FGS Insight 05

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FGS INSIGHT October 2022 | Volume 1, Issue 5

OPENING WORDS Ven. Master Hsing-Yun | 4 The True Meaning of Love

Ven. Chueh Fan | 6 Let Your Inner Light Shine

FGS TORONTO NEWS One Stroke at a Time | 7 Waterloo Buddha’s Light Centre learns Chinese Calligraphy

Faith and Legacy| 8 What are you grateful for? | 10

Buddha’s Light Photo Exhibition

A semi-anonymous collection of what our FGS Toronto

uses Augmented Reality

community is grateful for

Technology

Online Exam Keeps Pace with the Digital Age | 9 BLIA Toronto Members Participate in the 2022 Buddhism Exam

“Three Acts of Goodness” Children’s Summer Workshop | 12 Students Learn the Significance of Buddhist Practices in their Daily Life

Temple Tour Guides | 15 Photo by Aiqing Liu

Temple Tour Guide Training Connect with Locals through Dharma

Reopening of the Temple | 16 What is it like as the Temple reopens? On the cover Illustration by Melissa Chang

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FGS INSIGHT


"Be perfectly willing in all your endeavors; never forget your initial resolve; a magnanimous mind bears greatness." - Positive Forecasts for Life

DHARMA IN DAILY LIVING

BODHI LIGHT TALES

With Curiosity and Excitement | 20

Death and Life | 21

Meditation in the Park

UPCOMING EVENTS FGS WORLDWIDE NEWS [NA] California Coastal Cleanup Day: BLIA San Francisco Chapter Participation | 18

EDITORIAL TEAM Editor-In-Chief Jennifer Zhong

San Francisco BLIA Chapter hosts another

Senior Editor

successful coastal cleanup to promote environ-

Brian Choi

mental protection

2022 Global Buddhism Exam | 18 Over 50, 000 people worldwide, ranging from 4 to 90 years old took the 2022 Global Buddhism Exam.

[China] New Institute for Studying Humanistic Buddhism Established | 19 A collaborative effort between Shanghai

Managing Editor Michelle Tan

Copy Editors Gregg Astoorian (Sr) Bernard Teoh, Debbie Dang

Section Editors Jada Chau, Novia Ng

University and FGS Yixing Da Jue Si opens

Photos and Illustrations

the Institute for the Study of the Philosophy

Aiqing Liu, Melissa Chong, Kiana Yue

of Buddhism and Humanistic Buddhism at Shanghai University.

OCTOBER 2022

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The True Meaning of Love L

ove has many faces—selfish or unconditional, defiled or pure, finite or infinite, and foolish or transcendent. Love is precious and it can give us strength and hope, as long as it is legal, kind and moral. Everything would be impossible if there were no love.We need love and a kind nature in order to connect with others. There must be love between husband and wife, parents and children and between friends. We must strive to be like a Bodhisattva, who has loving kindness and compassion for all beings. Without love, there would be no order or morality, because love maintains our personal relationships and establishes the differences between friends and families. Love is not a one-way street. True love is not a possession; it is a sacrifice. If we truly love someone, we must help them to accomplish everything in life and wish them the best of luck. However, we must differentiate among the objects of our love. Truth, justice, and goodness should be on the top of our list, while lies, injustice, and evil should always be excluded. We should also strive to broaden the scope of our love. The objects of our love should not only include our loved ones, but also our country, our world, and peace among people.

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FGS INSIGHT

Looking at today's society, we see few examples of true love, but instead, distorted depictions. Instead of true love, there is lust and greed. Without good causes and conditions, love can cause chaos in the world; it can bring harm to us, as well as to others. However, appropriate love can help each other and beautify the world. In order to have long-lasting love, we must first cultivate good causes and conditions that can lead to the fulfillment of truth, beauty and goodness. In true love, we must use compassion to purify what we love. In true love, we must use wisdom to guide us in the right direction. In true love, we must use kindness and goodness to help others achieve their goals. In true love, we must use our sense of morality to protect every living being.

Venerable Master Hsing Yun Founder of Fo Guang Shan Monastery



Let Your Inner Light Shine W

e do not have to wait for others to give us light, as we are the light that shines bright! The Buddha said: “all sentient beings innately possess Buddha nature.” We often forget about the light (Buddhanature) that has been inside of us all along. Let us light up our inner light.

While we may be just a single light, if we share our light, we can light the lights of others around us. Not only will we not dim the light that shines within ourselves, but the more lights we share, the brighter the world we live in will be. Together, we can light a brighter world.

If we learn to transform and change How do we our habitual patremember our terns, our karmic “...to light up the Buddha Nature? energy will be How can we let changed as inner light is our inner light well. Do not to practice the shine? worry overmuch about the future Dharma" The answer is - instead, let our simple: stay on inner light shine. top of cultivation. To The more we shine, light up the inner light the brighter our future is to practice the Dharma. will be. The cultivation will transform our minds and selves, and help us to light up our inner light. Thus, we will gain the wisdom to go above and beyond our selves.

Venerable Chueh Fan Abbess, Fo Guang Shan Temple of Toronto

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FGS INSIGHT


One Stroke at a Time Waterloo Buddha’s Light Centre learns Chinese Calligraphy Transl by Ben Fung

O

n August 7, 2022, Waterloo Buddha's Light Centre (WBLC) organized a community event called "One Stroke at a Time: Meditative Calligraphy for Stress Relief, Relaxation and More." This was the second event of WBLC’s Healing Art series, which helps members of the local community find inner peace and happiness. The objective of “One Stroke at a Time” was to introduce Buddhist philosophy through traditional Chinese calligraphy. It also helped participants train their meditative

concentration by paying attention to each stroke. WBLC also invited local calligraphy teacher, Shaowu Gao, to guide the group in learning Chinese calligraphy. During this activity, the participants were guided to practice breath counting meditation, and listened to the story of how Venerable Master Hsing Yun wrote his One Stroke Calligraphy by "heart". They had the chance to practice meditative calligraphy themselves, by paying attention to one stroke at a time. Participants also learned Dharma through

Buddhist terminologies and shared how they experienced the Dharma in daily life with each other. Through this activity, participants learned that meditative calligraphy not only helps to us put our worries aside, but also brings insights. The wisdom of Humanistic Buddhism helps modern people gain the confidence to face life's challenges. This brings to life what Venerable Master Hsing Yun has often encouraged us by saying, "Where there is Dharma, there is a way." ◆

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7


Faith and Legacy

Buddha’s Light Photo Exhibition uses Augmented Reality Technology Transl by Christine Hsu

I

n response to the BLIA

Buddha's Cultural Museum in

contents of all photos, the

General Conference, themed

the Temple.

temple translation team had

"Faith and Legacy", and to uphold the concept of purifying the human mind by capturing Humanistic Buddhism's truth, goodness, and beauty through the camera lens, Buddha's Light International Association launched "Faith and Legacy: Beauty of Buddha's Light Photo Exhibition" worldwide. The exhibition demonstrates the value of faith and legacy through the silent expression

The exhibition provides an AR (Augmented Reality) experience through the Artivive app. The photos, with various dynamic effects, show the

hope that everyone would be able to learn and share the practice and joy of "Right Faith". Monica Kong, the secretary

ing Buddhism and touched

general of the BLIA Toronto

people's hearts. When people

Chapter, who assisted in guid-

scanned a piece of work, they

ing the tour, said that the use

often made comments such

of AR has increased the inter-

as, "It's very creative!", "This is

est of young people to learn

interesting!”, “Incredible!".

more about Fo Guang Shan

Venerable Chueh Fan, the

Beauty of Buddha's Light -

abbess of Fo Guang Shan

Faith & Legacy Photo Contest.

Temple of Toronto, said that

In Toronto, the exhibition was

to make it easier for locals to

launched on August 14th at the

understand the theme and

FGS INSIGHT

photo into English, with the

happiness and joy of learn-

of photos from the BLIA 2021

8

translated the captions of each

and the BLIA. Scott Ferguson, president of the BLIA English subchapter, said, "This idea of ​​ combining technology with art is great, and it makes people want to experience more." ◆


Online Exam Keeps Pace with the Digital Age BLIA Toronto Members Participate in the 2022 Buddhism Exam Transl. by Christine Hsu

O

n August 28th, 201 peo-

International Association)

Buddhism. My life has a

ple from BLIA Toronto

for holding this event, and

bright future and direction. I

participated in the "2022

keeping pace with the times

am also willing to learn from

BLIA Global Buddhism Exam

and synchronizing with the

Venerable Master and the

(North America)". Among

electronic age, so that exam

Venerables, to attain awak-

them, there were 20 groups of

takers from all over the

ening and to liberate living

46 people who took the group

world can participate in this

beings, and to advocate

examination, including 8

event online. It truly fulfills

Humanistic Buddhism."

groups who took the English

the legend of "The Dharma

examination and 11 teenagers

water flowing across the five

and children who took the

continents”.”

"North American Children's

Chen Hu, the president of the Da Ci subchapter, said that "August 28th was a

Libo Luo , a member who

busy and valuable day. That

signed up for both the

morning, I went to Fo Guang

Chinese and English exams,

Shan Temple of Toronto to

Winnie Kwong, board director

said that "Each Buddhism

support the online live broad-

of BLIA Toronto, said "A few

exam is a good opportunity to

cast of the 2022 Offering to

years ago, I read Venerable

learn the truth and to prac-

the Sangha Transfer of Merit

Master Hsing Yun's book

tice good Dharma. Taking

Dharma Service, prepared for

titled Humanistic Buddhism:

both Chinese and English

the interview of the Toronto

Holding True to the Original

exams is also a good oppor-

temple’s 25th anniversary,

Intents of Buddha, which is

tunity to deeply understand

and then took the Buddhism

rich in content and is a pre-

Dharma and gain wisdom.

exam. I deeply realized that

cious book. This year, because

When reading the Chinese

Fo Guang Shan is a place in

of the global Buddhism

study guide, I may not fully

the human world for spiritual

exam, reviewing this book

understand it, but I gain the

practice of the Bodhisattva

and exploring the life of the

meaning from the English

path. I am fortunate to be

Buddha again deepened my

study guide. I am very grate-

a volunteer and have the

understanding of the Buddha,

ful to Venerable Master Hsing

joy of being a believer and

his enlightenment and the

Yun and the venerables of

practitioner of Humanistic

truth he realized. Thanks

Fo Guang Shan for giving

Buddhism”. ◆

to the BLIA (Buddha's Light

me the opportunity to study

Group Exam" on September 11th.

OCTOBER 2022

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Being able to have different experiences: foods, knowledges, situations, sadness, madness, happiness,

What are You

peacefulness. Mostly everything as every single tiny thing is so precious:

Being surrounded

sands, stones, dusts, etc ..... The differences of things let me know the meaning for it to exist. ~Ching

by family & friends, 谢谢多伦多佛光山为推广人间佛

good health, food on

教所付出的巨大努力

the table

为广大信众带来佛法力量点亮 心灯 ~Gina I am grateful for so many

things, almost too many to count

thankful for the birth of my beau I am thankful for a healthy

daughter on August 26th. I am a

body, being able to live in Canada,

grateful for my wife's continuing

having my parents here with me.

ionship, humour and love.

I am thankful for everyone that have taught me from kindergarten until now. I am thankful for great supervisors. I am thankful for great friends that are good influence.

I am also thankful to FoGuangSha

I am grateful for my family, happiness and harmony in the family, good health, and the opportunity in this life to know, learn and practice Buddha Dharma.

immensely grateful to the Monast their compassion and guidance.

To all who have shown me kindne friendship, thank you! ~Tyrie Norris

~Siely Lai

I’m grateful that we can learn Buddha’s teaching I am grateful for the existence of Fo Guang Shan Temple, which is actually a “pure land” in this world. People can find inner peace and happiness here.

I am grateful for community resources to heal and foster my mental health

and we have a great place to volunteer! Through my volunteer opportunities, I have developed new skills and made new friends. I’m very

thankful for that! I’m also grateful that temp

provides delicious vegetarian food for volunteer

The people I volunteer with are very kind! I’m thankful for the great environment and their kindness and patience toward me! ~Libo I am thankful that my mom is getting better. More efficient, save the environment for use less paper ~Daisy Chow

Although it is still long way to go.

I’m grateful for my mom’s unconditional love.


Grateful for?

感恩觀世音菩薩加持 讓我可以遇到佛教, 蒙星雲大師接引讓 我學会歡喜和感恩。

Grateful that my family and I are healthy, have a shelter and food. We have a comfortable life, that's all

Health, safety, stability, friends, families, knowledge, wisdom, work & life style balance, choice and freedom ~June Ong

t! I am

utiful baby

always

For having conscious-

compan-

ness to perceive in

I am grateful for the

many dimensions all

opportunity to learn

an, and

the beauty in this

Dharma, do volunteer work

tics for

universe, and sadly as

and practice Buddhism in my

well as the ugliness of

everyday life.

ess and

humanity.

~Grace Ho Being alive which makes it possible to pursue for the truth of life itself.

Grateful for everything in life - too many to list.

pl

~ Grace Ng Listkowski

Everything :)

rs!

m

a place to learn more about buddhism

the delicious foods

a peaceful atmosphere when staying in the Great Buddha Hall

Thankful for all the arrangements 非常感謝我能在 佛光山學到佛法! ~ 黃仲標

which are the best fit of my life.

the lecture rooms

the museum

a large cafeteria with kitchen

the kindness, helpfulness people

the opportunities to learn from others ~Ching


“Three Acts Children’s Sum

Students Learn the Significance of B Transl by Angel Hsieh

F

GS Temple of Toronto and

Flower Arrangement session

The Buddha’s Light Centre

encouraged the children to

of Markham co-hosted a week-

appreciate the many won-

long children’s summer art

ders of nature. It was a great

workshop from August 15th

opportunity to introduce

to 20th, 2022. This first of its

the Buddhist concepts of

kind event had 14 participants

coexistence, mutual respect

from ages 6 to 11 experience

and harmony. During the

the spirit of the “Three Acts of

Homemade Pancake session,

Goodness” through a series of

the children simply could

creative, hands-on activities.

not contain their excite-

Each day there was a “Three Acts of Goodness Story Time” session. Through storytelling, Venerable Ru An guided the children to realize the significance of being honest, grateful, and compassionate. The children were eager to share how they foster good affinities in their daily lives by doing good deeds, speaking good words, and thinking good thoughts.

using pancake dough. At the Loving-kindness Planting session, the class taught the children to observe the needs of plants. This served as an opportunity for them to nurture compassion and loving-kindness for all beings. In the Mindful Little Chef session, the children had firsthand experience of the amount of effort involved to make food, from mashing bananas and

with a wide grin and shared

mixing the ingredients to

their joyful creations with

shaping the dough. Hence,

their families. In the Creative

the children learned the

Drawing session, the children

importance of cherishing and

completed unique artwork,

being grateful for the com-

from pencil sketches to col-

modity of food.

guidance. The creative process allowed them to develop an awareness of the beauty surrounding them. The Children’s FGS INSIGHT

and clipart of their choice

Students went home each day

oring, under the teacher’s

12

ment in creating cartoons

The last day of the creative portion of the program featured making traditional Chinese knotcraft. In addition


of Goodness” mmer Workshop

Buddhist Practices in their Daily Life

to making adorable clown key-

their daily lives. The activity

chains and knitting Chinese

session ended with souve-

knots, they specially made

nirs and gifts for those who

heart-shaped cards and care-

successfully collected all the

fully wrote down their words

stamps.

of appreciation to thank their parents and/or grandparents.

Venerable Chueh Fan, the Abbess of FGS Temple of

On the final day of the work-

Toronto, praised the diligence

shop, students were invited

and attentiveness of the

to gather at the FGS Temple

participants. She reminded

of Toronto with their families

everyone of the benefits of

and friends for a temple tour,

practicing the Three Acts of

followed by a Family Fun Day.

Goodness in daily life. She

Jesse, the Temple tour guide

also emphasized that the

volunteer, introduced the Main

Temple is the home of faith,

Shrine, Buddhist Museum, and

and a place for us to purify

photo exhibition through lively

our body, speech, and mind.

storytelling and interaction

She encouraged children to

with the children.

take the positivity that they

The Family Fun Day kicked off right after the Temple Tour. It included meaningful games and a celebration of achievements featuring: the children’s learning of Buddhist etiquette; the essence of practicing the Three Acts of Goodness; and a recital of the BLIA Four-Line Verse. Every family collected stamps from learning Buddhist etiquette

learned from the summer art workshop to benefit and share with their families, school friends, teachers, and others. Venerable Chueh Fan also presented the certificates to children to recognize their achievements. The summer art workshop finished with the children singing the Blia FourLine Verse to dedicate merits to all beings. ◆

and demonstrating how they would implement the Three Acts of Goodness (Do Good Deeds, Speak Good Words, and Think Good Thoughts) in OCTOBER 2022

13


FGS Temple of Toronto (Missisauga)

Buddha's Light Centre (Markham)

Date: October 2 - December 4 (Sundays)

Date: October 8 - December 3 (Saturdays)

Time: 10:00 am - 12:00 noon

Time: 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm

Age group: 5-12

Age group: 5-12

- Junior group: 5-8

- Junior group: 5-8

- Senior group: 9-12

- Senior group: 9-12

6525 Millcreek Dr, Mississauga, ON L5N 7K6

230 Denison St, Markham, ON L3R 1B6


Temple Tour Guides Temple Tour Guide Training Connect with Locals through Dharma Transl by Irene Chai

I

n view of visitors growing, there is

and gave an in-person temple

Venerable Chueh Fan, the Abbess

an urgent need for new Temple

tour. Senior temple tour volunteers

of FGS Temple of Toronto, wel-

Tour Guide volunteers. Seven par-

were invited to give evaluations

comed all participants. She shared

ticipants completed the temple

and provided feedback. The

her experience of localization in

tour guide training and became

well-prepared new members

the United States. She empha-

members of the FGS Temple of

covered many topics, including

sized that the Temple Tour Team

Toronto Tour Guide Team, includ-

the introduction of Fo Guang

volunteer represents the mon-

ing Tyrie Norris, Charoo Li, Jujenty

Shan, Venerable Master Hsing Yun,

astery and is a bridge bringing

Lim, Chanel Tsang, Debbie Dang,

the Main Shrine, Water Drop Tea

local people to the temple to

Libo Luo, and Sally Lai. All of them

House, the library, the Buddha’s

learn more about Buddhism. In

have taken two-weekend train-

Light book store, the Buddha's

addition, Venerable Chueh Fan

ing in June and July. The training

Cultural Museum, etc.

demonstrated the chanting of the

encompassed the introduction of Fo Guang Shan, the founder, Venerable Master Hsing Yun, and the temple's various facilities. They also discuss the needs of visitors from different ethnic backgrounds and the potential questions they may have. The Advising Monastic, Venerable Ruan, also provided additional materials for them to self-study.

The senior volunteers, Martyn Knowles, Scott Ferguson, Grace Listkowski, Jesse Chung, and Wilson, admired the skill and confidence of all new members. They also shared their experiences and reminded the new members of the importance of understanding the needs of the visitor. The key is to make the visitors feel welcome and comfortable. Moreover, it is

On August 13th, all participants

also important to prepare a mind

applied what they have learned

that is willing to “give” and “open.”

English version of “Taking Refuge In the Triple Gem” as well as the “Blia Four-Line Verse.” The melody touched everyone's heart and all of them requested a file for learning. In the end, the Abbess gave new members Venerable Master Hsing Yun’s book “Handing down the Light” and encouraged them to learn more about Humanistic Buddhism. ◆

OCTOBER 2022

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Reopening the Toronto Temple What is it like as the Temple reopens? By: Ami Tran

S

ince the reopening of the Temple earlier this year, I have had opportunities to return for many wonderful events.

went smoothly.

Five Precepts Ceremony

In June, I had the pleasure to participate in the 2022 Buddha's Light Children's Dharma Class Teaching Workshop. I was able to reconnect with Venerables and Dharma friends (fellow teachers, and students who are now teaching assistants). We had productive sessions, working in groups to: discuss and share teaching techniques; the transition from online to in-person delivery; and developing a three-year program for English Children Dharma Class. It was a great experience to have this opportunity to learn from each other and for team building. I also stayed overnight with fellow participants for this retreat to experience the peace and tranquility of the Temple. I enjoyed the tasty vegetarian meals served during the retreat. I had missed the delicious vegetarian food.

I’m grateful for the conditions that allowed me to participate in the Five Precepts Ceremony in May. The event was well planned and organized. We had a day dedicated to rehearsal for the ceremony and learned how to put on the robe. On the actual day of the Five Precepts Ceremony, the main shrine was beautifully decorated, with all the preceptees filling up the main shrine. We watched and followed the live ceremony conducted at the Fo Guang Shan Monastery in Taiwan. I was especially touched by listening to the Venerables speak, the Buddhist chanting, and the preceptees reciting their vows. It was indeed a beautiful ceremony and I was blessed to be there with the other preceptees marking this special moment. Also, I felt safe being there in person due to the COVID protocol measures implemented by the FGS Toronto Temple . All participants were required to complete a rapid test prior to entering the Temple and registration 16

FGS INSIGHT

Buddha's Light Children's Dharma Class Teaching Workshop

Sunday Dharma Service On occasion, I have come to the Temple to participate in the Sunday Dharma Service. I’m thankful that it’s now open for in-person Dharma services to the Public. There are fewer participants


coming to services than before COVID but the service itself remains the same. The lower attendance may be because of the Temple’s COVID safety protocols, including limitations on the number of people in the main shrine. I find coming to the Dharma service in person helps me recharge and calm my mind from my busy work and school life. Moreover, I feel at ease and more interconnected with the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha at the temple. Besides that, I enjoy chanting along with fellow Venerables

and other participants. The harmony of the chanting reminds me to let go and live in harmony, and that we are interconnected. After the service, I enjoyed going to the Water Drop Teahouse for a bowl of delicious noodles. I am happy to have returned to the temple in-person. I always feel a warm welcome from the Venerables and volunteers when I step into Fo Guang Shan Temple of Toronto. I look forward to participating in many more wonderful events and Dharma Services. ◆ OCTOBER 2022

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[NA] California Coastal Cleanup Day: BLIA San Francisco Chapter Participation Another successful event in promoting environmental protection

O

n September 17th, 2022, 54 members of the

Buddha’s Light International Association (BLIA) San Francisco Chapter participated in a coastal clean-up event organized by the Pacific Beach Coalition. This involved members from eleven subchapters: Oakland, Sunset, San Francisco, Daly City, Fremont, United, Forster, Silicon Valley; and the two Young Adult Division (YAD) groups from San Francisco and Fremont. Over the course of two hours, volunteers picked up more than 4,000 cigarette butts and approximately 100 pounds of broken glass, plastic bags and other garbage on the ocean hillside. The BLIA San Francisco chapter has participated in coastal cleaning activities more than ten times, setting an example to remind the public that protecting the earth is everyone's responsibility. ◆

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FGS INSIGHT

~

Worldwide

2022 Global Buddhism Exam

A Worldwide Event Attracting Thousands of Participants of All Ages

O

n Aug 28th, BLIA’s 2022

The exams were conducted in

Global Buddhism Exam

multiple languages, including

attracted more than 50,000

Chinese, English and French.

people worldwide with close

Registrants ranged from 4

to 1,700 from North America.

to 90 years old, a sign of the


[China] New Institute for Studying Humanistic Buddhism Established Cooperative Effort Between Universities and Society

O

n Tuesday, September 20th, 2022, Shanghai

University and Yixing Da Jue Si (Fo Guang Shan Ancestral Monastery YiXing Da Jue Temple) jointly opened the Institute for the Study of the Philosophy of Buddhism and Humanistic Buddhism at Shanghai University. The new institute is intended to promote the in-depth study and academic research into Buddhist thought, philosophy and history, with a focus on Humanistic Buddhism. Shanghai University is committed to

FGS

News

~

passing down of the legacy

individual English-speaking

of Humanistic Buddhism.

members. In addition, 11

In Toronto, 201 BLIA of Toronto members participated in the exam. Among

youths/children took part in the North American Children’s Buddhism Exam. ◆

eventually offering Buddhist Studies as an official academic discipline. This celebratory occasion is especially important as it coincides with the commemoration of Shanghai University’s 100th Anniversary. ◆

the registrants were 20 group registrations and 8 from

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Dharma in Daily Living

Wi t h C u r i o s i t y and Excitement

W

e have found that in today's world, practicing meditation is hugely beneficial. There are so many different distractions, and forms of media constantly competing for our attention. It can sometimes be challenging to process what we see and hear daily, and to remain balanced and unaffected. This is especially the case when we see daunting events unfolding around the world. We live in the age of instantaneous news, and on-demand entertainment. It can seem as if we have no time to absorb and understand our lives, and the myriad of phenomena that come from day to day life. When people think of meditation, they probably think of themselves sitting in the privacy of their home. Perhaps one may think of being with others crosslegged in the meditation hall, enjoying the sense of community that can be

found with like-minded practitioners. Taking all of this into consideration, with much curiosity and excitement we attended a seated meditation session in the park with the Fo Guang Shan English Subchapter. To say this was a good experience would be an understatement, as it was invaluable. This was a new form of practice for us, and a new set of conditions to try to come to grips with. The sounds of a public setting was familiar, but alien to us in a mediation setting. We observed the intense heat from a summer day, and then a cool relief from sitting under the shade of the trees. There were a multitude of new stimuli that we would not have faced meditating at home, and this made for a new and refreshing experience. It was one that we can confidently say was enjoyed by the whole group, and an experience we would thoroughly recommend to all!

By Charoo Li and Tyrie Norris

20

FGS INSIGHT


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

Storyteller: Venerable Miao Guang

Death and Life

O

nce upon a time, there lived a loving couple

point that, gradually, the family’s savings were all but

who had spent most of their lives together.

spent.

Sadly, one day the husband, Zhang, fell ill and passed away suddenly. His wife, Li, was filled with grief and she was heartbroken. Despite her sorrow, she planned her husband’s funeral so that family and friends could bid farewell to Zhang.

One day, a young shepherd passed by the cemetery and saw Li’s daily routine of visiting her husband’s grave. Startled by her devotion, he came back the day after and proceeded to place a dead cow next to Zhang’s grave. Waiting until Li arrived, the young

On the actual day of the funeral, Li was very sad.

shepherd knelt down in front of the dead cow and

Recalling her fond memories often gave Li comfort.

started crying. Visibly upset, he said, “My dear cow, I

However, she continued to live her life as if Zhang

have cut some fresh grass for you. Please help your-

was still around, cooking him delicious meals every

self to it!”

day. She would bring them to Zhang’s grave, and pay respect to him. Weeping bitterly, she said, “My dear husband, I’ve cooked your favorite dishes! I hope you enjoy them!”

Seeing what had just happened, Li asked the young shepherd, “What are you doing?! The cow is already dead. There is no chance of it coming back to life. You should go home and tell your parents. There is

She remembered her husband coming home after

no point crying anymore! What a foolish boy you

working at the farm, cutting wood, planting crops,

are!”

and caring for the animals. Despite the long workdays, Zhang would still find time to help Li with housework. When Li was making candles to light up the house, he would assist her. When she was churning butter for the bread she had made, he would lend her a hand. And when both felt tired, they would make a cup of tea and sit in the living room together to relax. And just like that, she found herself spending more and more time at Zhang’s grave every day. To the

The boy replied, “I’m not foolish at all! The cow has just died, there is still a good chance for him to come back to life. However, your husband passed away a long time ago and is buried. Yet, you are still overcome by your loss and cook him meals every day. You’re the foolish one!” Hearing what the young man said, Li was shocked. It was a great wake up call for her, and she nodded in agreement with the boy. His words had brought her

OCTOBER 2022

21


back to reality and she returned to living a normal

In actual fact, in order to end the cycle of rebirth and

life again.

death, we need to realize the purpose and value of

This story highlights that life and death is a natural progression for every single living thing in our universe. Where there is birth, there will also be death. However, death does not mean the end of life. It is simply another beginning of the cycle of rebirth. Therefore, what follows death is rebirth and what follows rebirth is death. This continuous cycle of rebirth and death is the cycle of existence. Death is like changing into new clothes or moving into a new

life, and live with contentment. As for death, we need to recognize what will follow after. That being said, we should be filled with faith and hope for the future. If we can do this, we need not fear death and we will live our life with purpose. What matters most is that you give meaning to your life. If we can achieve this, transcending death will surpass our fear of it. This is the wisdom behind life and death. Just as Venerable Master Hsing Yun says,

house. Just as when a candle is lit, it is also inevitable

“Birth and death are like the fire passed from one

for the flame to eventually burn out.

burning log to another.

In Buddhism, many eminent monks share similar views on life and death. They look upon rebirth joyfully, and when it is time for the next rebirth, they leave joyfully too.

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FGS INSIGHT

The fire of life will never extinguish. The changes in our lives are like moving from one house to another. As the owner of the house, we remain unchanged.” ◆