Buddha’s Light International Association (BLIA) is closely associated with Fo Guang Shan in that it takes much of its direction from the order. Initially formed in Taiwan on February 3, 1991 in response to the needs of local lay Buddhist practitioners, the BLIA Taiwan 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, Venerable 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, Venerable 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 sown 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 around 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.
We are indebted to the Buddha’s teachings and sincerely respect the Triple Gem; we propagate to benefit all sentient beings and strive to enlighten the world.
We promote Living Buddhism and create a Buddha’s Light pure land; we are pragmatic in worldly affairs and compassionate in providing relief to the world.
We observe established formalities and harmonize with the Five Dharma Vehicles; we cultivate the Three Studies for a wholesome character.
We work with an international outlook and engage in cultural and educational activities; we are broad-minded and respect the multitude.
From monastic to laity: To extend to lay followers the opportunity to support the Triple Gem, to spread Buddhist culture, and to propagate the Dharma.
From monasteries to society: To penetrate society and the human mind; let compassion, moral discipline, wisdom, and mindfulness be the sources of strength for purification of the human spirit.
From self-cultivation to helping others: To encourage fellow Buddhists to practice the dual cultivation of happiness and wisdom for self-enlightenment, and at the same time, rely on compassion and knowledge to benefit others.
From passiveness to involvement: To emulate the spirit of the Buddha by being active and optimistic in dealing with life, thus giving others confidence, hope, joy, and convenience.
From disciples to teachers: To train lay followers in skill and wisdom through educational programs so that they too can be competent propagators.
From our country to the world: The Mahayana spirit is “to emancipate all beings prior to self-salvation.” We are to follow this glorious tradition with firm conviction and a vision that extends across the world. Let us strive to realize the ideal of “letting the Buddha’s Light shine over the three thousand realms and the Dharma’s current flow throughout the five continents.