Let’s meet Dharma Drum University:University Experience Camp

Thanks to the generous help from some of the masters of the meditation hall, as well as from volunteers and colleagues of the Dharma Drum University (DDU) Preparatory Office, the “Let’s meet Dharma Drum University face to face: University Experience Camp” was successfully held from 29 to 31 Jan 2011 at the Dharma Drum Mountain World Center for Buddhist Education. Despite the chilly winter weather, the event attracted a crowd of 82 young people.

The camp officially kick started after the presentation of a commemorative plaque by Dr. Yang Bei. In the opening ceremony that followed, University President Liu An-zhi gave a welcome address, after which the Abbot President delivered a speech. The abbot mentioned that “every arrangement is the best arrangement in terms of cause and condition,” and that DDU caters to the needs of this age. He ended his speech by encouraging all young participants to fulfill the great vows of the late Venerable Master Sheng-yen with faith, aspiration, perseverance, as well as patience.

Braving the finger-numbing cold, the participants gained first-hand understanding and experience of DDU — a peaceful green place — in the tour around DDM. They then listened to the thematic speech “Talented Leaders of the 21st century in DDU” made by President Liu, in which he elaborated on the vision and goals of DDU. It was followed by brief introductions of the four schools given respectively by Yang Bei, Jiang Ming-xiu, Chen Qi-nan, and Yu You-hua, so that the participants had a clear picture of the planning and development of DDU.

During lunch time, a high table dinner was held so that all participants could experience in advance their future college life — of which the joint-college high table dinner is an integral part! Lunch was followed by an introduction to various courses conducted by experienced teachers. Participants were divided into four big groups, each belonging to a respective school. One worthy note is that Prof. Cheng Shi-yan shared his stories of life and the meaning of universal penetration of life to students of the School of Life and Living.

After a whole day of teaching and extra-curricular activities, prospective students were given a chance to express what they had learnt in the form of a public performance. Students of the School of Life and Living performed a song and dance drama called “Golden Touch: An Education of Life”; those of the School of Philanthropy organized a debate on public policy; those of the School of Arts and Culture presented the fruitful results of their understanding of community reconstruction and students of the School of Environmental Studies showed a self-made powerpoint slideshow containing pictures of DDM’s enchanting natural scenery, which they had taken using GPS cameras.

On day 3, Professor Yang Bei led everybody to take a morning walk around the meditation hall garden, and practiced standing meditation right next to a brook. Introduction courses were continued on that day, providing more insight in the courses and participants also continued to share on the topics covered the previous day. Various guest speakers were invited by different schools to deliver the courses. For example, the School of Arts and Culture invited Guo Qing-lin to talk about the cultural features of Jinshan; the School of Philanthropy invited Wu Zi-yu to share his experience of establishing a coffee shop in Indonesia; Xu Zheng-chen led students of the School of Environmental Studies to practice the use of various kinds of measurement equipment; the School of Life and Living invited Yang Bei to show a film on life.

In the afternoon, a small group discussion, a public sharing session and a Q&A session about DDU were held. They were followed by a graduation ceremony, in which carefully picked snapshots of the past three days were projected on the screen, graduation certificates were awarded, and the volunteers presented themselves on stage to receive ovations from the students. The whole event was wrapped up with an eight minutes’ long video showing Venerable Master Sheng-yen stating his expectations about DDU. (Organized by Aries Gu) 
Photos courtesy: Photo-taking group (Ni Shan-qing, Xu Qi-hua,  Pan Hui-min, Chen Zhang-wai).
The Abbot President encouraged all young participants to fulfill the great vows of the late Venerable Master Sheng-yen in setting up a demand-fulfilling DDU with faith, aspiration, perseverance, and patience.

Presided by University President Liu An-chi, the joint-college high table dinner gave a first-hand college experience to the student participants.
During the night of presentation, students of the School of Life and Living acted out the touching life stories they had heard from Prof. Cheng Shi-yan.

Dr. Yang Pei led the students to walk around the garden outside the meditation hall and listen to the cascading sound of a brook.


Xu Zheng-chen gave the students of the School of Environmental Studies a drill practice by letting them getting familiar with various types of examination equipment.