FGS News

Cebu City Hosts First International Theatre Festival: Highlight on ‘Siddhartha the Musical’

Fo Guang Shan Mabuhay Temple July 12, 2024 From July 1 to 7, Cebu City hosted the Philippines’ first international theatre festival. This historic week-long event brought together performing arts groups from across Asia to celebrate global culture, creativity, and collaboration. The Cebu International Theatre Festival (CITF) featured performances from Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, and the Philippines. Each participating group showcased productions that delved into their cultural heritage and history. The opening ceremony on July 1 at Cebu’s Nustar Resort included a preview of performances from each participating country. As Cebu’s longest-running musical, “Siddhartha the Musical” made a grand return during the festival at the Siddhartha Theatre. Directed by Junrey Alayacyac and with music and lyrics by Jude Gitamondoc, the musical is based on Venerable Master Hsing Yun’s “Biography of Sakyamuni Buddha.” It narrates the story of Indian Prince Siddhartha, who renounced his throne in pursuit of enlightenment. Since its debut in 2007, the musical has been performed in 15 countries, with Korea announced as the 16th location next year. The audience was captivated by the immersive experience created through vibrant stage design, authentic costumes, and meticulous hair and makeup. Director Junrey Alayacyac encouraged the audience to appreciate the musical with the innocence of a high schooler. Benjie Layos, who has played Siddhartha since 2007, was highly praised for his nuanced performance. Despite over 180 successful performances, the musical’s message of hope and enlightenment remains powerful and relevant. The event received full support from the Fo Guang Shan Philippines Head Abbess, Venerable Yung Guang, who fostered connections between artists and the spirit of Venerable Master Hsing Yun’s Three Acts of Goodness and Four Givings. Artists felt at home at the Guang Ming Institute of Performing Arts in Cebu. The festival also included notable performances like Korea’s Gongter Da’s “House of Fathers” and Theatre Domo’s “Rain,” which explored themes of family dynamics and personal struggles. Japan’s Theatre Angelus and Theatre Konoshitayami, Malaysia’s Chow Drama Studio, and Singapore’s Opera Academy each presented unique stories reflecting their cultural experiences. The Cebu International Theatre Festival is a significant step towards reviving and promoting theatre culture in Cebu and the Philippines. By showcasing diverse stories from around the world, the festival fosters cultural exchange and artistic innovation. “Siddhartha the Musical” stood out as a vital contribution, reminding audiences of the enduring power of theatre to inspire and connect people. Audiences were deeply moved by the festival’s ability to bridge cultures through the universal language of theatre. Many expressed a renewed appreciation for the performing arts and the importance of storytelling in understanding and embracing diverse cultural identities. The festival not only entertained but also educated and left a lasting impact on the hearts and minds of its audience.

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Philippine-Brazil Chapter Donates Baby Phototherapy Equipment to National Hospital

Riv, Manila July 12, 2024 The Buddha's Light International Association (BLIA) Philippine Brazil Chapter held a charitable event donating pediatric phototherapy equipment to the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) on the morning of July 9 at 11 AM at Fo Guang Shan Mabuhay Temple. The donation ceremony was attended by Venerable Yung Guang, head Abbess of Fo Guang Shan Philippines; superintendant Venerable Chueh Lin, Dr. Michael Lau, director of the BLIA World Headquarters; Kathy Uy, president of the Philippine Association; Richard Liu, vice president of the Brazil Chapter; Yi Hung Chu, secretary; Ying Ying Huang, member; Dr. Princess Jeanne R. Gairanod, chief medical officer of PGH; and Rashene N. Lim, administrative assistant of the Children's Foundation. Venerable Yung Guang praised the Brazil Chapter for their continuous charity work over the past decade, especially during the challenging times of the pandemic. They have embodied the philosophy of Master Hsing Yun, founder of Fo Guang Shan, "to benefit society through charity" and "to provide urgent relief." With compassion and dedication, they have expanded their charitable endeavors. Dr. Michael Liu, also a supervisor of the Brazil Chapter, has always been involved in this donation activity. He emphasized its significance in fundamentally addressing the hospital's emergency measures and support. He hopes that the Brazil Chapter's activities can inspire other organizations to extend emergency assistance. Kathy Uy expressed that promoting the "Three Acts of Goodness" campaign in hospitals is something the association, its chapters, and every BLIA member can achieve. Different fields require different kinds of support, and every member should promote Master Hsing Yun's "Three Acts of Goodness" to benefit society and spread light and warmth. Dr. Princess Jeanne R. Gairanod gratefully accepted the donation. She noted that such donations enable the hospital to provide free treatment to underprivileged families. She stated that the pediatric department's receipt of this equipment is a godsend, as one machine can provide two hours of phototherapy for each baby, immediately assisting those in urgent need and reducing the risk of long-term complications or life-threatening conditions. Currently, the hospital lacks sufficient medical equipment of this kind and hopes for improvements in the future.

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2024 Partnership Learning Session, Brigada Eskwela, and TAG Proposal Orientation in Pampanga

Fo Guang Shan Mabuhay Temple July 8, 2024 On July 4, 2024 The Three Acts of Goodness (TAG) School Projects led by Venerable Abbess Miao Jing of Fo Guang Shan Mabuhay Temple, along with TAG facilitators Venerable Zhi Min, Kit Brian Valderrama, Buddha’s Light International Association (BLIA) Manila III Dharma Sister Agatha Leung, and National Coordinator Imelda Tabian, were invited to orient 70 principals across the division of Department of Education (DepEd) in Pampanga. This seminar focused on the meaning and impact of TAG in children's education and was part of the 2024 partnership learning session and Brigada Eskwela (school troope in Filipino) orientation . The Three Acts of Goodness team shared insights on Fo Guang Shan's partnership with DepEd, the history of the Three Acts of Goodness initiative, and the use of storybook "Bodhi Tales" as material for literary reading projects. They also provided a walkthrough for TAG proposal writing. The session was enriching, with participants showing a keen interest in learning about the Three Acts of Goodness, especially schools new to the partnership and grants. Ven. Zhi Min elaborated on the law of causality in which practicing TAG is to live in the present times with hope, joy and gratitude towards a better future. One participant, Novelita D. Alfonso, Principal II of Sta Cruz Elementary School, expressed her enthusiasm: “Upon hearing that the TAG team would be coming, I was excited and encouraged to join and submit a proposal to help my teachers and pupils practice the Three Acts of Goodness. I am happy that everyone is here.” The TAG team shared ideas on how grant schools and future beneficiaries could enhance their proposals or projects to help students realize the importance of practicing TAG in various forms and activities held in their schools. Dorotea Soliman remarked that this partnership marks a significant stride towards mutual growth and innovation in DepEd schools. Both Fo Guang Shan Foundation and the DepEd Pampanga are optimistic about the progress of TAG in each school. With shared goals and a commitment to spreading the practice, this partnership is poised to set new standards and deliver substantial value to students. Agatha Leung shared her personal experience of practicing TAG with her family after recognizing TAG as a universal value for the betterment of humankind. She fosters joy, happiness, and harmony in her family and hopes to see the seeds of TAG planted in children at a young age. She believes that TAG promotes good values and habits such as filial piety, helpfulness, and contentment, preparing individuals to serve the larger community. This orientation and partnership signify a promising collaboration aimed at fostering a culture of goodness, compassion, and positive action among students, shaping a brighter future for the next generation.

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National University Lady Bulldogs Set for BLIA Cup: A Journey of Athletic and Spiritual Growth

Fo Guang Shan Philippines June 26, 2024 As the countdown to the Three Acts of Goodness BLIA Cup International University Basketball Competition begins, the National University (NU) Lady Bulldogs, representing the Philippines, paid homage at Fo Guang Shan Philippines on June 21, 2024 to attend a comprehensive briefing in preparation for their journey. The NU concluded the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) Season 86 or 2023–24 season with a silver finish. Team Managers Michael Lim and Ms. Rhouna Tibor expressed gratitude towards Fo Guang Shan for organizing the prestigious international competition, ensuring that the Lady Bulldogs would showcase professional efforts and a kind attitude on and off the court. Coach Aris Dimaunahan welcomed the international challenge, highlighting the importance of the competition for personal development under the guidance of the Three Acts of Goodness—Do Good Deeds, Speak Good Words, Think Good Thoughts—alongside honing their athletic skills. The event saw the presence of the 12 Lady Bulldogs . They were warmly greeted by Buddha’s Light International Association (BLIA) Advisor Dharma Brother Erwin Chao, who has been sponsoring the BLIA Cup Philippine delegation since 2014. The Philippines boasts a strong history in the competition, having won the BLIA Cup Champions title for Men’s Basketball in 2017 and 2019 by De La Salle University and the University of the Philippines Diliman respectively. BLIA Pasig President Dharma Sister Betty Choa graciously offered vegetarian snacks following the orientation, adding a touch of hospitality to the event. Venerable Yung Guang, Deputy President of the Three Acts of Goodness Sports Association and Head Abbess of Fo Guang Shan Philippines, emphasized the vision of the founder Venerable Master Hsing Yun to foster international friendships among young athletes and promote the character trait of admitting mistakes. She encouraged the NU team with four key points: 1. Maintain a grateful mind towards NU President and the team owner. 2. Utilize the platform to meet and bond with international teams. 3. Prepare to stage a cultural performance showcasing the rich heritage of the Philippines. 4. Cultivate mindfulness as a crucial element of success. Venerable Chueh Lin and Venerable Zhi Qin served as advising masters during the event. Venerable Miao Jing congratulated NU on their participation in the BLIA Cup, describing it as an invaluable journey for professional development in their athletic careers, gaining international experience, and undergoing spiritual training within a multicultural community. She emphasized the importance of embedding the Three Acts of Goodness in sports. As the Lady Bulldogs gear up for the competition, they carry with them the hopes of their nation and the values of compassion, mindfulness, and international camaraderie. The BLIA Cup is set to be not only a test of their basketball skills but also an enriching experience for their holistic growth.

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Faith Leaders Unite for Interfaith Dialogue at De La Salle University

Rachelle Ng June 24, 2024 On June 19, 2024, The De La Salle University hosted the LEAP 2024: Faith Talk, bringing together representatives from various religious traditions for a multi-faith discussion. The event, organized by the Student Lasallian Animators, featured Venerable Abbess Miao Jing of Fo Guang Shan Mabuhay Temple and Rachelle Ng of the Buddha's Light International Association Young Adult Division as the Buddhist representatives, Fr. Alex Mijangos as the Catholic representative, Imam Al-mahdie Muslimin Asanin as the Muslim representative, and Dr. Sharon Danisha Vaswani as the Hinduism representative. The Faith Talk was attended by 70 first-year students, eager to explore diverse religious perspectives. The event aimed to foster understanding and empathy among students by offering them direct interaction with faith representatives. Venerable Miao Jing presented on the cultivation of morality, meditation, and wisdom in Humanistic Buddhism. She emphasized the quest for an enlightened heart filled with loving-kindness and peace, aligning with Venerable Master Hsing Yun's directives to spread joy and harmony in the Philippines. Imam Al-mahdie Muslimin Asanin discussed the significance of internal and external submission to serve Allah, highlighting the holistic nature of Islamic worship. Dr. Sharon Danisha Vaswani elaborated on the Hindu concepts of reincarnation and salvation, explaining how the caste system influences one's spiritual journey. Fr. Alex Mijangos, LC spoke about the Catholic tradition of celebrating ceremonies and events to commemorate Jesus Christ, fostering a sense of community and spiritual reflection. During the group discussion, Rachelle Ng shared personal insights on how Buddhism has helped her become a better person and maintain inner peace amidst life's challenges. Her reflections resonated with students, who were keen to learn more about leading a spiritual life, achieving happiness, understanding gender equality, and the Buddhist perspectives on current social concerns in the Philippines. Feedback from the participants was overwhelmingly positive. Danielle Del Rosario, a second-year Behavioral Sciences student, appreciated the harmonious learning environment created by the interfaith leaders. Mr. James Laxa, Director of the Lasallian Pastoral Office, expressed gratitude for the presence of spiritual leaders, noting that their insights nurtured empathy, love, and understanding among the students. He emphasized that these values are crucial as students embark on their professional careers. The LEAP 2024: Faith Talk successfully provided a platform for young minds to engage in meaningful dialogue, fostering a deeper appreciation of diverse religious beliefs and practices.

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Grand Opening of 2024 Summer "Three Acts of Goodness" Workshop at Fo Guang Shan Bacolod Yuan Thong Temple Attracts Many Students and Guests

Fo Guang Shan Mabuhay Temple June 21, 2024 The 2024 Summer "Three Acts of Goodness" Workshop, jointly organized by Fo Guang Shan Bacolod Yuan Thong Temple and the Buddha's Light International Association (BLIA) Bacolod subchapter, has officially started. Nearly 35 students registered for this year's program. Distinguished guests included BLIA Philippines Chapter Director Joquin Gochangco, Bacolod subchapter Vice Presidents BingLao and Mila Go Tan, along with nearly 30 parents. The opening ceremony featured performances by returning students, showcasing dances created by Fo Guang Shan Philippines for Buddha’s birthday and a rendition of "Love and Peace." Venerable Zhi Rong welcomed the new students, expressing gratitude for the support from BLIA and the parents who allowed their children to come to the temple. The temple is open to the public, and students are especially welcome to study in the temple's library. Director Joquin Gochangco of BLIA Philippines emphasized that the purpose of the summer workshop is to promote the "Three Acts of Goodness: Do Good Deeds, Speak Good Words, and Think Good Thoughts." This year, special Chinese traditional dance courses have been arranged, encouraging students to seize this opportunity to learn. The workshop's teaching team, consisting of Artist from from Bacolod, was introduced by the Teacher Rutha. The team includes music teachers Rutha Rojo, owner of MRBR Theater Production & Music Studio and assisted by Luis Sacramento (a Musical Engineer and composer), ballet teacher Rolando Toleco (currently Kagayon Dance Troupe and a former member of the national dance troupe), pop dance teachers Virnie Clarion and Nikkolas Appe of Poly Class Group, Theater & drama teacher Milton Dionson, a veteran of the Bacolod theater scene. Notably, during the launching program Sanhao students performed the Buddha’s Birthday Dance and Luis Sacramento also performed his original "Three Acts of Goodness" song, receiving enthusiastic applause from students and teachers alike. Student Jancenth expressed his love for learning at Yuan Tong Temple, and this time, he brought five classmates along. He described the temple's atmosphere as feeling like home, where he always feels happy, and his father feels assured. Another student, Angel Faith, appreciated the chance to learn various skills, while Niko’s mother observed her child’s growth at Yuan Tong Temple. Additionally, the workshop attracted several sibling pairs, including Marjoria Ann and Ma. Faye, as well as Rhea Alexandra and Rees Anika, adding more fun and family interaction to the activities.

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Guang Ming College Performing Arts Department Year-End Productions Highlight the Fusion of Dharma and Arts

Fo Guang Shan Mabuhay Temple June 19, 2024 The Department of Performing Arts of Guang Ming College (GMC)  staged shows on May 15, 30 & 31 before the school year ended. Fo Guang Shan Abbess Venerable Miao Jing of Mabuhay Temple congratulated the creative effort to blend the dynamic presence of the Dharma with the themes of life and arts. She saw that GMC production should carry lessons from the stage into daily lives, continually seeking wisdom, compassion and harmonious community. "Bells, Gong and Drums" was the year-end production by the Music Theater which started enrollment last year. It showcased the incredible talent of our students and embodied the solemnity of the spiritual practice of offerings. Through music and dance, the first part of this production are songs of nature and life to capture the serenity of the natural world and the interconnectedness with humans. The second part drew inspiration from Venerable Master's Hsing Yun's book, "Bell, Gong and Drum" to explore the symbolic significance of Dharma instruments within Buddhist reflections on life awakening. Professor Arjay Viray remarked, "We only have first year students who are willing to explore the power of music as a medium for conveying the core teachings of Venerable Master Hsing Yun and transformative experience at Guang Ming College." Professor Heidi Emelo also pointed out that the vibrant expression of Dharma and compassion were emphasized in the other shows this year. The Musical Performance staged by the Theatre Major were a collection of excerpts from the five popular musical plays such as Once on this Island, Dear Evan Hanssen, Wicked, Annie and Matilda. The Devised Performance provided the opportunity for the students to explore their imagination and personal outlook on current issues when they performed freely without script. The Dance Major celebrated their learnings with dances from different regions where their hometowns were. They were excited to share own cultural arts and choreography together with contemporary ballet dances. 

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Fo Guang Shan Thaihua Temple held its inauguration ceremony, a new milestone in the integration of Theravada Buddhism and Mahayana Buddhism

The Merit Times June 17, 2024 On June 16, the Fo Guang Shan Thaihua Temple held its inauguration ceremony in Bangkok. The ribbon-cutting ceremony was presided over by Most Venerable Hsin Bao, head abbot of Fo Guang Shan Monastery. Venerable Hsin Ting, abbot of Thaihua Temple, led the reception for 1,500 distinguished guests from around the world. In the seven days leading up to the inauguration ceremony, Thaihua Temple hosted a Dharma Service for the Offering to the Sangha, where a total of 1,250 Thai monks participated, marking the beginning of the temple's operational debut and jointly witnessing a new milestone in the integration of Theravada Buddhism and Mahayana Buddhism. Distinguished guests attending the ceremony included Bangkok Governor Chadchart Sittipunt, Deputy Minister Wantanee Wattana, General Surasak Kanjanarat, Honorary Chairman of the TioChew Association of Thailand Chen Hanshi, Chairman Huishen Xu, Fo Guang Shan follower representative Chaoming Liu, and Fo Guang Shan benefactors Guoke Su, Qingfa Shen, and Mingtai Huang. The guests participated in the ribbon-cutting and key-turning ceremonies. Following this, Most Venerable Hsin Bao led the congregation in an offering, with thousands devoutly praying amidst the solemn chanting. Most Venerable Hsin Bao, in his speech, stated that Venerable Master Hsing Yun, founder of Fo Guang Shan, had a grand vision of propagating Humanistic Buddhism in Thailand. With the support and assistance of the Thai Buddhist community and the help of benefactors and devotees of Fo Guang Shan both domestically and internationally, this vision has finally come to fruition this year. This symbolizes the power of collective effort and the auspicious conditions that bring the Dharma to fruition. Most Venerable Hsin Bao expressed his wish for everyone to remain steadfast in their original aspirations, continue supporting Thaihua Temple, and thereby let the Buddha's days be glorified, and the Dharma endure forever. In his speech, Venerable Hsin Ting expressed gratitude to Venerable Master Hsing Yun for his trust and support, which enabled him to establish Thaihua Temple in Thailand as he reached his seventies, promoting the exchange between Theravada Buddhism and Mahayana Buddhism. Thaihua Temple, constructed by Thailand's largest construction company, is grand and magnificent. The golden statue of Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva, which the heigit is over 30 metersl, has been completed for seven years and continues to shine brightly. In the future, the temple will uphold Fo Guang Shan’s Four Objectives: "To propagate Buddhist teachings through cultural activities. To nurture talents through education. To benefit societies through charitable programs. To purify human hearts and minds through Buddhist practices." It will continue to shoulder the responsibility of propagating Humanistic Buddhism. Liu Zhaoming expressed admiration for Venerable Master Hsing Yun's establishment of temples worldwide, providing a spiritual home for many followers and fostering good karma and wisdom through the promotion of Dharma activities. Since the founding of Fo Guang Shan, Venerable Hsin Ting has adhered to the path set by Venerable Master Hsing Yun, accomplishing every mission entrusted to him with wisdom and compassion, thus achieving such remarkable success. Bangkok Governor Chadchart Sittipunt praised Venerable Hsin Ting for his compassion, which transcends religion and ethnicity, and for his long-term care for disadvantaged groups. He highlighted Venerable Hsin Ting's contributions, including donating over 10,000 care bags and daily necessities across Thailand and establishing scholarships, showcasing a spirit of selflessness. Most Venerable Hsin Bao, representing the BLIA World Headquarters, presented Thaihua Temple with a gemstone-embedded portrait of Venerable Master Hsing Yun. The portrait bears an inscription by Japan’s Prince Nagaya, "Among mountains and rivers of different lands; the winds and the moon are the same under Heaven. Send word to all disciples of Buddha, bind together in future fate." This symbolizes the spreading of Bodhi seeds to Thailand, bringing endless hope and wisdom benefits. To celebrate the completion and inauguration of Thaihua Temple, a seven-day Sangha offering and blessing event was held from June 9th to 15th. The event provided offerings to 1,250 participants, including faculty and students from Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University and Mahamakut Buddhist University, monks, nuns, the Deputy Sangharaja of Thailand, temple abbots, and other members of the Sangha. Venerable Hsin Ting stated that although most of the monks and nuns attending the offering ceremony are currently studying at universities and learning about Buddhism, they will become the main force in propagating the Dharma in the future. Therefore, the Sangha offering and blessing event not only dedicates merits and prays for the Buddha's protection for national peace and prosperity, but also provides an opportunity for the lay devotees to offer to the Sangha, accumulate merit, and gather the resources needed for attaining Buddhahood. The merits are extraordinary and the significance is profound. Fo Guang Shan's various units and global Fo Guang members jointly congratulate the event. Distinguished guests present include Venerable Hui Long, Abbot of Qing De Temple, Fo Guang Shan; Head Abbess of FGS Hong Kong and Macau, Venerable Yong Fu; Venerable Jue Cheng, Chief Abbess of Fo Guang Shan for Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia; Venerable Man Chien, Abbess of Fo Guang Shan Taipei Vihara; Secretary General of BLIA World Headquarters, Venerable Chueh Pei; Chairman Cheng-ta Yang and his wife from the Chinese Buddhist Life Promotion Association; Chairman Liu Zongli and his wife from the Association of Ancient and Modern Humanities, Chunghua; along with many other honored benefactors from home and abroad. Yin Lin Lingzhu from Hong Kong began supporting various Fo Guang Shan temples after Venerable Master Hsing Yun's teachings at Hong Kong Coliseum. Since 2016, she has annually followed Venerable Hsin Ting to India for pilgrimage, deeply moved by the teachings and vowed to attend the inauguration ceremony of Thaihua Temple. Peng Ruihui, who has lived in Thailand for ten years, witnessed the arduous construction of Thaihua Temple. She admires Venerable Hsin Ting's foundation of Buddhist harmony between North and South with principles of "respect and inclusiveness." Through his vast aspirations and connection with global Fo Guang members, they were able to gather numerous resources and efforts, uniting everyone in solidarity. The largest celebration group from Taiwan, numbering over 500 people, consisted of members from various Fo Guang Shan temples across Taiwan. They joyfully came together to share in the celebration of Thaihua Temple's completion and inauguration. Many second-generation Fo Guang followers accompanied the group, expressing their vow to continue supporting, thus demonstrating the concrete achievement of bringing Humanistic Buddhism into families and deepening faith.

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Mabuhay Elderly Immerge Into Chinese Culture

Belinda Tantuco June 14, 2024 Mabuhay Temple Head Abbess Ven. Yung Guang, as a gesture of compassion and appreciation for the untiring supports and services of our temple devotees, sponsored the 2024 Song He Basic Class. This class is spearheaded by Venerable Zhi Pu and is held on every Wednesday afternoon for eight sessions. The first session on June 5, 2024 was attended by a class of 14 elderly dharma sisters. During the first session, the participants were introduced to the rich background of Chinese tea history, the different types of tea and tea sets, the process of tea production as well as the art of tea preparation. Participants were also introduced to two kinds of ancient Chinese musical instruments. One was “Guqin”, a seven-stringed plucked instrument and another was “Pipa”, a lute with 4 strings, large banana leaflike body and a fretted fingerboard.  Based on scientific fact, the average percentage of fluid in human body is 60%-75%. With this, human body reacts actively to the sound wave produced by musical instrument. Like meditation, soft light music is effective for body and mind relaxation, can bring tranquility and reduce anxiety. As Venerable Zhi Pu discussed, succeeding classes will include a variation of topics like the culture of incense, art of floral arrangement, health and wellness, arts & crafts. All these activities and discussions are like Buddhism convenience methods that will enable one to become self-composed, develop meditative concentration that will eventually help in the cultivation of inner peace, calmness and well-being. All these involve Chinese cultures, applied with the principles and practices on Humanistic Buddhism.  As Venerable Master Hsing Yun often taught “a rolling stone gathers no moss, running water does not breed beetles”.  When a person is proactive, there will be motivation, vitality and stimulation. He encouraged everyone to continually learn new things, upgrade own skills, do delightful activities and share one’s know-how as approaches to become mentally, physically and spiritually healthy.

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FGS Philippines at Taipei International Vegetarian Culture Festival

Fo Guang Shan Philippines June 13, 2024 Fo Guang Shan (FGS) Philippines and the Buddha’s Light International Association (BLIA) Philippines showcased Filipino products at the “2024 International Vegetarian Culture Festival ─ Joyous Vego Lifestyle” held at the Taipei World Trade Center from May 10 to 13. The event also featured a Prayer for Buddha’s Birthday and World Peace on May 12. Among the highlights were papaya soup, banana chips, virgin coconut oil, and dried mango, beloved for their natural flavors. BLIA advisor, Dharma Brother Erwin Choa, received honorary guests FGS Abbot Most Venerable Hsin Bau and Chancellor of FGS Cultural Council Most Venerable Yi Kong, alongside BLIA Pasig President Dharma Sister Betty Choa, Lily So, and Ngo-ngo Choa from the BLIA Hong Kong subchapter. Lily So has been volunteering at vegetarian expos in Taipei and mainland China since 2012, where she has showcased a diverse array of Filipino delicacies, beverages, handcrafted arts, and goods. She expressed gratitude, stating, “I am thankful to the Venerable Master for transforming me from a housewife to a proud Vegetarian Ambassador.” For 16 consecutive years, the Merit Times Newspaper has been organizing vegetarian expos centered around the theme of "Environmental and Spiritual Preservation." These expos aim to foster collaboration among industry, government, academia, and education to promote environmentally friendly vegetarian food and drive ecological development within the vegetarian food industry. With the ethos of "vegetarianism, environmental protection, and love for the earth," this year's event seeks to integrate sustainability into vegetarianism, in line with the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The expo features 400 booths across 8 main areas and 20 immersive sections, representing 200 government agencies, members of the Buddha's Light International Association (BLIA), various religious groups, vegetarians, and plant-based health-conscious product companies. The 8 main areas include the Fo Guang Shan Main Pavilion, International Vegetarian Food, Vegetarian Food, Health and Wellness, Religious Literature and Goods, Carbon Reduction, Food and Agricultural Education, and Sporting Goods. Venerable Yung Guang, the Head Abbess of FGS Philippines, wholeheartedly endorsed the innovative initiatives promoting a meatless diet and sustainable lifestyle. She emphasized the importance of reading, exercise, and spiritual practice in achieving these goals. Venerable Yung Guang also acknowledged the contributions of FGS education institutions and consortium universities at the expo, which showcased creative culinary delights and performing arts to the public.

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