Origins of the BLIA
Initially formed in 1991 in response to the needs of local Buddhist practitioners, the BLIA ROC gradually grew to spread beyond Taiwan. The “Buddha’s Light International Association” was officially inaugurated in Los Angeles, California in 1992. Buddhist delegates from Europe, America, Asia, Africa, and Australia attended the inauguration lead by Venerable Master Hsing Yun.
BLIA is an organization that belongs to all the Buddhists in the world. Those supportive of the BLIA’s principles are known as “Buddha’s Light Friends”. Currently, over 100 BLIA chapters exist worldwide; 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.
The central objective of the BLIA is to serve the many, spread a joyous spirit among people, and help instil the virtue of compassion. Therefore BLIA works closely with members of other Buddhist temples, colleges, scholastic organizations, lay practitioners associations, and meditation groups. BLIA may also accommodate requests for assistance from those it works with.
Modelling our behaviour on the Four Great Bodhisattvas, we recite the Four Line Verse before each meal, this allows reflection on the vows to offer help, improve the world, bring joy and peace.
1. Propagate Buddhism with a global outlook: In the past, the spread of Buddhism was primarily confined to the regions of East and Central Asia due to language and communication barriers. In essence, Buddhism is intrinsically magnanimous and universal upon which there are no territorial boundaries; it inherently belongs to humankind.
2. Live daily with a humanistic nature: One can only realize the value of Buddhism when it is being put into practice. Evidently, happiness is realized when we succeed in connecting the Dharma with our daily life. This is the reason why BLIA is always stressing living Buddhism in order to build a humanistic pure land. We need to utilize our skills and knowledge in order to influence others; our smiles and kind words to add joy to living.
3. Benefit the multitude with a compassionate mind: In Buddhism, the advocate for “compassion” is the culmination of the self and society at large. When universal beings are considered as interrelated, the notion of oneness leads to the true spirit of selfless contribution. Compassion is love in its highest and purest form. Like heaven and earth, the value of compassion encompasses all beings without asking anything in return.
Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva, who vowed “never to attain buddhahood until hell is empty,” is an example of the true bodhisattva spirit of helping others. BLIA members should thus attempt to “place the welfare of all sentient beings before their own happiness.”
4. Distinguish between the truth and deviation with right knowledge and understanding: Only the Buddha, omniscient in perfect enlightenment, is able to fulfill all virtues and bring joy and happiness to the universe. As BLIA members, we are fortunate to be blessed by the wisdom of the great Buddha, our guiding teacher. We should therefore treasure this blessing and diligently pursue the study of Buddhism along with the right teacher. In addition, we must enhance our perspective in Buddhist lectures, discussions, and health along with the right view and right practice in order to enlighten others.