Social Education

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.

2009.12.13 Way of Life Seminar Discusses the Bodhi Mind
On 13th December, Buddha¡¯s Light International Association South Island¡¯s North One Subchapter invited Dharma Lecturer Rona Chen to be the guest speaker for the ¡®Humanistic Buddhism Life Talk¡¯. This time, the topic was ¡®How to guard your Bodhi Mind¡¯, and the 30 attendees included the BLIA South Island President, Vice-president and Committee members. Temple Supervisor Venerable Juexi and Venerable Miaoyu were also present. First, Ms. Chen shared her personal experiences of learning Buddhism, and of how she vowed to sincerely offer the Dharma to everyone using her Bodhi mind. Ms. Chen kept the Talk lively and interesting and captivated the audiences¡¯ attention by using stories to explain her interpretations of the Dharma. Ms. Chen also encouraged everyone to practice the Six Paramitas, Noble Eightfold Path and Four Noble Truths. Venerable Juexi thanked Ms. Chen for her Dharma offering and for providing the audience with a wealth of Dharma, and encouraged everyone to put what they have learnt into practice.

2009.10.05 Tea Chan Talk Where Dharma Music Resonated-
Fo Guang Shan¡¯s Abbot, Most Venerable Hsin Pei arrived in Christchurch on 5th October, accompanied by Venerable Abbess Manshin, Venerable Huihao, Buddha¡¯s Light International Association North Island President Dolly Tsai and committee members. At the airport, the Most Venerable was welcomed by Venerable Juexi, BLIA South Island President Almeric Cheng, Advisor John Lai and committee members. At Fo Guang Shan South Island, in the company of everyone present, the Most Venerable toured around the Temple building, visiting the Buddha Hall and ¡°Way of Life Photography Exhibition¡± while engaging in a simple yet interesting conversation with his respectful escorts.
During the evening, BLIA South Island organised a ¡®Tea Chan Talk¡¯ at FGS South Island as a way of respectfully inviting the Most Venerable to share the Dharma with everyone. Those who attended the Talk included Christchurch Chinese Lion Club¡¯s Ing Ma and her husband, the BLIA North and South Island Presidents, committee members and YAD members, totaling over 80 people. Through a relaxed and humorous manner and with a taste of Chan, the Most Venerable began the Talk and at times, sang Chan verses, giving everyone present a pleasant surprise. The Most Venerable reminded everyone to live a life of gratitude, to treat others with compassion, to practice the Way with a mind of impermanence and to deliver sentient beings with their Bodhi mind.

2009.09.28 Most Venerable Hsin Ting¡¯s Enlightening Dharma Lecture-
The 28th September marked the auspicious day when the President of Buddha¡¯s Light International Association Headquarters, Most Venerable Hsin Ting arrived in Fo Guang Shan South Island, accompanied by Venerable Abbess Manshin, FGS North Island devotee representative Ming Tai Huang, BLIA North Island President Dolly Tsai and several committee members. The Most Venerable¡¯s arrival was met by the warm welcome of 20 BLIA South Island committee members and Temple staff. On the same night, Most Venerable Hsin Ting was respectfully invited to deliver a Dharma Lecture on ¡®Great Compassion, Great Bodhi Mind and the Wisdom of Emptiness¡¯ for 150 devotees at FGS South Island. Reporters from Christchurch¡¯s ¡®The Sun¡¯ newspaper and ¡®Hong Kong Journal¡¯ came to capture this auspicious occasion with photos and print. After receiving news about the Dharma lecture, many Christchurch locals promptly secured tickets to come and listen to the Dharma.
Citing from the Diamond Sutra, Most Venerable Hsin Ting described the great compassion, the great bodhi mind, and empty wisdom of the bodhisattva. Using many illustrative examples, the Most Venerable explained the difference between the love of a bodhisattva and the love of a regular sentient being, noting that the love of a bodhisattva is for all sentient beings and the love of the latter is for the sake of oneself; and that through the realization of the emptiness of the five skandhas, a bodhisattva is able to purify themselves, abandon worldly love and transform to benefit all sentient beings through engaging in virtuous deeds. The vivid stories told by Most Venerable Hsin Ting received warm applause, and the audience listened intently and joyfully. Everyone praised the Most Venerable for equipping them with Dharma wisdom which will allow them to re-evaluate the true meaning of life.

2009.09.20 Secret to Healthy Eating and Living Revealed
A routine lifestyle and good eating habits are essentials for healthy living. Buddha¡¯s Light International Association South Island¡¯s West One Subchapter organised a ¡®Humanistic Buddhism Life Talk¡¯ titled ¡®Health and Nutrition¡¯ on 20th September at Fo Guang Shan South Island. Registered nurse Cai Fen Liao was invited to give a talk to the 30 people who attended the Talk. During the seminar, Ms. Liao explained that there are positives and negatives in how we choose to eat. Wrong eating habits could lead to malnutrition, fatigue, and higher susceptibility to influenza and delayed healing and recovery. Likewise, good eating habits benefit our health. She also stressed the importance of keeping hydrated, and at the same time explained the dangers and consequences of regular dehydration. The Talk concluded with a question and answer session and blood pressure checks for the attendees.

2009.07.18 Introduction to Buddhism
On 18th July, another session of the ¡®Humanistic Buddhism Life Talk¡¯ was held at Fo Guang Shan South Island by Buddha¡¯s Light International Association South Island. BLIA South Island President Almeric Cheng was the speaker, and the focus of his talk was on the introduction to Buddhism. During the seminar, Mr. Cheng briefed everyone with basic Buddhism concepts and knowledge. The 30 people who attended the Talk included BLIA South Island committee members and devotees. Using English, Mr. Cheng discussed basic Buddhism education, and answered the many questions raised by Christchurch locals. He also used stories to illustrate the purpose of taking the five precepts, in a way which everyone could understand.

2009.06.13 Humanistic Buddhism Life Talk Teaches the ¡®Way of Life¡¯
On 13th June, Buddha¡¯s Light International Association South Island¡¯s West One Subchapter held a seminar on ¡®Humanistic Buddhism in Christchurch ¨C 18 FAQ by Kiwis¡¯. BLIA South Island Vice-president Jack Liu was the speaker, and the 30 people who attended the seminar included BLIA South Island President Almeric Cheng and his wife, Vice-president Meihua Chen and Committee members. The talk commenced with an introduction to the design of the Temple building. Mr. Liu briefed everyone with the inspirations behind the building concepts, that is, Venerable Abbess Manshin¡¯s idea of bringing the spirit of the practitioner into the building design through the skilful means of an architect. He also explained that the design of the Temple was derived from the Longman Caves of China, and that the four great Bodhisattvas collectively represent the spirit of the practitioner.

2009.06.06 South Joins North for Days of Fun and Learning
From 5th-7th of June, the inaugural Buddha¡¯s Light International Association North and South Island Committee Members¡¯ Gathering was held. Over 70 BLIA New Zealand Committee Members attended, including BLIA North Island President Dolly Tsai, BLIA South Island President Almeric Cheng, Vice-presidents and Committee members.
On the night of 5th June, Venerable Abbess Manshin led a class based on Venerable Master Hsing Yun¡¯s ¡®18 Sayings of Fo Guang People¡¯. To foster effective communication within the class, the students were split into four groups. This allowed them to have intimate discussions and the opportunity to report their thoughts back to the rest of the class. By sharing their thoughts with one another, everyone could experience different aspects of the spirit and ideologies of Fo Guang people.
Venerable Abbess Manshin encouraged the members to adopt the correct attitude for learning Buddhism by suggesting that the reason for attending this gathering should be to seek the Dharma. The Abbess also encouraged everyone to participate in the propagation of Humanistic Buddhism. Through compassion, joy and generosity, one may influence others to develop humbleness and a sense of gratitude, and motivate those around them to promote cultural undertakings, so that the mission of Dharma propagation may be completed. Other activities during the three day gathering included a trip to Red Forest in Rotorua, a combined monthly meeting for BLIA North and South Island members, a sharing session for the BLIA New Zealand Directors, a trip to Blue Spring and some time at Garden World in Hamilton. The gathering concluded happily and everyone returned home with a fresh mind and body.

2009.04.25 Healthy and Balanced Living? Dr. Petschner Tells Us How
On 25th April, a seminar organised by Buddha¡¯s Light International Association South Island was held. BLIA South Island President Almeric Cheng invited guest speaker Dr. Thomas Petschner to give a talk on the topic of ¡®How to achieve a balance in life¡¯. Over 40 people, including Mr. Cheng himself, attended this seminar. Dr. Petschner used an interactive style of presentation to convey his message; that is, how drinking water, the five elements, population and climate can affect the human body. He also touched on how the utilization of Yin and Yang in food and choosing the right diet can affect our health, while emphasizing the advantages of being a vegetarian. On behalf of BLIA South Island, Almeric Cheng presented Dr. Thomas Petschner with a gift of appreciation for sharing his time and knowledge with them.

2009.01.15 The Role of Fo Guang Shan South Island in the Community
On 15th and 24th January, Hong Wang, a student of Sociology and Anthropology at the University of Canterbury came to conduct interviews with members of Fo Guang Shan South Island for her study and subsequent conference in Dunedin. Her studies address how community groups can aid Asian immigrants settle into the community after arriving in New Zealand. At the Temple, she interviewed Venerable Abbess Manshin, members of Buddha¡¯s Light International Association South Island Young Adults Division and BLIA South Island committee members.
Knowing the active roles FGS South Island and BLIA South Island play in the Christchurch community, Ms. Wang came in the hope of adding more content and examples to her study. During the interview with Venerable Abbess Manshin, Abbess introduced the spirit and concepts of Humanistic Buddhism to Ms. Wang, and using concrete examples, explained how the Temple propagates Buddhism through educating people¡¯s minds and cleansing their souls.
During her interview with members of BLIA South Island YAD on 24th January, she learnt of the many colorful experiences of the members and again, realised the importance of the Temple towards their personal development and education. Through the two interviews, Ms. Wang had deeply increased her knowledge of Humanistic Buddhism. She noted that her studies would be published at the conference which was held several days after the interview.

2008, Wednesdays, English Meditation Class - In order to help the locals understand more about Buddhism and the meaning of the Sutra, FGS South Island initiated an English Meditation Class on Wednesday nights under the guidance of Venerable Juehao. This class has a regular attendance of over ten students and under Venerable Juehao, they learn the basic mannerisms of the temple, the purpose of chanting and the procedure. Through learning more about the concepts and understanding the meanings behind the sutra, they can become closer to the Dharma.

2008 , Saturdays, Tai-Chi Classes - Every Saturday, under the leadership of BLIA South Island President Mr. Almeric Cheng, over 20 New Zealand members of BLIA practiced Tai-Chi in the Dining Hall of FGS South Island. During the Saturday Classes, Mr. Almeric Cheng would also explain some basic concepts to Buddhism for the attendees to help them gain a better understanding of Humanistic Buddhism. This was received well by the class and has now become a regular content of the Saturday Tai-Chi Class.

2008.11.30/10.21 On 21st October, ¡®Draw with Heart¡¯ finally opened at Fo Guang Yuan Art Gallery South Island. The artists of these masterpieces are Taiwanese children between the ages of 4 and 12. A combination of creativity, love and heart is their attempt to touch the hearts of others around the world and to share their unique gifts as a child. They discovered themselves in their art, they got to know themselves in their art and they learned to accept and like themselves through their art. The seed of art comes from drawing with heart.
Starting from 30th November, ¡®Heart of a Child¡¯ rolled off to a start and compliments with the current exhibition, ¡®Draw with Heart¡¯. ¡®Heart of a Child¡¯ is an event hoping to extend our caring hands to children within our community and let them know that we are here for them. Many schools and organizations were invited to come to Fo Guang Yuan Art Gallery South Island of FGS South Island to appreciate the current exhibition ¡®Draw with Heart¡¯ and the various activities that are organized for them. Through attending this event, it is our hope that the children will be able to accept themselves, care for others and see the beautiful side of our world.

2008.10.31 Women¡¯s Dharma Talk commenced at FGS South Island in August and will run on 9th August, 14th October and 31st October. BLIA South Island Vice-President Mei-Hua Chen was in charge of invitations and each time over 20 attendees attended the Dharma Talk with Abbess Venerable Manshin. Abbess Venerable Manshin urged the women to not be put off by the hard work and to understand the concept of ¡°when one is ready, the teacher will appear¡±. We must treasure our chances as it may be our only and last one. By acquiring more knowledge, improving our characters, we can help spread the messages of Dharma to the world.

2008.10.23 FGS New Zealand Venerables and Committee Members of BLIA New Zealand visited the Royal New Zealand Police College. This visit was arranged by Mr. Kefeng Chu, Strategic Advisor for New Zealand Police. Upon arrival, Venerable Abbess Manshin was invited to leave a message in the guest book by Mr. Rakesh where Abbess wrote, ¡®Peace comes after wisdom. Wisdom derives from training.¡¯
Mr. Rakesh gave an introduction on the geography of where the Royal New Zealand Police College is situated and the different trainings that they have to go through. Everyone was very impressed by the level of intelligence and physical attributes required to be a police officer. Under the accompaniment of Mr. Mike Wilson, Mr. Rakesh and the photographers of the Royal New Zealand Police College, Venerables and Committee Members were invited to have a delicious vegetarian lunch in their cafeteria. Before leaving, Abbess Manshin presented them Grand Master Venerable Hsing Yun¡¯s English Publications.

2008.10.09/07 As FGS South Island and the Fo Guang Yuan Art Gallery South Island within is becoming more of a tourist attraction in Christchurch, training sessions were held on 7th and 9th October. The aim of this series of training session is to help the volunteers get to know the temple better so that they can become experienced tour guides and show our guests around the temple. Contents of the training sessions included introduction to the different departments within the temple, the concepts behind the architecture of the temple and the exhibitions of Fo Guang Yuan Art Gallery South Island.
BLIA South Island member Mr. Jack Liu, Ms. Tracy Wang and Assistant Curator of Fo Guang Yuan Art Gallery Ms. See-Shen Lee guided them around each area of the temple and reminded them of the points that must be covered in the tour. The attendees and their knowledge of the temple have benefitted greatly from this series of training sessions and this will surely come of help to the temple in the future.

2008.04.19 A group of 26 students from Srimala Buddhist College came for a study trip to FGS South Island between 15th and 19th April. Venerable Miaojia and BLIA South Island Director Ms. Kuo led the students for a tour into the heart of Christchurch. On the way into town, they passed many attractions of Christchurch including the Botanic Garden of Hagley Park, Christchurch Art Gallery, Art Centre and Christchurch Cathedral Square. On the itinerary of the students was also the famous Hamner Springs and on the way towards their destination, they enjoyed the beautiful scenery of New Zealand and treasured memories of the beautiful Garden City. On the night of the 18th a special candlelight heart to heart session where Abbess shared with the students her life experiences and what she¡¯s learned from it.

2008.03.04 Venerable Yifa held a seminar at FGS South Island themed ¡®Mental Ecology¡¯. Almost 120 people attended this seminar including Supervisors, President and Members of BLIA South Island. After the seminar, Venerable Yifa had a discussion with over 20 members of BLIA Young Adults Division South Island. As Venerable Yifa has had the personal experience of leading Young Adults Division in United States of America, she encouraged everyone to chase their own dreams and make them come true.

2008.02.26/20/12 FGS South Island Vegetarian Cooking Class commenced. Most of the students in the class were local customers who have had meals in Fo Guang Tea House in FGS South Island. They were taught a variety of vegetarian delicacies by Venerable Juehao, Manager of Fo Guang Tea House Lynn and BLIA South Island Director Ms. Wu. Learning under a very humorous and animated environment, they enjoyed the classes fully. After tasting their hard work, they were very impressed by their own cooking skills.
In order to satisfy everyone¡¯s curiosity towards the Japanese delicacy, dorayaki, a class was initiated on 18th October. Ms. Li, sister of BLIA First North Chapter President, came in and taught the class in the Dining Hall of FGS South Island to teach them how to make a delicious dorayaki. The class was attended by fifteen students made up of volunteering kitchen staff and BLIA Young Adults Division members.

2007.03.07 Jenni Marr, Metropolitan Community Adviser - Multicultural Community Support Unit of Christchurch City visited the South Island Fo Guang Shan and discussed with Abbess Man Shin, venerable J Hao, President Almeric Cheng about the co-operations between the City Council and Buddha¡¯s Light International Association in benefiting the local community and protecting the local environment.

2007.03.06 - Intense Buddhist Studies. South Island Fo Guang Shan organised an Intense Buddhist Studies during the evenings of 6th to 9th March 2007, 30 members learn to understand the Buddhist philosophy under the close guidance of Abbess Man Shin with focus on the humanistic nature of Buddhism. They all learnt that as a member of Buddha¡¯s Light International Association, they not only need to have proper understanding of Dharma but also need to practice to promote the belief level.

2006.06.24 & 2006.03.24 Over 60 Buddha¡¯s Light International Association members including Supervisor John Lai, President Almeric Cheng, and Vice President Mei Hwa Chen attended the first and second Devotees Seminars of 2006. The curriculum included Abbes Man Shin¡¯s ¡°Blue Print of Humanistic Buddhism¡±, ¡°The Northern and Southern Scholl of Buddhism¡± and ¡°The Ideas and Spirits of Humanistic Buddhism¡±; Venerable Man Wang¡¯s ¡°Understanding the Buddha¡¯s Light International Association¡±; cultivating together service and procedures of formal temple lunch. The South Island Young Adult Division led by President Hiking Lau also helped to serve the lunch other than attending the lectures.

2005.07.09 The world premiere of the Cloud and Star Musical, which was organised by the South Island Fo Guang Shan and co-organised by the South Island Buddha¡¯s Light International Association and South Island Young Adult Division, was held at the Aurora Center on the 9th July 2005. More than 600 people attended the show including Professor Paul Harris of the Social and Religious College of the Canterbury University, Rev John Lathan of Anglican Church, Mr Ibrihim Abdelhalim of Muslim Society, Dharma Masters from Thailand and Sri Lanka temples. Mr Mudimir of the Yugoslavia Society, Mr Leanne Smith of New Zealand Brass Band and representative from various news media.
The musical was produced by Serena Cheng, written by Italian song writer Alfonso Esposito and performed by Renzo Murrone, Gregor Miller, Rachel Matthews and Katrina Esposito, all famous artists from London.

2005.05.28 Over 30 people participated in the ¡°2 days meditation retreat¡± organised by the South Island Fo Guang Shan for the first time since 1993. The retreat was led by Venerable Man Wang from North Island.

2000.02.07 New Zealand South Island Association participates in 'the Australasia Buddha¡¯s Light International Association Guiding Dharma Masters¡¯ seminar' at Nan Tien Temple Australia, Buddha¡¯s Light International Association President Venerable Master Hsing Yun provide guidance on the future develop in propagating Buddhism for the Australasia region.

1999.11.26 New Zealand South Island Association executives go to Nan Tien Temple in Australia to participate in the two day ¡°1999 Australasia Executives Seminar¡±, Buddha¡¯s Light International Association President Venerable Master Hsing Yun delivers lectures to over 200 participants.

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