2016 Annual Dinner with our Abbess and Venerables
In the evening of Saturday, December 03, 2016,
at the Lotus Tea House of Fo Guang Shan Temple of Toronto
The ESC (English Sub-chapter) members together with the Facilitators team of the English Dharma class as well as the English Children Dharma Class, were invited to attend the annual dinner with our Abbess-Ven. Yung Ku, the Guiding Venerable-Ven.Miao Qi and Ven.Man Yee, all Venerables were present as well. There were 30 of us who got together for this heart-warming annual event.
The event started with a welcoming speech by our Abbess, and the ESC president Martyn, while Andrew was the Master of Ceremony of the evening. During the time when we were enjoying the delicious meal prepared by our kitchen staff and volunteers, the group prepared a question, and were ready to request a teaching from the Venerables on the topic of the practice of Forgiveness.
Our Abbess, Venerable Yung-Ku responded by sharing her experience and her insights with us. She started by saying, ‘Life is filled with rapid changes from moments to moments, there is indeed no time to hold any grudges against anyone, and there is no room for anger or resentment. When we believe that we have been wronged, the understanding and realization that, all events and incidents in life take place due to a series of causes and conditions would help us live our life with ease and harmony. Therefore, in Buddhist perspective, there is indeed no need for “Forgiveness”. Giving up hatred and forgiving the harm done to us by others allows us to move on and to achieve peace of mind. She continued, “As some of you may know, I used to consider myself as perfectionist, while seeking perfection during my younger years, I had noticed that I was becoming increasingly intolerant and critical of anyone or anything, that did not meet my expectations, this situation was causing me a great deal of stress, but I did not seem to be able to reconcile. One day, my Master, Venerable Hsing-Yun, he came to me and taught me something which has changed my life for ever. He said to me, “Yung-Ku, the reality of the world we live in is made up of “half and half”, this really means it is a relative world, and we understand it as day/night, cold/hot, right/wrong, joy/pain, prosperity/adversity etc.”, he said, if seeking a perfect world is my goal, I would need to learn to accept and embrace both “halves”, which may look different, but are equal, or, I would have to expect that I shall be living in an incomplete and imperfect world that is not whole…”.
“As we practice daily, we cultivate to expand our Heart and Mind to be open and spacious, to embrace and take in the half-and-half so that our world can be perfect and whole...” our Abbess said. I was deeply inspired and moved by these words of wisdom.
The evening continued with a special highlight and that was chanting in French performed by Emmanuel, Ansuya Nawal and Ryan. It was such an inspiring and beautiful sound that was so well received by all of us. May I conclude by taking this opportunity to offer my deep gratitude for such an occasion, so that we may come together as a community – a place we call Home. By Grace Ng Listkowski