DDM Global News

In appreciation of the Five-Day Zhongyuan Festival Dhama Service: Chanting the Buddha’s Name Wholeheartedly

A Five-Day Zhongyuan Festival Dharma Service and Three-Session Mindfulness practice was held from September 1 through September 5 at the Dharma Drum Retreat Center in New York. Collaboration between monastics from the Chan Meditation Center in New York, Dharma Drum Retreat Center, as well as Dharma Drum Mountain San Francisco and Los Angeles chapters enabled this rare Buddhist event to be held successfully. A hybrid in-person as well as online model was adopted for this event where participants could opt for in-person participation or virtually through YouTube live. All attendees, whether in-person or virtual, prayed for the wellbeing of all sentient beings.  

During the event, participants were guided to practice mindfulness of body and mind; they practiced meditation (sitting and walking), chanting, bowing to the Buddha, as well as sincerely chanting the name of Amitabha Buddha.

Venerable Chang Hwa, director of the Chan Meditation Center, said that the world is in a state of instability after nearly one and a half years of the COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with the recent frequency of natural and man-made disasters. Many people lost their lives and their surviving family members suffered greatly from this loss. As such, the Chan Meditation Center spared no effort in organizing this event, both in-person and virtual, even though we are still in the midst of the pandemic. Every morning and evening before group practice, a video clip of Master Sheng Yen was played. In this video clip, Master Sheng Yen reminded us to keep to our vows which are in accordance with those made by the Buddha and Bodhisattva; this will plant the seed of cause and effect that leads to success. Although our virtuous roots were planted in our past lives, we should still cultivate virtue, merits, and good karma in this life. We need to practice diligently in addition to developing good relationship with others. In order to practice diligently, we must recite “Namo Amitabha” at all times; we developed a pure mind in the moments when we chant “Namo Amitabha” wholeheartedly; this is where the pure land is. Participants were repeated reminded to relax their body and mind, to let go of their worries, and the chant the Buddha’s name wholeheartedly.

The Five-Day dharma service was concluded on the morning of September 5. The Three-Session Mindfulness practice was held between 3:30 pm to 9:30 pm for the benefit of the living as well as the dead. Merits gained from the diligent group practice were then transferred to all sentient beings in the ten directions; this concluded the successful five-day practice.

Text: 楊恆 (Yang Heng) 
Photos: Yin Ting
Translation: Olivia
Yeh Shujen (葉姝蓁)Leefah Thong