The 2014 Conference of Buddha's Light International Association (BLIA) of Los Angeles was held on December 6 in Hsi Lai Temple. More than 600 members came to witness the inauguration of the 9th Board of Directors and Supervisors as well as the new presidents of the sub-chapters.
The Conference was presided over by BLIA president Jerry Chen. Hsi Lai Temple's Venerable abbot Hui Dong, Venerable Director Hui Hao, Supervisor Chu Chen, Lay Dharma lecturer Naibin Chang and other honored guests attended the event.
President Chen expressed his appreciation for all the contributions and efforts made by all board of directors, supervisors, sub-chapter presidents and members in the past three years. He said that during the terms of their offices, their gracious support was the reason why BLIA was able to grow and thrive. President Chen wished for continued joint efforts from both the predecessors and the successors to work as a team and implement the missions and objectives of BLIA. He encouraged all to follow the footsteps of Grand Master Hsin Yun to spread Humanistic Buddhism to the west. The Conference was followed by a "Excellence Award" given to members who attended the World Members' Conference held in October.
Venerable Abbot Hui Dong praised the BLIA members in their selfless devotion to others: They follow the path of Bodhisattva to benefit others rather than seeking merit for themselves. They face karma with courage and criticism with self-examination. The Abbot also shared with the members the wisdom of the eye-gouging story of Sariputta and the Buddhist law of cosmology, that all material go through the take-form period, stable period, destroying period and empty-time period. Members are encouraged to practice compassion and apply Humanistic Buddhism to overcome problems in their daily lives. Venerable Abbot Hui Dong wished Dharma Peace to all.
More highlights of this Conference were the handing-over of the sub-chapter presidents from the outgoings to the incomings, prominent members recognition, sub-chapter report filmmaking contest and sub-chapter sponsors recognition. President Chen said that he welcomes more usage of Fo Guang Shan's website for communication with BLIA. He shared the news that he brought back from Fo Guang Shan headquarter in Taiwan: (1) Most Venerable Hsin Bao will assume the position of the General President of BLIA from Grand Master Hsin Yun (2) Venerable Hui Chuan will take up the position as Secretary-General from Venerable Tzu Jung. President Chen said that both Venerables have served as abbots of Hsi Lai Temple in the past and that Venerable Hui Chuan had also once served as the president of BLIA Los Angeles. He therefore emphasized the importance of BLIA Los Angeles. Subsequently, discussions on budget and motions on activities were conducted and passed under the auspices of the president.
After a hearty dinner was served in the dinning hall, members returned to the main shrine for a joyful evening program. The program included: The performance of Fo Guang Symphony Orchestra; "little apple" dance by President Jerry Chen, Vice-President Alex Wu and Chiasheng Tsai, Secretary-General Brian Wu from Walnut sub-chapter; singing and dancing performance from sub-chapters of Arcadia, Hacienda Heights, Rowland Heights and Long Beach. The finale of the tenor Mr. Paolo Kespradit's professional performance was received with warm applause from the audience. Interspersed raffle prizes include gold-plated Heart Sutra plaque, China Airlines flight 777 round-trip free ticket to Taipei, iPad, gift certificates, home appliances, and so forth. The program was finally wrapped up with a warm atmosphere enjoyed by all who participated.