On Dec 22th. SFYAD hosted their 5th English Book Sharing Forum, where they invited Venerable Miao Zhong (SFYAD Advising Venerable), Qianjun Wang (SFYAD Officer) and Winson Yang (SFYAD member). This session was moderated by Yuchen Qian (SFYAD Secretary), where the chapter discussed was titled “Do I Resemble a Monastic?” from the book, “I am Not a Dependent of the Buddha”, written by Venerable Master Hsing Yun. This chapter sparked questions around one’s identity, how one can practice Dharma as well as the mindset one ought to keep.
Winson talked about his conviction and original intention of dispelling misconceptions about Buddhism and meditation, and to discover greater evidence of the scientific relationship between the two. This led to the pursuit of a Ph.D. in neurology; Winson felt that patience is key in this journey, as he has to endure the long research process and difficulties along the way. On the other hand, Winson mentioned that compassion is important, for it helps him find out the needs of others, in both his research and his role as a teacher/mentor. This allows him to render a comprehensive solution, such as giving others opportunities to learn as opposed to “telling” them what to do.
For Qian Jun, a graphic designer, she shared that the Dharma helped her see the big picture during the design process - and better achieve a “neutral” design, akin to “middle path” espoused by the Buddha. Just as everyone has their own path to enlightenment, Qian Jun realized that Buddha’s teaching is like a navigator to aid one in exploring their true selves; and life’s goal is about developing truths. This inspired her to guide others, especially those in unfavorable conditions to realize hope through the Dharma.
Being a monastic, Venerable Miaozhong has faced criticism due to misunderstanding and misconception from the laypersons. However, she would instead focus on extracting the positive feedback from these negative evaluations to improve herself and the conditions around her. The Venerable spoke of the essentialness of being open-minded and mindful at all times, where the former keeps one’s judgments at bay, and the latter allows one to be skillful in speech and action. As for the phrase “Buddhism Depends on Me”, the Venerable explained that it is about how we can apply Buddha’s teaching in our lives, for the best way to propagate is by demonstrating, setting an example.
This session also marked the end of the book sharing forum series, with the goal of completing 50 book sharing sessions by the San Francisco subchapters before the end of 2019. SFYAD’s book sharing sessions had been diligently organized by Qiulin Peng (SFYAD Committee) and Lilian Tao (SFYAD Committee) in the past 5 months. One striking feature of SFYAD’s sessions was that they were being held in English, despite the book was written in Mandarin.