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Becoming the Master of Our Own Minds:

2017 Young Buddhists Camp in DDM Malaysia Centre

From October 20th to 22nd, DDM Malaysia Centre held the “Becoming the Master of Our Own Minds: 2017 Young Buddhists Camp” at the Bodeshen Youth Centre, in the hopes to help the youth members raise their emotional awareness. Nearly 60 members and 12 group counsellors from Malaysia and Taiwan experienced this emotion-awareness camp altogether.

Set as the prelude, a Color-Monster animation film marked the theme of the camp. Then through a series of games on the beach and the water-bowl meditation experiences, the members started to learn the method of handling external disturbance, such as breeze caressing their skin, waves pounding their feet etc., they therefore practiced continuously returning to the present and focus on the water-bowl in hand.

Many lessons at different levels are also included in the activities, such as "what's happening to Me?", "I am not Me? ", "I am still Me!", and "it is all Me".

Under the guidance of Venerable Yan Xiang, the youth firstly utilized the Color-Monster emoticon card and stacking game, learning how to be aware of emotions as well as the physical-mental changes. According to the Venerable, as there are no good or bad emotions, it would be no need to be judgemental; on the contrary, the awareness of one's own physical and mental states is essential to harmoniously working with others.

The following lesson, guided by Venerable Chang Zhao, "I am not Me", using sand, leaves and twigs, the youth members of each group tried to complete a piece of art work through team cooperation. Yet, unexpectedly, right before the moment of the end, the just-complete art work was instantly destroyed. With this shocking experience, the Venerable inspired the youth to raise awareness and explore the triggers of emotions. They were further guided to raise their doubt sensation during the group
discussion session, "What caused my temper?”, "I equal to, or not equal to, the temper of anger”?

The Venerable further expounded, in our daily life, our emotional fluctuations often resulted from our personal interpretation of what happened. Yet, sooner or later, we would find out emotional catharsis does not provide solutions but requires extra efforts to deal with the aftermath. In fact, when confronting the external disturbance, as the Venerable shared the methods, we could just take a deep breath, refrain from resistance, try to appreciate what is happening at the moment, and be open to all possibilities without any attachments to the past. In doing so, and through continuous relaxation practices, we could retain pacification and serenity.

During the third class, “I am still Me", the youth members took a self-made drama play as an opening statement and reviewed the emotional oscillations ever since their arrival, about how they were becoming aware of their changes, from resistance to acceptance. Through acting out on stage, members thus realized, "Having emotional fluctuations is normal and even beneficial for the path of self-improvement ".

In the final class, "it is all Me", Venerable Chang Dao lead the groups discussion in much depth to find out that how we react emotionally are intertwined with what we have acquired from our biological families.

The symposium in the end, hosted by Venerable Chang Zhao, was the highlight of the camp. During the final session, Qing Gui, the devoted volunteer, sharing his experiences of confronting moods, stated that one should try positive interpretation, hold reverse thoughts, so one could slowly dissolve those emotions.

He encouraged the youth members to accept ourselves when experiencing different sentiments and pressures in life, then apply Master Sheng Yen's teachings of "face it", "accept it", "deal with it" and "let it go", and transform these emotions through deep breathing and contemplation. In addition, reciting Buddha's name or Chan meditation can also be a good method to maintain awareness.

During this three-day camp, everyone recognised and explored one's own emotions, learnt to listen to others, and attained self-improvement, at some level, through life-stories sharing.

The Venerable hoped all members could help others using this technique of emotional transformation, and liberating oneself and others through the cultivated empathy. He also recommended them to discard vexations arising from self-centeredness, learn to be grateful for everything at the present moment, face the karmas of life with an attitude of having fun and adventurous, so be the masters of our own minds!

Texts: Yeh, Wen-Shan(葉文珊)
Photos: Matt, Lai, Hui-Xuan (賴慧璇)
Translation: Chang, Cheng-Yu (張振郁)
Editors: DDM Australian Editorial Team

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