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DRBY Conference 2008: Insight & Happiness on the Buddhist Path

(3/29-30/08)

   Video Clips:

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“Wisdom and Blessings”  

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"Introduction to the Sutras”

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Sharing a song

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"Perfecting the Wisdom Within"

(18.7 Mb)

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"Dedicated to the Dharma

(7.7 Mb)

Meal Offering Ceremony 

(8.5 Mb)

Lunch!  

(6.0 Mb)

“The Dharma of Relating to People”  

(25.0 Mb)

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Group Picture  

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"Spiritual Friendship

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Reports of a teenage attendee:

DRBY Conference - Day 1



At around 6:45ish am, Dede, Andrew, and I forced ourselves to get up took turns taking showers and getting ready, finally descending the stairs for breakfast at around 7:15am. A little groggy but nevertheless enthused about the conference, we finished our lovely feast and along with two large containers of my aunt’s Vietnamese sour soup (canh chua), we arrived in BBM at around 8:30, right on time. After tacking on our nametags and receiving our conference packet, we hustled into the Buddha Hall for the orientation and the Keynote talk titled “Wisdom and Blessings” with Dharma Master Heng Sure. (Pictures: the seat cushions; DM Heng Sure giving his talk)



Following was a brief meditation session which included stretching led by Owen and an introduction by Chin He Shr. There were quite a few people in the hall and so the stretching part entailed some bumping and jostling of neighbors, but I think everyone enjoyed getting their energy pumped up. The sit was also really nice, albeit short, and you could really feel the focus and good energy in the room. After meal offering, LUNCH TIME!! Prepared by various laywomen from BBM and DRBY, we were all treated to a scrumptious meal :) (Pictures: stretching; Chin He Shr)


The next several hours consisted of two workshop sessions, and in eah block there were a possible two different sessions one could attend. So for workshop one, there was “Introduction to the Sutras” by Dr. Martin Verhoeven and “The Dharma of Relating to People” with Doug Powers. The second workshop included “When Were You Last Happy” led by DM Heng Sure and “Perfecting the Wisdom Within” with Ron Epstein. (Pictures: Doug Powers; some people in the audience; in DM Heng Sure's workshop)



A short tea and snack break ensued and then we were invited to attend a session called “Integral Mahayana Meditation with Instructions” (iMam) with DM Chin He. Instead of just sitting, iMam included an array of different practices divided into segments that complemented each other. We did bowing and affirmations first, then some stretching, segments of meditation sitting aiming to focus the mind, and then some walking meditation, and ending with the Dedication of Merit. It was nice to be so active because being as sitting still for a period of time is not exactly my favorite thing to do, I was very receptive to the bowing and walking. Then, dinner!! (Pictures: the twin's cookies; Isabelle!!; getting dinner)




The next few activities on the schedule included a Q&A/icebreaker type of activity and then evening ceremony and ending with lecture. However, Mike, Andrew, Amanda, Christina, Dede, and I decided to go to downtown Berkeley instead and so we went to get some gelato, watched the Free Tibet rally, and walked around Telegraph and UC Berkeley. By around 8pm we headed back to BBM and was in time for the end of Earth Hour, the end of lecture, and the end of the first day of the conference. (Pictures: in front of Milano Gelato; the Free Tibet rally; in UCB; preparing for the next day's meal; SMILE; Earth Hour)



When we got home, Dede, Jonathan, Andrew, and I ate some instant noodles prepared specially by Andrew, and chatted for awhile before heading back upstairs. I spent about half an hour trying to get my pictures to upload on Facebook – which didn’t work – and Dede and I drifted off the sleep soon after, both exhausted from the day’s festivities. Well, I’m about to board soon and although I didn’t finish the entry, I did finish writing about one day of the conference! :) Will continue when I’m back in SAN DIEGO !! (Pictures: I just like these - Maxine, Anne, Amanda, and Christina; the stained glass windows)

DRBY Conference - Day 2


The third workshops included “Dedicated to the Dharma” with Heng Yin Shr and Mrs. Yeh, and “Buddhism as More Than Meditation” with Chin He Shr. Before we knew it, it was meal offering! (Pictures: Mrs. Yeh, Heng Yin Shr, and Laura Lin; a shot of the audience; the assembly heading out)



After meal offering we took a group picture in front of the BBM sign at the corner of the street, and after countless shots, we headed to the back (the parking lot) where we were greeted with not one, but TWO tables laden with food! A few of us headed over to the park where there were benches, and spent the lunch period lazily enjoying the good food and just having fun together :) (Pictures: group picture minus the photographers; everyone getting food; lunch)



After lunch was the closing panel titled "Spiritual Friendship" and included four panelists: Laura Lin, Steven Lin, Kenny Cannata, and Stacy Chen, along with David Yin, who was the moderator. They talked about their experiences with Buddhism and how they coped with balancing a social/student life and a spiritual life. Next was supposed to be meditation but all the kids snuck to the kitchen and hung out there instead, enjoying cookies and crackers and having fun with Anne and Maxine's little cousin, Kevin. (Pictures: a shot from the back of the hall; David, Kenny, and Steve; Laura and Stacy)



After a quick break we all gathered in the Buddha Hall again and were given an "Introduction to DRBY" powerpoint presentation, followed by Q&A. Then we ended the conference by doing the Dedication of Merit, a great closing to a great conference. Next? CLEAN UP TIME! Everyone worked together to put back the cushions and chairs, clean up the Buddha Hall and kitchen, put away the tents/canopies in the back, and of course, take home the delicious leftovers :) (Pictures: watching the presentation; putting away cushions; stacking chairs)

It was hard to believe that two days had gone by so quickly and people continued to linger and just chat with each other, and in our case, we messed around in the parking lot by taking pictures, monkeying around, and even having an ice war!! XD Everyone was laughing and having fun but before we knew it, everyone had to go home and it was finally time to say goodbye. Goodness, time really does fly! I can't believe that I'm already back in SD and that the conference was just yesterday...I met really amazing people and learned so much, and I think what I took away from it most was that there are more than just a handful of people trying to balance their social life with their spiritual life; I am so blessed to be able to meet such incredible and dedicated people. Thank you to all who had worked so hard to put this conference together, and to all who participated and made this conference oh so memorable :)