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3-Day Retreat with Dharma Drum Mountain - the Practice of Letting Go

Our Mind has a habit of clinging, clinging to the past, to the future,
to things that we own, to things that we want, to our own ideas, to people, to our own thoughts and our feelings, to the idea of a Self.

Our Mouth has a habit of spitting words out without mindfulness, many times becomes arrows that hurt others and ultimately ourselves. We have been so accustomed to talking that it is hard to keep it silent. Our Mouth also has a habit of eating, consuming more than we need, things that are not kind to our own body, food that might be full of toxins.....

Our Body has a habit of not being able to rest, our feet running and walking faster than we can be aware of...........Our life becomes like a running race, working crazily to meet deadlines after deadlines, chasing after things, fame, positions, recognition.

After all, our Body, Mind, Mouth have become very exhausted and tired.

Our unmindful actions have caused to ourselves a lot of suffering. Deep inside we all want Happiness but not suffering. And we realize that our Body, Mind and Mouth really need a stop and rest.

The 3 day Retreat with the Hong Kong Dharma Drum Mountain at Kadoori Farm Research Center was this precious opportunity for our Mind, our Body and Mouth to practice stopping, resting , so that they can become more relaxed, attentive and clear.

This Retreat was with the presence of Venerable Guo Yuan(or Guo Yu), the head of the Zen Hall in Gin San's Dharma Drum Mountain Head Temple, also with Venerable Cheng Gien( or Cheng Gien) , and supported by Cheng Chu (Cheng Chu )Fasi.

Venerable Guo Yuan(or Guo Yu) has guided our meditation practice in details and clear
steps: to relax our mind, to bring our mind to our body in the
movement exercise and yoga, to bring our mind to be aware of our breathing.

With this anchorage, our mind begins to settle and quiet down.

In this retreat, t was a discovery to myself of my clinging to my i-phone. I was so reluctant to pass my i-phone to the volunteers. In my meditation, thoughts about emails that I needed to send, people whom I needed to call continuously appeared in my mind.

Oh, how I regret passing my i-phone to the volunteer!!! No one would know or ask me if I did not hand in my mobile phone! My mind was very unsettling because of the absence of my i-phone. I became very agitated. The urge and the wanting of getting it back was so strong that I wanted to ask for it back! I found myself like an addict!

Yet, I also realize that our mind has a habit of clinging. The retreat was helping us let go of our wantings! In fact, realising this wanting mind has helped me more focus on the meditation methods, because any other thoughts would just reinforce this wanting.

Sitting Meditation has helped us to observe ourselves. There were moments that there was only this clear observation on the flow of thoughts, feelings, images in our mind. There was only the Breathing.

Thanks to Venerable Cheng Gien's instruction on Slow Walking Meditation,and Bowing, my mind was able to be free from this wanting! The Slow Walking Meditation was so meticulous and focused that the Mind had nowhere to go.

This was the first time that I have had received such a meticulous instruction on Bowing. The apparently simple action of Bowing actually can be seen as a continuation of many moments. We started to see every action of ours like seeing the every single scene of a movie. We started to be very attentive to every details. It was an experience of being Free!

In the last dharma talk by Venerable Guo Yu, he talked about how to see.
With the same pair of eyes, we can now start to practice seeing without labelling, without giving it a name, without judging. Then, we can be free from our ideas, names, forms and our own judgements.

After all Life is a Dream just as described in the famous Chinese novel 'the Dream of the Red Chamber'. All the relationships, materials, wealth, beauty......in life is a Dream, not graspable and not permanent. After all, this Dream of Life is like a Drama. We are all actors and actresses of this Drama. Our job is to do the best as this role of actor.

What is the Drama of our Life? What are our roles? How are we doing with our Drama? Are we the Director or our clingings?

The Vow of Venerable Sheng Yien is to elevate the quality of Human, and build the Pureland on Earth. Over-coming our desires, our clinging, our wantings is a way to elevate our quality of being Human Being, and able to uncover this original purity of ours. When our Mind is Pure, the Land is Pure. This is how we can build this Pureland on Earth. We start with ourselves, the inside of us.

Venerable Sheng Yen has walked on this path of uncovering this Pure quality that we all have. Buddha has walked this path. Now, we are also on this path.

It is not accident that we are walking on this path together. Let us treasure this condition and support each others.

(by Corrin Chan in HK)

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