Dharma Drum Mountain Sangha

  Sharing the Benefits of Buddhadharma The principle of Education through Public Outreach is to expand the influence of Buddhadharma in purifying the minds of the general public and on social customs. There are two major approaches: traditional Buddhist practices and contemporary cultural events.   Traditional practices are encompassed in a whole array of programs carried out at DDM, Nung Chan Monastery, CHIBC, and DDM branches and liaison offices. Activities include Chan meditation, Buddha name recitation, Dharma lectures, Dharma assemblies, study groups, Chan meditation classes, Chan retreats, spiritual environmental protection camps, bodhisattva precept transmission, blessing and taking refuge ceremonies, Buddhism classes, and the Eight-form Moving Meditation classes. Among those, Chan meditation has been the cornerstone of our public outreach education efforts.   Emphasis on Chan Meditation   A look at the semi-annual DDM calendar will show how much emphasis DDM places on meditation. There is an average of one seven-day retreat per month, with retreats suitable for all levels─beginning, intermediate, and advanced. The meditation methods practiced in the retreats have been expanded to include huatou, zhiguan (samatha-vipasyana), and Silent Illumination, as well as the Buddha's namerecitation. The locations could be Dharma Drum Mountain, Sanyi Education Center for Protecting the Spiritual Environment, and other venues. In 1987, upon returning from the US, Master Sheng Yen held the first DDM seven-day Chan retreat at CHIBC. Later, one-, two- and three-day weekend retreats were added to accommodate working people and to make the experience more widely available. Longer retreats of ten, fourteen and forty-nine days were also added later. The number of people participating in retreats has also increased, ranging from a hundred to more than a thousand. For example, the two-day retreat in fall 2003 had more than sixteen hun