Venkat Raman –
The teachings of Buddha, the spirit of tolerance, simplicity and piety and the understanding of humanity were all at the fore at the Fo Guang Shan in Auckland as the famous Buddhist shrine marked its annual Reunion Dinner on January 23, 2016.
More than 1000 people including politicians, community leaders, Buddhist monks, religious people, ordinary members of the society and volunteers attended the event held at the sprawling complex of the Temple located at 16, Stancombe Road in Botany.
The event also marked the advent of the Chinese New (Lunar) Year of the Monkey.
In his New Year Message shown at the event, Venerable Hsing Yun, the 88-year-old Founder and Leader of Fo Guang Shan, said that the Year of the Monkey would also mark the Golden Jubilee of the Movement.
“The Spring breeze (in the Northern Hemisphere) continues to send forth the fragrance of flowers. In the New Year, I sincerely wish that everyone can be smart and agile, and be blessed with merits and wisdom,” he said.
“It is the people who propagate the Way, not the Way that propagates people. I have paid special and extra attention to education since it is vital for human development,” he added.
The annual event began with a magnificent blessing Dharma Ceremony led by Venerable Abbess Manshin, who paid tribute to Hsing Yun.
“The Chinese tradition of Reunion Dinners reinforces the goodness in every human being. The Venerable Master wishes everyone to be full of energy and be complete with compassion and wisdom so that people can uncover their potentials, purify their body and mind and benefit the society,” she said.
Among the other speakers were Jami-Lee Ross, National Party’s elected Member of Parliament from Botany and the Editor of this newspaper.
“Every visit to this Temple brings me joy, wisdom and fortune. The people of Botany are fortunate to have Fo Guang Shan in their neighbourhood, where the motto of “Three good deeds and Four kinds of giving” promotes a safer and better community,” he said.
Steven Xu, North Island President of the Buddhist Light International Association (BLIA) said that Humanistic Buddhism promoted by Hsing Yun enables people to lead quality lives with peace and understanding.
“By working hard and by being together we will surely create a peaceful and harmonious multicultural nation in New Zealand,” he said.
The entertainment programme presented during dinner included a variety of dances depicting Nature, Buddhism, Humanity and Spirituality. These included the ‘Lion Dance,’ Six Kinds of Offerings,’ ‘Blessing Ceremony,’ ‘Drum Solo,’ ‘Charming Scenery in South China,’ ‘Chan Martial Art,’ ‘Uyghur Dance: Girls from Da Ban City,’ Group Dance, ‘Three Virtues,’ Indian Solo Dance: ‘My Heart is Pure as Fresh Water Springs,’ Rhythm of the World Song: ‘Giving,’ Rendition 100: Syllable Mantra of Vajrasattva,’ Native Taiwanese Dance: ‘Song of Offering to the Sea,’ Group Choir: ‘My Hometown in Fo Guang Shan,’ and a Grand Finale.
The Great Movement
Fo Guang Shan, which means, ‘Buddha’s Mountain of Light,’ is an international Chinese Buddhist Religious Movement based in the Republic of China (Taiwan). The Headquarters of the Movement based in Dashu District of Kaohsiung, is the largest Buddhist Monastery in that country. Fo Guang Shan is one of the largest charity organisations in Taiwan and the Order calls itself, ‘International Buddhist Progress Society.’
Established in 1967 by Hsing Yun, the Order promotes ‘Humanistic Buddhism.’
Hsing Yun’s stated position within Fo Guang Shan is that it is an ‘amalgam of all Eight Schools of Buddhism, including but not limited to Chan.’