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Taking Dharma Drum Mountain Home:
Puppetry performance as an approach to spread the Dharma relevant to everyday life

Learning Buddhist teachings through puppetry performance?

In the evening of February 27, right after the online meditation sessions, DDM Hong Kong had its puppetry debut “Take Dharma Drum Mountain Home”, an online reel shows especially made for the general public during the period of pandemic prevention. Two episodes were presented every week, and replayed on the following Sundays. The story revolves around a family of three generations. Each member of the family holds different values of their own age groups, and has disparate Buddhist concepts as well as all kinds of doubt emerging from the practice. Learning from their pursuit of the answers, the audience started to attain a better understanding of orthodox Buddhism, Right View for their practice, and the methods that can be used at home.

The idea of online puppetry theater was inspired by the alternative group practice in DDM Hong Kong during COVID-19 pandemic. “DDM Hong Kong for Young People” had once used self-made short films as a form of caring for their members. In view of the high popularity those films enjoyed, this new form of drama performance for spreading the Dharma was created. One of the script writers, Huang Bo-rong (黃柏融), pointed out that the title “Take DDM Home” was in fact meant to bring DDM to every household. To have a place for practice available at home is something to be happy about.

Chen Yanxi (陳演昕), who was in charge of project planning, indicated that everything was customized DIY except the puppets and a few ready-made props. Scriptwriter for the Ch’an practice series, Chen Shujun (陳淑君), said that all the actors were very dedicated, even with impromptu plays.

Popular responses from the audience kept coming in for the first two weeks. Common comments showed that the performance aiming to spread the Dharma was very lively, vigorous and beneficial to all ages, hence adding a spirited and relaxed atmosphere to the group practice.

Venerable Chang Zhan (常展法師) hoped that the quotidian themes of Buddhist teachings can be presented through creative art forms such as puppetry and the like, and aspired to try various approaches to promote Buddhist teachings in the future, so as to continue to bring more enriched content to the audience.

Texts: DDM Hong Kong
Photo: Shi, Bei-Hui (施鋇徽 )
Translation: Chang, Chen-Yu (張振郁)
Editing: DDM Editorial Team; Elenda Huang

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Puppetry performance as an approach to spread the Dharma relevant to everyday life