FGS Institute of Buddhist Studies, India ~ Under the Big Tree

FGS Institute of Buddhist Studies in India was founded in 1999. In the early years, there was no fixed location. It traveled from one place to another, and yet still upholding the principle of “foster talents through education.” It persisted in running the school under the difficult circumstances. Finally, a piece of land was bought in 2004 to build a center at Bodhgaya, the place where the Buddha attained enlightenment. For convenience of supervising construction nearby, the Institute of Buddhist Studies was relocated in June 2005 from Calcutta to a rented house in Bodhgaya to continue teaching classes. By the end of the year, the Buddha’s Light Bodhgaya Nursing Home opened to provide education opportunities for children from dysfunctional families. In May, 2010, the Institute of Buddhist Studies and the Nursing Home moved into the Bodhgaya site until the construction was completed in December 2013.

FGS Institute of Buddhist Studies, India ~ Under the Big Tree

In order to change the fate of poverty for the local people, the Institute of Buddhist Studies has upheld the concept of “provide relief for emergencies, not just rescue of poverty.” With education as a starting point, the “Under the Big Tree” classroom was established. Since June 2014, the Institute has gone into the villages every Sunday to promote the “Under the Big Tree” teaching program. Besides teaching children their native language and reading, the “Three Act of Goodness” is used as its core curriculum to cultivate “right view” from a young age. “Under the Big Tree” is a teaching program for children, in reality, under the tree is symbolic of the Bodhi tree and the teachings of Sakyamuni Buddha. On another level, it is symbolic of the Institute of Buddhist Studies’ heritage of faith from Fo Guang Shan in Tashu (Big Tree), Kaohsiung, Taiwan. It is the heritage of Venerable Master Hsing Yun’s philosophy, bringing Humanistic Buddhism back to India.

FGS Institute of Buddhist Studies, India ~ Under the Big Tree

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Joining Efforts in Planting Trees for Greener Environment

BLIA Toronto, Richmond Hill Subchapter    Joining Efforts in Planting Trees for Greener Environment

In response to promoting a greener environment, BLIA Richmond Hill Subchapter gathered members, family and friends in participating in a tree-planting event on Saturday, September 10,2016 organized by the Town of Richmond Hill and the environmental charity, Evergreen.

In the morning, 50 BLIA members wore raincoats and gathered at the Bridgeview Cordone Park at Yonge Street and 16th Avenue. The organizers, Evergreen, prepared tools and 150 different species of trees. They first gave demonstrated how to plant the trees. Afterwards members split up into small little groups and followed instructions to dig holes, remove grass, set the trees, cover with coir weed mat, back-fill the soil in the hole, lightly tramp on the soil, and then cover with mulch.

During the event, drops of rain came down a few times, but nobody stopped and continued to work hard. All the trees were planted in an hour’s time.

The purpose of this tree-planting event is to promote the concept of environmental protection to the members and their family and friends. The ages of the participants range from three to eighty years old, and within the group was a family of three generations. The president, Mandy Kwan, thanked everyone who have also brought in their own reusable water bottles, reducing plastic waste. The task of protecting the environment starts within us!

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Clean Up Australia Day

In response to Clean Up Australia Day, BLIAWA and YAD members totalling some 20 members went to Hinds Reserve on 7th March,2015 to take part in this meaningful activity to clean up the environment.

Clean Up Australia was started by Mr Ian Kiernan in 1989 and has been well received to become a national activity every first weekend of March each year where it is being carried out in every state throughout Australia. Mr Kiernan promoted his ideals to the rest of the world and was given support by the United Nations Global Environmental Planning Board, to initiate World Clean Up Day in 1993 and becoming one of the most important global environmental activities.

This year, the BLIAWA specially requested the City of Bayswater to allow us to clean up the reserve close to the temple in the hope of expressing the spirit of BLIA ‘going out of the temple, to be of service to society’. President David Yee led the members in the clean-up work, putting in the effort to take care of the environment, picking up rubbish and sorting them out for recycling.

Supervising Venerable Miao Yung went to the site to express her thanks to the volunteers for their effort and hoped that in the future, BLIA members will organise more of such community activities, to demonstrate their appreciation for this land of Australia, integrate and blend with the local community.

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Buddha’s Light Shines in World Interfaith Harmony Week

Buddha’s Light International Association (BLIA) and Nusantara Foundation proudly present the panel discussion on “Interfaith Prayer, Healing and Community Service in the Cause for Peace” during the 2015 World Interfaith Harmony Week on February 5th.

H.M. King Abdullah II of Jordan first proposed World Interfaith Harmony Week at the UN General Assembly on September 23, 2010. A month later, UN unanimously adopted the proposal and the first week of February becomes the World Interfaith Harmony Week. Operating under the imperative need for religious tolerance, the harmony week provides a safe platform for people of good will to show the world the importance of religious harmony.

Hundred of delegates, scholars and religious leaders from different religions gathered in the ECOSOC chamber to discuss the prospect of interfaith harmony. Through constructive dialogues, leaders from various civil societies and religious groups hoped to facilitate peace, tolerance, mutual understanding and respect among all people, especially when 2014 proved to be a challenging year for world peace.

“We are living in a very challenging time,” said Imam Shamsi Ali, the founder of Nusantara Foundation and the co-chair of the panel, during the opening remark. In 2014, the world has witnessed terrorist attacks in France, ISIS insurgencies, and much violence in the name of religion. “These actions are unacceptable and fully condemned”, said Ali.

The key to solving religious conflict is through nurturing mutual religious and cultural understanding, said Muhammad Anshor, the Deputy Permanent Representatives of Indonesia. “Peace and harmony are not stable, continuing efforts are needed to promote them,” he said.

Promoting peace and harmony has been the mission of BLIA. Venerable Chuehchuan Shih and Youwang Shih, along with dozens of volunteers and BLIA Young Adult Division members, attended the discussion. During the panel, Ven. Youwang Shih emphasized the importance of communication in the effort of building lasting peace.

Nowadays, it is easy for people to communicate through social media and travel around the world, yet miscommunications still causes much misfortunes in the world, said Ven. Youwang. The lack of tolerance, mutual forgiveness, understanding and respect construct a mental barrier between people, which leads to discrimination and outbursts.

The keys to break the vicious cycle are kindness, compassion, joy and equanimity. Ven. Youwang also advocates for the practices of three acts of goodness: doing good deeds, speaking good words, thinking good thoughts.

“Let’s fill the world with compassion and kindness,” said Ven. Youwang. “ And bring joy to all those around us.”

The BLIA Young Adult Division members performed a song called “Harmonize” which was written by Venerable Master Hsing Yun and composed by one of the YAD members in the closing ceremony.




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