菲律賓佛光山6月在馬尼拉國家文化中心國家劇院聯合舉行「FLIP 2019 The Light of
戲劇系學士畢業的Ralph Jade Tampal，入選為菲律賓第58屆馬尼拉區域十大傑出學生(TOSP)。9月，澳洲南天大學也傳來好消息，前年成立的人間佛教研究所，獲澳洲教育部核准開立
A Letter to Dharma Protectors and Friends in 2020
Dear Dharma protectors and friends,
In the Year of the Rat, I, Hsin Bau, on behalf of the FoGuang Shan Board of Directors, Abbots, Abbesses, Superintendents, and sanghacommunities of Fo Guang Shan temples worldwide, wish for everyone to do good things, speak good words, and think good thoughts. With the Three Acts ofGoodness, every journey in this world is a path to happiness.
In January last year, Fo Guang Shan held theInternational Ten-Thousand Buddha Triple Platform Full Ordination Ceremony with preceptees from twenty-one countries and regions worldwide.
The Sila Upadhyaya, Venerable Master Hsing Yun,encouraged everyone with this recollection, “Throughout my entire life, I have only focused on doing one thing, that is, to play the role of a monastic well.”
The commemoration of Venerable Master’s Renunciation Dayfell on March 7th (Lunar February 1st) last year, and the Devotee’s Gathering was held in Fo Guang Shan, includingthe release of Venerable Master’s new book, I am not a Dependent of the Buddha. This was Venerable Master’s first published work after recovering from his craniotomy two years ago. This book is a recounting of his 81-year journey as a monastic that holds true to the ideal of not living offthe name of Buddhism and holding himself responsible for Buddhism’s future,determined to be a person who repays gratitude.
The book has ranked among the best-selling books for months at Eslite Bookstore and Books.com.tw in Taiwan, and Yazhou Zhoukan (Asia Weekly ) in Hong Kong. It is highly valued by readers worldwide. One after another, reading groups come togetherto share their thoughts on the book. In just five months, there have been morethan 711 sharing sessions, with over 20,900 people participating. In August, FoGuang Shan London hosted a book presentation in the Jubilee Room, located inthe oldest building in the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Hall. The localyouth scholars shared the theme of the book and explained Venerable Master’slifelong and selfless dedication to culture and education.
Last year, I visited several Fo Guang Shan branch temples— including those located in three regions across the Cross-Strait, Australia, Europe, Americas, Malaysia, the Philippines, and India—and witnessed Fo GuangShan monastics working tirelessly to propagate the Dharma. Likewise, Buddha’sLight International Association (BLIA) members have been diligent in their cultivation. For example, BLIA members have enthusiastically organized and involved themselves in various pursuits such as trainings, free medical services, blood drives, and activities such as beach cleaning, mountaincleaning, and tree planting—all for the betterment of society. This year, over 18,400 people took refuge in the Triple Gem and participated in the Five Precepts and Bodhisattva Precepts Ceremony. Furthermore, 4,300 children were blessed by Guanyin Bodhisattva in the Fo Guang Baby Blessing Ceremonies. This shows how BLIA members are beginning to pass down the legacy of faith.
We are ever grateful to the support of our volunteers, who have clocked in more than 100,000 times at headquarters. The FGS Volunteers Association actively develops towards being more international, youthful, and innovative. Besides partnering with Nanhua University, Fo Guang University,Kaohsiung University of Science and Technology, I-Shou University, Shih Chien University,Sun Yat-sen University, and Cheng Kung University to extend internships, the Association has provided volunteer opportunities at the monastery for over a hundred international backpackers from over twenty-six countries. Furthermore,it has trained experiential learning instructors to assist with activities held
at Fo Guang Shan headquarters, schools, the military, andoverseas branch temples—serving a total of around 5,000 people. In June, the Complete Works of Venerable Master Hsing Yun— Simplified Chinese Edition was published by New Star Press of the China International Publishing Group. The book release was held in Nanjing Library and reported by 43 media representatives from sevencountries and regions. Lu Cairong, Deputy Director of the China ForeignLanguages Publishing Administration, said, “The Complete Works is a treasured set that introduces the wisdom of Buddhism, and is an important part of the wonderful tradition of Chinese culture. It brings positive energy to the cross-Strait, and even into societyand internationally.” Venerable Master also presented the Complete Works to twelve schools, including the National Library of China, National Museum of China, Peking University, Beijing Normal University, Tsinghua University, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, and Fudan University, as well as the Buddhist Academy ofChina and Buddhist Association of China. Temples worldwide have also gifted the Complete Works to local universities, libraries, governmental departments, and religious associations.
In April, Hsi Lai Temple and the University of the Westin Los Angeles, USA, co-organized the “Expression of the Dharma: Buddhist Artand Culture in Everyday Life” Academic Forum. The panel on the Encyclopedia of Buddhist Art was the focus, andmany scholars quoted the encyclopedia in their papers, affirming its value to research. The encyclopedia was also presented to Ryukoku University, Japan;University of Houston and Rice University, USA; University of Göttingen,Germany; Cambridge University, UK; McGill University, Canada; University of Vienna, Austria; Rietberg Museum, Zurich, Switzerland; and the private library of the Stift-KlosterneuburgMonastery Monastery, Austria.
Since the founding of the Center for Buddhist Studies at Fo Guang University, Venerable Master hopes to offer a diverse academic platform for Buddhist research by establishing aworldwide major center of Buddhist studies. In August, there was a series of events about the Buddhist Canons—Timeless Dharma TreasuresReappearing—organized by Fo Guang Shan Monastery, Fo Guang University, Fo GuangShan Foundation for Buddhist Culture and Education, and the Fo Guang ShanInstitute of Humanistic Buddhism. The Exhibition of Buddhist Manuscripts, PublicDharma Talks on Stories of the Buddhist Canon, and International Conference onBuddhist Canons interpreted and explained the Dharma treasures of Buddhism—Buddhistcanons.
Through such events, we hope to bring Buddhist canonsinto society, so the public may feel the magnificence of the Dharma and furtherunderstand Buddhist culture. Furthermore, we have worked proactively with local universitiesto organize joint academic conferences on Humanistic Buddhism to promote the establishment of research centerswithin top universities, so that Humanistic Buddhism may flourish worldwide. The departments and branch templesthat actively contributed to this endeavor include: the Fo Guang Shan Instituteof Humanistic Buddhism, Fo Guang University, Nanhua University, University ofthe West, Nan Tien Institute, Fo Guang Shan Buddha Museum, Hsing Yun Cultureand Education Center in Shanghai, Jianzhen Library in Yangzhou, GuangzhongCulture and Education Center in Beijing, Yunhu Academy, Hsi Lai Temple, FoGuang Shan London, and Fo Guang Shan Singapore.
The “Nanhua University FGS Million Member Fundraising CampaignMemorial Hall,” commissioned by the Million Member Fundraising Committee, wasinaugurated at Nanhua University in May. Committee members are welcome toreturn to the university and make use of the Assembly Hall, Meditation Hall,Water Drop Teahouse, multi-purpose meeting rooms, and guest rooms. The Million-MemberFundraising Campaign showed the world what NT$100 can do, with funds initiallyraised for one university, and now for five outstanding universities.
When the admission results from the Advanced Subjectstests were released last year, both Fo Guang and Nanhua University receivedfull enrollment. In July, the Ministry of Education approved the establishmentof Ph.D. courses at the Department of Life and Death at Nanhua University. Moreover, with Venerable Master’s guidance, the fourth FGS UniversityPresidents Forum had 123 presidents and educators from 32 differentuniversities in 16 countries and regions meet and share their valuable opinionson Buddhist research and the revival of Buddhism. The five universities comprisingthe FGS University Consortium signed a memorandum of understanding with 29 participating institutions,
to work together to educate talents for the world and tolook forward to Buddhist education playing a key role in global academic research.
Additionally, it has been three years since the Venerable Master Hsing Yun Public Education Trust Fund and the FGS Foundation for Culture and Education supported the Seeds of Hope Project; five junior high schoolgraduates of Pu-Men High School were admitted by the Kaohsiung Municipal SeniorHigh School and Kaohsiung Municipal Girls’ Senior High School afterparticipating in the Kaohsiung high school exam-free admission. In July, Juntou International School in Puli, Nantou, received approval from the CambridgeAssessment International Education so that students may study internationalcourses that connects them to the world.
Last year, the Hsing Yun Culture and Education Foundationheld various cultural and educational activities, including international and Cross-Strait exchanges, as well asanswering the call of the Poverty Alleviation Program in Mainland China. The foundation received the 2019 Best Social Responsibility Brand Award and the Green ClassicsAward at the 9th China Charity Festival.
In October, the Global Buddhists for World Peace Exchangeand the BLIA First Meeting of the 7th Board of Directors returned to Paris, France, after 23 years, and was held at the headquarters of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and CulturalOrganization (UNESCO). This is a new milestone in BLIA’s efforts of propagatingHumanistic Buddhism. For many years, BLIA has been an active participant aswell as speaker in many activities held by the United Nations and its associated organizations, including: the Commission on the Status of Women held at UN Headquarters in New York, UN Civil Society Conference, and World Interfaith Harmony Week.
This international exchange asserted BLIA as anassociation that approaches the world by taking root through localization, and alsodevoted to world peace. The meeting’s theme was “Faith and Legacy,” and through video, Venerable Master encouraged international Fo Guang Shan members to worktogether and pass down the legacy of faith, morality, benevolence, and character for the development of Buddhism, so that these values become a mainstream ideology in Buddhism’s future.
In November, the 11th Truthful, Virtuous, and Beautiful Media Award was presented in Singapore for the first time. Professor Su Herng, from National Chengchi University College of Communication, and Lee Huay Leng, Head of Chinese Media Group (CMG)Singapore Press Holdings Limited (SPH) were honored with the Award for Outstanding Contribution.
Nearly three hundred people from well-known media groups fromSingapore, Malaysia, and the Cross-Strait gathered at the ceremony, achieving the consensus of “upholding the mission and responsibility of maintaining professionalism and disseminating right knowledge.” For over fifty years, Fo Guang Shan has always nurtured affinitieswith other religious groups. In April, the Cathedrale Notre-Dame de Paris was caught in a serious fire. Onbehalf of the Fo Guang Shan community, I wrote a letter to Pope Francis, expressingour condolences and willingness to help with the restoration work. Patrick Chauvet, the Archbishop and Dean of Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris, replied toexpress their gratitude.
I believe that though the source of each religion may differ, the mission to bring peace and harmony to society is the same. Furthermore, under the invitation of Hsi Lai Temple, USA,the original Chinese Opera production, Voyage to the East: A Fearless Buddhist Monk’s Mission to Japan , gave three performances at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium, Los Angeles, and at the David H.Koch Theater at Lincoln Center, New York; with over 4,500 people attending.This is the first Buddhist opera performed on the international stage,promoting cultural exchange between the East and West.
In June, Fo Guang Shan Philippines co-organized “FLIP 2019:The Light of Education” Concert at the Cultural Center of the Philippines in Manila, presenting the students’ learning results through artistic performance for supporters of education.
Moreover, Ralph Jade Tampal, a graduate of the Departmentof Performing Arts at Guang Ming College, was awarded at the 58thanniversary of theTen Outstanding Students of the Philippines, Manila Region (TOSP). In September, good news was delivered by Nan TienInstitute. The Humanistic Buddhism Centre, established in 2018, received approvalfrom the Australian Department of Education for the Humanistic Buddhism Graduate Certificate. Humanistic Buddhism is now officially accepted in the Australian education system, another splendid achievement for Buddhism.
The “Hand in Hand, We Became” Buddhist Society Youth LeadershipCamp initiated by Fo Guang Shan Malaysia entered its 10th year. Not only is it supported by the Ministries of Education in all 13 states, but it also inspired Malaysian schools to learnabout Buddhism. Nearly 10,000 teachers and students have participated in the camp over the past ten years.
Every month, more than 50 FGS Cloud and Water Mobile Librariesprovide service to 1,300 rural schools, and this good affinity is sustained by the FGS Foundation for Buddhist Culture and Education todevelop educational and cultural projects in rural areas. For example, the Seeds of Hope Scholarship, as well as financial aid for English and Music, hope to transform the lives of disadvantaged children.
At the start of the year, the institutional sports teams under Fo Guang Shan’s Three Acts of Goodness Sports Association have hadexcellent performances. Fo Guang University Women’s Basketball Team, who madeit into level 1 of the University Basketball Association Open Tournament forseven consecutive years, has finally won its first championship. In July, theywere also runners-up at the BLIA Cup International University BasketballTournament in Kaohsiung Arena. Pu-Men High School Girls Basketball Team wonsecond place in the High School Basketball League. Nanhua University’sBrazilian “Sons of Zulai” soccer team, now three years old, also won secondplace in level 1 of the University Soccer Association Opening for Men. The NanhuaBaseball Team, established less than three years ago, entered the semi-finalfor the first time in the team’s history. As per the saying, “the Buddha taughtwith one voice, which was then perceived and understood by sentient beingsaccording to their own perspectives,” Venerable Master believes in spreading Dharmaworldwide by building international friendships with others throughestablishing excellent Buddhist sports teams.
During the Buddha’s Birthday last year, FGS branchtemples all over the world continued to conduct Buddha’s Birthday celebration in city councils, schools, prisons, shoppingmalls, markets, harbors, hospitals, local temples, and even co-organized Buddha’sBirthday celebrations with local Buddhist communities, totaling nearly 1,300celebratory events, and 508,000 participants. These events have inspired unity, collaboration, andharmony within the Buddhist sphere.
Last year, there was also good news from branch templesand Fo Guang Shan institutes worldwide to rejoice: the colossal jadecarved wallsculpture located in the Main Shrine of Fo Guang Shan Hsingma Temple gained the record for “the largest jade art sculpture” nationwide, and was listed into the Malaysia Book of Records along with the New Year-themed lanterns at Dong Zen Temple.“Marvelous Malaysia Music Concert—Blessing for the Nation” held at Stadium Malawati Shah Alam attracted over 8,000 youths. The event was acknowledged bythe Malaysian Ministry of Education and invitation letters were sent to educational institutions of all levels to encourage student participation.
Fo Guang Shan Monastery, FGS Buddha Museum, and Templo Zulai in Brazil received the Certificate of Excellence once again from TripAdvisor, the world’s largest travel platform, and were inducted into its Hall of Fame. As a member of the International Council of Museums (ICOM), the Buddha Museum not only signs memorandums of understanding with other museums and participates in exchanges, it distinguishes itself by serving the public in disciplines spanning acrossculture, education, arts, and medicine. Annually, it is a venue used by more than 300 organizations, a site visited by guests from over 110 countries and regions,and a stop made by around 40 cruise ships. Furthermore, the Buddha Museum hostsvarious international exhibitions and the “When Buddha Meets the Gods: Reunion of Religious Associations” event.
At the end of March, Miao Hui Lou Dormitory, built by FGS Pure Land Cultural & Educational Foundation for Fo Guang Shan staff, received the Yuan Ye Awards, also known as the “Oscars of Southern Taiwan Landscape Architecture.” In July, the renovated Pure Land Cave at headquarters wasregistered under the Kaohsiung City Building Permit No.01459 as issued by thePublic Works Bureau of Kaohsiung City Government. The underground level of thenew structure retains the Pure Land Cave which shares the Dharma with thepublic through sutra depictions. Meanwhile, the two levels above ground areused as spaces for culture and education. Named by Venerable Master as theConvention Lodge, it features classrooms, lecture halls, and dormitories,making it an ideal venue for classes and meetings. Additionally, the new TreasureBridge connecting the Main Shrine and the Great Compassion Shrine, as well asthe elevator at the Gateway to Enlightenment, were completed. According toVenerable Master, these structures create an accessible space by providingthose with mobility difficulties a way to reach the shrines and connect with thebuddhas and bodhisattvas without obstruction.
In June, Fo Guang Shan Guang Ming Institute of PerformingArts Cebu was inaugurated, right on the 30th anniversary of
Dharma propagation in the Philippines. It is the firstacademy in the locality that offers professional performing arts courses toyouths and artists. Furthermore, it gives them a platform to showcase theirtalents.
In February, the northeast part of Australia experiencedthe worst flooding in 100 years. The Queensland State became a water town. Atthe beginning of March, Paraguay was affected by heavy rains daily. Provincesand counties south of the capital, Asunción, were heavily flooded. In October,Japan was hit with the strongest typhoon in 61 years—Typhoon Hagibis. Over10,000 homes were flooded. BLIA members gave aid, practiced generosity, and madeofferings in the spirit of empathy as shown by the saying, “When others arehungry, it is as if I am hungry; when others are drowning, it is as if I am drowning.” May all aspirations be blessed by the Buddha’s light, and grow in merit and wisdom.
Venerable Master said, “We very much treasure the next generation,caring for the legacy of Buddhism. For every Chinese person, while some willclaim that their faith is Catholicism or Protestant, Buddhism is in theirblood. Buddhism has almost become the religion of the elder generation, I hopethat we can pass this invaluable bloodline to the next generation. The hope of Buddhism rests in the future, the next generation!” The words of Venerable Master require everyone’s effort to benefit and enlighten themselves and others, so that Buddhism may continue to prosper.
As we enter into a new year, bring not past habitual tendencies and afflictions into the new beginning; transform greed, hatred, and ignorance into meditative concentration and wisdom. If each day is spent wholesomely, it will surely be at ease, safe, and auspicious.
Lastly, my best wishes to you in Creating good affinities together.
May all be auspicious!
Chairperson,Fo Guang Board of Directors
NewYear’s Day, 2020
(Translated by FGS Institute of Humanistic Buddhism
Center of International Affairs)