FGS News

Engage in the Buddha's Light International Association's Green Initiative: Planting Seeds of Love on Earth Day

Fo Guang Shan Yuan Thong Temple April 25, 2024 In alignment with Earth Day, the Buddha's Light International Association Philippines – Bacolod Chapter conducted a tree-planting extravaganza, injecting new vitality into environmental conservation. Spearheaded by English Secretary Cora, the project liaised with the Bacolod City Government and Talisay Government, garnering support for tree sapling sponsorship and planting sites. On April 19th, they visited the Bacolod Department of Agriculture to receive the prepared saplings. On April 21st, led by Venerable Zhi Rong from Yuan Thong Temple, President Margarate Cordova, Supervisor Rosita Gochangco, Bacolod Youth Volunteer Amity Group, Bacolod Chapter Youth Group Rheya and Ciara, along with over twenty enthusiastic participants from the Yuan Thong Temple's SanHao Group including teachers Rutha and Virnie, journeyed to the mountainous region of Talisay, commencing this green initiative. Despite the scorching weather, participants' hearts blazed with enthusiasm as they hand in hand planted saplings on the mountainside. Walking upon the earth, surrounded by nature, they felt the beauty and sanctity of life. These saplings not only symbolize greenery but also embody a commitment to love and protect the Earth. Guided by Talisay personnel, they found the most suitable locations, gently planting each tree into the soil. The trees planted this time are hardwood, which will grow into a part of the forest, enriching the land in the future. This tree-planting event saw the planting of over a hundred trees. It was not merely an action but also an embodiment of giving back to nature and expressing love for the Earth. Special thanks to Atty. BEDRIO from the Department of Agriculture for their tremendous assistance in ensuring the smooth progress of this event. Let us join hands and work together to protect our home, filling the Earth with greenery for sustainable prosperity! Virnie mentioned it was their first time participating in tree planting, and it was very meaningful to breathe fresh air on the mountain while exercising. Rosita Gochangco expressed that despite mobility limitations, being able to participate to the best of their ability and experience various aspects of the Buddha's Light International Association and Fo Guang Shan very fulfilling.

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Transcendence: Lotus Art Exhibition" Opens at Yuan Thong Temple, Philippines – 14 Artists Depict the Purity of the Lotus

Fo Guang Shan Yuan Thong Temple April 25, 2024 Yuan Thong Temple, a branch of Fo Guang Shan in Bacolod City, Philippines, hosted the "Transcendence: Lotus Art Exhibition," which opened with great splendor on the afternoon of April 20th. This exhibition featured the works of 14 local artists, including dedicated volunteers such as Ryan and Pneuma. The opening ceremony attracted over 20 artists and more than 20 members of the Fo Guang community. Venerable Zhi Rong presided over a blessing ceremony to inaugurate the event, offering blessings to all participating artists. Host and artist Pneuma introduced each exhibiting artist and explained the background and significance of the event. As one of the initiators of the event, Pneuma expressed great satisfaction in joining such a meaningful endeavor, citing the benefits many children have derived from participating in Yuan Thong Temple's art courses. Ryan shared his motivation for joining the volunteer team, stating that the educational philosophy of Fo Guang Shan aligns with his own values of altruism and helping others. Rosita Gochangco, representing the Bacolod Chapter, extended a warm welcome on behalf of the association, expressing gratitude to the artists for their active participation. Venerable Zhi Rong elucidated the symbolic significance of the lotus flower, emphasizing its representation of the purification of the mind and the purity of practitioners. Finally, all the artists participated in a lamp-offering ceremony, symbolizing the arrival of hope and light. Venerable Zhi Rong presented tokens of appreciation to all the artists on behalf of the temple, wishing them unwavering hearts and peaceful coexistence. Among the artists, Tibo Deocades' works combined oil painting with relief sculpture. His pieces aimed to depict how carp thrive amidst mud without becoming tainted, showcasing their allure through the lotus flower. Laden with profound symbolism, his works transport viewers into realms of contemplation. After touring the exhibition, Lyra Ong was deeply moved. She remarked that many of the artworks exuded an atmosphere of harmony, compassion, and love. Particularly striking was a painting depicting a girl holding a lotus flower in the water, evoking a serene and tranquil environment that resonated with inner peace and tranquility.

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FGS Mabuhay Temple and BLIA Organized Iftar Giving Ceremony

Luisa So April 24, 2024 The Holy month of Ramadhan ended last April 11, 2024.  In celebration of Iftar Fo Guang Shan Mabuhay Temple and Buddha’s Light International Association, Phils-Manila two, Hongkong, San Juan and Makati subchapters organized an Iftar giving ceremony at Mabuhay Temple on April 20 Saturday at 2pm.  There are about 30 people which include the Venerables; BLIA Vice President, Kenny Sy; BLIA subchapter Presidents, Riva Sy, Luisa So, Si Peng Peng, and Jocson Ng;  and friends from Interfaith community. The event started with prayers led by Venerable Ru Liang, followed by a Muslim prayer by Dr Diampuan. The Iftar giving beneficiaries are Barangay Maharlika in Taguig and Women’s Correctional in Mandaluyong, a total of 375 packs of food items like bread, cookies, noodles, and Milo drinks were prepared. And two wheelchairs were received by Dr Potre Dirampatan-Diampuan. Dr Diampuan, a member of the Uniharmony Partners of Manila; a Global Council Trustee  at the United Religions Initiative and served as a Regional Coordinator for Southeast Asia and the Pacific. She works as a CEO of a Halal Certifying Body in the Philippines, delivered her speech: “To the members of the FGS and BLIA, your kindness has not gone unnoticed, It is constantly demonstrated through social, medical, and educational programs. You have given more than just food, you have brought hope and a reminder that despite our diverse paths in faith, we are all working together in the journey of life, supporting one another. The significance of this gesture is not merely a donation, it is a bridge built between hearts, a dialogue of love spoken in the universal language of empathy. “Thank you for your selfless act of giving and for your commitment to interfaith harmony. Thank you for your thoughtful and impactful gesture. May your organization continue to be blessed with abundance and capacity to spread joy and support to all corners of our society.” Professor Bong Baybado, of UST Religious Studies and also the convenor of Uniharmony Partners, Manila was also present to receive two wheelchairs for the Catholic community. BLIA VP Kenny Sy remarked, “Venerable Master Hsing Yun promotes oneness and co-existence, he said we are family living in the same human world. In this auspicious day of Iftar, we practice Venerable Master’s Four Givings, to give other confidence, joy, hope and convenience. We are turning over some goods to our Muslim brothers and sisters, may everyone who receive and contribute the items be filled with joy of giving and receiving.” The ceremony ended with singing of “We are family” and lights offering to the Buddha by the guests.

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International Webinar Explores Chinese Perspectives on Human-AI Interaction

Pema Duddul April 24, 2024 On April 10, 2024, Venerable Dr Juewei , the Director of Nan Tien Institute’s Humanistic Buddhism Centre Australia, participated as a panelist in an international online seminar. The seminar, titled "The Interface between Human and Artificial Intelligence: Chinese Approaches in Global Context," was hosted by the China Forum for Civilizational Dialogue, co-organized by Georgetown University's Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs and La Civiltà Cattolica. The event aimed to foster a comprehensive dialogue on conceptual and practical frameworks for navigating the evolving relationship between humans and AI. At the heart of the discussion were key themes unearthed from a series of closed workshops held throughout the 2022-2023 academic year. These workshops, which attracted scholars, artists, and AI experts from diverse disciplines, underscored the imperative of reimagining accountability amidst the ongoing technological revolution and emphasized the necessity of fostering collaborative and co-creative partnerships between humans and AI. The event's diverse panel of speakers brought a wealth of expertise and perspectives to the table. Among them was Dr. Juewei Shi from Nan Tien Institute, whose unique background blends two decades of experience in Humanistic Buddhism and Buddhist Studies with a deep understanding of artificial intelligence and business process re-engineering. Dr. Shi's presentation shed light on the contemporary applications of Buddhism in navigating the complexities of human-AI interaction, offering valuable insights gleaned from both academia and real-world experience.   Participants of  "The Interface between Human and Artificial Intelligence: Chinese Approaches in Global Context" online seminar. photo/The Life News Agency   Joining Dr. Shi were esteemed figures such as Thomas Banchoff, Director of Georgetown University's Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs; Qiufan Chen, an award-winning Chinese science-fiction writer renowned for his visionary contributions to the genre; Rev. Nuno Gonçalves, S.J., Director of La Civiltà Cattolica; Fen Jennifer Lin, an associate professor at City University of Hong Kong specializing in media, communication, and technology; and Debora Tonelli, the event coordinator and a prominent researcher in the field of religious studies. Throughout the webinar, participants engaged in lively discussions that traversed the philosophical, cultural, and ethical dimensions of AI-human interaction. From the implications of AI on religious and spiritual practices to the role of storytelling in shaping public perceptions of AI, the conversations were as varied as they were insightful. One of the central themes that emerged from the dialogue was the need for a more inclusive global discourse on AI that incorporates diverse perspectives from across the world. While the conversation around AI has predominantly been led by voices from the United States and Europe, the webinar highlighted the importance of amplifying voices from regions such as China, which bring their own rich philosophical and cultural traditions to the table. As the webinar drew to a close, participants were left with a renewed sense of urgency to continue exploring the complex terrain of AI-human interaction. By fostering interdisciplinary collaboration and embracing diverse perspectives, the webinar laid the groundwork for future endeavors aimed at navigating the evolving interface between humans and AI in an increasingly interconnected world. For those interested in delving deeper into the discussions and learning more about the speakers and their work, recordings of the webinar and additional information can be found on the China Forum for Civilizational Dialogue's website: https://chinaforum.georgetown.edu/events/the-interface-between-human-and-artificial-intelligence-chinese-approaches-in-global-context

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Humanistic Buddhism Forum on Dialogue and Linkages

Loisa Soh April 23, 2024 Philippine Fo Guang Shan Mabuhay Temple and Buddha’s Light International Association, Phils- Pasig, San Juan sub-chapters and Young Adult Division in collaboration with Fo Guang Shan Institute of Humanistic Buddhism and Humanistic Buddhism Center, Philippines hosted the “Humanistic Buddhism On Dialogue and Linkages” at Mabuhay Temple Prajna Hall. The event attracted 200 participants from BLIA members, Educators, Business groups, students and Interfaith friends. Venerable Miao Guang, the personal English Interpreter of Venerable Master Hsing Yun, Deputy Chancellor of Fo Guang Shan Institute of Humanistic Buddhism, Associate Professor in the Department of Religious Studies at Nanhua University, and Director of Fo Guang Directory of Buddhism English Translation Project.  Mabuhay Temple Abbes Venerable Miao Jing; Trainer of Trainers, Dr. Cecilia Manikan, Dr. Maje Purino, Philosophy Professor of the University of San Carlos; and BLIA President Kathy Lim Uy are also in the panel to share insights and exchanging ideas that can lead to meaningful advancement of humanistic practice in the human world. Ven Miao Guang's speech delved into the profound legacy of Ven Master Hsing Yun, showcasing his impact through Education, Arts, and Culture within the Buddhist context. The speech also explored Buddhism's dynamic relationship with literature, arts, new media, interfaith dialogue, and its role in fostering racial harmony. Looking forward to 2024, there is a strong emphasis on integrating Buddhism in the digital age, ensuring its relevance and accessibility while continuing to promote the teachings of dharma globally. Fo Guang Shan Mabuhay Temple Abbess, Venerable Miao Jing, on the other hand, shared the growing success of the Three Acts of Goodness Program in DepEd Schools around the Philippines. Since TAG Program was launched in 2016, there are currently around 600 DepEd Schools practicing TAG through different school programs, one of the benefits of the TAG program is helping promote Anti-Bullying Advocacy. The program granted 300 schools around the Philippines last 2023, and aims to increase the number of TAG School Grants for this year to a total of 350 schools. Dr. Cecilia Manikan, known as the Trainer of trainers, presented a video presentation of the Whole Brain and Mindfulness Training where she conducted training sessions in various school divisions across the Philippines. The Whole Brain and Mindfulness Training program is firmly grounded in the principles of Humanistic Buddhism, with a strong emphasis on mindfulness and the Three Acts of Goodness. Through the integration of these principles into educational training, Dr. Manikan's program seeks to nurture personal growth, empathy, and positive social interactions within educators and students, underscoring the transformative impact of Humanistic Buddhist philosophy in fostering comprehensive well-being and ethical engagement in both educational settings and broader society. Dr. Maje Purino shared that she is currently spearheading research, academic studies, and linkages with Humanistic Buddhism. She discussed possible researches related to Humanistic Buddhism such as Humanistic Buddhism as a modernization of the Chinese Mahayana Buddhism, Humanistic Buddhism; Theory and Practice, Humanistic Buddhism in the Philippines, Humanistic Buddhism as a Humanistic Buddhism on Artificial Intelligence, Humanistic Buddhism on Education, etc. BLIA President Kathy Lim Uy discussed the success of promoting Venerable Master Hsing Yun’s Three Acts of Goodness and Four (4) Givings as exemplified in the construction of Guang Ming College for the future of the young Filipinos. She continued to share that Venerable Master Hsing Yun has changed the lives of many people, through his efforts, Siddhartha the Musical was formed to perform the life of Sakyamuni Buddha, in 17 years, they have performed more than 200 shows locally and internationally, they are also set to go on South African tour this May. Nelson Guevarra, PG Flex Group President and board member of the Filipino Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, commended the GMC Basketball team, a rookie in the field of basketball and already performing well, he reiterated the importance of sports in lessening teenage problems related to too much of social media exposure. Dr. Marjorie Evasco, a known poet and writer, professor emeritus, and Palanca Awardee, she showed appreciation to the panel, especially to Dr. Purino’s sharing, as an academician, she reiterated the importance of Humanistic Buddhism in the Academy.  

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Harmonizing Tradition and Innovation: Workshop on AI Tools for Writing and Translation

Michael April 22, 2024 On April 9, 2024, Nan Tien Institute's Centre for Humanistic Buddhism hosted an online workshop focusing on the application of Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools in writing and translation. The workshop featured Venerable Miao Guang, Deputy Chancellor of Fo Guang Shan Institute of Humanistic Buddhism, who provided innovative translation ideas for volunteers engaged in translating articles for the journal "Studies on Humanistic Buddhism" (https://journal.nantien.edu.au). The event attracted volunteers from regions including the United States, Mainland China, Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, and Taiwan. Exploring the AI Landscape The session kicked off with Venerable Miao Guang providing a comprehensive overview of the currently available AI technologies. Through relevant examples, she showcased how these tools not only streamline workflows but also elevate the quality of creative output. The workshopstressed the importance of harnessing AI tools responsibly, with a focus on understanding their limitations. Mastering the Art of AI Interaction A highlight of the workshop was the deep dive into the art of crafting effective AI prompts. Venerable Miao Guang elucidated how well-designed prompts can enhance AI-generated output.Participants were treated to live demonstrations and interactive exercises, experiencing firsthand the impact of strategic prompting on AI's responses. This hands-on approach allowed attendees to grasp the nuanced interplay between AI Capabilities and human creativity. Venerable Miao Guang encouraged reflection on how AI tools can complement the creative process, urging participants to leverage their human insight and creativity to guide AI output. Inspiring Future Integration As the workshop wrapped up, participants emerged with enriched perspectives on the integration of AI in writing and translation. More than just an introduction to AI tools, the  event served as a catalyst, inspiring attendees to explore innovative ways to incorporate technology into their creative workflows. The workshop underscored the potential of AI to serve as a powerful ally in the realm of writing and translation, provided it is guided by mindful and discerning human intervention. Venerable Miao Guang's session marked a significant step towards the harmonious fusion of technology and humanistic pursuits, paving the way for future explorations in the field.

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Philippine GMC Board Trustees Meeting, Working Towards New Milestones

Venerable Zhipu and Lourdes Wang April 19, 2024 On April 16, Guang Ming College (GMC) conducted a board trustees meeting at the Fo Guang Shan Mabuhay Temple in the Philippines. The board trustees’ members expressed their concern about the progress of GMC and discussed ways to achieve new milestones collaboratively. Dr. Michael Tan, the President of GMC, led the Vice President and his team in presenting their achievement report for the school year 2023. This impressive achievement report will be given to the respected venerables supporting the school in pursuing its goals. The BLIA members received this performance report due to everyone's trust and encouragement. The achievement would not have been possible without Venerable Master Hsing Yun's vision and compassion to establish schools in the Philippines. Venerable Yung Guang, the Head Abbess of Fo Guang Shan in the Philippines, expressed her appreciation for everyone who worked together to fulfill the Venerable Master's vows. We are delighted that the school has been completed. We want to thank the board members who care about Fo Guang Shan’s education and have been watching Fo Guang Shan's growth and GMC's growth. We would also like to thank President Dr. Michael Tan for moving to Tagaytay. Dr. Alfonso Uy, a member of the GMC board of trustees, shared that he rose from poverty to become a self-made entrepreneur. He previously served as a director at the University of Central Philippines in Iloilo and fully supports the Venerable Master's initiative to establish schools to combat poverty. The church aided Dr. Uy's path to success, and he is committed to contributing both his time and resources to GMC. He cares deeply about the school's growth and the future of its students. Dr. Michael Lao, who serves as the director of the BLIA Headquarters and Chairman of the Fo Guang Shan Educational Fund in the Philippines, expressed his sadness at the news of the Venerable Master's passing. He urged BLIA members to strengthen their support for education and make the Venerable Master’s vows their own. Dr. Lao also expressed his eagerness for future meetings and exchanges, believing that the more we learn, the more we can help the college. Dr. Michael Tan, the President of GMC, expressed his gratitude to the Venerable Master for his contributions to education in the Philippines. The college's founding marked the beginning of a transformation in education, bringing hope for a better future. Since its establishment, the Star and Cloud Art Center have been completed. In 2024, we plan to upgrade the dormitory, library, and office equipment. Currently, there are 132 students enrolled in the academic year. The college strives to improve its teaching system, not only in terms of academic education but also moral education. For instance, Dikachi, an African sports science student, practices the Three Acts of Goodness as a social worker after class to serve the public and takes culture, art, and technology courses as a minor subject. GMC offers a wide range of minor majors to choose from and many international exchange opportunities. The basketball, cheerleading, and track and field teams have recently achieved numerous victories. GMC values compassion, kindness, and the Three Acts of Goodness and encourages its students to organize children's activities. In this case, the teachers, students, parents, and community can grow and learn in a Buddhist educational environment. We thank the Venerable Master for establishing five Fo Guang Shan University Consortium across four countries. It is an honor that GMC is located in the Philippines, providing devotees with the opportunity to cultivate blessings and wisdom. The 2023 achievement report presented by GMC belongs to everyone. All outstanding performances are the glory of all sponsors and supporters. We hope 2024 everyone will continue to achieve new milestones together.

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Catholic Focolare Visits Mabuhay Temple for Interreligious Exchange

Fo Guang Shan Mabuhay Temple April 18, 2024 An interfaith spiritual exchange took place on April 14th at the Mabuhay Temple in Manila, Philippines, hosted by Fo Guang Shan, a Buddhist monastery. A delegation of around 50 representatives from the Catholic Focolare group in the Philippines, led by Asela, embarked on a journey of spiritual exploration alongside monks and believers from Fo Guang Shan. Members of the delegation from Italy, South Korea, mainland China, and the Philippines entered this tranquil sanctuary with their respective faiths and spiritual quests. Venerable Miao Jing, the abbess of the Mabuhay Temple, warmly welcomed their Catholic friends, expressing that Fo Guang Shan upholds the educational ideals of its founder, Venerable Master Hsing Yun, and is dedicated to establishing the University of Enlightenment in Tagathay, aspiring to open the gates of wisdom for more kindred spirits. Venerable Miao Jing mentioned that the Buddha's teachings originate from humanity, and the existence of Buddhism is for the happiness of humanity. Venerable Master Hsing Yun advocates the Four Givings, hoping that this warmth can spread and bring more goodness to the world. Priest Severo remarked that every person at Fo Guang Shan exudes a passionate smile, like a warm breeze soothing the anxieties in their hearts. Francis, a theology student from Guangzhou, shared his profound experience of visiting the Mabhay Temple during his study trip to the Philippines, deeply feeling the significance of Venerable Master Hsing Yun's advocacy of the Three Act of Goodness. He was also surprised to discover the striking similarities between Buddhist teachings and Catholic principles. Students present at the event eagerly posed insightful questions, inquiring about topics such as freeing oneself from desire and practicing the Noble Eightfold Path. BLIA members, Belinda and Venerable Zhi Rong, patiently addressed each query. Venerable Zhi Qin showcased the essence of Humanistic Buddhism through videos and elucidated Venerable Master Hsing Yun's unique perspective on Humanistic Buddhism. This interreligious dialogue not only purified the participants' souls but also fostered mutual understanding and respect among different faiths. To deepen the visitors' experience, Venerable Chueh Chi specially prepared a unique ritual. LED candles were provided for the members to light, symbolizing the illumination of hope. After lighting the candles, the members meditated in silence, then drew Dharma lots, hoping to find answers to life's questions in this serene place. The youth group, led by Beibei Tsai and former leader Wanji Gong, served as hosts and guides for this visit. The group also visited Grand Master Hsing Yun Art Gallery where they experienced the writing of the sutra, Grand Master calligraphy and his volume of 395 books. To end their visit, the group had their afternoon snack at Mabuhay teahouse where they got to experience Buddhist vegetarian food.

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Learn from his Compassion and Wisdom, the “Community of Practices” 2-month series to commemorate Venerable Master Hsing Yun has concluded

Priscilla Wong April 17, 2024 On 31 March, the Sunday “Community of Practices” Check-In to commemorate the one-year anniversary of Venerable Master Hsing Yun’s passing with a 2-month series has concluded. Community members shared their personal and inspiring tributes to Venerable Master Hsing Yun. Venerable Juewei commenced the sessions, sharing the Venerable Master’s example of leading with courage to undertake innovative initiatives which were initially met with great resistance.  However, his persistence and fortitude have resulted in the Fo Guang Shan we know today. Venerable reflected on how she draws strength from her teacher’s example - and asked each of us to consider how we too can take courageous action to make a positive impact on the world. Ina Denton (from the USA) and Cecile Manikan (from the Philippines) followed by sharing the joy of their personal interactions with the Venerable Master and also being the recipients of the kindness and generosity from his monastic students throughout the world. Under this genuine care, Ina undertook a personal journey from skeptic to humble student to dharma teacher, while Cecile marvelled at the art of nobility which all of us can be encouraged to practice and perfect. Lipeng Lim and Joey Yeo gave examples of how the Venerable Master’s actions and words guide us in both daily life, and when faced with life’s challenges. Joey was moved by a simple bookmark calling on him to safeguard the mind and encouraged us all to reflect on how we can be mindful of our every thought. Lipeng spoke of her admiration of the Venerable Master’s befriending of illness. Instead of resistance, anger and denial, we can see through his example the possibility to transform our experience to gratitude and acceptance. Stacey Weng gave different experiences of how the Master had touched their lives beyond form. photo/The Life News Agency Finally, our friends Xiaomeng Tian, Liam Carver and Stacey Weng gave different experiences of how the Master had touched their lives beyond form. Xiaomeng, despite never having met the Venerable Master, came to find a spiritual home in the study groups, educational institutes and communities of Fo Guang Shan. Stacey too, was delighted by the wonder and joy created by the artistic ventures nurtured by the Venerable Master - particularly in the Buddha’s Birthday Festivals (BBF) and Buddha’s Birthday Education Project (BBEP) which so many friends from around the world have contributed to. And Liam shared an internal journey of discovery. He confessed his initial disappointment at the dharma name Upholding Affinities given to him by the Venerable Master - a man he had only seen from afar, before gradually coming to appreciate how perfect the name and precious the gift were. Liam offered this final note of tribute to the Venerable Master which the community echoed: “You really were a star among the stars I could only aspire to” The Sunday Check In community now moves to our next series welcoming the authors of the 2023 book Cultivating Compassion who will present their chapters each week over the upcoming months.  The link is as follows: https://www.peterlang.com/document/1340151 To learn more, hear the Venerable Master Hsing Yun Tribute sessions, and to register for the Sunday Check In sessions, see the link: https://community.thebbep.org/2024-sunday-check-in/

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2024 FGS NZ Buddha’s Birthday Celebration: Cultivating Social Harmony

Fo Guang Shan New Zealand April 16, 2024 On 13 April 2024, the Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Temple Auckland hosted the annual Buddha’s Birthday Celebration for World Peace. The ceremony was led by Abbess of  FGS NZ Venerable Manshin. Attendees collectively chanted the Heart Sutra and recited the Prayer for World Peace written by the Founder of FGS Venerable Master Hsing Yun. Distinguished guests from various religious backgrounds participated, including Māori elder Kaumatua Tame Hauraki, Dean of Auckland the Very Reverend Anne Mills, and Catholic representative Rev Deacon Chris Sullivan, who each offered prayers for the ceremony. Notable attendees included President Evelyn KU of the Buddha’s Light International Association (BLIA) North Island Chapter, Director General Kendra CHEN of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Auckland, Members of Parliament Nancy LU and Rima Nakhle, Auckland Deputy Mayor Desley Simpson, Councillor Hon Maurice Williamson & Sharon Stewart, Chair of the Howick Local Board Damian Light, Superintendent Shanan Gray and Inspector Rod Honan together with nearly 500 people from diverse sectors, including religious, political, police, arts, media, schools and the community. Participants made generous offerings to the Buddha. The BLIA Young Adult Division performed a lion dance to welcome the statue of Prince Siddhartha. Additionally, students from Papatoetoe Intermediate School sang the New Zealand national anthem and performed a Haka dance. The FGS Auckland Choir performed hymns celebrating the birth of Buddha and expressed gratitude to the Founding Master for bringing the beautiful Temple to New Zealand. Abbess Manshin addressed the Temple’s efforts in sharing the Three Goodness values locally, which is a project of returning to one’s roots and true nature, and thus serving the community. Abbess expressed her wishes for New Zealand to thrive with peace. President Evelyn KU thanked Abbess and the Temple for leading the community in building a Pure Land on Earth through diverse cultural, educational and charitable activities, helping to purify minds and the land. By participating in the Buddha Bathing Ceremony, attendees embodied the principles of Do Good Deeds, Say Good Words & Think Good Thoughts. MP Nancy LU conveyed gratitude from Prime Minister Christopher Luxon, acknowledging the significant contributions of Fo Guang Shan to the community and cooperation with the police. Deputy Mayor Simpson praised the Temple for infusing Auckland, one of the world’s most culturally diverse cities, with harmony, peace and joy. Director General CHEN highlighted the need for the wisdom and light of the Dharma in today’s world. Chairman Light and Inspector Honan also praised the Temple’s supportive role in fostering community harmony. Editor Farida Master of Eastlife described the Temple as an oasis of harmony and a cultural sanctuary, appreciating its efforts in building a supportive society. The celebration also featured a Baby & Children Blessing Ceremony, local market stalls, a One Stroke Calligraphy exhibition by the Venerable Master, a Prince Siddhartha Exhibition and tea meditation. The New Zealand Health Department provided free flu vaccinations at the event, recognizing Temple’s support of the Asian community’s VAX Heroes initiative. The day was filled with auspiciousness and joy.

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