Fo Guang Shan France promotes Buddhism and Chinese
【人間社記者 Translated by: Roxanna Pang Bussy-Saint-Georges報導】 2017-09-25
  • 圖說:Everyone is impressed by their own hand-made paper lanterns. 圖/法華禪寺提供

  • 圖說:A steady stream of visitors stops off at the information desk to find out more. 圖/法華禪寺提供

  • 圖說:Experiencing Chinese calligraphy - learning to write Master Hsing Yun’s Chinese New Year Greeting. 人間社記者歐定強攝

  • 圖說:Origami is a favourite for every member of the family. 人間社記者歐定強攝

  • 圖說:BLIA YAD members introducing the Ksitigarbaha Bodhisattva to visitors. 人間社記者歐定強攝

  • 圖說:Local visitors enjoy learning about the culture of Tea & Chan. 圖/法華禪寺提供

  • 圖說:Many local French parents bring their children to visit and participate in activities. 人間社記者歐定強攝

  • 圖說:Visitors learn about the Thousand Arms and Thousand Eyes Guan Yin Bodhisattva in the Great Compassion Shrine. 圖/法華禪寺提供

  • 圖說:Watching a short video on the Life of the Buddha in the auditorium. 圖/法華禪寺提供

  • 圖說:BLIA YAD members answer queries and provide further information for guests. 人間社記者邱小海攝

Fo Guang Shan France joined the 34th European Heritage Open Day on 16th-17th September. Over the two days, nearly 800 people visited the temple to learn more about Buddhism and the Chinese culture. Under the leadership of the White Elephant Executive Members, BLIA YAD Paris guided the visitors to participate in a variety of activities. Many of the guests were surprised and commented on the number of talented youths in the Buddhist community.

The European Heritage Days are the most widely celebrated participatory cultural event shared by the citizens of Europe. During this time, numerous monuments and sites that are normally closed or heavily guarded, open their doors to the public. Such places included: TV stations, old prisons, factories, and even the Presidential Palace, Luxembourg Palace and Hôtel Matignon. Many people queue up outside these sites since the early morning in order to visit. Fo Guang Shan France is also one of the many sites open to visitors. Over 90% of the 800 visitors were local French citizens, with many parents bringing their children to learn about the Chinese culture.
Volunteer guides welcomed all the guests into the main shrine to watch a short video to introduce Fo Guang Shan and its four objectives of “propagating Buddhist teachings through cultural activities, fostering talent through education, benefitting society through charitable programs and purifying human hearts and minds through Buddhist practice. After also watching a video of the various activities organised by Fo Guang Shan France, YAD members gave guided tours around the shrine, introducing the jade Buddha in the front and also the Master Hsing Yun’s Dharma words on either side.
Apart from learning about basic Buddhist concepts, the guests were also given a tour around the Fo Guang Art Gallery showcasing many pieces of art. Artist Wu Xuansan’s work is usually people-orientated, so it was very relevant with the theme of this year’s European Heritage Day which is “Youth and Heritage.” Artist Wu Xuansan was also personally onsite to explain his artwork and answer any questions from visitors.

Basic guided meditation sessions were held in the meditation hall, which led to many people expressing interest in joining meditation classes. In the library there were Tea and Chan workshops, with YAD members demonstrating the process of the tea ceremony from appreciation of the tea leaves, brewing the tea to offering tea to guests. Souvenir booklets on Tea and Buddhism were also available for guests to take away, in order for them to gain a better understanding of the tea culture.

The youths also set up stalls to teach the guests traditional Chinese arts such as paper-cutting, origami, Chinese knotting and arts & crafts. Guests were happy to be able to learn something new and take home to share with their friends and family. At the calligraphy stall, Buddha’s Light members explained the meaning and significance of this year’s calligraphy by Ven. Master Hsing Yun, and in the Guan Yin shrine, guests were given the opportunity to challenge themselves and try to write the Master’s Dharma Words with a calligraphy brush. Newsletters on past and upcoming activities were displayed in the corridors, and books such as Master Hsing Yun’s 365 Days for Travellers were available for free distribution. Many guests visited each part of the temple and participated in various workshops, and expressed that Fo Guang Shan France is a very interesting place and they were glad to be able to visit.

On 16th September, Mr. Yann Dubosc, Mayor of Bussy St. Georges also visited the temple to show his support for the event. After seeing the vast amount of visitors, he also arranged for two members of the police to help ensure order and security at Fo Guang Shan France.