To celebrate the 33rd Anniversary of the opening of Fo Guang Shan Hsi Lai Temple, an online “The Dharma Coming West” forum was held by the BLIA Young Adult Division (YAD) LA 2 Subchapter on November 20. Nearly 80 people participated. The BLIA YAD not only prepared and planned the event, but also acted as panelists for the first time. By introducing the Four Objectives of Fo Guang Shan: to propagate the Dharma through culture; to foster talents through education; to benefit the society through charity; and to purify human minds through spiritual cultivation, the youth presented the concept of Fo Guang Shan to participants, and shared the story of how Hsi Lai Temple promotes Humanistic Buddhism in Western countries. Through this, the youth also aspired and vowed to participate more actively in the future.
The abbot of Fo Guang Shan Hsi Lai Temple, Ven. Hui Dong, and the President of BLIA Los Angeles Chapter, Alex Wu, advisors and members of various BLIA subchapters were invited to attend and to give encouraging words. Ven. Abbot Hui Dong highlighted how the Buddha’s Dharma Water gives us the opportunity to reflect upon our own hearts. Rather than build more monasteries and temples in Taiwan, Fo Guang Shan built its first overseas temple: Hsi Lai Temple. It became home for the overseas Chinese and the locals to have a place of refuge in true faith, and to serve as a spiritual and cultural center for all interested in learning more about Buddhism and Chinese culture.
President Alex Wu expressed gratitude to the young adults for undertaking the 33rd Anniversary Celebration, which is very appropriate and symbolic. In the early years, Ven. Master Hsing Yun established a choir group in Yilan, Taiwan. Many young people from that start-up group made significant contributions to Buddhism; the seeds are still growing today. For example, many of the senior venerables of Fo Guang Shan now came from this group of young people. It is always our continued hope that our young adults will creatively lead the way in spreading the Dharma.
In addition to watching historical films about the construction of Hsi Lai Temple, the students from the Fo Guang Hsi Lai Buddhist Academy and the YAD members used pictures, words, and thoughts to communicate and interact online. Ven. Master Hsing Yun’s disciples endured many hardships in the beginning; yet due to their perseverance and determination, were able to manifest opportunities for the roots of Buddhism to become established and flourish within the United States. Young adults are continuing to travel bravely upon the middle path, not afraid of difficulties, and march forward courageously. As the saying goes, Buddhism needs youth, and youths need Buddhism even more.