1. When was BLIA established?
The BLIA ROC Chapter was initially established on February 3, 1991. Subsequently, several Subchapters were also formed in different parts of the world. The BLIA World Headquarters was officially inaugurated on May 16, 1992 in Los Angeles, USA.
2. What is BLIA?
BLIA is an organization of monastic and lay Buddhists in which Humanistic Buddhism is practiced in our everyday life. It is essentially an embodiment of cultivation that entails the participation in Dharma services and activities that are beneficial to society at large. In addition, BLIA maintains friendly ties with devotees of other sects and religions. With its religious characteristics and the essence of education and cultural activities, BLIA’s motivation toward strengthening the faith of people can be greatly enhanced.
3. What are the goals of BLIA?
- To strengthen the faith of members;
- To provide a righteous path for members;
- To provide opportunities for participation in Buddhist activities;
- To create positive conditions for members to gain merits;
- To widen the spectrum of living for members;
- To broaden life perspective of members;
- To create friendly affinities;
- To foster a caring attitude toward others;
- To give members more support;
- To guide members in their cultivation.
4. What are the benefits for BLIA members?
- Right to vote, veto, and be elected;
- Participation in BLIA activities and seminars;
- Assistance in weddings, funerals, and celebrations;
- Assistance in spiritual guidance;
- Opportunity as Lay Dharma Lecturers through qualifications.
5. What are the responsibilities of BLIA members?
- Be affirmed and united in BLIA guiding principles and goals;
- Be supportive of BLIA and its activities;
- Be active in meetings and current in membership dues.
6. What is a transcendental life of BLIA members?
- Be responsible;
- Be accepting and broad-minded;
- Understand yourself;
- Treasure the value of living.
7. What are the prospects of BLIA?
- Globalization: Let the Buddha’s Light shine over three thousand realms and the Dharma Water flow throughout the five continents;
- Humanism: Adopt the Dharma from our temple to our home and society in order to make it a part of humanity;
- Compassion: Encourage devotees to participate in Buddhist lectures, discussions, philanthropic endeavors, education, and cultural activities. From the initiation of monastics to the spiritedness of members, more opportunities and involvement may be afforded to many devotees;
- Wisdom: Increase practitioners’ profundity in Buddhist studies. From self-gaining to the motivation of others in benefiting society at large, thus actualizing the bodhisattva path.
8. How to start a BLIA chapter or subchapter?
The following eight steps may be observed as follows:
- Befriend locally and better understand each other;
- Initiate Home Dharma gatherings;
- Schedule Buddhist seminars;
- Organize Home Dharma services;
- Affirm executive staff and commence staff meetings;
- Establish an Organizing Committee;
- Hold discussions on concepts, goals, ideas, etc.;
- Hold a general meeting on establishment.
9. What are the prerequisites of becoming a BLIA member?
All Buddhists who have taken refuge and share the ideals of “Humanistic Buddhism” and “Living Buddhism” may become members of BLIA.
10. Do I have to be a vegetarian after joining BLIA?
11. What are the basic criteria in BLIA affairs?
- Education to foster talent;
- Culture to propagate the Dharma;
- Charity to benefit society;
- Dharma Services to purify human minds.
12. May non-Buddhists be members of BLIA?
BLIA is an entity of monastic and devotees of Buddhist faith. As Buddhist devotees transcending national boundaries and religious sects are eligible, however, people of other religions are welcome to join as fellowships of BLIA.
13. What are the practice guidelines of BLIA for members?
- Contemplate the four-line verse before meals: “May kindness, compassion, joy, and equanimity pervade all Dharma realms; may all beings benefit from our blessings and friendship; may our ethical practice of Ch’an and Pure Land help realize equality and patience among all; may we undertake the great vows of humility and gratitude.”
- Practice the Buddha’s Light Samadhi daily: (1) Prostration: pay obeisance to the Buddha twelve (12) times daily, each by a vow and a root verse. (2) Chanting: contemplate the Buddha’s name with utmost sincerity, truthfulness, and emptiness. (3) Mindful Meditation: make vows before the Buddha, then proceed with sitting meditation. (4) Cultivation: practice fully the four methods, i.e. vow, pure deeds, repentance, and transfer of merits.
14. Can BLIA members participate in Dharma services of other Buddhist organizations?
Individual participation is all right, but nonetheless, the BLIA vest is required when three or more members are attending.
15. How to encourage people to join BLIA?
- Get new friends to participate in BLIA organized activities;
- Organize home fellowships, discussions, and BLIA introductory workshops;
- Show personal traits of being positive, diligent, and compassionate at all times – this is the best way of getting friends to join BLIA.
16. What is “Humanistic Buddhism”?
Humanistic Buddhism of BLIA is based on the Buddha’s life in the Agama Sutra in which it exemplifies the historic Buddha who was born in this world, attained enlightenment, and then propagated the Dharma to humankind. BLIA adopts this ideal as a goal to serve society with a transcendental mindset in which “Living in Dharma, and Dharma in Living” is actualized through Buddhist culture, education, charity, and propagation. It is, in essence, a transformation of the mundane world to a pure land on earth.
17. How can an entity join as a Corporate member of BLIA?
A Buddhist temple, college, cultural association, school, or group is eligible to become a BLIA Corporate Member if the entity adheres to the following:
- Complete a membership application: (1) Name and Address of Group; (2) One principal with at least 4 members; (3) Obtain two BLIA members as referrals.
- Pay membership fee;
- Support Buddha’s Light philanthropic endeavors in order to establish a pure land on earth and to inspire others in their cultivation efforts.
18. How do BLIA members interact with one another?
In this day and age, when people hardly find time to meet with one another, how can members get acquainted and know each other better?
- Through participation in activities;
- Any event that is educational, recreational, or Buddhist in nature during which members are given the conditions to socialize and interact;
- Through mutual caring of Dharma friends: (1) Schedule regular home gatherings, especially for new members to introduce themselves and to show the loving care that members can offer; (2) Form support groups to assist members in weddings, funerals, and other celebrations.
19. How do members go about organizing events such as weddings, funerals, or any ceremony?
- Whenever an occasion of this nature arises, the President of the Chapter or Subchapter shall take the initiative to contact the local temple to request monastic assistance;
- President shall contact other members to support such event without obligations or offering of gratuities;
- Members may join any chanting group or attend services of another group. However, a privately held Dharma service is not allowed;
- Flower bouquets shall be delivered on behalf of the Chapter or Subchapter in the spirit of joy or condolence to the people concerned.
20. What is expected of me after joining BLIA as a member?
As a BLIA member, not only should one welcome new members, we should also possess a strong faith in Buddhism, support the Buddha’s core teaching of compassion and equality, diligently cultivate merits and wisdom, help others in a righteous way and actively participate in all BLIA activities.
21. What kind of activities can BLIA hold?
- Promote research in Buddhism and disseminate the Dharma to benefit and awaken oneself and others;
- Support the Buddhist cultural work via arts and literature, translation of sutras, and the dissemination of Buddhist information;
- Conduct social work, charity, and services to meet current trends and broaden education goals;
- Assist in Buddhist education, raise the system standards, and improve the availability of resources in order to foster skills and talents of people;
- Form international organizations and hold activities to include other countries in order to actualize the ideal that “Let Buddha’s Light shine over three thousand realms and the Dharma Water flow throughout the five continents.”
22. What is the true wealth of a Buddha’s Light person?
- To have knowledge and skills;
- To give and take;
- To own and share;
- To focus on knowledge and faith.
23. What are the eight important deeds that BLIA members are required to do?
- Pay respect to and seek refuge in the Triple Gem;
- Have right knowledge and right view of life;
- Work on daily liturgy without fail;
- Understand the regulations of BLIA;
- Carry out Buddhist root verses;
- Participate in gatherings;
- Participate with enthusiasm;
- Harmonize with others.
24. How does a member seek a fulfilling life in BLIA?
- A responsible mutual relationship;
- A law-abiding social life;
- A right livelihood;
- A virtuous religious life.
25. What is a BLIA member’s life of equanimity?
- Never attach emotionally and be willing to let go;
- Be indifferent toward the five desires;
- Never drudge nor beg for worldly things;
- Never be fearful or confused when facing life and death.
26. What are the ways of cultivation for BLIA members?
- Learn to accept – a path of self-strengthening;
- Think of life as such – a path of being at ease with oneself;
- Tolerate all situations – a path of self-happiness;
- Praise the beauty of others – a path of friendly affinity.
27. How do BLIA members increase life happiness?
- Never haggle or compare with others (a sense of equality).
- Never feel unfair or place blame on others (a sense of cause and effect).
- Never make excuses or violate the rights of others (a sense of morality).
- Never covet or harbor hatred (a sense of virtue).
- Never self-sympathize or depress yourself (a sense of struggle).
- Never adopt heretic views or act recklessly (a sense of mindfulness).