Celebration of Dharma Day – Thousand-Attendee Virtual Buddhist Examination

In celebration of Dharma Day on December 6, 2020, the 27 North American BLIA chapters held a virtual Buddhist examination and forum event for the first time. Fo Guang Shan members demonstrated their strong urge to learn the Dharma in a way which was not impacted by the pandemic. A total of 1,400 participants took the exam, ranging from 5 years to 88 years in age.


The examination was given on an open book basis, following a model question bank which had been provided to all attendees two months ago. There were three examination categories: a Mandarin Group, an English Group and a Children Group. The Mandarin Group exam was based on three texts: “Wisdom for Daily Living: "A Commentary on the Heart Sutra”, “Core Ideas of Humanistic Buddhism”, and “Fo Guang Shan Essential Guide to Buddhism”. The exam included objective, subjective, and short answer questions. The main topic for the English Group was the “True Meaning of the Dharma” and was held in a forum format. The Children’s Group exam (for children aged between 5 to 10) used comics to ask questions. Parents assisted in answering the questions, helping them to become closer to their children.


There were 207 participants from BLIA-Toronto, including 5-year-old Kingsley Shiu (the youngest), and 88-year-old Madam Huang (the eldest). Members enjoyed the experience, and 40 participants wrote thank-you notes to show their appreciation for this opportunity.