FGS 56th Anniversary — All North America Temples Simultaneously Transcribe the Heart Sutra

Ven. Master Hsing Yun founded Fo Guang Shan (FGS) in Dashu Township, Kaohsiung, Taiwan, on May 16, 1967. Twenty years later, he established the first overseas temple in Los Angeles, California, USA—Hsi Lai Temple—which swung the doors wide open to a new era of sharing the Dharma. As a Global 56th Anniversary Celebration, all FGS temples in North America opened their doors—-onsite and online—-for members, friends, and families to simultaneously transcribe the Heart Sutra, on May 15th. Approximately 2000 participants gathered, followed the recorded instructional video, opened their hearts and warmly wished for the Dharma Water to continuously flow without constraint and to have far-reaching, boundaryless blessings for all beings.

Ven. Master Hsing Yun explained, "Reciting sutras and sutra transcription are both practices. When we recite sutras, the sutras will be imprinted in our eighth consciousness. Every time a word is transcribed from the sutras, it is like a seal upon the heart. The truth of the scriptures is deeply rooted in the heart, that is, the Heart is the Buddha!”

Most Venerable Hsin Bau, the Head Abbot of Fo Guang Shan, said, “The global recognition of Ven. Master Hsing Yun’s philosophy by the Fo Guang people has enabled the promotion of Humanistic Buddhism smoothly. On this special day, transcribing the Heart Sutra has its own special significance. The Heart Sutra expounds the prajna wisdom of emptiness. Only the Middle Way, not attached to existence or emptiness, can we live freely. Heart Sutra mentioned, ‘neither arises nor extinguishes, neither defiles nor purifies, neither increases nor decreases.’ This is the essence of prajna wisdom. Only with prajna wisdom can we achieve buddhahood. Thanks to Ven. Master Hsing Yun we can contemplate the meaning of Dharma while transcribing sutras, and gain self-mastery through practicing the Dharma.

Twenty-one BLIA-YAD from Miami transcribed together; Alex Du and Bill Chen even came from out-of-state to join their friends for this extra-special event. Chenyi Zhao expressed, “Calligraphy is an art about expressing current thoughts and emotions through brushstrokes. It's mind training. Buddhism emphasizes cultivating our minds without abiding in any forms or signs. Letting go of all deluded thoughts is cultivating the mind. The combination of the two makes me calm down and contemplate [upon] the prajna wisdom in the Heart Sutra.”

Yingjia Hu, a member of BLIA Orlando Eastern Subchapter, shared, “Because of the online synchronization, I can see all the venerables in FGS Temples transcribing the Heart Sutra with us. With the soothing melodious guqin music, I can concentrate and write slowly, one stroke at a time, to understand the true meaning of the Heart Sutra between the lines.” Yugui Lin of the Western Subchapter said, “I tried to transcribe the Heart Sutra in different fonts—-running script, regular script, and official script. I formatted those fonts on rice paper ahead of time and humbled my mind when writing. I told myself to be completely humble and repent sincerely. I try to connect with the Buddha one brushstroke at a time, so my mind and Buddha become one.”

Andre Springman, son-in-law of Walnut Subchapter President Lijing Fang, grew up in a Catholic family. He shared how much he liked the Heart Sutra scroll hanging in his study, and after completing the sutra transcription said, “I feel so much calmness in my heart and I hope to have more opportunities to learn Buddhism in the future.”