FGS News

From Duck Farm to Urban Greenway: Fo Guang Members Join Forces for Conservation in Los Angeles County

Fo Guang Shan Hsi Lai Temple July 19, 2024 The San Gabriel River Park in Avocado Heights, Los Angeles County, had its grand opening on June 8. Fo Guang Shan Hsi Lai Temple and the Buddha's Light International Association Los Angeles Chapter (BLIA LA) were among over 40 organizations invited to promote ecological conservation at the event. Nearly 700 people gathered to celebrate the transformation of the former duck farm into an urban greenway, a project over 20 years in the making. Mark Stanley, Director of the Watershed Conservation Authority (WCA), hosted the ceremony. Los Angeles County District One Supervisor Hilda L. Solis spoke on the theme "Rewilding Urban Spaces," highlighting the park's significance. The 30-acre park, located along the San Gabriel River, has completed its first phase. Once fully developed, it will connect 10 cities in the San Gabriel Valley through a 17-mile loop. The park features riverside viewing platforms and botanical gardens, designed to link the community with nature and the river, offering more green spaces and ideal habitats for migratory birds and wildlife. The park's transformation began in 2001 when the WCA purchased the land from a duck farm and started converting the nutrient-rich duck manure soil into an environment suitable for native plants. Norma E. García-González, Director of the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation, spoke about the park's history and the efforts to turn it into an urban greenway. She thanked everyone involved in the project. During the ceremony, Hilda L. Solis and various unit directors planted trees. Andrew Guiding Young Cloud Morales and Chief Anthony Red Blood Morales, missionaries from the Gabrielino San Gabriel Band of Mission Indians, offered blessings. A herd of goats, which will help maintain the park's ecological balance, also made an appearance. The ceremony concluded with the release of butterflies, symbolizing the park's return to nature. The event featured Latin music and folk dancers. Valley Vista Services (VVS), the Los Angeles County Public Works Department, and the Natural Areas Division of the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation promoted composting, tree planting, and wildlife conservation. Visitors had the chance to see various reptiles up close, with some even daring to wear a python as a scarf, delighting the children. Fo Guang Shan Hsi Lai Temple shared the English book series "Buddhism in Every Step" with the public. The Fo Guang Hsi Lai Scouts BSA Pack 8888 and BLIA LA promoted the "Vege Plan A" project, encouraging a vegetarian diet to reduce carbon emissions and protect the earth. They distributed vegetable and fruit seeds and potting soil. Lay Dharma lecturer Min Li explained Venerable Master Hsing Yun's "Humble Table, Wise Fare," while Sacha de Nijs led outdoor yoga sessions to connect people with nature.

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Fo Guang Shan Tsung Lin University Overseas Exchange Tour Visits Renowned Universities in Toronto

Fo Guang Shan Temple of Toronto July 19, 2024 From July 10 to 11, 2023, Venerable Chueh Fan, Abbess of Fo Guang Shan Temple of Toronto, and Venerable Zhi Guan led a delegation of students and teachers from Fo Guang Shan Tsung Lin University, along with three students from Fo Guang University, to visit prominent educational institutions in the Toronto area for academic exchanges. The purpose of this visit was to broaden the international views of students and share the concepts of Humanistic Buddhism with scholars. Venerable Chueh Fan emphasized that Humanistic Buddhism must evolve with time, integrating modern technology and human care to serve all beings. On July 10, the group visited Wilfrid Laurier Universityin Waterloo, one of Canada’s fastest-growing universities, known for its diverse and inclusive campus culture. The visit included Martin Luther University College and its Delton Glebe Counselling Centre. Elma Plant, the centre's director, warmly welcomed the group and introduced the centre’s history, mission, and services, emphasizing the importance of spirituality andinter personal relationships in psychotherapy, which aligns with the principles of Humanistic Buddhism. At Martin Luther University College, Rev. Dr. AnneAnderson and Dr. Mitra Barua showcased the university’s multicultural and interfaith campus, highlightingthe integration of culture, art, psychotherapy, and community care. Dr. Baruanoted the insights that Buddhist studies can provide for psychotherapy. Venerable Zhi Nian led the students in a tea meditation session, discussing the application of Humanistic Buddhism in modern life and emphasizing the importance of meditative concentration and courage in facing challenges for mental health. In the evening, young members of the University of Waterloo Buddha's Light Community Club guided a campus tour, introducing the campus life of modern youth. On July 11, Venerable Chueh Fan, Venerable Zhi Guan, Venerable Ru An, and the group visited the University of Toronto, established in 1827 and recognized as Canada’s largest and most comprehensive university with world-leading research and teaching standards. The visit focused on Victoria University, which includes Victoria College (focused on arts and sciences) and Emmanuel College (the largest theological school associated with the United Church of Canada). At Emmanuel College, Buddhist scholar Professor Henry Shiu introduced Buddhist theology through the lens of the Heart Sutra, sharing his efforts to promote academic understanding of religious experiences, including meditation, chanting rituals, and the value of understanding sutras. Professor Jennifer Bright, through a video presentation, discussed "Buddhismand Psychotherapy," sharing her personal experiences in guiding and supporting terminally ill individuals with the help of Buddhist teachings. Venerable Zhi Nian led a discussion on "Humanistic Buddhism and Education for the Modern World, "introducing the educational philosophy of Fo Guang Shan’s founder, Venerable Master Hsing Yun, and the global educational system of Fo Guang Shan, including the Sons of Zulai Program in Brazil, Guang Ming College, and the Hope Villages in India. In the afternoon, the group discussed with Emmanuel College Principal Dr. HyeRan Kim Cragg, exploring future collaboration opportunities. Venerable Chueh Fan briefed on Fo Guang Shan Temple of Toronto’s efforts in community spiritual care and children's education, and introducedthe Fo Guang Shan Institute of Humanistic Buddhism, inviting the principal and professors to visit the Fo Guang Shan Monastery in Taiwan. The students and teachers of Fo Guang Shan Tsung Lin University expressed gratitude for the overseas exchange tour, which broadened their international views. The exchange with renowned institutions like the University of Toronto also laid a foundation for future academic collaborations, opening a new chapter for the localization of Humanistic Buddhism.

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Nan Tien Institute Dharma Talk to Spread Compassion and Care

Francis Wong July 19, 2024 Nan Tien Institute in collaboration with Deakin University, Western Sydney University, and Charles Sturt University, is carrying out a research project on "Buddhism in Australia." On 22 June, Venerable Dr. Jue Wei, Head of Program for Humanistic Buddhism, Director of the Humanistic Buddhism Centre, visited Brisbane to conduct a-field investigations. Organized by Nan Tien Institute student Jose Ruben Castro, Venerable Dr. Jue Wei delivered a Dharma Talk at the Logan Public Library, hosted by the Refugee Association of Logan. The Dharma Talk, titled "MettāVerses: Building Communities of Loving Kindness," was attended by the association's president, Chris Miranda, along with 12 members from Africa, Malaysia, South America, and Australia. Venerable Dr. Jue Wei pointed out several prevalent issues facing society today, including global climate change, societal uncertainty and complexity, mental health challenges, increasing atomization of communities, erosion of social cohesion and kindness, and the challenges posed by artificial intelligence. Venerable Dr. Jue Wei emphasized that these issues reflect the inner consciousness of humanity. Quoting Venerable Master Hsing Yun, the founder of Fo Guang Shan, Venerable Dr. Jue Wei explained that "compassion" is kindness and unconditional love or friendly treatment of all beings. It is about selflessly serving and helping others with wisdom, without expecting anything in return. "How do we face and solve these problems?" Venerable Dr. Jue Wei suggested embracing and addressing issues through "MettāVerses." She described "MettāVerses" as communities and networks where everyone practices and implements loving-kindness. The goal is to develop strategies to break habits of self-centeredness, shifting focus from capitalist consumption to compassionate and kind communities. Venerable Dr. Jue Wei emphasized that "MettāVerses" can reduce stress and anxiety, improve emotional health, promote empathy and gratitude, and aid in healing from trauma. "Kindness does not belong to any religion; it is a universal human value," Venerable Dr. Jue Wei said, introducing a simple "Kindness Circle" game. Participants stood in a circle and took turns giving sincere compliments to the person on their right, experiencing both giving and receiving praise. The game aimed to encourage reflection on the power of small acts of kindness and the feelings of happiness and hope for the future, demonstrating the strength of compassion. Venerable Dr. Jue Wei further emphasized that communities provide a sense of belonging. Through "MettāVerses," people can understand the importance of interconnectedness, cohesion, and mutual cooperation within the community. She encouraged everyone to practice "MettāVerses" in daily life, serving others with unconditional love and working together to build a harmonious society. All participants resonated deeply with this intergenerational, interfaith, and multicultural Dharma Talk. They felt enriched and eager to share the message of kindness with others, hoping to apply the principles of "MettāVerses" in their lives.

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Guang Ming College Buddhist Studies Students Embrace a Carefree Mindset

Fo Guang Shan Mabuhay Temple July 19, 2024 "Why worry when you can be carefree?" More than 300 participants from 21 countries spent a transformative and carefree summer from June 27 to 30, 2024, at Fo Guang Shan in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. This year's camp aimed to help young people grasp the essence of Buddhism and fully appreciate the value of life. Organized by the Jungle Academy, this camp provided Guang Ming College Buddhist Studies students with a life-changing opportunity to spend a unique summer. The students of Guang Ming College are very grateful to the permanent residents for the opportunity, to the Head Abbess Venerable Yung Guang for her compassionate guidance and reminders, and for allowing them to return to the home of the Dharma body and wisdom life to learn to empty themselves, accept, and observe carefully. Throughout the camp, Guang Ming College students immersed themselves in various activities designed to cultivate a carefree mindset in young people. From Buddhist classic courses, art and cultural experiences, to delicious vegetarian meals, meditation classes, Buddhist concerts, and volunteer service trips, the camp provided diverse and fulfilling experiences. Students also had the chance to participate in Buddhist practices, including chanting, calligraphy, and tea ceremonies, deepening their connection with their inner selves and each other. They also gained a deeper understanding of Buddhism and Chinese culture. The internationally designed camp provided meaningful cultural and diverse experiences for Guang Ming College students traveling abroad for the first time. They had the opportunity to interact with peers from different backgrounds, share their cultures and best practices, and learn from each other. This exchange truly became a bridge for promoting a sense of belonging, unity, and coexistence, embodying the camp's core carefree philosophy. Gail Matan from Guang Ming College shared her feelings about how the camp brought her peace and a carefree mindset. She emphasized the importance of living in the present moment and letting go of worries that hinder us from finding our life's purpose, helping us see life from different perspectives. Additionally, Nathaniel Caparas, a sophomore in the Buddhist Studies Department of Guang Ming College, expressed his deep gratitude to Venerable Master Hsing Yun for providing GMC students with an interesting and life-changing summer camp full of activities. He met many wonderful people from around the world who constantly reminded him to do good deeds, speak kind words, and think good thoughts. Among all the courses and activities provided by the camp, the Buddhist classic courses, such as scriptures, became the highlight and cornerstone of the camp. The selected Buddhist classics have become the foundation of the Buddha's teachings, providing students with profound Buddhist philosophy/Humanistic Buddhism and practice. Through these courses, students gained insights into how to live a carefree life guided by compassion, wisdom, and mindfulness. As the camp concluded, every participating student of Guang Ming College felt a common goal: to have a carefree mindset and create a world free of worries and anxieties. The ceremony ended with self-reflection and group sharing, leaving them with core memories and valuable lessons that taught them how to live fulfilling lives with a carefree mindset.

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Hsi Lai English Buddhist Retreat Begins: Embarking on a Journey of Wisdom

Fo Guang Shan Hsi Lai Temple July 18, 2024 On June 9, Fo Guang Shan Hsi Lai Temple held the opening ceremony for its English Buddhist Retreat. Seventeen young adults, averaging 27 years old, from California, Texas, Nevada, Illinois, Wisconsin, Massachusetts, and Florida, will study together for two weeks. This diverse group aims to deepen their self-understanding and face life with wisdom through a comprehensive Buddhist curriculum that balances theory and practice. Venerable Hui Dong, the abbot, emphasized in his speech that Buddhist studies go beyond book knowledge and meditation. The two-week course is designed to provide a holistic understanding, enhancing wisdom and mindfulness through personal insight and practice. The structured life at the temple offers opportunities for self-reflection and transformation. Group practice fosters mutual support, compassion, and self-sacrifice, contributing to the collective goal of helping others. Venerable Hui Dong encouraged participants to persevere through the program and gifted them "The Biography of Sakyamuni Buddha" by Venerable Master Hsing Yun, symbolizing the enduring wisdom of Fo Guang Shan's founding master. Whittier College Professor Paul Kjellberg also spoke, noting the transformation experienced by previous participants of the Hsi Lai English Buddhist Retreat. He acknowledged that challenges along the way contribute to personal growth and expects current participants to undergo a similar transformative journey over the two weeks. The curriculum includes a wide range of subjects: the life and teachings of Venerable Master Hsing Yun, Humanistic Buddhism, morning and evening chanting, Dharma services, chore work, sutra transcription, temple tours, Buddhist etiquette, scriptural Q&A, meditation, tea meditation guidance, Buddhist studies and psychological counseling, Buddhism and art, vegetarian cooking, and group discussions. During the self-introductions, Grace Fitzpatrick expressed her hope to enhance her mindfulness through the retreat's courses. Michelle Lynn Harvey, who works in the entertainment industry with high-tech innovations like Artificial Intelligence (AI), hoped to cultivate concentration amidst rapidly changing technology. Sebastian Gonzalez aimed to shape a better self by learning the true essence of Buddhism. Suneet Joshi thanked the compassionate teachers and counselors for helping him see his attachment to self. Among the nine staff and counselors, four were participants from last year, including Brian Lo, who hosted the opening ceremony. Kai Chen shared that last year's program made him a more diligent practitioner and that the retreat provides a unique and sincere guidance experience unlike any other. Graciela Rodriguez said the retreat provided precious answers to her life's questions, and she believes this year's participants will benefit greatly as well.

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Fo Guang Shan Temple of Ottawa Vegetarian Food Fair Press Conference: Enhancing Joy through Sensory Experiences

Fo Guang Shan Temple of Ottawa July 18, 2024 Fo Guang Shan Temple of Ottawa held a press conference on June 13th to promote to the community, the "Fo Guang Vegetarian Food Fair" scheduled for July 7th 2024. The attendance of notable figures including Binbin Yang楊彬彬, editor of Health Times; Ding Mansu, host of Rogers TV's "Reflections of China"; Li Jingmei , marketing manager of Ottawa Zine; and, Wang Yang , a local social media personality. The press conference was moderated by Lydia Wang, Coordinator of Culture and Education. Venerable Yung Ku, the Abbess of Fo Guang Shan Temple of Ottawa, along with key members of the International Buddha's Light Association (BLIA) Ottawa Chapter—including Vice President Lu Lu,  Treasurer Felicia Xie; CK Chong, the president of the Bodhi Subchapter and chief organizer of the Food Fair, and Du Zheng, the chief organizer of the Three Acts of Goodness Cup basketball tournament — collectively described the highlights of this year's Fo Guang Vegetarian Food Fair to the media representatives. In addition to continuing their support for the "Vege Plan A" and the global charitable run "VEGRUN," and, initiating environmental tree-planting activities under the slogan "You Run, We Plant", this year's most significant features include the concurrent hosting of the "Three Acts of Goodness Cup" friendly basketball tournament, and photography exhibition of Tsai Jung-feng, titled "India's Village of Hope: Illuminating the Spiritual Light in Darkness." Venerable Master Hsing Yun, founder of Fo Guang Shan, once remarked, "Basketball is the most compassionate sport." The principles of adhering to rules, respecting opponents, and having the courage to admit mistakes align with Buddhist beliefs. Through basketball, one can cultivate personal virtues like gratitude, courage, agility, and cooperation. Guided by this philosophy, the inaugural "Three Acts of Goodness Cup" friendly basketball tournament aims to foster positive connections and use sports as a medium for propagating the Dharma, thereby expanding community engagement. Du Zheng, the Scout leader and chief organizer of this friendly tournament, provided details about the basketball competition. Renowned Taiwanese photographer Tsai Jung-feng will showcase the activities of "Village of Hope" educational project of the Buddha's Light International Association World Headquarters in Chennai, India. Through his keen sensitivity and compassionate heart, he has visually captured countless narratives and stories of individuals facing hardship. Dozens of these poignant photographs will be exhibited in the main hall. This year's Fo Guang Vegetarian Food Fair will feature nearly a hundred varieties of vegetarian delicacies, with an emphasis on creating an "immersive experience". Media representatives were offered tastings of kantodaki, tornado potatoes, vegetarian bums, Sichuan-style skewers, Vietnamese lemongrass vegetarian dishes, and an array of Southeast Asian desserts. Various hand-shaken beverages, Non-Self tea, and peach gum-snow fungus dessert soup were also available. The on-site preparation of okonomiyaki filled the air with an enticing aroma, prompting immediate consumption. The attending media representatives expressed both joy and anticipation. BinBin Yang, editor of Health Times, specifically commented: "I'm delighted today. This year's menu has more diverse, with distinct flavors, and the on-site preparation adds to the ambiance. I believe this year's fair will attract even more participants than last year."

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Hsi Lai Senior Graduation: Shining Golden Years with Fivefold Education

Fo Guang Shan Hsi Lai Temple July 17, 2024 On June 16, Father’s Day, Hsi Lai Temple hosted the graduation ceremony and achievement exhibition for the 25th term of its Senior Activity Program. Held in the Auditorium, nearly 40 senior students, including two centenarians, showcased their "Golden Age Learning" spirit to around 200 attendees, including teachers, friends, and family. They highlighted their accomplishments in the "Fivefold Education" and shared their vision of "actively implementing Humanistic Buddhism and creating a Pure Land on Earth." Before the ceremony, handcrafted exhibits outside the Auditorium drew a large crowd. Attendees admired artworks such as Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva portraits, 3D origami, lucky cat red envelopes, and intricate pull-out cards and gift boxes. Xuejian Qian, the Executive Director of the Senior Activity Program, opened the event with a welcome speech, expressing gratitude to Venerable Master Hsing Yun, the founding master of Fo Guang Shan, and the public for their support since the program's inception in 2016. Venerable Hui Dong, the abbot of Hsi Lai Temple, praised the collaboration behind the scenes and noted how the seniors' artworks reflected their inner joy and compassion. He wished everyone complete blessings and wisdom, and collective enlightenment. Li Jie Yeh, the Director of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Los Angeles, affectionately referred to the seniors as "big brothers and sisters," sparking laughter. He expressed deep admiration for their boundless potential. Walnut City Council member Allen Wu emphasized that Humanistic Buddhism benefits society by soothing people's minds, a necessary force for all age groups. Distinguished guests included Juliette Zhuo, CEO of Primetime TV in Los Angeles, and Vice Presidents of the Buddha's Light International Association Los Angeles Chapter: Steven Chow, Connie Yip, and Echo Tsai. Venerable Yi Shan, the superintendent of Hsi Lai Temple, awarded certificates to students and counselors with perfect attendance. Venerable Yi Chao, the guiding venerable of the Senior Activity Program, presented gifts to the teaching staff, while Venerable Hui Dong distributed gifts to all counselors. "Mother Dong," Hanfang Li, Venerable Hui Dong's mother, expressed gratitude for the program's care for seniors, embodying the spirit of Humanistic Buddhism’s Three Acts of Goodness and Four Givings. She felt accepted and joyful. Mian Lan Yang, a student since the 12th term, shared her connection with Hsi Lai Temple and her aspiration for a long, fulfilling life. Another student, Te Cheng Li, praised the program's diverse courses, which embody the Fivefold Education—cultivating moral development, intellectual growth, physical fitness, social interaction, and the realization of a beautiful life. The seniors performed 12 group and individual acts, including choir songs like "Buddha’s Light Verse," "Aspire for Bodhi," "Shurangama Mantra," Taiwanese versions of "Wholeheartedly," "Praise of Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva," flute performances, and sing-alongs like "Fo Guang People Everywhere." Solo performances included the "Medicine Buddha Mantra" and Japanese and Taiwanese versions of "Farewell," along with physical exercises like Yi Jin Jing and aerobics. Students from Hsi Lai School demonstrated martial arts, while counselors performed the short play "The Rabbit and the Fish," illustrating mutual respect and harmonious coexistence. The audience's applause and laughter were continuous, with many taking photos and videos, clapping, singing along, cheering, exercising, and giving thumbs up. Attendee Ching Pan remarked that this was the best and busiest achievement exhibition she had ever attended. After the collective recitation of the "Volunteer Declaration of the Senior Activity Program," Venerable Yi Chao concluded with a speech. He praised the teaching staff and counselors for their Bodhisattva spirit and commended the seniors for their persistent learning during the pandemic. He also highlighted the seniors' strengths and talents, bringing smiles to their faces. The ceremony concluded with a group performance of "Light a Lamp," led by Venerable Hui Dong, offering roses to the fathers present, marking a perfect end to the event. The students look forward to continuing their "Golden Age Learning" journey at the next term’s opening ceremony on June 25.

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Guang Ming Bodhisattva in Action: A Summer of Service and Compassion

Fo Guang Shan Mabuhay Temple July 17, 2024 On July 2nd, Fo Guang Shan successfully held an energetic summer youth camp, followed by the eagerly anticipated volunteer service program. Participants included students from the Guang Ming College - Guang Ming Bodhisattva organization. The students were divided into five groups, focusing on two routes: one for the elderly and one for children, with the goal of enhancing community engagement through compassion. This service journey was jointly organized by Buddhist College, Yuanfu Temple, and Nanhua University. The students assisted the elderly by providing companionship, helping with daily tasks, and organizing recreational activities to promote social interaction and reduce loneliness. For the children, the students hosted educational workshops, games, and creative arts sessions, aiming to create a fun and supportive learning environment, fostering enthusiasm and participation among both the children and the elderly. Red Mike Cinco, a student from Guang Ming College, shared how volunteering gave him a renewed sense of purpose. He realized the importance of benefiting the community and understood that the true essence of service lies in the mutual exchange of kindness and compassion. We were not just helping others; we were growing and learning alongside them. Meanwhile, Junina Gabia reflected on this experience with a renewed commitment to continue serving her community. This summer taught her that every act of kindness, no matter how small, has the potential to make a significant impact. The bonds she formed, the lives she touched, and the lessons she learned will stay with her forever. This program was not just an event but a journey of growth, compassion, and connection. She is deeply grateful for the opportunity and looks forward to continuing this journey of service in the future. President Gao Jun Xiong of Nanhua University expressed his gratitude to everyone who dedicated their effort and time to establishing a warm connection with the elderly and children. This volunteer service program demonstrated the power of collective effort and compassion. It set a benchmark for future initiatives and showed how community engagement can significantly impact society. Guang Ming College students learned to carry forward the commitment to serving and uplifting their communities. This initiative serves as an inspiring reminder of the potential within each individual to make a difference, fostering a more connected and compassionate society. From July 2nd to 4th, students had the opportunity to connect with various organizations. Through Q&A sessions with Venerable  Hui Ping and discussions led by Venerable Yi Lai, the head of the charity institute, students gained a deep understanding of Fo Guang Shan's charitable philosophy of providing relief rather than perpetuating poverty. Guang Ming College offers skills and learning opportunities, enabling students to become self-reliant rather than dependent on others. Abbot Venerable Hui Chuan, along with supervising monks, shared insights that made students understand the concept of giving and receiving. Those capable should continue to give and grow. Students are encouraged to become givers rather than perpetual receivers. Some students even plan to volunteer at Fo Guang Shan after graduation to give back to the community that has supported them. Vice Director of the Buddha Memorial Center, Venerable Yung Jung, explained the founding causes of the Buddha Memorial Center, emphasizing the meticulous care and consideration in every aspect.

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Pure Mind is the Pure Land Tea Meditation at the Toronto Markham Centre

Fo Guang Shan Temple of Toronto July 17, 2024 On July 9th, Venerable Chueh Fan, Abbess of Fo Guang Shan Temple of Toronto, led the teachers and students from the Fo Guang Shan Tsung Lin University to host a tea and meditation event at the Buddha’s Light Center in Markham. Under the guidance of Venerable Zhi Nian, the teacher of the Tsung Lin University English Buddhist Department, the group of seven facilitated a "Tea and Ch’an are of One Taste" session. Nearly 60 devotees participated, engaging in the experience, sharing insights on Dharma, discussing the principles of Humanistic Buddhism, and emphasizing the importance of monastic education. In her address, Venerable Chueh Fan expressed heartfelt gratitude to the devotees for their long-standing support of Fo Guang Shan. She explained that the event was specifically arranged at the Buddha’s Light Center in Markham. This allowed participants to calm their minds and bodies in a serene and elegant environment through tea meditation, enabling a deep appreciation of "Tea and Ch’an are of One Taste" in Humanistic Buddhism. She also introduced the profound meaning of Venerable Master Hsing Yun’s "One-stroke Calligraphy," showcasing the cultural heritage of Buddhism and emphasizing the importance of broadening one’s heart in daily practice. She highlighted the significance of the "Three Acts of Goodness" and their benefits to oneself and others. Abbess then introduced Venerable Zhi Nian, teacher Xiaowen Wu, and five students from the English Buddhist Department. She emphasized that Venerable Master, the founder of Fo Guang Shan, placed great importance on youth and education. She underscored the significance of monastic education and encouraged devotees to introduce young people to study at Fo Guang Shan Tsung Lin University. She noted that studying at the Buddhist College does not necessarily require becoming a monastic. Venerable Zhi Nian expressed deep gratitude for the rare opportunity to connect with everyone at the Buddha’s Light Center in Markham. She shared that upon entering the center, she felt a harmonious atmosphere akin to that of a home. She reiterated Venerable Master Hsing Yun’s emphasis that Buddhism is a religion for the young: "Buddhism needs young people, and young people need Buddhism." Venerable Zhi Nian began the tea and meditation event with a guided meditation to calm participants' minds and invited them to fully immerse their bodies and minds into the Tea and Chan experience through the senses of eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, and mind. This practice allowed participants to experience the ordinary mind that is present and self-sufficient. Following this, students from Fo Guang Shan Tsung Lin University led everyone to appreciate the "original face" of tea leaves, progressively experiencing inner peace and tranquility. They also shared wisdom words from Venerable Master Hsing Yun, conveying the ideals of Humanistic Buddhism, similar to the teachings in the Vimalakirti Sutra, which revealed that a pure mind is the Pure Land. This helped everyone understand that the present moment is the Pure Land, and it requires everyone to create it together. After the Tea and Chan experience, the teachers and students introduced Fo Guang Shan Tsung Lin University through a video presentation. They sang "The Rhythm of the Buddhist Youth," encouraging the devotees to pass on the faith.

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BLIA Solomon Islands held its first Humanistic Buddhism Study Group reading Venerable Master Hsing Yun's Between Ignorance and Enlightenment Book 3 article "The Truth of Impermanence"

Claudia Hii July 17, 2024 Buddha's Light International Association of Solomon Islands (BLIASI) held its first Humanistic Buddhism study group on the 14th of July, 2024 facilitated by the President of BLIA, Hii Yii Ging. A total of 12 members participated with each person sharing their thoughts on the topic of “impermanence”, while discussing how to apply what they have learned in daily life. Before the group read the article, participants wrote down their questions and thoughts that they had on the topic, such as “Is there a definition of impermanence?”, “What is the meaning of impermanence in Buddhism?”, “I want to understand impermanence in order to improve my way of thinking.” President of BLIASI, Hii Yii Ging, read the article “The Truth of Impermanence” from book 3 of Venerable Master Hsing Yun’s Between Ignorance and Enlightenment series. He followed the reading by sharing his own experiences of impermanence in the Solomon Islands over the past 38 years, in particular, the 2006 riots that burned buildings throughout Chinatown, the changes in business environment and policies over the years, as well as further riots in 2019, which resulted in the loss of his house and offices. However, despite all of these experiences, he expressed his appreciation for the teaching of impermanence, as it provided him with the opportunity to cultivate a positive attitude in the face of adversity, as well as a way to adapt and face unpredictable changes. Vice President of BLIASI, Ed Wei, also contributed to the discussion. He shared that although the role of “impermanence” in Asian culture is to persuade others to do good, through its portrayal in multimedia such as film and television, people often fear and reject the word “impermanence”. He shared that from Venerable Master Hsing Yun’s article, he learned that impermanence is a process and phenomenon in the lives of all beings. It has encouraged him to appreciate and feel more of the joys that life brings. Although difficulties may arise in life, hope and joy can also be found.  This inspired BLIASI member, Huang Juan, to share about her journey from her hometown in China to the Solomon Islands. She experienced many of the unpredictabilities of life but a quote from Venerable Master’s article, “Don’t let the bad go, and the good won’t come”, encourages her to be more active and seize the moment, as well as to care more about her family and participate in charitable activities. Liu Lidong attended as a friend of BLIA, but after the conclusion of the study group, signed up as a member. He shared that when he initially saw the topic it was something that he felt did not resonate with him. However, after listening to various members enthusiastically sharing what they found beneficial and touching about the article, he had a moment where he understood the truth that all things are impermanent; and those who understand this are able to improve their lives. He further shared that everyone should accept that impermanence is a part of life and to find solutions in times of hardship. He expressed that he wishes to share the concept of impermanence with his family and friends so that they are able to lead more joyful lives. This was followed by Xu Jinxin, a friend of BLIA and also a newly registered BLIASI member after the conclusion of the study group, who readily shared examples and the significance of impermanence in his life. Through the teachings of impermanence, he will cherish every moment, and all that he does and experiences in life. BLIASI member, Alan Ngu, shared the importance of understanding impermanence in our modern life, as it serves as a reminder that we should cultivate a positive attitude and the ability to successfully adjust through life’s changes. He expressed his gratitude for impermanence as no matter whether things are good or bad, it has taught him to appreciate the present and remain steadfast. BLIASI member, Huang Yaochi, shared that the study group’s chosen article filled him with the joy of the Dharma and he gained a lot from reading it. In particular, that life is ever changing and unpredictable with this concept being applicable to individuals and the greater universe. He shared examples of global impermanence, such as the recent news reports in May on the excessively high temperatures in India caused by global warming. Consequently, he shared and learned that in the midst of impermanence, we must have the courage to reflect, improve our thoughts, not to be afraid of change and to be happy. He also looks forward to the changes brought about by impernance in life. Venerable Master Hsing Yun’s article, “The Truth of Impermanence” has allowed BLIASI members to understand that impermanence is a truth of life and an inevitable phenomenon that all people encounter, together, members encourage each other to face impermanence with a positive mind and cherish every moment in life. At the session’s conclusion, many members expressed that they are looking forward to next month’s Humanistic Buddhism study group to continue learning about how Humanistic Buddhism can be applied and practiced in daily life.

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