Category Archives: Taiwan

Master Sheng-yen passed away

The founder and spiritual head of Dharma Drum Mountain, Master Sheng-yen, passed away today.

As I was heading towards the dinning hall for supper, I ran into people lined up by the path leading to Master Sheng-yen’s residence. They looked damn serious and were standing there with folded hands. I guessed that Master Sheng-yen had passed away. As soon as I got a chance to talk to Weijen, he confirmed my guess.


December 31st: medical tourism

[Editorial note: This has been edited to about half the size it was originally. Eeek!]

The morning of the 31st, Debbie’s back was hurting more than the night before. We decided that it would be better for her to see a doctor rather than chance it. After breakfast, I called Hsiu-Lan to tell her that we would not be going to Dharma Drum that day. She offered to bring Debbie’s luggage to Dharma Drum. Debbie and I would stay in town so that Debbie would be able to see a doctor.
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December 30th: Debbie’s arrival in Taiwan

[This is one post of a series which recaps the travels of Debbie and I in Taiwan.]

Since September I had been looking forward to the day Debbie would be joining me in Taiwan. When I left for Taiwan, we had in mind that she would come visit during my nine-month stay. We thought her visit would both alleviate the pain of living apart for so long and take advantage of the fact that I was already going to be in Taiwan for other reasons anyway, so we might as well plan for a vacation together in Taiwan rather than France.
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The past two weeks or so

The past two weeks have been interesting. Debbie and I have traveled all around the island of Taiwan. I was just not interested to keep posting to my blog as we were traveling. I find that the funky twittering and Web 2.0 instant posting fad detracts from really living in the moment. At the end of each day, I kept notes so that I would not forget what happened during our trip. These notes will form the basis of future posts on this blog about our adventures around Taiwan.

For now, you can check out a map of our travels I created with Google maps. It is not finished but is usable.

Stay tuned for future updates. (NB: posts about our travel will be posted in the same categories as this post.)

Lost a roommate

This week, Weijen left Taiwan for mainland China. He and I were roommates at Dharma Drum for about 3 months and a half. We got along very well. He was intellectually stimulating. He helped me tremendously with my Mandarin and with getting used to life in Taiwan. I couldn’t have asked for a better roommate really.

He’s coming back in January but we are not going to be roommates again because his wife is going to come with him (lucky fella!) so obviously they are going to live together.

The Power of the Network

Last week has been quite eventful. I owe a debt of gratitude to (in chronological order of people who helped me last week) Adeline, Shu-Fun, Li-Ching, Hui-Hwa, Hsin-Hsing, Mr. Lee, Venerable Chang Lang, Bill, Ken Shu, Hsiu-Lan and Mr. Lin. I should also point out that Hsiu-Lan on multiple occasions previous to this specific event has provided me with tremendous help. I hope I’m not forgetting anyone and that I got all the names right and spelled properly. I’m using the names as I’ve heard people introduce themselves to me. Sometimes I remember a last name better than a first name, sometimes the reverse. No disrespect is intended. Read on for the full story of my misadventure.

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Master Sheng Yen’s exhortation to study hard

Yesterday, Master Sheng Yen gave a public talk. Master Sheng Yen is the founder of Dharma Drum Buddhist College, where I am now conducting research in Abhidharma. During the talk yesterday, he first presided over the presentation of awards to distinguished students. It was a good occasion to take pictures but I had not realized that ahead of time and did not bring my camera.
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Random Things

A few random thoughts about my time at Dharma Drum Mountain…

Once in a while a meal at DDM turns out to be challenge. The only implements I use for eating are one metal bowl and one set of metal chopsticks. Now consider that all the food primarily goes into the bowl and that some food is soft, some hard, some heavy, etc. So sometimes the question which runs through my mind as I see what I have to put in my bowl is “how on earth am I going to organize all the food items to prevent ending up with some unappealing mush?” Then there is the small matter of handling the chopsticks. I can handle chopsticks fine as long as the food in my bowl is relatively thick. Otherwise, I’m having a hard time. So I’ve started using some bigger chunks of food as tools to corral those bits which are too small for handling. And half of the time, I wonder if my way of eating looks barbarous to others.

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