A thousand miles begins with a single step—The 2022 Global VEGRUN program, co-organized by the Buddha's Light International Association (BLIA) and iPure Green Foundation, is a marathon happening on five continents around the world between April 28, 2022 to May 16, 2023. VEGRUN is the abbreviation of vegan run and vegetarian run, which means running to promote vegetarianism and running for the earth. Vege-Revival represents awakening to restore vitality. All kilometers accumulated from walking or jogging are converted into vegetarianism promotion, tree-planting, and supporting various charities—making each step very meaningful. On June 18th, North America took the baton from South America—the first handoff—and held an opening ceremony. BLIA Los Angeles Chapter (BLIA LA) designed three profound routes around Hsi Lai Temple. A total of 338 people participated and accomplished a total of 1226 kilometers (762 miles) together.
Venerable Hui Dong, the abbot of Hsi Lai Temple, expressed, “The BLIA has always spared no effort to promote vegetarianism and slowdown global warming. VEGRUN is a simple and easy activity that benefits others and oneself.” President of the Los Angeles Chapter, Alex Wu, further stated, "vegetable" is a homophonic word for "su" which means to wake-up or revive. Everyone is participating in the VEGRUN to promote vegetarianism and to revive the earth. We need to revive our minds, as well, by following The Three Acts of Goodness and The Four Giving advocated by Venerable Master Hsing Yun.
Chen Dan, vice president of BLIA-YAD (Young Adult Division) second division, the project leader of the event, said the purpose of having three different routes is so that the whole family can participate together, and the young and the old can walk hand-in-hand symbolizing working together and inheriting the baton.
Route A was walking around the courtyard within Hsi Lai temple, known as the “Way to Buddhahood.”When one passes the courtyard and walks toward the main shrine at Hsi Lai, it is like one is walking toward Buddhahood; therefore, the courtyard is known as the way to Buddhahood. The rectangular-shaped cement pattern on the courtyard is like the field of merit on the kasaya (the robe of a Buddhist monk), which means that if you want to attain Buddhahood, you should plant a field of merit for yourself and for all sentient beings.
Many seniors participated; although they were on crutches and wheelchairs, their enthusiasm was unhindered. The 89-year-old Arcadia Subchapter member, Wang Xuxiuluan, said she was very happy to participate, to be accompanied by her daughter, Wang Xiaoxia, and to leave a precious group photo with the venerable on the Way to Buddhahood. Huang Jiachen, a member of the Riverside subchapter, also was on Route A with his 86-year-old mother Xu Yirong. He explained the meaning of VEGRUN and the “Way to Buddhahood” in a soft voice the whole way, with his mother laughing happily while listening.
Route B was the walk on the bodhi road surrounding Hsi Lai temple to cultivate the bodhi mind.Victor Lin, president of Westminster Subchapter, leader of the B route, said he has always known that the road surrounding Hsi Lai Temple looks like a bodhi leaf from a bird's-eye view but he has never walked around it so many times. Secondly, being on the slope with others and needing to take care of each other, he deeply felt that the essence of bodhi mind is altruism. He pointed out the participants on this route were not only senior BLIA members, such as Wang Jiapei, director of the BLIA World Headquarter; there were also bodhi seedlings, such as Kang Gaoxian, a first-grade student attending Hsi Lai Buddha’s Light School. His English name Potato is unforgettable. Victor praised Potato for completing five rounds of Route B.
Route C is a route from Hsi Lai Temple up to the mountaintop across to see the panoramic views. This route had the most participants. Many families—two or three generations—walked together. Alyssa Law, a member of Monterey Park subchapter, invited her friend Chen Shuqing to participate. Chen Shuqing brought her daughter and 9-month-old grandson. A Hsi Lai Scout parent, Long Tingting, brought her twin sons—6-year-old boy scouts Allen and Brian—jumping the uphill section and boosting everyone's morale.
The one-morning event ended with everyone lining up the words VEGRUN in the courtyard and shouting "Go! Go! Go!" Participants will surely turn the awakening of the mind into action, by taking more concrete actions to be kind to our environment and reconcile with our planet.
Adriana Quinones, representative of HHIA, JP Wang, director of BLIA World Headquarter, Chen Ju, Chief Financial Officer of BLIA World Headquarter, and Julitte Zhuo, the TV producer/host of Los Angeles Channel 18 and Channel 25, were also invited to the opening ceremony.