Saturday, February 26, 2011

NUSBS and Dharma Camps

I’ve joined in two Dharma Camps during the December holidays of 2010. One of which is the NUSBS Dharma Camp in Singapore, the other being Youth Dharma Camp (YDC19), by Subang Jaya Buddhist Association Youth Section (SJBAYS). One common thing is that I went for both with Chin Xia (group mates for both of them too!), and that I kept on being exposed to the four Brahma Viharas in the two camps.

NUSBS Dharma Camp (6-10 December), I was part of the Organising Committee, being in charge of Be a Lamp Upon Yourself workshop. Behold my group: Uppekha. Yup, we used the 4 Brahma Viharas as Group names.

The flag contains the meaning of the name.

It was one of the best NUSBS Dharma Camp I’ve been to and enjoyed. It was a lot of nights of talking with the Management Committee of NUSBS after the official sleeping time, but somehow I kept on having lots of energy for the next day. And the workshop I’m in charge of, (almost) everyone likes it!

Well, on to the second camp, 24th-28th December (yes, we celebrated Christmas there, complete with the red hat and gift exchange). It was full of fun games and very little Dharma Talk compared to NUSBS’s one. One of the amazing things that happened during YDC 19 is the secret Santa.

Everyone in the camp is a secret Santa who’s supposed to take care of his/her little child during the camp. And the little child is chosen randomly by each participants (70+ people). On the last day, we get to have a revelation, of who’s our secret Santa? My little child is someone I didn’t knew before. But imagine my surprise when I discovered that my secret Santa was no other than the other NUS people in the camp. (Yes, you guessed right).

The revelation is done via tying strings onto the hands of the participants. String on the left hand of a Santa leads to string on the right hand of the little child. Everyone is seated in blindfold and we sing the songs we learned to pass the time while the committees of the camp tie us up together. I was tugging and pulling my right hand string when the blindfold is finally off. My string is being diverted by a pillar and it was hard to make sure who was my secret Santa. So when I saw it was her, I had to double check. And triple check. And even after all the strings has gone off, I’ve still difficulty accepting this……pleasant surprise. Then the Santa and child are supposed to hug each other, and we hugged.

YDC is a Dharma based creative way, but a bit more fun than INCOVAR camp. Contrasting it with NTUBS Dharma Camp, 17th-20th January 2011, (which I joined in halfway in week 2 this semester) I have experienced a whole range of Camps…

NTUBS Dharma Camp is more of very very close to meditation retreat, with Noble Silence during meal time! Adding in more interactions and group forming, would be NUSBS Dharma Camp, and add in more workshops like be a lamp upon yourself, you get INCOVAR Camp, adding in more fun, you get YDC. I’ve joined in:

  • 1 YDC (19th YDC, December 2010)
  • 1 INCOVAR Dharma Camp (31st IDC, June 2009)
  • 3 NUSBS Dharma Camp (December 2008,09,10)
  • 2 NTUBS Dharma Camp (January 2010,11)

Totalling 7 dharma camps since I’ve entered University.

Wow, and really I like INCOVAR a lot from the 4 above, and also NTUBS’s very very Dharmic atmosphere, you can have a spontaneous Dharma Circle there during free time!

Amazingly, the time I went for INCOVAR, I wasn’t the only NUS people there too. There was Ken Juin.

So for the Buddhism Awareness Week of NUSBS (7-11 February 2011), I’ve found and paired up Chin Xia (4 timer YDC) and Ken Juin (4 timer INCOVAR) together to help organise the Joy Full Days. They did it splendidly, making it very big, much bigger than last year’s and creating lots of opportunity for the interactions between the subcommittees and Management Committee, and showing to ourselves and NUS that NUSBS can do it!

A crazy moment during Buddhism Awareness Week!

Special thanks to Chin Xia, for being very active in NUSBS and creating so much fun and happiness during the time we are together.

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