因為疫情關係，道場所有對外的實體活動，不得不改為線上共修，為了讓更多人知道如何參與，監院法師請大家幫忙做電話關懷，於是打電話給ㄧ些常互動的菩薩。 因緣不可思議，原本只是ㄧ通閒聊話家常的電話，竟然讓5年前所提的「法青與兒少」的企劃案，有機會可以再拿出來重新評估，這是因爲AJ Wang Foundation Scholarship Program 創始人王菩薩夫婦，感同於年輕人因疫情宅在家的苦悶與不安，願意發心贊助道場籌辦青年學子學佛的 program。
終於在8月8 日，「法青與兒少」專案正式啟動，而且是以ㄧ個更活潑，更完整，更有意義的常態性的方式開啟序幕。今年第ㄧ次招生對象大都是以道場義工的第二代為主，共有 37位年輕人報名參加，30位是在校學生，7位是剛畢業的青年。
回想這4個月來，團隊的每位菩薩是個個有願心，同時個個沒把握，因爲沒有經驗，只好大家手牽手心連心「摸著石頭來過河」，有人善於莽撞往前衝，有人負責量河水有多深，有人專門調查石頭的大小，有人提供愛心療癒，有人專門當拉拉隊，有人像老參，當大家high 過頭時，會猛來ㄧ記棒喝，有人邊走邊玩，專門提醒大家多放鬆！有人走的慢，常常跟不上決策變化的腳步，但仍歡天喜地的緊跟著大家走，所以老覺的團隊有點像卡通裡的小小兵（ Minios），個個單純善良又天真，管他外面疫情每天發展如何，….真的就這樣，ＬＡ的「法青與兒少」「疫外」的萌芽了，而我們這群阿姨媽媽們的小小兵，也順水推舟搖身ㄧ變，被封號為「 Youth Program Committee」喔！
Joy 我ㄧ開始，也不知道要如何的合作，不過看大家都還蠻認真的，工作分配好，然後各自分工，下次 meeting討論，可是幾次之後才發現事情不是想像的那樣順利，但重點是團隊成員相互扶持、拉拔，讓每個人都能夠在一個團隊中不斷成長，彼此相互尊重、相互支援、培養默契、擁有共同的目標，讓我深深感覺到團隊力量無窮大，覺的自己還蠻有收獲的！
Sarah 回想三個多月前，第一次開會時，毫無頭緒不知如何開始、如何進行。往往一籌莫展時，聖嚴師父的這句話「因緣有，要努力」就浮上心頭， 此刻 AJ Wang Foundation 提供獎學金鼓勵青年學子親近佛法，我們更要把握這因緣，盡力讓這個計畫實現。師父曾說「在今天及未來的佛教都必須要朝著國際化、普及化和年輕化這三個目標邁進。」 洛杉磯道場培育高中大學生接觸佛法，善加發揮他們中英文的雙語能力，願這批年輕佛子朝著師父說國際化年輕化前進 。
Gail 從一開始，對這一群在美國成長的年輕人，對著這頗具深度佛學 workshop「三生有幸」的領受度，抱持保留態度! 但隨著辜老師一步一步引領契入主題，我深深地被老師講題內容所吸引，雖是線上會議，但能感受到學生們專注的聆聽! 藉著選圖思考過程，每個人進入自我世界的巡禮，覺察到自己一直以來與他人溝通的連結關係! 當每位學生在分享的過程，看到老師仔細聆聽孩子們的自我敘說，藉著回饋、關注，暢通孩子們的表述，背後帶出了一股強大同理力量！無疑地這過程已經開啟每位學生重新檢視自我的心靈之門！覺得這群大朋友真的是「三生有幸，遇見佛法」
Diatie Wong When I was approached by Ashley to join the DDM Student Workshop Committee, I was very excited! It's such a rare opportunity to be a part of something new and life changing. I was honored to be a part of this team alongside so many strong wise women. I was so happy to hear that DDM wanted to create a College Buddhist Group because I believe that young people should plant their Buddhism seed when they are young so they can take what they learn and apply it to all aspects of their life, such as family, work, school, and the community. I can't wait for the youth programs to grow and help elementary and middle school kids!
The first meeting was very exciting because we had a guest speaker from Taiwan, Professor Gu, she came to share her wisdom. We are so lucky to have the guidance from Chang Yue Fashi. " If the mountain won't move, build a road around it, if the road won't turn, change your path, If you are unable to even change your path, just transform your mind." - Master Sheng Yen. I know that we have a strong team and we can face difficulties together to create a better community and help spread Buddhism.
From the students
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. 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.