In his quest to research into the practice and development of Humanistic Buddhism in the Oceania Region, the Dean of Northwest University¡¯s Xuan Zang Research Institute, and Buddhist Research Institute, Professor Li LiAn, together with research students Li XinYuan and Xie ZiBin, visited Fo Guang Shan (FGS) South Island on 24th February 2017. They were accompanied by Buddha¡¯s Light International Association (BLIA) New Zealand North Island President Dolly Tsai and BLIA members of NZ. FGS New Zealand Venerable Abbess Manshin, FGS South Island Temple Supervisor Venerable Jue Xi, BLIA South Island President See Shen Lee, Vice President Louisa Kuo and members, were on hand to welcome the visitors.
Led by Abbess Manshin, the entourage first paid homage to Buddha in the Buddha Hall, then subsequently visited the exhibition on ¡°Humanity and Love Oil Paintings¡± by Artist ZiJian Li at the Fo Guang Yuen (FGY) Art Gallery Christchurch. They were briefed on the Architectural Design Concept behind the Temple Building. Afterwards, Professor Li and the congregation adjourned to the Dining Hall for an exchange and sharing session on the experiences encountered in the propagation of Humanistic Buddhism in New Zealand.
In the meeting, BLIA NZ North Island President Dolly Tsai compared the relationship between FGS North and South Island to that of relationship between members of the same family, both striking to assist Abbess Manshin in her effort to propagate Humanistic Buddhism. Besides spreading Humanistic Buddhism based on the Four Principles, FGS NZ encourages and supports Youth Adult Division (YAD) to play a more prominent role in BLIA affairs. BLIA South Island President See Shen Lee followed by briefing the meeting about the various activities undertaken by FGS and BLIA South Island in Christchurch. These include Buddha¡¯s Birthday Celebration, setting up of Venerable Master Hsing Yun Scholarship¡±, promotion of ¡°3 Good Deeds 4 Givings¡±, participating in Tree Planting and keep NZ beautiful and other activities organised by the Local Authority. BLIA South Island Vice President Louisa Kuo reported that members of BLIA South Island have for the past 20 years volunteered in the ¡°Meals on Wheels¡± programme organised by Red Cross Canterbury. Through this activity, members are able to interact with the local elderlies. BLIA Director Benny Wong talked about the difficulties faced and efforts put in by BLIA members in the promotion of Siddhartha The Musical to the students and local community, bearing in mind that majority of the people in Christchurch are Christians. BLIA Director Cao Qian described how joining FGS has transformed her from someone who has never soiled her hands before, to a new person who, after much coaching from the Venerables, is now prepared to happily carry out the Temple chores, and at the same time, assist in all Temple activities. BLIA member Kok Wei, Low shared his experience as a member of ¡°366 Adventurous Team¡± in the distribution of the book ¡°366 Days with Wisdom¡±. Low professed that from their ability to overcome an impossible schedule, he suddenly realised the enormous unexplored potential within himself which he promised to put to good use.
BLIA Director Tracy Chen thanked FGS NZ for allowing her to learn, grow and progress, and at the same time contribute towards the Temple activities. BLIA South Island North One Sub Chapter President Luping, Bi told how she underwent a 180 degree change in her life style after joining FGS and started learning about Humanistic Buddhism. She is now living a new and meaningful life and treasures the chance to study Humanistic Buddhism. BLIA South Island member Lihson, Ding described how he witnessed the collapse of the spire of the Christchurch Cathedral during the 2011 earthquake. He then joined FGS South Island to take part in their earthquake relief. He has found new vigour and enthusiasm in the process of helping others. YAD President Zhang Dong was glad to find positivity in the Temple and thanked the Venerables for their love. He now treats FGS as his ¡°home¡±. BLIA South Island Vice President James Low shared his story of how he came to be involved with FGS, how he managed to rid himself of bad habits through active participation in FGS activities. James vowed to continue relentlessly serving the public via FGS.
In her summing up speech, Abbess Manshin mentioned that with religious faith, a person can overcome any difficulty and injustice faced by him in life. She reminded the meeting that, positioned at the southern-most tip of Southern Atmosphere, FGS South Island has a significant and important role to play in propagating Humanistic Buddhism to the local populace. Abbess also encouraged members of North and South Island FGS to unite in serving the Public so that more people will be attracted to join this lively Humanistic Buddhism family. In his parting speech, Professor Li pointed out that this view sharing session has indeed strengthened his faith in the development of Humanistic Buddhism in New Zealand and he hoped to see better development in propagation of Humanistic Buddhism here.