Eight students from the University of the West came to Hsi Lai for a three day retreat from 3/23 to 3/25. They are in the General Study class and under the encouragement of Ven. Haimin Seuim, becoming pioneers of UWest who have experienced monastic life during their spring break. Most have little background in Buddhism; two are Christian and Catholic. With an open mind, they are “willing to try something different”.
The curriculum included: Hsi Lai, Fo Guang Shan and Vererable Master Hsing Yun; Humanistic Buddhism; Chinese Buddhism; Buddhist Etiquette; Meditation; Tea Chan; Sutra Transcription and Community work. With the guidance of nuns, they expressed how they “gradually can adapt to the early-rising and tight schedule”.
From the practicing of meditation, they learned breath-counting as an efficient way to concentrate while the Tea Chan class gave them more room to reflect with self-awareness about every detail while making tea.
At the closing ceremony, Venerable Abbot Hui Dong reminded all participants to continue to practice what they had learned in the retreat and apply those skills in their school and daily life. Venessa Karam, Dean of Accreditation Liaison Officer, on behalf of the President of the UWest, congratulated the achievement of the students. Jane Iwamula, Chair of Religious Studies and Janice Gore, Chair of General Education, also gave words of gratitude to Hsi Lai Temple and expressed that the retreat is a very meaningful activity for students who want to further learn and practice in the temple.