Fo Guang Shan Tsunglin Buddhist College organized an online summer vacation Buddhist college preparatory course in July. In total, over 160 young adults participated in the course. Four members, Selene, Lilian, Qiulin, and Winson joined the course which was held on Fri/Sat evening between 3rd July and 25th July at 7.30-9.30pm Taiwan time, meaning that they had to get up at 4 am in the morning to sign in to classes on Zoom. So much dedication to the Dharma! Classes were split into two parts, with the first hour being a lecture followed by 1-15 minutes of Q&A, 10 minutes break, and the rest of the time for smaller group discussions.
The course was designed to teach basic Buddhist teachings and concepts, Sutras, and strengthen young adults' concepts of the Dharma so students will be able to delve deep and cultivate the Dharma in daily life. The course was divided into three sections: 1) a Forum titled "A Youth's Path to Self-Cultivation", 2)
Foundational Buddhist concepts and 3) Sutra reading.
The forum included panelists Director of the Buddha Museum, Venerable Ru Chang, Deputy Director of the Buddha Museum, Venerable You Xian, and Chancellor of Fo Guang Shan Tsung-Lin University, Venerable Miao Nan. Lecture topics include Buddha-Dharma, Pure and Simple, Three Learnings and Eightfold Noble Path, The Lotus Sutra's Universal Gate Chapter on Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva, The Flower Adornment Sutra's Practices and Vows on Samantabhadra Bodhisattva Chapter, Sutra on the Eight Realizations of the Great Beings, and Ru Shi Shuo.
Selene shared, "I’m deeply inspired by all the lecture contents and my fellow classmates. Thanks to the powerhouse lecturers, the sutras were explained in an easy to digest and understand manner. The small group discussions with my groupmates brought the Dharma even closer to life. Really shows how the Dharma is so profound and applicable to our daily life! I learned to appreciate every moment and every sentient being I’ve encountered as potential learning opportunities for myself, and to always make sure I can practice the Eightfold Noble Path as my guide in life."
Lilian shared, "I have gained so much inner peace and calm through the course during this epidemic. I start to see myself more clearly, where I am standing in the path of cultivation, what shortcomings I should improve, and in which direction to put the right effort. More importantly, what can we do as Buddhists for our friends, family, community, and society to get through this tough time together? I saw so many great examples from teachers and fellow students that they inspired me to be a better self and build more affinities to benefit others."
Winson shared, "I learned so much from fellow students during the course, about how the Dharma could be applied to various areas in life. It also gave me a deeper understanding of Venerable Master Hsing Yun's wish for Humanistic Buddhism and its future. There's so much deep meaning behind Buddha's wisdom and how it can relate to our own lives."
Overall, our YAD members cohesively shared that they learned so much about Buddhism and how being in the class brought them closer to Humanistic Buddhism and their personal practice.