Lay Dharma Teacher Dr Kwang Chan Gives Dharma Lectures in the Temple
During the ¡°10th Anniversary of Buddha¡¯s Birthday Celebration in New Zealand¡± on 8th ¨C 9th April, the renowned Lay Dharma Teacher Dr Kwang Chan was invited to give 3 consecutive Dharma Lectures, attracting an audience of over 300 people.
*The Art of Living with Mindfulness
Title for the 8th April lecture is ¡°The Art of Living with Mindfulness¡±. Dr Chan described ¡°Mindfulness¡± as the phrase used in the West to allow the public to become accustomed to Buddhism¡¯s teachings on ¡°Right Mindfulness¡±, which is closely associated with meditation. Now ¡°Mindfulness¡± has been proven by science for its effectiveness in mental therapy.
Dr Chan further shared his experiences of teaching ¡°Mindfulness¡± at Griffith University. He emphasised that a practitioner may encounter obstructions from knowledge and analytical differentiation, where one seemingly knows yet cannot put these knowledge into practice. This is because the practitioner is concerned about the past and the future yet forgot about living in the present moment. Hence ¡°Mindfulness¡± can liberate us from ruminating over the past and worrying about the future, but instead bringing the body¡¯s awareness back to the present moment. Continuous practice of this this will allow one to be calm in all situations and not react in a habitual and reflexive manner, which may lead to more troubles.
Dr Chan also used many witty short cartoon clips to simplify meaning of ¡°Mindfulness¡± to the audiences. The last video shown was an advertising describing the inner world of different patients inside a hospital, prompting many tears from the audiences, as this allowed them to realise and empathise that everyone has their own personal struggles. Therefore true compassion can be used to face one¡¯s own suffering and other people¡¯s suffering with tolerance and non-judgement. This will be able to benefit self and others, and to enable one to become a true Humanistic Buddhism practitioner.
*Facing Death and Embracing Life
On 9th April Dr Chan gave another English lecture on ¡°Facing Death and Embracing Life¡± based on his professional expertise on counselling and Thanatology.
The main example he used was the actual case of how his 81 year old ailing mother have handled a lung cancer operation and how Venerable Master Hsing Yun and the temple have been very important mental support for her throughout the whole ordeal. He also attributed his mother¡¯s ability to face the possibility of death to her over 20 years of religious practice, which also cultivated the good habit of willing to talk about death. Finally the Doctor concluded this example by sharing his mother¡¯s recent experiences of visiting Fo Guang Shan after her recovery. This talk was intended to motivate the audiences to reflect upon how they view death and how this view can be attributed to religious faith.
¡°Life and Death is an important issue that should not be taboo to talk about, but instead carefully considered and plans made.¡± This was the final idea raised by Dr Chan to encourage the audiences to cherish life and to make the most of every moment. This will lead to a life of much beauty and blessings.
*The Living Philosophy of Humanistic Buddhism"
The lecture of ¡°The Living Philosophy of Humanistic Buddhism¡± was held on the evening of 8th April, attracting an audience of over a hundred.
Before the lecture¡¯s commencement, Venerable Juehang of the Nan Tien Institute briefly talked about the ¡°Nan Tien Institute Venerable Master Hsing Yun Education Trust Fund¡±. The Venerable and a past pupil of the Institute (who currently holds a doctorate degree) praised Venerable Master Hsing Yun¡¯s plans of propagating Buddhism through education. This alumni was grateful for the Venerable Master¡¯s scholarship support in the past, which allowing him to fully focused on his studies.
During the lecture Dr Chan stated that ¡°Three Good Deeds and Four Kinds of Giving¡± are the simplest instructions by Venerable Master Hsing Yun to direct BLIA members¡¯ cultivation. This is not just a concept but actual Dharma methods that can be applied in daily life. He also reminded BLIA members to be grateful for these causes and conditions that enabled them to cultivate within Humanistic Buddhism. Finally Dr Chan humorously commented that: ¡°Staying in Fo Guang Shan is like sleeping on top of the Venerable Master¡¯s palm, as it¡¯s the Venerable Master¡¯s compassion that allowed this place to exist, so it feels wonderful to be here.¡±