DDM Global News

Seeking A Spiritual Home During the Pandemic: Online Refuge-taking Ceremony

On 10 am December 19th, 2020, five participants took refuge in the Three Jewels after the solemn weekly online Guanyin Bodhisattva Chanting Service. It was particularly meaningful that, during the severe pandemic and with other participants' blessing, they fulfilled their wish to take refuge.
123 devotees worldwide attended the online Guanyin Bodhisattva Chanting Service. Following the monastics' guidance, they chanted Guanyin Bodhisattva's Universal Gate Chapter and Great Compassion Mantra, finally praying for all people around the globe. Ven. Chang Wu encouraged everyone to learn to be others' Guanyin bodhisattvas, to grow in wisdom, and learn to view others as  Guanyin bodhisattvas in order to cultivate compassion when interacting with others. She expected everyone to learn from Guanyin Bodhisattva and be a Guanyin Bodhisattva, always reaching out whenever others are in need.
Given the five devotees' need to take refuge, Ven. conducted the first online Refuge-taking ceremony hosted by the DDM Vancouver Center after the chanting service. Although the ceremony took place online, it had the sincere blessings from the monastics, volunteers, and some 50 people who witnessed the ceremony online. After hearing the meaning of Taking Refuge in the Three Jewels, the refuge takers recited the refuge-taking verses to accomplish their wishes.
A devotee in Scotland, Ai Huan, said that she received substantial help for inner peace from the writings of Master Sheng Yen in her early years. In October last year, her grandmother passed away and she felt deeply guilty for being unable to see her for the last time due to the pandemic. Ven. Chang Wu gave her comfort right away and encouraged her to chant Buddha's name and transfer the merit to her grandmother. This allowed Ai Huan to experience a feeling of going home in the Dharma. Having the chance to take refuge on the eve of her birthday, she regarded it as the best birthday present for herself. Hsiao Yun from Toronto has learned Buddhism for years and has benefited from it mentally and physically. After years of searching for a Chan Buddhism monastery, she finally got the chance to draw close to Dharma Drum Mountain Vancouver Center last year. She was glad that she didn't miss the chance to take refuge.
Venerable Chang Wu urged the refuge takers to diligently practice and study precepts, meditation, and wisdom, learn the correct teachings of the Buddha, and put them into action in daily life. She wished that, with the Sangha and other    Dharma fellows' company on the Bodhisattva Path and under the guidance of the Three Jewels, they can reduce both others' and their own vexations and receive peace, health, and joy.

Text: Min, Chiu (邱敏)
Photos: Dharma Drum Mountain Vancouver Center
Translation: Chen-an, 
Editing: Min, Shi (史敏); Jessie Goulter; Keith Brown