History of BLIA
In response to the needs of local Buddhist practitioners, the Association was initially formed on February 3, 1991 in Taiwan. It was officially inaugurated as “Buddha’s Light International Association” in Los Angeles, California on May 16, 1992 by the founding president, Venerable Master Hsing Yun who noted:
“The Buddha taught us that the entire universe is our heart. Therefore, in BLIA, we will make no distinctions according to race, culture, or country in the world. Thus we will be able to fully express the spirit of the Tathagata and a global perspective in promoting Buddhism. Buddhism is living with compassion, universal benevolence, and the wisdom to distinguish right from wrong.”
BLIA is an organisation consisting of lay Buddhists who observe the practice of Humanistic Buddhism in daily life. Its primary objective is to serve all beings, spread a joyous spirit amongst people and to nurture the virtue of compassion. It places emphasis on education, culture, cultivation and service. The Association engages in activities that are beneficial to society at large. In Australia and New Zealand, the Association participates in activities such as Clean Up Australia Day, Wrap With Love and the Buddha’s Day Multicultural Festival.
Over 200 BLIA chapters have been established around the world to date, 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, Macau, Thailand, India, Brazil, Argentina, Africa and other regions. There are currently more than one million members worldwide.
BLIA and the United Nations
In 2003, two major agencies of the United Nations, the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations (ECOSOC) and UN’s Department of Public Information (UNDPI), granted special consultative status to BLIA.
Establishment of BLIA Victoria
BLIA Victoria was formed in November 1992 by a group of devotees dedicated to the propagation of the Dharma, cultural exchange, education and charity work.
- To incorporate traditional Buddhist teachings into our modern lifestyles, so as to ameliorate the human race and rid society of ill conducts.
- To organise Dharma talks and related events for the cultivation of the mind, so members may attain greater knowledge of Buddhism.
- To provide opportunities for cultural and charitable events to assist those in need.
- To function cooperatively with other Buddhist organisations internationally so that the ideal of the Buddha’s light shines throughout the world and the Dharma water flows endlessly can be realised.
- To promote Humanistic Buddhism
- To establish a purified society
- To cultivate purity in our hearts and minds
- To realise peace on earth
- Propagate Buddhist teachings through various cultural activities
- Nurture talents via education
- Benefit the societies through the charitable programs
- Purify the human hearts and minds through the Buddhist practices
- Give others confidence
- Give others joy
- Give others hope
- Give others convenience
What does the BLIA Victoria do?
The main function of the BLIA Victoria is to provide support for the Venerables of the Fo Guang Shan Melbourne who have a busy and demanding schedule throughout the year. There are many areas in which members can help. These include activities such as preparations for important ceremonies, preparing food, meeting visitors and acting as guides.
During these times volunteers have the opportunity to meet a variety of people, learn about other cultures and experience the workings of the temple.
Do I have to be a Buddhist to be a member?
No, many of our members are not Buddhists but they support our objectives. They enjoy being part of a diverse team, meeting new friends and working at the Temple. People who share the same purpose and goals as those of the association and share the view of Humanistic Buddhism are duly welcome. Membership is open to all who are 18 years of age and above.
How can I join?
Interested people are encouraged to attend activities organised by BLIA Victoria and Fo Guang Shan Melbourne to find out more about BLIA. Please check out events page for more information about the times, dates and venue. If visiting a Fo Guang Shan Melbourne temple, please approach the receptionist who will provide you with an application form. Alternatively, you can download an application form using the link below.