The Great Compassion Bodhi Prajna Temple, a registered temple in Canada, is located in a quiet forested area near Toronto. It is also a Mahayana Buddhist center that values listening, thinking and meditating. The abbess Master Miao Jing deeply understands that the positive values, such as mindfulness, righteous thoughts, filial piety and personality ethics, must be cultivated in children and adolescents from an early age in order to have the righteous personality cultivation rooted. Therefore, the vow she made in the past decades to spread the Buddha Dharma’s Bodhicitta seeds to the young students’ hearts officially took place in 2014 when she hosted the first youth meditation camp.
This year’s camp was the 5th youth meditation camp that was complete on August 11th, 2018. Different from previous camps, this camp was extended to seven days and six nights this year. This adjustment not only enabled the course to be more colorful and interesting, but also allowed the children to experience the temple’s daily life from morning classes, meditation, study, to working outdoors. In addition, it is also possible to make the training of mindfulness rooted in the children’s eight consciousness by learning systematic meditation teachings, including the correct posture of meditation, as well as the diverse youth psychology and interpersonal relationship.
In the versatile curriculum of the meditation camp, the children had a lot of opportunities to work together in a variety of activities with their hands and brains. The classes were full of vitality and laughter. Meanwhile, under the guidance of the various activities and courses, the children became grateful as they were aware of sufferings and blessings. With profound gratitude, they finished all the food on their plates and vowed to reduce one meal.
In the lamp offering courses, the children turned altruism into practical actions. Lighting up the candles of gratitude and aspirations in front of the Buddha is a way for the children to sincerely offer lamp to the Buddha to illuminate the darkness and to send blessings for all the sentient beings.
Furthermore, they also appreciated their parents with their heart. To express their gratitude and love, each of them crafted the exquisite carnations for their parents.
In the tea meditation courses, in addition to learning the tea etiquette and tea tasting methods, the children also offered to the Three Jewels with the tea, and learned to thank each other for their mutual giving with the etiquette of the ancients. Along with the tea fragrance, they got to learn how to be present at each moment. Their minds were being present with their body. Being aware of the movement of their hands and eyes along with the smell, their minds were no longer scattered, but rather very clear of each moment.
Furthermore, they followed the teachers’ instructions to learn to organize their beds, to wash their own dishes, and to work hard to tidy up the temple garden. Seeing the children’s earnest manners, we are happy to know that they have learned and experienced the blessings of the Three Jewels. They also learned to be grateful of their parents’ love. And most of all, they have reflected on how to use their awareness, gratitude, and wisdom to live their own life. The masters hope and believe that the seeds of kindness have been planted. They will sprout and thrive with continuous cultivation and become a positive influence to the society.
【To be continued…】