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DDM- LA Youth Workshop

 Online sharing and Learning

Blessings in Three Existences of life & Joy of Imperfection

by committee

article zoommeeting

These days, with strict coronavirus-related restrictions limiting human contact, California is still under the situation of home epidemic prevention. The Youth Project proposed 5 years ago has the opportunity to be re-evaluated. With the support of the director of DDM LA Center, Chang Yu Fa Shi, and the sponsorship of the AJ WANG Foundation Scholarship program, the draft proposal was passed at the end of April and volunteers were immediately invited to form a team group to start thinking about the details.

Finally, on Saturday, August 8, DDM LA Youth project officially hosted its first college workshop on Zoom and was led by Professor Aries Gu, a guest speaker from the Dharma Drum Institute of Liberal Arts in Taiwan.  A total of 38 young people signed up, of which 30 were current students and 8 were fresh graduates.

Despite a technical issue that surfaced during the initial stages of the first workshop meeting, the participants were able to work together to come to a solution that ensured the success of the workshop. The first hour consisted of a lecture on the Three Aspects of Life/ Blessings in Three Existences of lifewhich awarded students with a deeper understanding of their own lives. After a short break, Professor Gu introduced an activity meant to give her listeners the chance to examine their relationships with others. The students were then split into smaller groups so that they could share their thoughts and revelations, as well as forge connections with their fellow participants.

Later, everyone came together for a larger and interactive discussion with Professor Gu. Numerous students volunteered to share what they had discussed in their smaller groups, followed by helpful and thought-provoking responses and suggestions from Professor Gu.

Students walked away with new perspectives on their relations and interactions with others, and the means to change them if they wished. This meaningful workshop was met with an encouraging reception, with many claiming it was “very interesting” and “useful.” With the coming workshops scheduled for every other week, students look forward to another engaging and valuable session with the special speakers

DDM activities that can be carried out with modern technology can inspire people’s hearts and gather the strength of all people.  It is a SPIRITUAL ENVIRONMENT and a lifestyle that strives to balance the spiritual with the practical.  Especially during the pandemic it is very nice for the youth to actively discuss, share and interact with each other as well as share resources.We may not be able to immediately apply it to all aspects of our life, but it is worth the journey, as you will discover new things about yourself that you otherwise would never have known.

Student’s feedback

Chelsea   I am honored to have this experience of creating a program from the ground up! Working with the committee is very inspiring because everyone cares about this College program so much. In the beginning, our goals seemed so far away because there were so many uncertainties, like Covid-19 and not knowing if College students would join or be interested, but we all kept going and developing our ideas into reality. I am so grateful that I had the chance to meet and work alongside so many remarkable, hard working, and kind people. I have learned so much from this team and I look forward to what the future holds for DDM Programs.  When the orientation and first meeting happened, I felt very relieved and happy that so many College students were interested in joining! I've never experienced being around so many College students, just like me, who are curious about learning Chan Buddhism. Even though the meetings have to be online, I'm glad we officially started this program in 2020. I felt truly inspired to work harder so that everyone could have an insightful experience and learn more about Buddhism. 

Edward   From the first two class I learned about letting things go and letting things into my mind for a healthier mental space. I also learned about the four parts that make up what I should do for my future. This was helpful because it has real-life applications. From the third class, I learned about how people nowadays try to reach perfection and try to pretend to be strong by stuffing away all their feelings. I can relate to that idea of being unrealistic with goals and stuffing away weaknesses.

Joyce   Group discussion provided a different and refreshing perspective and were really interesting and sometimes even eye-opening. Professor Kuo’s topic is more on the symbolic and creative side, it was satisfying to hear super creative responses that made a lot of sense.

Sabrina   It is also very interesting how Chang Ji Fa Shi  compares the idea of social media with the iceberg. I would like to see more topics like these.

Maya   I thought it was very insightful and I really enjoyed this lecture topic. And I learned a lot about my inner self. I learned why I act a certain way.

Chloe   I learned about how the structure of society engrains a sense of weakness and un-confidence in our minds, and how we should not ignore it, but acknowledge how it affects us.

Dinh    The lecture helped us to look back and walk back to ourselves and not busy running to unnecessary things which are distracted us these long time.

Stephen. The culture that I am referring is how many of the older members of Asian families tell the young members that they should spend all their time focusing on academics or extra-curricular activities and sometimes, it makes them feel miserable. So, the fact that Fa Shi is Asian and she representing our culture while saying that it's okay to enjoy yourself every now and then actually makes me feel better inside. I learned that while you should focus your path on self-improvement, it's also important to give yourself self-worth when you can, because that can make you more motivated in life's journey.

Emily   I learned that it’s better to live a balance life and it’s ok to face your inner demons.

Maggie   I 100% relate - especially when she was talking about using work as a coping mechanism and being numb to emotions. That's something I always do - distract myself/making myself too busy so I do not have time to process emotions. I learned to pay more attention and become more aware of that 90% of the emotional brain, and break free from that cycle.

Erica   I appreciate that she encourages us to embrace both positive and negatives aspects of ourselves in order to grow to our potential. I also truly enjoy how she tied in environmental education and societal numbness into the lecture. These are also topics that are avoided by society, but she encourages us to face it head on. I would love to see more topics like these.