So, with aspirations to start this blog back up again, I wish all of you who read or happen upon this, a very peaceful and meaningful Chinese New Year 2012.

I apologize for the over-extended delay since the last post back in November. However, things, as far as I am aware of, continue to be very fine and very full here in Taiwan. My Chinese studies continue to move in a certain direction (I’m hoping it is of the forward kind of direction), and I even occasionally have the opportunity to study the Dharma in the recent while, for which I am grateful. I was also able to attend a seven day “silent illumination” meditation retreat up at Dharma Drum in December, which was a very meaningful experience, helping to remind me why I am spending so much time trying to learn a very interesting yet definitely a foreign language.

This is probably not news to many others, but it is to me: Chinese New Year is big. Big. Here in Taiwan, as it is everywhere else Chinese culture has firmly established itself, everything at the moment is funneling towards New Years and all that this means for the Chinese. In Taiwan, beginning it seems this Saturday the 21st, most businesses, shops, stores, and even many restaurants will be closed for a number of days, allowing most employees and customers the chance to go back to their family home and spend the time with their extended family. Chinese New Years is very much a family-oriented event, laced with many good wishes, ancient customs, and of course lots of food. New Year’s Eve is Sunday the 22nd, with the 23rd being, you guessed it, the first day of the New Year: the year of the Dragon.

I am going up to Dharma Drum Mountain this Saturday to spend the New Years there. On New Year’s Eve (Sunday evening), there is a large ceremony which culminates, I understand, in the ringing of their large Lotus Bell 108 times. I am looking forward to hearing this.

In looking for videos of this Lotus Bell, here is what appears to be a bit of an advertisement for ceremony last year at Dharma Drum which includes a short clip of monks ringing this massive testament to the Buddhadharma:

After the New Year, I will get back to offering bits of Dharma and more here on this blog.

Hoping this finds you well, I wish everyone a very Happy New Year.

新春如意 – May this New Year go as you wish