Year-End Volunteer Lunch Gathering
At the end of each Lunar Year, the DDM LA Center hosts a lunch gathering for their volunteers to show appreciation for their continuous dedication and support. This year, the event was held on January 20, 2019. With over 200 volunteers coming together, this year’s event was the best-attended among all previous events. Everyone enjoyed the vegetarian hot-pot and Chinese dishes and the music performances. A great time was shared between all the participants in this early celebration of the Chinese New Year.
The lunch gathering kicked off with a video highlighting the key events and activities organized by DDM in 2018. After that, Sonia and Emily, two volunteers of the Center, spoke about how they came to learn about Buddhism through DDM. Sonia said that she was thankful to be part of the team of receptionists and for her ability to see personal growth through serving others with compassion. Emily, who took the Bodhisattva Precepts last year, shared her story of how she used Buddhadharma teachings to face and handle the suffering caused by her own illness. She is grateful for the support from other practitioners in her Flower Arrangement class and book study group. Through their support and the Buddhadharma teachings, she found strength to face death and the impermanent nature of life. Emily also expressed that she would continue to practice diligently so individuals around her can also benefit from the Dharma.
The lunch party continued with a series of musical performances. The Irvine Silver-Haired Harmonica Band, a group of Irvine-based elderly people who did not have any musical training prior to joining the band, performed "Song of the Three Jewels" composed by Master Hong Yi as well as some traditional Taiwanese songs using the harmonica. A few teenage and youth performers also played different pieces of music with the violin and saxophone, and a few children sang and danced. Don, a Caucasian individual who has been volunteering at the Center for a long time, also performed pieces using the Chinese guzheng (Chinese zither).
The event ended with a video showing DDM's Abbot President Guo-Huei sharing the annual theme for 2019: "A Good Wish for the World". In the video, he encouraged everyone to put their wishes into practice, thereby transforming the fortunes of every person, the fortunes of his/her family, the public society and the world. At the end of the event, a group of children presented flowers to the Fashis who attended the event (Guo-Jian Fashi, Chang-Ju Fashi, Chang-Tong Fashi, Chang-Yi Fashi, Chang-Chan Fashi and Yen-Jiao Fashi), in appreciation of their devotion to the teaching of the Buddhadharma. Everyone went home with gifts (a greeting card, a desk calendar, a set of reusable stainless straws, a fortune bag etc.) representing the blessings from the Fashis.
This gathering would not have been successful without the contributions and the powerful vows of many individuals and was the outcome of the joint efforts of the Sound and Audio Team, the Kitchen Team, the Media and Photography Team and many other volunteers. As Abbot President Guo Huei pointed out, from having multiple afflictions to reducing afflictions and liberating from afflictions, all possibilities take the power of a vow to accomplish. Therefore, making a vow is a very important Buddhist method of practice and is a significant essence for the Bodhisattva path. Also, putting priority in benefitting others while setting aside one's personal self represents the Bodhisattva vow. The more a person help others, the more that person can let go of one’s self and thereby can attain genuine happiness.