Buddha¡¯s Light International Association (BLIA) South Island New Zealand was established by Venerable Master Hsing Yun and founding President Dr James Ku on the 3rd July 1991, same date as the Buddha¡¯s Light International Association North Island New Zealand. Currently, there are four divisions ¨C the North 1 division, the West 1 division, the English division and the Young Adult Division.
When the association was first formed, Founding President Dr. James Ku provided his residence as the venue for cultivation services. It was only with the dedication and hard works of the founding president and the members that an old church of over 60 years was purchased and converted to a temple in 1992. When the temple was officially open on 16th May 1993, it became the first Buddhist temple in this world¡¯s southern most international city of Christchurch and the spiritual home for all Buddhists immigrating from Taiwan, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Singapore.
In the year 2000, under the leadership of the then BLIA president Ms Sandy Liao, the association became more involved with the local society using cultural activities and social works to propagate Buddhism and is now recognised by Government departments, local city councils and other community groups as the representative of Buddhism in Christchurch. Early year 2000, Abbess Manchien found that the temple was not suitable for further development and a search began on founding a better place to be our new home. Finally in 2003, Abbess Manshin with the assistance of President John Lai succeeded in getting a piece of land at Riccarton Road, one of the busiest roads in Christchurch. Since then, a building committee was formed and worked diligently for over two years in planning and monitoring the construction of the new temple which was finally completed in December 2006.
Since the new temple was opened to the public in January 2007, thousands of visitors came and every one of them commented that the temple brings peace and calmness to their mind. The current President of BLIA Almeric Cheng, a member of the building committee who had been involved with the whole project, was heartfelt. Together with the executives and members of the association, they represented the people of Christchurch to thank Venerable Master Hsing Yun for his great vow and vision of ¡°Buddha¡¯s light to shine all over three thousand realms and the Dharma water to flow all over five continents¡±, educating many distinguish and hard working Dharma Masters, sending them to every corners of this world to propagate Humanistic Buddhism, and presenting this pure and dignified temple to them. To repay this, promises of following the BLIA doctrine in ¡°Give others confidence; Give others joy; Give others hope; Give others convenience¡±, to promote Humanistic Buddhism in this southern most city of the world with love and compassion but without the preference between different races, different areas and different religions have been made.
BLIA South Island New Zealand Activities Report 2010
(Please obtain a hard copy at FGS South Island NZ's reception)
2011.02.22 Christchurch Earthquake
A devastating and violent 6.3 magnitude earth-quake struck Christchurch at 12:51pm on 22 February 2011. Significant aftershocks were felt and buildings collapsed with people trapped inside. The iconic 150 year old Christchurch Cathedral had its spire reduced to rubble. As at 14 March, 166 lives have been lost with the final death toll expected to be 180. In response to this disaster, Fo Guang Shan South Island immediately established the ¡®Fo Guang Earthquake Relief Service Centre¡¯ which provided assistance to earthquake victims in 6 key areas:
1. Free hot meals from 10am to 6pm
2. Free basic medical supplies and cleaning items
3. Free internet for those needing to contact family and friends
4. Access to the Temple¡¯s Main Shrine for prayers
5. Establishment of donation funds to help victims
6. Buddhist blessing services
The Centre opened on 24 February in a bid to help victims recover faster from this enormous tragedy. BLIA Headquarters Secretary General Venerable Tzu Jung rendered her advice and conveyed her condolences. BLIA Oceania Deputy Secretary-General Venerable Yilai arrived in Christ-church from Australia on 1 March and was extremely anxious about the relief mission and a seminar was held on the same day with 50 BLIA volunteers sharing and providing updates on the progress of the centre¡¯s relief mission.
On 1 March 2011 at 12.51pm, BLIA members joined people around the nation to observe 2 minutes of silence to honour lives lost in the earthquake.
BLIA Oceania Deputy Secretary General Venerable Yilai visited the Relief Centre to lend her support and held a seminar for the relief team. Financial aid was also offered when The Young Adult Division of BLIA NZ donated NZ$100,000 to the Red Cross on behalf of International BLIA.
2010.11.13-2011.03.31 Amazing Stone Teapot Exhibition
The famous Taiwanese stone carving artist Liao Tian Zhao exhibited over 90 stone teapots at Fo Guang Yuan Art Gallery South Island from 13 November 2010 to 31 March 2011. An opening ceremony tea party was held on 13 November, attended by over 70 Friends of Fo Guang Yuan. Presiding over the unveiling ceremony were Venerable Abbess Manshin, artist Liao Tian Zhao, President of BLIA (South Island) NZ Almeric Chang, local artists Dale Gallagher and Gail Batchelor.
After the ceremony, the artist gave a demonstration of one of his ¡®bird cry¡¯ teapots; when water is placed into the teapot it emits a sound similar to the song of a bird.
Liao Tian Zhao explained that when he starts, he does not have a pre-determined design in mind, but let the art develop from the shape of the rock. Therefore, different tools are required for carving; sometimes simple carvings are used to show the original beauty of the rock, while more time is spent on other stones to merge the design in mind with natural beauty.
2010.11.06 New Zealand Young Artist Dale Gallagher Exhibition
On 6 November 2010, 25 year old Christchurch artist Dale Gallagher displayed his first public exhibition at Fo Guang Yuan Art Gallery South Island. Venerable Abbess Manshin presided over the opening ceremony as well as being one of the VIP guests. Dale¡¯s family attended the opening ceremony together with 50 other supporters, including a couple of well-known local artists.
Venerable Abbess Manshin said that even though Dale is only 25 years old, he has excellent observation of his environment. Day by day his maturity is reflected in his art, where he will develop into an artist that produces even more depth and life in his art. Dale is a self taught New Zealand landscape artist where his medium is acrylic. He has never attended any art classes.
The theme of his exhibition was his favorite New Zealand landscapes. He hopes that audiences will feel like they are looking at the real thing when observing his art. ¡®Blown away¡¯ by his artwork were the words of many of viewers and a number of pieces were sold on the opening day. Dale hopes that his art will be able to touch the hearts of viewers over the duration of his exhibition.
2010.11.05-07 Nature And Life Flower Arrangement Exhibition
The first ¡°Nature and Life¡± floral exhibition by the Ikebana association in 2008 at Fo Guang Yuan Art Gallery South Island was well received by the local residents. Last year, the two organisations worked together again to orchestrate ¡°Nature and Life¡± floral exhibition for the third time which ran from 5 to 7 November 2010, at the same time celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Ikebana Association. At the exhibition, 28 pieces from three distinct factions were up for display.
The curator of Fo Guang Yuan Art Gallery South Island Venerable Abbess Manshin and the Japanese Diplomat Mr. Shoichi Kawai were invited to the ribbon cutting and gave speeches during the opening ceremony. Along with the 50 guests present that day, President of the Canterbury Horticulture Association, Chairperson and the Second Chair-person of the Garden City Trust as well as the Former Presidents of the Ikebana Association were also present.
The President of the Ikebana Association in his speech thanked the gallery for the provision of exhibition space and the opportunity to work together to organize the exhibition while Curator Venerable Abbess Manshin also presented a series of articles written by Venerable Master Hsing Yun, Founder of Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Order, which outlined the characteristics of flowers and its interaction with life and mentioned the close relationship between the theme of this exhibition and the architecture of the Temple. Mr. Kawai also expressed his gratitude for having the opportunity of being a tutor for many years and for the co-operation between himself and the association.
Visitors that day were able to appreciate the elegance and beauty of the simplistic floral arrangements. The ceremony then concluded with a lunch service in the Water Drop Cafe to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Ikebana Association.
2010.10.03-07 Converging From Four Corners of the World for
BLIA Annual General Meeting
The 2010 BLIA Annual General Meeting was held at the Fo Guang Shan Monastery, Kaoshiung, Taiwan from 3 to 7 October. Over 2000 BLIA directors, Dharma Lecturers, BLIA advisors, Presidents, representatives, as well as local and overseas entrepreneurs, educators and politicians attended the conference.
All the way from New Zealand, Fo Guang Shan (NZ) was represented by Abbess Manshin, Venerables Manwang, Juexi and Miaoyu, BLIA (North Island) NZ President Dolly Tsai, Advisor and BLIA (South Island) NZ Directors and members in a group of 20.
Founder of Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Order Venerable Master Hsing Yun led the flag rising and opening ceremonies, presided over conferences and interacted directly with members from all over the world. In his speech during the opening ceremony, Venerable Master Hsing Yun mentioned that there are four stages of life: from physical to society, progressing to faith and then to transcend the cycle of birth and death. The objective of Humanistic Buddhism is to remove all defilements, which is also the greatest and heartfelt wish of every Buddhist. The purpose of the annual conference is to allow BLIA members worldwide to get together, enriched each other spiritually, broaden our horizon and lead an everlasting spiritual life.
Newly established BLIA sub-chapters were also announced during the conference and certificates of establishment were presented. Awards for best performing BLIA chapters in different categories were given out. BLIA (North Island) NZ was awarded ¡®Charity and Social Welfare award¡¯ and BLIA (South Island) NZ received the ¡°Cultural Propagation Award¡±. A handing over ceremony between the new and old advisors also took place during the opening ceremony.
2010.09.24 Cycling The World
Two Taiwanese cyclists Kai and Yen who are touring the world on bicycles visited Fo Guang Shan South Island to recharge their inner energy so that they can continue on their long journey
Two cyclists on a mission to tour the world on bicycle visited the temple on 24 September. They are Kai and Yen, team No. 8 from Taiwan, and are planning to tour the world within two and half years, promoting the theme ¡°Reduce Energy Consumption, Stop Environmental Pollution, Live In Harmony with Earth¡±.
So far, the pair has visited Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand. Christchurch was their fifth stop in 6 months since they started from Taiwan in March. Their future destinations include China, the Middle East, Russia, Europe, America, and Japan, totaling more than 55,000 kilometers. The visit to the Temple was to recharge their inner energy, giving them more faith to continue. Venerable Abbess Manshin commended their courage and perseverance; their mission requires enormous power of meditation and exceptional strength. They were creating miracles for their own lives, as well as making Taiwan proud. These warm words of encouragement gave the couple positive energy to continue. The Abbess gave them Founder of Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Order Venerable Master Hsing Yun¡¯s book on Words of Wisdom and chanting beads as parting gifts, wishing them renewed strength and faith in their journey.
2010.09.04 BLIA Members Attend Band Together
Following the magnitude 7.1 earthquake in Christchurch on 4 September 2010, Christchurch City Council organised the ¡°Band Together¡± Concert in Hagley Park on October 23 to bring people together. Many religious groups were invited to give prayer to the city. Abbess Manshin lead 8 Fo Guang Shan members and chanted Founder of Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Order Venerable Master Hsing Yun¡¯s ¡°Earthquake Prayer¡±. Prime Minister Hon John Key, Ministers and many Members of Parliament were also in attendance along with an estimated 100,000 local residents.
2010.07.29 The Art Of Sharing
The Winter Warmth Morning Tea Party is an excellent way for Friends of Fo Guang Yuan Art Gallery to get together, warm up and share their love and appreciation for art
Friends of Fo Guang Yuan Art Gallery Christ-church was established in January 2010. By the end of the year, there were over 1000 members. On the morning of 29 July, a Winter Warmth morning tea party was hosted to enable members to get together and share their love for art. Over 100 guests attended, including many local artists.
Venerable Abbess Manshin gave an opening speech and invited everyone to visit the gallery more often and enjoy upcoming exhibitions. Mr. Ron Wright, President of New Zealand Faberge Egg Association, Ms Shona Ross, President of Canterbury Cake Design Association, 25-year-old artist Dale Gallagher, Ms Lindley Denie, Ms Ruth Town and Mr. Sam Lamberton brought their art collections to share with the other guests.
Of the guests that attended, the eldest was 90 years old, accompanied by her 70-year-old daughter. She said she came to the gallery seven times to view the ¡®Wonders of Embroidery Yao Hong Ying Art Exhibition¡¯, bringing different friends with her each time. She felt very happy every time she came to visit and thought of herself as a professional tour guide for the gallery. Tea and refreshments prepared by Water Drop Cafe were served, and everyone enjoyed the lovely gathering. The guests voiced their appreciation to Fo Guang Yuan Art Gallery in hosting this Winter Warmth morning tea party and looked forward to more events in the future.
2010.07.22-25 Aspiring Leaders Forum
Members from the Young Adult Division (YAD) attended the Leadership Forum held at Parliament in Wellington from July 22 to 25. Over 100 youths from all over New Zealand attended, aged between 18 and 30. Representing Fo Guang Shan South Island YAD were Shenghan Lim, Andy Hsu and YAD Chairperson Hiking Liu; representing Fo Guang Shan North Island YAD were Angela Lim, Jonny Lin and Jeremy Tan.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Financial Affairs Hon Bill English, Leader of the Labor Party Hon Phil Goff and many other prominent figures around the country attended the Forum. In their speeches, many of them shared philosophies similar to those of Founder of Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Order Venerable Master Hsing Yun¡¯s teaching of Humanistic Buddhism.
The attendees were divided into several discussion groups, each lead by a Member of Parliament. They shared experiences, toured the Parliament, and watched Members of Parliament in debates.
YAD members expressed their gratitude to Venerable Abbess Manshin for nominating and supporting their participation in the Forum. Not only have they furthered their leadership skills, but found many of the speeches given by leaders today echoing those of Venerable Master Hsing Yun¡¯s teachings. Through learning qualities such as passion, courage, wisdom, versatility, resourcefulness, endurance, humility and responsibility, it also strengthened their faith in Humanistic Buddhism.
VIP Speech Excerpts
Telecom New Zealand¡¯s Former CEO Theresa Gattung believes that with all under-takings, enthusiasm, courage, wisdom, determination, tolerance, magnanimity, gratitude, a sense of responsibility and accountability are paramount; and that one should see failure and setbacks as lessons to learn, since ¡°Good is not always absolutely good, and bad is not always absolutely bad¡±. She also speaks of the ¡®self¡¯ as being one¡¯s greatest responsibility, pointing out that everyone has unlimited potential which can be realised through hard work and the willingness to accept the constructive criticism of others.
Labor Party MP Dr Rajen Prasad¡¯s lifetime dedication to promoting and facilitating multiculturalism in New Zealand has earned the respect of many New Zealanders. Dr Prasad emphasised the importance of courage, honesty and gratitude; and of staying true to one¡¯s values, being selfless in one¡¯s role and of giving without expecting anything in return. In addition, he pointed out that ¡°People will put a leader onto a pedestal, but that leader needs to remember to get off when the job is done¡±, and that one will be on and off stage through life - we take opportunities and we give opportunities to others. Dr Prasad also believes that learning comes from failure.
Green Party MP Gareth Hughes is New Zealand¡¯s youngest ever MP, having entered parliament at the age of 28 years; his initial impetus to join politics was to put an end to whaling, and to date, has only been in the political arena for a mere 12 months. He is currently improving Auckland¡¯s public transport infrastructure. MP Hughes stressed that ¡°If you are passionate about something, do whatever it takes to achieve it, and be courageous¡±. His actions are the quintessence of his words. He was jailed for protesting against the use of genetically modified and mistreated animals in McDonald¡¯s food items. The Buddha¡¯s Light International Association Young Adults Division delegations were inspired by the politician¡¯s bravery and sacrifice to reflect upon their responsibilities and duties as Buddha¡¯s Light young adults.
The prolific and almost legendary real estate agent Mr. Warren White was conferred the southern hemisphere¡¯s ¡°Australasia¡¯s Best Real Estate Agent¡± award for the years 1988 and 1998, and is one of Australasia¡¯s most sought after motivational speakers. He pointed out that: ¡°Vision without action is daydreaming, action without vision is just passing the time, and vision with action changes the world¡±. His formula for success is: Vision, Plan, Action and Result. In Mr. White¡¯s eyes, indispensible to a successful leader are love for everyone, generosity, the ability to listen to others, and the willingness to ¡°let go¡± of adversities and setbacks and to move on.
2010.07.04 A Humanistic Impression
The Chinese Ambassador in New Zealand visited Fo Guang Shan South Island and was impressed by the richness of Humanistic Buddhism and its meaningful application to the architecture of the Temple
The Chinese Ambassador in New Zealand visited Fo Guang Shan South Island on 4 July. Accompanied by his wife and ten staff members, they marveled at the modern and artistic design of the Temple, the remarkable career of Founder of Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Order Venerable Master Hsing Yun, and were moved by the Venerable Master¡¯s ¡°One-Stroke Calligraphy Art¡±. They also found the ¡°Yao Hong Ying Embroidery Exhibition¡± on display at the gallery incredibly striking. The ambassador was much impressed by the development and richness of modern day Buddhism.
2010.05.28 North South BLIA Fellowship
63 members from the North Island and South Island branches of Buddha¡¯s Light International Association (BLIA) came together on 28 May to exchange ideas. The three-day conference was hosted by the South Island branch, led by President Almeric Cheng. Venerable Abbess Manshin gave the opening presentation; the itinerary also included a trip to the famous Maruia Springs.
The topic of the lecture presentation was ¡°The Six Buddha¡¯s Light Member Motto¡±. Abbess Manshin explained that being a member of BLIA means having a heart full of the following virtues:
1. Heart of Resourceful Wisdom
2. Heart of Buddhist Compassion
3. Heart of Aspiring Pursuit
4. Heart of Sincere Repentance
5. Heart of Diligent Perseverance
6. Heart of Faithful Belief
Abbess Manshin also told everyone about the ¡°Founder of Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Order Venerable Master Hsing Yun Education Charity Trust¡±, how the proceeds from the auction of the Venerable Master¡¯s ¡°One-Stroke Calligraphy Art¡± benefits the society through charity and education.
This memorable conference enabled members to share not only friendship, but also the spirit of service and team work.
2010.05.22-08.29 Liao Tian Zhao Stone Teapot Exhibition (North Island)
Liao Tian Zhao Stone Teapot Exhibition was held from 22 May to 29 August 2010 at Fo Guang Yuan North Island. Liao Tian Zhao is the founder of the art of creating stone carved teapots, which he began 40 years ago in Taiwan. He is fastidious in the modeling of teapots which incorporates aesthetics and practicality in that they can also be used for making tea. During the past 30 years he has created more than one thousand teapots, including one which holds the Guiness World Record for being the ¡®Smallest Teapot¡¯. For Liao Tian Zhao, stone evokes a unique emotion within him. He says that life is short but stone, because it comes from nature, will last forever and this way he can record his life in something solid and tangible; retaining the beauty of nature while merging it with his own creative ideas.
2010.04.17-06.12 Fay¡¯s Hand Painted Chinaware Exhibition
The Fay Porcelain Painting Exhibition was held at Fo Guang Yuan Art Gallery from April 17 to June 12. The opening of the exhibition coincided with the Buddha¡¯s Birthday Festival and was attended by many guests of honour, including Minister Hon Kate Wilkinson, MP Brendon Burns, MP Nicky Wagner, Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker and representative from Taipei Economic and Cultural Office. Accompanied by the Abbess, Ms Hsu gave a personal guided tour of her artwork; the collection took more than 10 years to create.
2010.04.17 Buddha¡¯s Day Multicultural Festival
The significance of Bathing the Buddha is to encourage everyone to acquire properties of water; clean, pure, soft and tolerant, in order to experience equanimity among all human races and freedom of life.
On 17 April, Buddha¡¯s Light International Association (BLIA) held the 2010 Buddha¡¯s Birthday Multicultural Celebrations. Special guests included Minister of Labor and Minister of Conservation Hon Kate Wilkinson, Labor Party MP Brendon Burns, National Party MP Nicky Wagner, Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker, Taipei Economic and Cultural Office representative Mr. Tsai, BLIA (South Island) NZ President Almeric Cheng and BLIA (North Island) NZ President Dolly Tsai. Representatives from other religious groups were also in attendance. Together with more than 200 devotees, they were led by Venerable Abbess Manshin and solemnly participated in the Bathing of the Buddha Ceremony. Other activities of the day included Taking Refuge in Triple Gem and Five Precepts Conferring Ceremony, Baby Blessing Ceremony, vegetarian food fair, and cultural performances. This annual event broke the attendance record, attracting over 1000 people to the Temple to celebrate this auspicious day.
Minister of Conservation Hon Kate Wilkinson thanked the Temple for inspiring Christchurch locals by bringing to them this artistic space. The Minister was moved after reading Founder of Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Order Venerable Master Hsing Yun¡¯s Prayer for World Peace, and hoped that everyone could, together, work towards world peace. She hopes to attend Fo Guang Shan¡¯s Buddha¡¯s Birthday annually.
Labor Party MP Brendon Burns thanked Fo Guang Shan for inviting him to this solemn and sacred ceremony, and expressed his admiration towards the fact that there are more than 200 Fo Guang Shan temples worldwide working to benefit society.
Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker was pleased to once again attend the ceremony, and said that the Buddha was born 2554 years ago and gained enlightenment, bringing to mankind the great Buddhist Philosophy. On behalf of the people of Christchurch, he welcomes Buddhism to the city, bringing to its residents a higher quality of life.
2010.04.17 Becoming A Buddhist On An Auspicious Day
The 2010 Buddha¡¯s Birthday Celebrations also included the opening of artist Xu Ruifen¡¯s Majestic Painting Exhibition, the Baby Blessing Ceremony, Taking Refuge in Triple Gem and Five Precepts Conferring Ceremony. This made the annual festival all the more solemn and sacred, and empowered devotees with strength, unity, faith and hope.
The Baby Blessing Ceremony took place at the Temple¡¯s courtyard. Accompanied by more than 100 guests, Venerable Abbess Manshin blessed 60 babies; two pregnant mothers also seized this rare opportunity and participated in the blessing.
The Taking Refuge in Triple Gem and Five Precepts Conferring Ceremony was conducted in the Buddha Hall. Venerable Abbess Manshin presided over the ceremony, where 29 devotees officially became Buddhists; 11 of them also took part in the Five Precepts. The Abbess explained the merits and benefits of Taking Refuge, and encouraged everyone to cherish the conditions of becoming a Buddhist by diligently cultivating the Buddhist Way, allowing Buddha¡¯s light to shine forth and nourish their lives. Everyone opened their heart with some devotees moved to tears, while others smiled with joy.
2010.03.02-04.30 Gail Batchelor¡¯s Buddhism Abstract Artworks
Gail Batchelor¡¯s Abstract Artwork Exhibition is a series of oil paintings that was displayed in Fo Guang Yuan Art Gallery South Island from 2 March to 30 April 2010.
Gail is a part time painter, who graduated with a Bachelor¡¯s degree in Art History from University of Canterbury. She is a member of the Meditation Class at Fo Guang Shan South Island. With her unique view and interest in Eastern philosophy and art, she has created a series of artworks inspired by Zen and meditation.
One such series is the ¡°Wrest-ling the Ox¡±, which describes the various levels of meditation, and
was inspired by the famous Buddhist Zen drawing ¡°The 10 Ox¡± from 12th century China. The struggling ox can be regarded as our desire and troubled mind; it also symbolizes that every sentient being has a Buddha nature.
Gail Batchelor also demonstrated her skills on site every Wednesday to Friday during the duration of the exhibition.
2010.02.26 Faith between Faiths
The 7th Interfaith Forum in Christchurch has truthfully inspired New Zealand IBA and BLIA South Island to seek opportunities to co-operate and build trust and respect for other groups of faith.
The 7th Annual National Interfaith Forum began on 26 February 2010. The three-day event took place in Christchurch. New Zealand International Buddhist Association, together with BLIA (South Island) NZ President Almeric Cheng, Vice President Jack Liu and members of the Young Adult Division (YAD) attended the forum. The theme for last year¡¯s forum was ¡°Keeping Faith in the Modern World¡±. Representatives from various religious groups participated in the forum.
New Zealand Representative of UNESCO Paul Morris gave a speech, followed by a series of keynote speakers. Reverend Margaret Mayman spoke on ¡°My Experience in Faith, Involvement in the UN and development of women¡¯s rights.¡± Several panel discussions on ¡°Living My Faith in the Modern World¡± were also conducted to seek solutions and opinions on how to face today¡¯s technological and materialistic challenges. Catherine Jones and Superintendent Dave Cliff led workshops ¡°Faith and Safer Cities¡± and ¡°Seeing the Best in Each Other¡± respectively.
On the last day of the forum, seven members of BLIA YAD joined the 3rd National Youth Forum. They attended a series of activities and workshops, including keynote speech ¡°Regenerate Your Faith¡± by Imam Afroz Ali. Members were excited to join discussions on faith and sustainability on a national scale. They expressed how much they learned about inappropriate shopping behaviors that cause excess waste, and realised the importance of involving themselves with protecting the earth by reducing waste. The forum inspired everyone to seek opportunities to cooperate and build trust and respect for one another, with the common goal of finding solutions and strategies to benefit all religions.
2010 Roaring Into The Year Of The Tiger
2010.02.13 Chinese New Year¡¯s Eve First Incense Offering Draws Crowds
On 13 February at 10:30 pm, the Chinese New Year¡¯s Eve Dharma Function was held to celebrate the beginning of the year of Tiger. The Venerables lead the devotees in chanting ¡°Medicine Buddha Mantra¡±, followed by Founder of Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Order Venerable Master Hsing Yun¡¯s ¡°New Year¡¯s Eve Prayer¡±. Nearly 200 devotees, members and visitors of various nationalities came, in hope of receiving good luck for the New Year. At midnight, more devotees entered the Main Shrine to offer their first incense of the year and wished for a prosperous New Year.
On 14 February at 10 am, the ¡°Thousand Buddha Dharma Function¡± was held, attracting over 100 members and devotees. Everyone participated in paying respect to the Thousand Buddhas, and sending New Year wishes to Venerable Master Hsing Yun, Venerable Abbess Xinpei of Fo Guang Shan Headquarters and Venerable Abbess Manshin of Fo Guang Shan New Zealand.
2010.02.13 Chinese New Year Cultural Festival Attracts Locals
The ¡°Awe-inspiring Virtue and Ocean of Merits Chinese New Year Cultural Festival¡± was held on 13 February, attracting the attendance of approximately 250 members and tourists. Numerous Westerners visited the ¡°Cultural Street¡± which was comprised of 14 stalls featuring Buddhist crafts, vegetarian food, publications of Venerable Master Hsing Yun, the Founder of Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Order, hyacinth tea and tea sets, hand flower beads, Chinese knots, Chinese medicine, Chinese calligraphy and many other festive activities.
2010.01.30 Chinese New Year¡¯s Eve Volunteer Celebration Dinner
The Chinese New Year¡¯s Eve Volunteer Blessing Dharma Service and Dinner was held on 30 January 2010 to thank all the Temple volunteers and devotees for their services and contributions during the past year. Venerable Abbess Manshin led 150 volunteers and their family members in chanting.
Special guests included former Minister of Ethnic Affairs Hon Pansy Wong, Christchurch City Councillor Helen Broughton, Riccarton-Wigram Community Board Member Jimmy Chen, New Zealand Police Ethnic Advisor Portfolio Constable Liying Cai, New Zealand High Court Barrister Xiaolei Sun and his wife, Christchurch Sister City Kurashiki of Japan Committee Chairman Malcolm Harris, oil painter Gail Batchelor and her husband, Christchurch Chinese Lions Club President Ing Ma and her husband, and Buddha¡¯s Light International Association BLIA (South Island) NZ President and Advisor.
BLIA (South Island) NZ President Almeric Cheng thanked the volunteers for helping with numerous activities during the past year, giving Christchurch locals many beautiful memories.
Former Minister Hon Pansy Wong praised BLIA members for their educational and charitable contributions to the community, saying that they have become excellent models for others. She also commended BLIA for becoming an advisor of the United Nations, working hard towards realising world peace, and Fo Guang Shan for sending a young and promising Buddhist to represent the Buddhist faith in New Zealand during the 2009 Interfaith Dialogue in Perth.
Abbess Manshin gave a Dharma talk on the significance of the Dharma words ¡®Awe-inspiring Virtue and Ocean of Merits¡¯, encouraging everyone to develop the might of a tiger and adopt the mannerisms of The Virtuous One so that they may gain merits as vast as the ocean. The Abbess also mentioned the causes and conditions behind Founder of Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Order Venerable Master Hsing Yun¡¯s ¡°One-Stroke Calligraphy Art¡± and encouraged everyone to learn from the Master¡¯s perseverance and industriousness. The Abbess wished everyone a hopeful New Year and gave every-one an auspicious red packet.
2010.01.28 Way of Life Photography Exhibition
On 28 January 2010, Fo Guang Shan North Island launched the ¡®Way of Life Photography Exhibition¡¯. Founder of Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Order Venerable Master Hsing Yun, who has dedicated his whole life to the propagation of Humanistic Buddhism said, ¡°Humanistic Buddhism encompasses the concepts of our existence, life and death and the way we live our lives.¡± The process of life and death is the form of Humanistic Buddhism, while the way we live our lives is the essence, the characteristic and the practice of Humanistic Buddhism. Thus, by integrating Buddhism into our daily life it is ¡®a way of life¡¯.
Located in the South Pacific, Fo Guang Shan New Zealand continues to propagate the ideals of Humanistic Buddhism by working towards the goals of localization and multicultural through education, culture, charity and cultivation. The ¡®Way of Life Photography Exhibition¡¯ tells the story of Fo Guang Shan New Zealand; recording the changes and touching moments through its history and development.
2010.01.01 Pilgrimage Greets New Year
Through taking part in the pilgrimage with a sincere heart, one could repent their sins, develop a compassionate mind, make firm resolutions to improve one self and enhance their cultivation
To welcome the arrival of the New Year, Fo Guang Shan South Island held a Pilgrimage Procession. Starting at 6:30am on the first day of 2010, Venerable Juexi and Venerable Miaoyu led 60 devotees in an hour-long chanting procession to the Temple¡¯s Buddha Hall. Venerable Juexi explained the meaning of a pilgrimage: far to near, outwards to within, low to high, dark to bright, cold to warm, hard to soft, and from arrogant to humble and compassionate. Through taking part in the pilgrimage with a sincere heart, one could repent their sins, develop a compassionate mind, make firm resolution to improve oneself and enhance their cultivation.
After breakfast, everyone watched a documentary on the construction of the Buddha Memorial Centre in Taiwan. This was followed by a sutra transcription session, and everyone transcribed their own unique copy of the Heart Sutra, word by word, one stroke at a time, with their most sincere heart and utmost focus.
In response to One Million Heart Sutras in the Buddha program, subsequent sutra transcription sessions were held until the end of March. Although unable to read or understand the Sutra, many locals still attended and participated with all their heart and sincerity. This was very moving for everyone to witness; their determination is something that we should all learn from. 500 copies of the Heart Sutra were transcribed in total, and the merits were transferred to the participants¡¯ families and friends as well as the community in special ceremonies lead by Venerable Abbess Manshin.