2017 BLIA Seminar 每 Endless Learning and Yearning for Awakening  

2017 BLIA Seminar 每 Endless Learning and Yearning for Awakening


The 2017 BLIA Seminar was held on 29th April. It was conducted by Venerable Abbess Manshin and participated by 60 BLIA members. The day*s topic is on ※20 questions raised by Venerable Master Hsing Yun*s book ※Humanistic Buddhism 每 Buddha*s Original Intent§§ which were used to prompted BLIA members to question deeper into the topics raised by the book.

The first topics raised by the Abbess are ※*Easy Ways of Practice* and &Difficult Ways of Practice*§, which were used to exemplify differences in cultivation between Hinayana and Mahayana Buddhism. Where Hinayana*s ultimate goal is liberation through the Sravaka and Pratyekabuddha and Mahayana*s goal is arriving at Buddhahood by practicing the Bodhisattva Path, so one can obtain self-enlightenment, enlightenment to others and perfectly enlightenment. The sacred nature of Humanistic Buddhism is expressed by its emphasis on benefitting self and others, having faith on the fact that ※I am a Buddha§, and the encouragement of self-affirmation and self-improvement. A Buddhist should understand the meaning of ※Relying on the self, relying on the Dharma and not relying on anything else§, and to have the right faith and understanding toward the Dharma. The Abbess also expressed need to have the threefold practice of ※Precepts, Meditative Concentration and wisdom§ as the foundation for cultivation of Humanistic Buddhism. If BLIA members can learn this way accordingly, then they can uncover their hidden potentials through taking responsibilities and more clearly comprehend their Buddha Nature.

When talking about ※Dependent Origination from Empty Nature§, the Abbess humorously uttered the example: ※What*s wrong with emptiness? Since we are all willingly to pay handsomely for land and space. Hence the concept of impermanence in Buddhism should encourage us to make changes filled with hope, to create, and to discover more spaces can always be uncovered.§ Buddha is an enlightened human being, therefore the truths of ※Dependent Origination from Empty Nature, and Cause, Condition, Effect and Retribution§ awakened to by the Buddha are the main concepts Humanistic Buddhism trying to promote. The Abbess also explained to the audiences that ※Great Treatise on the Perfection of Wisdom§ has the verses of: ※Wisdom without faith will give rise to deviant views; faith without wisdom will give rise to ignorance.§ This is why a Buddhist should cultivate both merit and wisdom, and instead of rebirth due to karma, wouldn*t it be better to be reborn according to one*s vows?

The Abbess further emphasised that: ※Everyone has their own Buddha Nature of Suchness.§ Even though faith has different levels and varieties, but the mind, Buddha and sentient beings are not different. This shows Humanistic Buddhism*s spirit of respect, tolerant, unity and co-existence. She then continued by raising a question made by Venerable Master Hsing Yun: ※Since I am a Buddha, why do I still need to become a Buddha?§ This question allowed everyone the chance to ponder deeply for an answer. Finally the Abbess answered everyone that one should rather stay at a Buddhist kindergarten than learning in a demonic PHD class. Buddhism teaches us to self-reflect, correct one*s short comings, continuously uncover one*s hidden potentials, and to become a better person.

Even though the day*s lesson only involved the first 3 questions among 20 from the first chapter of ※Humanistic Buddhism 每 Original Intent of the Buddha§. Yet the audience all expressed the meanings obtained were boundless. This was followed by a delicious lunch prepared by the temple, and a singing and dance performance by the youth group led by Venerable Rulian, Karzin and Johnny. The venue was filled with the joyful laughter of BLIA members.

Finally the afternoon was concluded with the recitation of Venerable Master Hsing Yun*s ※Prayers and Wishes for World Peace§. On behalf the audience BLIA North Island President Stephen Yu expressed that the temple is able to recharge people*s spirit because the monastic and lay community both continuously input energy into it. The quintessence of the organisation is its inspirational and inclusive team spirit.

2017 BLIA Seminar 每 Endless Learning and Yearning for Awakening  
2017 BLIA Seminar 每 Endless Learning and Yearning for Awakening  
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   Address: Fo Guang Shan    North Island New Zealand
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