chen Xinyou, who participated in the General Hall, focused on how to live at every moment and therefore felt grateful for the teachings of the Three Jewels.
During this session of Water and Land Service, there were some 12,000 volunteers. In addition, 25,000 people attended the live-streamed assembly in DDM's branches worldwide, and, for the first time, more than 500,000 people attended online around the globe. DDM stated that every number represents a calm and peaceful mind to nurture the Earth, thus helping to transform the world into a serene Pure Land.

Text: Lin Ya-Ying (林雅櫻); Dharma Drum Monthly
Photos: Lee Dong-Yang(李東陽); Chang, Tian-Pei (張田沛); Chang, Yao-Chuang (張曜鐘); Dharma Drum Monthly; Chen Meditation Center
Translation: Hsiao Chen-An
Editing: Chang, Chia-Cheng (張家誠); Keith Brown