In order to celebrate Fo Guang Shan 54th anniversary, monastics, devotees and all Fo Guang members from about thirty Fo Guang Shan branches in North America held virtual event to transcript sutras and practice Dharma simultaneously on May 16th. Hsi Lai Temple is the first branch of Fo Guang Shan in the overseas. On Buddha’s Light Day, the global simultaneous sutra transcription event fulfilled Ven. Master Hsing Yun’s wish of may the Buddha’s light shine universally on the three thousand realms and let the Dharma stream flow across all five continents.
Head Abbot of Fo Guang Shan Monastery Venerable Hsin Bau gave the teachings: Ven. Master Hsing Yun founded Fo Guang Shan in 1967 and thanks to the support and contribution of all Fo Guang members around world, Humanistic Buddhism was able to propagate both in Taiwan and overseas. On this special day of Fo Guang Shan founding day, the global simultaneous sutra transcription event will allow us to find the core Prajna wisdom. Prajna is the mother of wisdom. Thanks to Ven. Master Hsing Yun’s teaching, we can hear, contemplate, and practice from trascripting the sutra. We can think about the Dharma while transcripting the sutra and practice Buddhism. This will help us to purify our body and mind and gain merit and wisdom. When faced with various difficulties, hope you can all be less worried and transfer these merits to the society and everything will be peaceful and auspicious.
During this special time of COVID-19 pandemic, US and Canada have been under shelter-in-place orders for nearly two months. Hsi Lai Temple, along with other temples in North America has held virtual sutra transcription events. Venerable Hui Dong, Abbot of Hsi Lai Temple had filmed a video, encouraging devotees to transcript the Heart Sutra with Ven. Master Hsing Yun to celebrate the 54th anniversary of Fo Guang Shan. Head of BLIA Los Angeles Chapter, Alex Wu, representing BLIA members offered the blessing through the sutra he had transcripted. Venerables and devotees from North America branches all practice the Dharma virtually in their homes, having the same spirit even at different locations.
In order for English speaking members to have the same experience, the App Fo Guang Go and English version of Heart Sutra are also offered. Senior English Buddhism lecturer Ina Denton shared that seeing devotee from different countries and different cities diligently working together on the screen, she felt very touched. Christ Richard from Hsi Lai Chapter was very concentrated while transcripting the Chinese version of Heart Sutra and felt the joy of Chan and Dharma. While transcripting the English version of Heart Sutra, he felt his mind and body was very relieving and thankful for monastery’s thoughtful considerations.
Branches in North America used their creativity to serve the devotees. San Bao Temple in San Francisco designed a Heart Sutra puzzle for kids who cannot write Chinese, teaching Dharma from recreation. Head of BLIA YAD NA Jenny Chen and her husband Erik Ralske, along with their 13-year-old and 9-year-old sons are wearing their precepts robe while transcripting the sutra. Although Erik Ralske cannot understand Chinese, as a musician, he turned the characters into notes. Completion of a Heart Sutra is similar to a music from heart. Chen Jun Zuo from Hsi Lai Temple Boy Scott Troop 8888 also transcripted a full Heart Sutra on this special day, feeling joyful and fulfilled. Many senior devotees used this opportunity to see their granddaughters and grandsons using Fo Guang Go on their ipads, having their first experience with Dharma through transcripting the sutra. The senior devotees felt gratified to pass the faith to future generations on Buddha’s Light Day.
BLIA YAD members from around the world also participated in the virtual sutra transcripting event under the guidance of venerables, celebrating the anniversary of Fo Guang Shan. Not only the moment of transcripting the sutra, but also looking at the Fo Guang Shan postcard on the desk can also carry along the strong faith in the fact that “I am the future of Buddhism.” While transcripting the sutras, devotees are inspired with Prajna wisdom and wish that the pandemic can end as soon as possible and dedicate the merits to all sentient beings in ten realms. In the end, Ven. Master Hsing Yun’s chanting of “A Prayer for Sutra Trascripting and Dharma Service participants” brought peace and hope for the hearts that were neither in perfect ease nor in quiescence.