In Venerable Master Hsing Yun, Buddhism has found a reformer, an innovator, and an educator. Under his strong leadership, Buddhism has extended beyond traditional temple life to integrate and further enrich the modern living of city dwellers. Today, it has transcended national boundaries and has afforded people from all over the world the opportunity to be a part of it.
Initially formed on February 3, 1991 in response to the needs of local Buddhist practitioners, the BLIA ROC gradually gained recognition overseas. Subsequently, “Buddha’s Light International Association” was officially inaugurated in Los Angeles, California on May 16, 1992 during which a new chapter in Buddhist history emerged. As Buddhist delegates from Europe, America, Asia, Africa, and Australia rendered their support by attending the first BLIA General Conference, Ven. Master Hsing Yun commemorated the unprecedented event with the following verses:
“My compassionate vow is to save sentient beings;
My body is that of the Dharma ocean that binds no boats;
Ask me what have I achieved in this lifetime?
May the Buddha’s Light shine over the five continents.”
As a starting goal for Buddhist propagation, Ven. Master Hsing Yun endorsed the spirit of “Joy and Harmony” as the theme for the first BLIA General Conference. In doing so, BLIA hopes the seed of joy is sowed throughout the world and the ideal of harmony prevails among all people.
BLIA is not the organization of a certain sect, temple, or person. It is an organization that belongs to all the Buddhists in the world. People who subscribe to the guiding principles of BLIA are welcome as “Buddha’s Light Friends.” Currently, over 100 BLIA chapters have been established worldwide. There are establishments in the United States of America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Russia, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Japan, Hong Kong, Macao, Thailand, India, Brazil, Argentina, Africa, etc. Gradually but surely, there will be BLIA establishments throughout every corner of the world where the presence of BLIA members will make a difference for the benefit of humanity.
BLIA works closely with members of other Buddhist temples, colleges, scholastic organizations, lay practitioners associations, and meditation groups. BLIA will attempt to accommodate the request for assistance from any affiliation if a need arises. Evidently, the primary objective of BLIA is to serve the multitude, spread a joyous spirit among people, and help others to instill the virtue of compassion.
As members are aware, BLIA places a lot of emphasis on social services through a host of well-designed activities. For example, BLIA is active in the “Save the Earth” campaign and the preservation of nature and the environment. There are regular schedules to collect recycled products and the planting of trees. In the recent past, BLIA was instrumental in planting about 20 millions trees in Taiwan. As a means to help improve the conditions of our communities, BLIA has also participated in some governmental sponsored activities such as an anti-drug campaign, international disaster relief efforts, etc.
Due to the fact that BLIA is able to meet the challenges dictated by modern technology, the seeds of Buddhism can easily be planted throughout the five continents. In addition, under the strong support in the ideal of “Respect and Magnanimity,” members of BLIA strive to emulate the bodhisattvas’ spirit to help actualize the motto of BLIA:
“May kindness, compassion, joy, and equanimity pervade all dharma realms;
May all beings from heaven and earth benefit from our blessings and friendship;
May our ethical practice of Ch’an and Pure Land help us to realize equality and patience;
May we undertake the greatest vows with humility and gratitude.”
Modeling our behaviors on the Four Great Bodhisattvas, we recite this motto before each meal to remind us of our vows to help others, to make this world a better place, to bring joy to humanity and to achieve peace among nations.
Read more on www.blia.org.