2020-21 SDG-GE Summer Course
UGED2297 Understanding in Practice: From Meditation to Mindfulness (2 credits)

uged2297 2021 posterFaced with social unrest and challenges to interpersonal relations, our life easily becomes a chaotic swirl of stress, anger, fear, or even hopelessness. If a storm is inevitable, can we find that stillness within the storm to rethink the real purpose of life, and to renew hope for fulfillment and happiness of oneself and the others? Promoting “Good Health and Well-being” is one of the 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) initiated by the United Nations in 2015, conveying the importance of attention for good mental health. The course offers an orientation into mindfulness meditation as a possible way of “resetting,” which emphasizes reflective participation beyond knowledge and theory.

From the formal practice of sitting cross-legged and quietly counting the breaths to the informal practice of embracing each moment in daily life, students will be guided to cultivate “right mindfulness,” one of the Eightfold Paths to end suffering. Such practices are grounded in ancient Buddhist sutras named Anapanasati (“mindfulness breathing”) and Satipatthana (“foundation of mindfulness”), and 2,500 years of lay and monastic practice.

Being the founder of Dharma Drum Mountain, Ven. Sheng Yen dedicated his life to spreading the Buddha-dharma, Buddhist compassion and wisdom globally, endeavoring to “uplift the character of humanity and build a pure land on earth”. Students joining this course will attend a seven-day study trip to Dharma Drum Mountain in Taipei to experience mindfulness trainings. Through undisturbed practice with peers and monastics, students will master the basics of Buddhist meditation for stillness, wisdom, and a habit of mindful living. The ultimate goal is to foster the capacity for inner calm and wise action.

Course Structure

The course consists of three parts:

  1. Pre-trip classes: Students are required to attend two lectures at CUHK to gain basic knowledge about mindfulness meditation and its applications. Students will complete readings and submit a report on a book/article prior to the trip. Attendance at both lectures is a prerequisite for participation in the retreat.

  2. Experiential learning: In a seven-day retreat at Dharma Drum Mountain, Taipei, students will learn the basic skills of meditation and practice mindfulness in sitting, walking, eating, working, chanting, and noble silence. Students will cultivate understanding and loving-kindness through deep listening, sharing, and participation in talks and ceremonies.

  3. Seminar: After the retreat, students are required to give group presentations reporting their learning during the retreat, and to submit a personal reflective essay on the experience.

Course Review

In June 2019, 16 students from different disciplines and years of study visited Plum Village, France for 7 days. Under the guidance of devoted nuns, students engaged in a series of meditative activities and some decided to receive the Five Mindfulness Trainings at the end. For a glimpse of the experience, visit the following link to see a short video: https://youtu.be/sy79SOxmFHg.

Medium of Instruction

The lectures and seminars at CUHK will be delivered in Cantonese. Guided mindfulness practices in Dharma Drum Mountain, Taiwan will be conducted in Putonghua.


The Office of University General Education will cover all the basic costs of the retreat in Taiwan, including tuition, vegan meals, accommodation, and transportation between the gathering point (to be confirmed) and Dharma Drum Mountain. Students are responsible for arranging the air travels between Hong Kong and Taiwan, and any necessary gears and gadgets for the retreat. Further subsidies are available for application by students with financial needs (recipients of full grant from The Tertiary Student Finance Scheme - Publicly-funded Programmes (TSFS)). Please indicate your interest in the application form and submit the TSFS notification letter as proof that you are a recipient of their full grant. Applications will be reviewed depending on students’ financial needs, the number of applicants and the financial resource of the Office of University General Education.


Students must have taken or be taking the course “UGFH1000 In Dialogue with Humanity” at the time of application. Students should complete the online application form on or before 27 December 2020, uploading a personal statement and a copy of an updated academic transcript at CUHK. The personal statement will make important reference for selecting students for the course. Students may explain the motivation for taking the course, personal expectations, prior knowledge (if any) of mindfulness and its applications, and prior experience (if any) with related practices. It should be no longer than 1,000 characters in Chinese, or 700 words in English. Year-one students without an academic transcript at the time of application should upload a list of courses taken in the present term; they should submit the transcript once the grades are released in January 2021.

Important Dates

21 December 2020

Information Session (online)
Time: 2:30 pm - 4:00 pm
Language: Cantonese
pdf logo Powerpoint Presentation (Login required)
video Video Recording (Login required)

27 December 2020

Application Deadline

Early-January 2021


Mid-January 2021

Announcement of Interview Results

Late-January 2021

Confirmation and Payment of Refundable Deposit by Students

Early-June 2021

Course Begins

Mid-June 2021

Retreat at Dharma Drum Mountain

Late-June 2021

Post-trip Seminar


Organizing the study trip involves a lot of planning and coordination in advance. The course will therefore not follow the regular schedule of course enrollment at CUHK. Once the interview results are announced, shortlisted students will be required to indicate acceptance of the offer and pay a caution deposit of HKD2,000 within one week, which will be fully refundable on the successful completion of the course. The Office of University General Education will then proceed with the course enrollment on CUSIS. Once enrolled, students are not allowed to drop the course except under special circumstances. If this is because of the influence of COVID-19 (for instance, in treatment or mandatory quarantine), students must lodge a written application to the OUGE to seek the “Drop Consent”.

In consideration of the changing situation of COVID-19 pandemic and the corresponding travel restrictions issued by the Hong Kong and Taiwan governments, this course might be subject to alteration or cancellation. Latest information will be released via email to all enrolled students.

For details about Dharma Drum Mountain, please visit: https://www.ddm.org.tw/.

For any queries, please email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..