FGS Insight 04

Page 1

FGS INSIGHT August 2022 | Volume 1, Issue 4

OPENING WORDS Ven. Master Hsing-Yun | 4 Life's Safe Harbour

Ven. Chueh Fan | 6 Cultivating with Joy Brings Merit

FGS TORONTO NEWS Coming Together For Cultivation | 7 2022 Fo Guang Shan North America One Day Retreat Photo by Aiqing Liu

Strengthening Community Relationships | 8

An Island to Oneself - A Reflection on Refuge | 10

New Peel Police Force Visits FGS

A two part reflection on the path to refuge.

Temple of Toronto

Part 2: Seeing Clearly

Vesak Festival Celebration | 13 3000 Buddhists in GTA Celebrate Buddha’s Birthday

Connecting Hearts Through Valuable Learning | 14 2022 Toronto Children Dharma Class Teaching Team Workshop

Illustration by Melissa Chong

Filial Piety | 16

A Family Fun Day! | 15

August is Filial Piety Month

BLIA Toronto Celebrates Father’s Day



On the cover Illustration by Kiana Yue Background by Melissa Chong

Illustration by Melissa Chong



Ready for the Buddhism exam? | 21

A Path to Faith | 23

A fun wordsearch to help you prepare for the

Origin of the Ullambana Festival

upcoming Buddhism exam!

Parenthood | 22

UPCOMING EVENTS FGS WORLDWIDE NEWS [NA] VegRun Charitable Projects - Let Love Flow | 18


27 BLIA chapters in North America take part in the 2022 Global Veg-revival Virtual Community



Jennifer Zhong

[Australia] Conquering Fear, Building Courage | 18

Managing Editor

Nan Tien Temple conducted a series of talks from the perspective of the Five Buddhas discussing how to transform negative emotions into positive actions.

[New Zealand] Fo Guang Shan Christchurch Art Gallery | 19

Michelle Tan

Copy Editors Martyn Knowles (Sr) Gregg Astoorian, Bernard Teoh, Juyenty Lim

Section Editors Jada Chau

Fo Guang Yuan Art Gallery ranked as third best

Photos and Illustrations

in New Zealand by TripAdvisor.

Aiqing Liu, Melissa Chong, Kiana Yue

[South Africa] Three Acts of Goodness Warming Hearts | 19 BLIA Pretoria Chapter in South Africa donate supplies and prepare games for underprivileged students at SK Moseneke Primary School AUGUST 2022


Life's Safe Harbour W

eary travelers long for home after a long

conduct ourselves properly, our families will be

journey, and tired workers wish for home

in disarray, and we will be troubled and unable

after a hard day's work. Home is life's safe harbor

to think clearly. Therefore, we must cultivate

where one seeks comfort and a place of love

our personal lives in order to maintain harmony

and warmth.

within our families. Only when our households

There are big and small families. In today's society, large house-holds may have problems maintaining domestic harmony, while small families may have an uneasy feeling of emptiness. If no one is home, those living in a big home may feel empty and unwanted, and those living in small quarters may not feel the warmth of a family. What we must keep in mind is that a home is a home because it is the place where our families live together in harmony. As a saying goes, "A family in discord will be taken advantage of, while a family in harmony will achieve success in everything." If every member of our families can be of one heart and mind, we can turn dirt into gold. Therefore, domestic harmony can only be accomplished when parents are loving and their children are respectful, siblings are as supportive as the best of friends, and spouses treat each other with respect. Many of today's families face similar problems of high debt, unequal distribution of household duties, inflexibility, and differences in personal habits and views. When these problems are not properly resolved, coldness and apathy will overcome the family. Love will be replaced

are harmonious and happy can we devote ourselves to bringing order to our country and society. Thus, before serving our community and building up our country, we should serve and build up our families. Since charity starts at home, we should look after the needs and wants of every family member by providing them adequate support and services. We should always make their happiness a top priority in our lives. If we truly love our families, we should never take them for granted and do everything in our power to protect them from harm. "Humble Table, Wise Fare" states that, "The victim of sibling resentment is the parents; the victim of spousal discord is the family; the victim of workplace hostility is the supervisor; the victim of government ill will is the country; and the victim of enmity is the self." The book also tells us that one can never overcome hatred with hatred for happiness can only be found in loving-kindness and compassion. Therefore, if we wish for our families to be happy and harmonious, we must look after their well-being, love them with all our hearts, and have a sense of humor in everything we do.

by anger and warmth by indifference. Then, a home is not home anymore, but instead a battlefield of constant fights and arguments. When a family is no longer a family, but instead is just a boiling cauldron of discontent, life

Venerable Master

becomes miserable and loses its significance.

Hsing Yun

If we wish to help our country and bring peace

Founder of Fo Guang

to the world, we must first cultivate ourselves

Shan Monastery

and put our families in order because a country is comprised of many families, and a family is comprised of many individuals. If we do not 4


Cultivating With Joy Brings Merit W

e have been cultivating and practicing the Buddha’s teaching for endless lifetimes to enhance our merits and wisdom. In fact, to practice is to be joyful, and only by cultivating with joy brings merit.

of the three evil realms.” Furthermore, the Buddha taught us to practice filial piety, we not only make offerings to the Sangha on behalf of our parents in this life but also have to think about our parents from previous lives.

Sangha Day is one of the three major festivals in Buddhism. Each year, Buddhists celebrate the Buddha's birthday in the 4th lunar month, Dharma Day in the 12th Lunar month, and Sangha Day in the 7th lunar month.

Venerable Master Hsing Yun advocates the practice of “Giving.” Offering to the Sangha is the practice of giving, which is the first of the Six Perfections. If we enrich our hearts with the practice of giving, our generous hearts will carry on life after The Sangha comlife. The positive “to practice is to be munity has karmic energy summer retreats joyful and merits accuduring the rainy mulated will be seasons. The ...only by cultivating immeasurable Sangha immerse and boundless. themselves in culwith joy brings merit" In addition, not tivation and the lay only do we practice devotees purify their giving, but also uphold body, speech and mind the five precepts, practice to make offerings to the Triple the ten good deeds, and nurture our Gem, the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha meditative concentration and wisdom, with a pure heart that is filled with our merits and wisdom will enhance Dharma joy. ceaselessly. In the Ullambana Sutra, the Buddha said, “The merits of making offerings to the Sangha on behalf of our parents is inconceivable. Parents in this life would be liberated from the suffering

Venerable Chueh Fan Abbess, Fo Guang Shan Temple of Toronto



Coming Together for Cultivation 2022 Fo Guang Shan North America One Day Retreat By Marian Zhang


ecently a "2022 Fo Guang

to make good use of time to

She pointed out that "The

Shan North America One

cultivate mindfulness. In the

purpose of cultivation is not

Day Retreat" event was held,

section “Story of Fo Guang

only benefiting oneself but also

with a total of 105 people in

Shan,” the Abbess shared

others. Cultivation is to exercise

Toronto signing up to par-

stories and the wisdom of the

skillful means and wisdom to

ticipate. Some 66 attendees

founder of Fo Guang Shan;

guide the next generation and

participated in this retreat in

Venerable Master Hsing Yun.

to pass on faith and legacy.

person at the Fo Guang Shan

She encouraged everyone to

Let's take the Bodhisattva vow,

Temple of Toronto, while the

practice the “Four Givings,”

cultivate the Bodhi mind, take

rest participated at home

which is one of the vital foun-

action and practice the Three


dations in the development of

Acts of Goodness and Four

Fo Guang Shan. It is a practice

Givings. I wish everyone could

to benefit both self and others,

share the Dharma joy of today's

for only by giving the best of

cultivation with family."

The One Day Retreat consisted of various types of chanting and cultivation, including the Buddha’s Light Samadhi Practice, sharing the Story

ourselves to others, do we truly experience joy.

Four Givings To Give Others Faith,

of Fo Guang Shan, Eighty-

At the end of the retreat,

eight Buddhas Repentance,

Venerable Chueh Fan empha-

Combined Practice of Chan

sized, "Today, not only the 105

and Pureland, and Walking

people who signed up for the


[one day] retreat are practic-

To Give Others Convenience.

ing, but all the volunteers who

The Abbess of FGS Temple of Toronto, Venerable Chueh Fan, reminded everyone to cherish the precious opportunity to discover inner peace and

To Give Others Joy, To Give Others Hope,

served at the Dharma Service Unit, Reception Unit, IT Team, AV Team and other volunteers, are also practicing and cultivating.” AUGUST 2022


Vesak Festival Celebration 3000 Buddhists in GTA Celebrate Buddha’s Birthday By Sock Gee Gan


o celebrate the Buddha’s birthday, the 2022 Virtual

Vesak Festival was held on Saturday, May 28. The event was organized by Fo Guang Shan Temple of Toronto, the West End Buddhist Temple, Cham Shan Temple, and Karma Sonam Dargye Ling. There were over 3,000 participants from 15 Buddhist temples in the Toronto area, who joined the celebration via Zoom, Youtube and Facebook. Welcome speeches were presented by each of the organizing temples: Dr. Bhante Saranapala from West End Buddhist Temple, Venerable Chueh Fan from FGS Temple of Toronto, Venerable Da Yi from Cham Shan Temple, and Lama Tenzin Dakpa from Sonam



Dargye Ling. Dr. Saranapala encouraged everyone to practice the Buddha’s teachings and cultivate wholesome qualities like compassion, tolerance, kindness, empathy, and generosity in daily life. He expressed his appreciation for all the temples' joint efforts to make this event successful and extended his

beings." She shared Venerable Master Hsing Yun's Dharma words: “Face the world with a peaceful mind. Accept adversity with joy in your mind. Make affinity with a mind to serve others. Repay society with a grateful mind.” She emphasized that a life of peace is possible only if we treat others with love.

gratitude to the government

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s

for their support.

official statement to all

Venerable Chueh Fan pointed out, “It is a special opportunity for Buddhists to connect together and strengthen our faith to spread love, respect and peace. Through this auspicious occasion, we pray to the Buddha for his protection and compassion for all sentient

Buddhists was read, expressing his wish for everyone to have a peaceful and happy Vesak. The statement also invited "all Canadians to learn more about Buddhist communities and the important contributions they have made – and continue to make – to our country". ◆

Strengthening Community Relationships

New Peel Police Force Visits FGS Temple of Toronto Transl. by Ben Fung


ollowing the easing of

At the Q&A session, Venerable

in Peel, she hopes that the

public health measures

Chueh Fan introduced

police can be more approach-

and restrictions in Ontario

the four objectives of FGS

able. She shared Venerable

on May 31st, 39 Recruit

Monastery and the founder,

Master Hsing Yun’s Dharma

Constables visited Fo Guang

Venerable Master Hsing Yun,

words, "Live without Fear and

Shan Temple of Toronto to

to let the guests understand

Coexist in Peace" to express

learn more about Buddhist

the function of the temple

her wishes and blessing for

culture and various functions

and the vision of building

all police officers. She intro-

of the temple. This visit was

a harmonious community.

duced a collection of books

the first time Peel Regional

Police officers cherished the

from the Buddha’s Light

Police resumed its temple

opportunity to ask questions

Publications, such as Calm

visit for the new recruits since

regarding the traditions of

Mind, Perfect Ease, Living

2020 at the beginning of the

Buddhism, the operating

Affinity, For All Living Beings,


system of the Sangha com-

Between Ignorance and

munity and to learn more

Enlightenment, etc, for the

about the Buddhist commu-

guests to know more about

nity. All of them appreciated

Humanistic Buddhism in

the Abbess, President Mabel

daily life. A short medita-

Lam, Jessie Chung and Wilson

tion session was arranged

Yau for giving them very con-

for the guests to experience

crete and precise answers.

Buddhist practice.

(BLIA) Toronto Chapter.

Furthermore, the police offi-

Constable Tony Tai, who has

There was a tour of the tem-

cers also asked, "What police

led delegations to visit the

ple guided by Jessie Chung

officers will be expected

temple many times, thanked

and Wilson Yue, including

of, from Buddhists, both

FGS of Toronto for its con-

the Main Shrine, Buddha

lay devotees and monas-

tinuing support and warm

Museum, Library, Water Drop

tic?” Venerable Chueh Fan

reception to the police and

Teahouse and BLIA 30th

responded from the temple's

thanked the Fo Guang vol-

Anniversary Worldwide Photo

point of view, and based on

unteers for preparing the


the experience of interac-

delicious and healthy lunch. ◆

The guests were welcomed by Venerable Chueh Fan, the Abbess of Fo Guang Shan Temple (FGS) of Toronto, along with Mabel Lam, the President of Buddha’s Light International Association

tion with interfaith groups



Photo by Aiqing Liu

An Island to Oneself

A Reflection on Refuge Part II: Seeing Clearly By Gregg Astoorian, Copy Editor

(Part I of this article considered the question of how one might know if taking refuge is the right decision for them, and how refuge can lead a person to develop greater faith in the Dharma, instill confidence that it can guide them out of suffering and abandoning other types of “false refuges” that we might have relied on in the past. Part II is my reflection, seventeen years after having first taken refuge, on what this “true refuge” of the Triple Gem means, mainly through the Buddha’s metaphor of an island.)

True Refuge Having faith in the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha, one takes refuge in them. Having taken refuge, one’s faith deepens that a true refuge and a path to end suffering has been uncovered. But what is different about the 10


Triple Gem from all the false refuges we encounter? To understand, we have to listen to the Buddha. In the Attadiipaa Sutta the Buddha explains the true nature of refuge to his followers at Savatthi:

“Bhikkhus, dwell with yourselves as an island, with

This reaction seems natural, but the Buddha saw

yourselves as a refuge, with no other refuge; with

more deeply. He said it was as if we had been

the Dhamma as an island, with the Dhamma as

shot by a second arrow and so we feel a second

a refuge, with no other refuge. When you dwell

source of pain which is far worse than the first.

with yourselves as an island, with yourselves as a

We confuse these two sources of pain as being

refuge, with no other refuge; with the Dhamma

the same, but even though they are connected,

as an island, with the Dhamma as a refuge, with

they are different. If you have a wound, it is

no other refuge, the basis itself should be investi-

painful, but if you receive a second wound in the

gated thus: ‘From what are sorrow, lamentation,

same place it is far more painful than the first.

pain, displeasure, and despair born? How are they

Often, we can’t bear to even touch an existing


wound because it is so sensitive and painful,

“And, bhikkhus, from what are sorrow, lamentation, pain, displeasure, and despair born? How are they produced? Here, bhikkhus, the uninstructed worldling […] regards form as self, or self as possessing form, or form as in self, or self as in form. That form of his changes and alters. With the change and

much less bear a second wound on top of it. But still, we perceive both wounds as one, and fail to realize that we are experiencing two different types of pain, one arising from the original wound and the other from our ignorance of its true nature.

alteration of form, there arise in him sorrow, lamen-

The Buddha says refuge is the insight and wis-

tation, pain, displeasure, and despair. […]

dom into how things really are, which eliminates

“But, bhikkhus, when one has understood the impermanence of form, its change, fading away, and cessation, and when one sees as it really is with correct wisdom thus: ‘In the past and also now all form is impermanent, suffering, and subject to change,’ then sorrow, lamentation, pain, displeasure, and despair are abandoned. With their abandonment, one does not become agitated. Being unagitated, one dwells happily. A bhikkhu who dwells happily is said to be quenched in that respect.”

the ignorance of that second arrow, and the great suffering arising from it. True refuge, then, is insight into reality, not escape from it. A true refuge isn’t a place separate from the world, it is reached by embracing it and fully realizing its nature. By doing away with ignorance, suffering cannot be multiplied and by seeing things as they are we gain wisdom and peace. Be Islands Unto Yourselves What does it mean to “be an island”? How is this refuge? The Buddha’s teaching to “be an island”

Be an island, the Buddha instructs and let the

is of course a metaphor, but it’s one I remember

Dharma be an island to you. Then we are to

often when things in my life become turbulent,

investigate the very heart of phenomenon and

frustrating or painful.

see the impermanence of all things with insight. In doing so, we can be delivered from suffering. In other words, if we see things clearly and without obstruction, the suffering arising from these delusionary difficulties is lessened and eliminated.

Often we hear that all beings are struggling in an “ocean of suffering”. The more we think about this the truer it seems. If pay attention to the outside world we become aware of wars, poverty, sickness, governments and corporations taking advantage of and harming the helpless,

The reverse is also true. Without insight and wis-

pointless cruelty and absence of compassion,

dom, suffering is magnified and multiplied. The

inequality, violence to women and children,

Sallatha Sutta uses the metaphor of two arrows

natural disasters and the prospect of global

to explain this. If someone experiences a painful

catastrophes and extinction. If we narrow our

feeling, it is like being shot by an arrow. Instead

awareness to our country, our city, our neighbor-

of seeing the pain as a mere bodily feeling, ordi-

hood, our workplace, our family, and so on, we

nary people will react by crying out, resisting,

find conflicts, rivalries, strife, jealousy, dishonesty

and resenting it.

and unhappiness with only temporary respite. AUGUST 2022


If we narrow the focus further to ourselves, we

untouched at the same time. Knowing this is

experience our own greed, anger, confusion,

truly the only strength, the only safety, the only

fear, grief, and pain. We are forced into con-


sidering our own physical pain, illness, decline and the prospect of death. We mourn our past losses, regret past actions, worry for the future,

The American poet Yusef Komunyakaa wrote about islands:

combat despair and lose hope. Sometimes it

An island is one great eye

can feel like we are always angry and upset and

gazing out, a beckoning lighthouse,

when those feelings subside, we are often left

searchlight, a wishbone compass,

with inconsolable sadness instead of peace.

or counterweight to the stars.

We, in turn, try to fill this empty sadness with

When it comes to outlook & point

temporary distractions. Imagine this suffering

of view, a figure stands on a rocky ledge

multiplied seven billion times for every human,

peering out toward an archipelago

and trillions of times more for all the animals,

of glass on the mainland, a seagull’s

birds, insects, ocean creatures and perhaps even

wings touching the tip of a high wave,

further to all the ghosts, spirits, gods and other supernatural beings, if they exist. All of this suffering, not just adding but multiplying together, endlessly. I think this is the horror the Buddha saw us all trapped in. This is the endless, inconceivable ocean of suffering in which we are being tossed, battered, and lost.

out to where the brain may stumble.

Isn’t that beautiful? Komunyakaa is not a Buddhist, but it doesn’t matter. Buddhists don’t have a monopoly on the truth and Dharma is everywhere. Be an island to yourself, and let the Dharma be an island to you. An eye (or “eyeland”) to see things as they are, a lighthouse to

The Buddha saw this and saw beyond it. He

guide others, a searchlight to rescue others, a

taught us that through study and practice we

compass to find and chart the way, a harbour

can realize this vast ocean arises from the mind.

to venture from and return to, a place anchored

We can also realize that rising from this ocean

and connected to the sea and stars. The Triple

is an island, a place of safety, solace, surcease

Gem is a lens through which we see the world,

and comfort: a refuge. It isn’t separate from

a sword which cuts through confusion and

the ocean, being made of the same sand, rock,

attachments, and a reflection of the wonderful

organic life and other elements that exist in the

complexity and variety of existence.

water, under the same sky, clouds and stars and part of the same earth. At the same time, it is separate from the chaos, panic, danger, and violence of the ocean. It is a place of cool breezes, moonlight and the sound of water. It is a place to stand, observe the waves and contemplate the currents. It is a place to explore from, venturing out into the water and returning, again and again.

Refuge is seeing things as they are, knowing them as impermanent and always in motion, always dependent and connected, never fixed into anything that could do us real harm. To a Buddha, a rain of arrows is no different from a rain of flowers. All it takes is an instant of remembering the Triple Gem and through this remembrance, our true nature. A single breath to smooth out the ripples of the mind

The island is remembering the Dharma, the

and we can find peace. In almost twenty years

suchness of the world, without struggling

of studying Buddhism, those few instances are

against it or fleeing from it. I am both on the

what I’ve gained, and they are worth everything.

island and I am the island. My mind encom-

Even if that insight and peace only lasts for a

passes the stars, and my body has roots as deep

moment, I know it’s always there and available,

as the earth. At the same time, I am still in the

even though I may be washed back out into

ocean and part of it. Emotional and physical

that ocean a second later. The Triple Gem is my

pains wash around me, or break themselves

island. I will always return and I will never leave.

on the shore and I stand there, part of it all and



A Family Fun Day! BLIA Toronto Celebrates Father’s Day By Sock Gee Gan


n Sunday, June 19th,

all BLIA members a super fun

the Buddha's Light

Father's Day.

International Association (BLIA) Toronto hosted a "Family Fun Day" to celebrate Father’s Day. BLIA members were invited to FGS Temple

family activities. On top of the performances

The opening drum perfor-

by BLIA members, the host

mance was a collective effort

has invited two special per-

of members from the Montreal

formances from University

and Toronto Buddha's Light

of Waterloo, namely “The Unaccompanied

of Toronto to

Minors” who per-

celebrate this

formed Acapella

joyous occasion

as well as the

together. There

“Toy Band'' who

were a lot of

have sung vari-

exciting perfor-

ous pop songs.

mances as well as a variety of

Last but not


least, thanks

vegetarian food

to all the BLIA

available during

members' sup-

the event.

port, there were 17 event booths

As stipulated

available on

by Mabel Lam,

“Family Fun Day”

President of the

which includes

BLIA Toronto, the

various family

main purpose

games for both

of organizing

children and

the “Family Fun Day”, is to gather fellow BLIA members and families and to spend more quality time together. Due to the recent easing of COVID-19 restrictions, this event is only open to BLIA members. It also serves as a learning opportunity for the temple to get prepared for resuming in-person public events in the future.

adults, vegetar24 Seasons Drum Troupes.

ian foods, snacks, drinks, ice

The characteristically strong

cream, flowers and plants, a

and expressive sound of

Wishing tree, Spiritual Care,

drums impressed all the 400

the 6th Meadowvale Scouts,

over BLIA members who

VEGRUN, Vege Plan A, face

were attending this event.

painting, balloon making,

The excitement continued

and popcorn booths. It was

with the Buddha's Light’s

so lovely to see BLIA families

Lion and Dragon Dance. In

come for a day of fun together.

addition, there were various

performances which included

Venerable Chueh Fan, the

the Buddha’s Light Choir,

Abbess of FGS Temple of

Children's guitar and singing,

Toronto welcomes and wishes

Chinese flutes, dance and fun AUGUST 2022


Connecting Hearts Through Valuable Learning 2022 Toronto Children Dharma Class Teaching Team Workshop By Angel Hsieh


n July 2nd, the beautiful afternoon sunshine

warmly welcomed teachers and teaching assistants (TA) of the Buddha’s Light Children Dharma Class to the FGS Temple of Toronto for a two-day “workshop” style training. The participants were delighted to have the opportunity to experience Buddhist cultivations and lifestyles throughout the training. The workshops aim to equip everyone with the tools and skills needed for facilitating

schools. Everyone shares the

Looking through photos, the

Children Dharma classes suited

same values and is deter-

TAs and teachers reflect on

to children’s needs.

mined to help children develop

how the Temple community

healthy habits and connections

motivates them to be diligent

with Dharma early in life.

in their spiritual cultivation. In

The workshop kicked off in the Main Shrine with Buddhist etiquette, focusing on the

On the following day, the

proper ways of paying respect

Children Dharma Class advisor,

to buddhas and bodhisattvas.

Venerable Ru An, gave a pre-

The detailed demonstrations

sentation on the life of Buddha

allowed TAs to build confidence

based on Master Hsing Yun’s

and put “learning by doing”

Biography of Shakyamuni

into practice.

Buddha. Tracing the foot-

Besides being dignified role models, teachers led various discussions sharing different know-how of teaching Buddhism to kids, such as teaching strategies and classroom activity planning. At the end of each discussion, the TAs shared their insights on designated topics to improve their presentation skills. The teaching team agreed to create

steps of the Buddha on maps encouraged the participants to link various events from Buddha’s lifetime to some of his profound teachings, including Dependent Origination and the Four Noble Truths. The TAs

team met with the Abbess and all Venerables of FGS Temple of Toronto. The Abbess, Venerable Chueh Fan, emphasized the importance of leading by example, as the youngsters look to their teachers as role models. All participants were presented with souvenirs and booklets of Dharma words from the founder, Venerable Master Hsing Yun. The TAs and teachers were

cate key events in Buddha’s life

grateful for the memories

in a way that interests children

made, especially the oppor-

according to the age-appropri-

tunity to reconnect with the

ate level of comprehension.

Temple community. All that

As an exercise, the participants

ment instead of duplicating the

were asked to introduce the

method of delivery in regular

Temple through photography.


Meet With Abbess" session, the

were then asked to communi-

a mindful learning environ-


the afternoon "Heart to Heart

had been learned over the twoday workshop are put to use in

efforts to propose a 3-year curriculum planning. ◆

Filial Piety August is Filial Piety Month By: Grace Ng Listkowski


rowing up, my siblings and I would gather around the dinner table where my parents would offer their parental guidance. Among the many teachings they have passed down to us, they taught us Filial Piety; the virtue of honoring and respecting our parents, grandparents, and elders. When I became a parent with a daughter of my own, I was inspired and guided by my parents to raise my child the same way. Although my daughter and I do not live in the same city, she has made every effort to come home for a visit as often as she can, taking care of our every need whenever we turn to her. She has inherited the gifts that my parents have passed down to the family and I am very proud and happy with her. What is Filial Piety Filial Piety, or Xiao Shun (孝順) meaning Respect and Obedience, is the greatest of all virtues and should be shown to both the living and the dead. It is defined as the attitude of devotion, 16


dedication, love, service and care toward one's parents, elders, ancestors, and extended to include our teachers. Filial piety not only specifies norms within the family, it is the social and ethical foundations for maintaining social order, a stable society. It provides the moral support and foundation for parent–child relations and socialization, which is the basis of individual moral conduct and social harmony. In part, Filial piety is demonstrated through the service to one's parents. It has shaped family caregiving, intergenerational equity, old age support, living arrangements, and other aspects of individual, family, social, political, and legal relations in East Asia for millennia. Filial Piety in Buddhism Filial Piety is an important concept in Buddhism. In the early Buddhist texts such as the Nikayas and Agamas, filial piety is prescribed and practiced in three ways: 1) gratitude toward one's parents; 2) as a good karma or merit

and 3) the Buddhist teaching of morality and virtue as a way to contribute to and sustain the social order. In Buddhist scriptures, there are stories given of the Buddha and his disciples practicing filial piety toward their parents. In the Ullambana Sutra, it tells the story of Maudgalyayana’s filial love to liberate his mother from the realm of hungry ghosts, highlighting the merits of making offerings to the Sangha community, in which Maudgalyayana encouraged everyone to participate in making offerings to the Sangha as a way to repay the kindness of our parents. This is the origin of the Ullambana Festival, also known as the Sangha Day, or the Buddha’s Joyful Day. It is further demonstrated that filial piety also means taking care of one's parents in the next life. As all living beings have once been parents, we must practice compassion to all living beings as though they were one's own parents,

and in doing so, help all beings to be freed from suffering. During the Buddha’s time, the last day of summer retreat for all monastics was on the 15th day of Lunar July each year. On this day, there would be a confessional ceremony known as pravāraṇa. It was said that the best time to make offerings was after this retreat, when many of the Buddha’s disciples had attained enlightenment. Just as Venerable Master Hsing Yun says, “Cultivate the merits of filial piety for your parents. Cultivate the merits of respect for your teachers. Cultivate the merits of caring for the sick. Cultivate the merits of offering to the Triple Gem.” AUGUST 2022


[NA] Vegrun - Let Love Flow Transl. by Sock Gee Gan


he “2022 Global Veg-revival Virtual Community Run

(VEGRUN)” commenced on June 18th and ended on July 16th. VEGRUN charitable projects commenced with the running activities in most of the major cities in the United States and Canada with a total of 27 BLIA Chapters’ participation and more than 5500 people signed up for the run with a total of 76,076 km. The VEGRUN activity was jointly organized by the International Buddha's Light Association (BLIA) and the Pure Green Foundation. For Health, Joy, Love, Environmental Protection •

Sustainable Society – Environmental protection starts with our mind and heart

Economic Sustainability – Reciprocal economic growth

Environmental Sustainability – Low carbon diet, Environmental protection sustainability

VEGRUN Toronto, Let Love Flow A special thank you to distinguished guests Member of Parliament Rechie Valdez, Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie, Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti, MP Paul Chiang, Markham City Councilor Isa Lee, Dr. Joseph Wong, Yee Hong Founder and Foundation Chair, and all participants who support the VEGRUN event and promote vegetarianism and environmental sustainability. ◆





[Australia] Conquering Fear, Building Courage Transl. by Sock Gee Gan


ow do we effectively man-

of how they have conquered

age our emotions and

trauma and fear. Additionally, the

transform thoughts when facing

integration of courage into their

the impacts brought by recent

everyday lives was expounded

natural calamities, pandem-

upon. Every story is a demon-

ics and war? Nan Tien Temple

stration of determination and a

conducted "Conquering Fear,

testimony of the application of

Building Courage - Buddha Talks

humanistic Buddhism. Listeners

That Transform," a series of talks

found new inspiration and wis-

from the perspective of the Five

dom while gaining even more

Buddhas. The temple invited

tools and insights on how to live

various speakers and leaders

with less fear and more enjoy-

who shared their inspiring stories

ment. ◆

[South Africa] Three Acts of Goodness Warming Hearts Transl. by Sock Gee Gan


n June 26th, 2022, after a week of bitterly cold

weather, 15 members of the BLIA Pretoria Chapter in South Africa visited SK Moseneke Primary School to donate various supplies intended to help meet the basic needs of students and their families. The BLIA group was accompanied by their Advising Monastic, Venerable Hui Xing, The BLIA members also prepared group activities for students. Through these games the primary school students learned about the Three Acts of Goodness and the benefits of practicing good deeds in daily life. The SK Moseneke Primary School principal, Chris Nong, expressed his sincere apprecia-




tion to the BLIA Pretoria Chapter and the FGS Temple for the donation, and for introducing the concept of the Three Acts

[New Zealand] Fo Guang Shan Christchurch Art Gallery

of Goodness. He urged that the

Transl. by Sock Gee Gan

at school but at home as well.


students should practice the Three Acts of Goodness not just

s of July 14, TripAdvisor

Venerable Master Hsing Yun,

The donation which will go to

ranked the Fo Guang Yuan

the same year Fo Guang Shan

60 underprivileged families,

Art Gallery as the third best art

Christchurch was established.

included 300 kg of corn flour,

gallery in Christchurch New

The building won the New

150 kg of flour, 120 kg of sugar,

Zealand. Christchurch is known

Zealand South Island Canterbury

12,000 liters of oil, 120 kg of rice,

as the art capital of New Zealand,

Architecture Award and Green

40 kg of biscuits and 60 blan-

home to around 50 art galleries.

Building Civic Trust Award in

kets, all of which will help to


keep the families warm and fed

The Christchurch gallery is the 13th Fo Guang Yuan Art Gallery

during the cold winter. ◆

worldwide. It was opened in 2007 as a gift to the city from





Parenthood When your children's noise unnerves you, calm down - the noise will pass. When you feel their quarrels will come to blows, stand firm - these too don't last. When their laughter echoes from room to room just relax - and enjoy these precious minutes, When at last you tuck them in at night, count your blessings - and include them in it. For there comes a time they spread their wings and leave the family nest. In the solitude of your empty house, your loneliness can cause unrest. You'll miss their messes, you'll miss their quarrels you'll even miss their noise. In times of stress, who would ever think these things could be a source of joy? So if your children seem a little rowdy today and you feel you're at your wits' end, imagine the loneliness of life without them and your nerves will quickly mend! When your children have all moved away and your home seems quiet and bare, you may often wish for the noise and laughter that prevailed when your kids lived there.

R. James Stock



Bodhi Light Tales Podcast Stories to Inspire, Mindfulness, and Spirituality by Ven. Master Hsing Yun

Storyteller: Venerable Miao Guang

Origin of the Ullambana Festival


nce upon a time, there was a disciple of the


Buddha named Maudgalyayana. He was

With a heavy heart, Maudgalyayana went to see the

cheerful, brave, and always stood up to injustice. He

Buddha. After paying his respects, he said, “Buddha,

was also known as foremost in supernatural powers.

I used my powers to see my deceased mother. I

Though the Buddha discouraged his disciples from

am sad that she has fallen into the realm of hun-

revealing their divine powers, which could possibly

gry ghosts. I tried to give her rice, but it turned to

frighten others, he always praised Maudgalyayana for

ash before she could eat it. It was heartbreaking to

using his supernatural powers appropriately. With his

see her in such a state. What did she do to suffer

ability to hear any sound and see through any obsta-

so much? Though I understand the karmic retribu-

cle, Maudgalyayana could understand why beings

tion of all beings, why am I unable to determine the

were reborn in different realms.

cause of my own mother’s karma? Please, Buddha,

One day, Maudgalyayana suddenly thought of his

help me make sense of all this.”

deceased mother. Using his powers, he found his

The Buddha replied kindly, “Maudgalyayana, your

mother residing in the realm of hungry ghosts. Her

mother, in her previous lives, slandered the Buddha

face was gaunt and gray, and she was as thin as a

and Sangha. She did not believe in the law of cause


and effect. She was greedy, bad-tempered, and had

Maudgalyayana was very sad to discover his mother

mistaken views. As a result, she did many bad deeds.

in such a state. Being the filial son that he was, he

This is the reason for her current suffering. You are

immediately filled his alms bowl with rice and gave

unable to see the cause of her karma because your

it to his mother. However, when his mother tried to

powers are obstructed by the mutual attachment

eat the rice, it turned to ash before she could put it

and love for your mother.”

in her mouth. It was simply impossible for her to eat

“But Buddha, is there anything I can do to help my

anything. When Maudgalyayana saw this, he burst

mother be free from the realm of hungry ghosts?”

into tears and muttered, “Why?!”

Maudgalyayana pleaded.

He refocused his thoughts and tried to find out

“The root of your mother’s karma is too deep. I am

why his mother was in the realm of hungry ghosts.

afraid that you alone do not have enough power to

However, no matter how hard he tried, he could

save her. While your filial piety can shake heaven and

not see what was the cause of his mother’s karmic

earth, the gods can do nothing for those who slander



the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha,” the Buddha replied. Maudgalyayana remained silent with tears streaming down his cheeks. “There is only one way to help your mother, and that is with the majestic powers of the Sangha,” the Buddha continued. “Buddha, I am ready to do anything. Please let me know what I must do for the Sangha,” Maudgalyayana begged. The Buddha replied, “You can make offerings to everyone in the Sangha on the day of Pravāraṇa. However, not only must you make offerings on behalf of your mother in this life, but you must also think about your parents from your previous lives, going back seven generations. All monastics in the Sangha have attained pure morality and virtues as vast as the ocean. The outcome of making

of the Ten Directions. These monastics, all noble

offerings to them is inconceivable. Parents and rela-

practitioners, include those who meditated in the

tives in this life would be liberated from the suffering

mountains or near rivers, who attained the fruits

of the Three Destinies. They would be fed, clothed,

of arhatship, who did walking meditation under

and eventually liberated. If one’s parents are still

the trees, those who mastered the six supernatural

alive, they will be blessed and auspicious for years to

powers, those who taught, and even those who were

come. This is the wondrous way to help them tran-

bodhisattvas of the Ten Directions, as well as those

scend and be liberated.”

who had taken on the form of monastics. With unity

After listening to the Buddha, Maudgalyayana

and unanimity of thought, they had all gathered to

joyfully followed the Buddha’s instructions. On the

receive the pravāraṇa offering.

day of Pravāraṇa, he made offerings to the whole

Making offerings to the Sangha community was

Sangha. Soon after this, his mother was freed from

originally Maudgalyayana’s intention to help his

the realm of hungry ghosts.

mother be released from the realm of hungry

Knowing that his mother was now free,

ghosts. However, many people today associate this

Maudgalyayana was most grateful to the Buddha.

with praying to the gods and worshiping ghosts.

He praised the virtues and merits of the Buddha,

Unfortunately, many of us have forgotten the univer-

Dharma, and Sangha. Since then, he encouraged

sal compassion of Buddha and Maudgalyayana in

everyone to participate in making offerings to the

helping beings be liberated from their suffering. We

Sangha as a way to repay the kindness of our par-

must remember that Maudgalyayana was not only

ents. This is the origin of the Ullambana Festival.

well known for his supernatural powers, but also for

This story highlights the merits of making offerings

his filial piety.

to the Sangha community. During the Buddha’s

Just as Venerable Master Hsing Yun says,

time, the last day of summer retreat for all monastics

“Cultivate the merits of filial piety for your parents.

was on the 15th day of Lunar July each year. On this

Cultivate the merits of respect for your teachers.

day, there would be a confessional ceremony known

Cultivate the merits of caring for the sick.

as pravāraṇa. It was said that the best time to make

Cultivate the merits of offering to the Triple Gem.”

offerings was after this retreat, when many of the Buddha’s disciples had attained enlightenment. Fine food, delicacies, fresh fruits, and all the best provisions may be offered. All offerings are placed in containers before being distributed to all monastics