LIU Global Students Experience Buddhist Life in Taiwan Monastery
Students of comparative religion and culture learned about Taiwanese Buddhism and the Dharma Drum Mountain monastery
Morgan Lyle,Assistant Director of Public Relations
Long Island University
Brooklyn, N.Y.- LIU Global students in the Comparative Religion and Culture Program (CRC) recently visited Taiwan for a two-day stay at a monastery on Dharma Drum Mountain, located in Jinshan Township in Taipei County. As part of their LIU Global education, the CRC students are traveling to Taiwan, Thailand, India and Turkey to immerse themselves in the teachings and practices of world religions, analyzing cultural patterns while adapting to new environments.
Students embraced the lifestyle of Taiwanese Buddhism and spent their time at the monastery completing exercises called “8-Form Moving Meditation”—meditating in various forms, i.e. walking, standing, sitting, eating, prostrating, sleeping, Chinese calligraphy and tea ceremony.
CRC students also adopted traditional practices, such as eating vegetarian food, sleeping on raised wooden platforms and taking classes led by nuns. They were taught appropriate eating etiquette for Dharma Drum Mountain, such as consuming their meals in complete silence. They were taught to bring each bite toward their mouth to avoid slouching, which encouraged their focus to remain on the t moment of chewing.
"The minute I entered Dharma Drum Mountain, I was shocked by how different Taiwan's adaptation of Buddhism was from what I had experienced in other countries,” said LIU Global student Alex High. “But, the more I learned from the monks and nuns, the more I realized how versatile and complex Buddhism is."
To ensure CRC students fully grasped Taiwanese Buddhism, several lectures were held on how to integrate the Chan Buddhist belief into everyday life. Nuns who resided on Dharma Drum Mountain also spoke to students about their transition to monastic life.
“It’s a shock for many of our students, but having experienced Buddhism in this way opens them up to new ways of learning,” said Kerry Mitchell, director of LIU Global’s CRC Program. “Students will go into their next experience of Buddhism in Thailand with a more open mind. This is what we teach in our program—learning local perspectives and adapting to different cultures.”
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