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Lecture by the Abbot at Bowers Museum
April 30, 2016

On April 30, 2016, Bowers Museum invited Hsi Lai Temple Abbot Ven. Hui Dong to give a lecture on “Unlocking the Indescribable: The Buddha's Wisdom, the Diamond Sutra, and Dunhuang Caves.” A total of 250 people attended the lecture, among half of them never visited Hsi Lai Temple before and have learned of this event through Bowers Museum. Temple Director Ven. Mankuang simultaneously interpreted in Chinese for about 10 Chinese-speaking audience.

Abbot Ven. Hui Dong started the lecture with the history of Dunhuang Caves, and then he introduced the manuscript of the Diamond Sutra, the oldest printed book in the world. In conclusion, he emphasized that all beings are equal because everyone is Buddha by sharing quotes from the Diamond Sutra. At the end of the lecture, the audience asked questions such as “What was the purpose of preserving Buddhist literature in the caves?” and “How to read a 5-meter long sutra manuscript?”

Following the lecture, Ven. Mankuang introduced a special Chinese Chan Tea Ceremony with the assistance by Gina Yu, a student from the temple’s Chan & Tea class, to an audience of 80 people. Under the guidance of Ching Chausse, the Museum’s Chinese Ambassador and the Mentor of BLIA Hsi Lai Sub-chapter, the Museum staff thoroughly cooperated to bring the presentation into success. Ven. Miao Hsi, Ven. Youheng and Ven. Zhiyi from Hsi Lai Temple participated this event.

After the lecture and the tea ceremony, a lot of participants raised questions like, “How can we visit Hsi Lai Temple?” “You offer Chan Tea Classes!” Anne Shih, Chairman of the Board of Governors at the museum, said that this event was so successful that they should continue to organize Buddhist lectures on an annual basis.