Buddha's Light Radiates Notes of Peace to All - World Peace Concert

On January 1st, Fo Guang Shan Hsi Lai Temple held a "Prayer for World Peace Concert," with seven religious leaders from the greater Los Angeles area unified in prayer to extend well wishes and peace worldwide. The annual New Year event was aimed to integrate various faiths and traditions and promote and foster good communication and harmony. The Buddha's Light Youth Symphony Orchestra (BLYSO) filled the hearts and the minds of nearly 400 people—attending this religious and cultural exchange—with an elegant, musical feast exuding peace in all directions.

Entering the Main Shrine from the Way to Buddhahood (Courtyard), the Hsi Lai Scout Troop honorably carried the American and Buddhist flags as they led different religious leaders to their seats amidst the resounding rendition of the “Star-Spangled Banner”—the national anthem of the United States.

Abbot of Hsi Lai Temple, Ven. Hui Dong; The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles, Rev. Alexei Smith; a priest from Arcadia Congregational United Church of Christ, Rev. Dr. Jolene Cadenbach; The Director of Brahma Kumaris in Los Angeles, Sister Gita Patel; The Arcadia Mosque Imam, Islamic Fawaz Elmasri; Abbot of Dharma Vijaya Buddhist Vihara, Bhante Dr. Walpola Piyananda, and President of the Los Angeles Buddhist Union, Ven. Bhante Chao Chu were all present. President of BLIA Los Angeles Chapter, Alex Wu, Vice Presidents Echo Tsai, Steven Chow, and Connie Yip also supported the World Peace New Year’s Day event.

Abbot of Hsi Lai Temple, Ven. Hui Dong delivered a speech combining faith traditions with the concert to spread a message of peace to the world. Amidst worldwide conflicts and turmoil, he emphasized the importance of embracing patience and compassion, letting go of biases, and upholding these virtues within ourselves, which can lead us to world peace. He wished everyone a joyful, healthy, peaceful, and prosperous 2024.

Rev. Alexei Smith recited the "Prayer of St. Francis," praying for today's people and the world to maintain peace, steer clear of wars, and remove human hatred and desires, guiding people to rediscover the power of tolerance and forgiveness. Rev. Dr. Jolene Cadenbach expressed, "When you pray, you pray with your feet," highlighting the need to not only pray in our hearts but also to take necessary actions to achieve peace and to inspire us—no matter what our cultural and faith background differences—to blend in love, peace, and compassion.

"Om Shanti!" explained Sister Gita Patel from Brahma Kumaris Los Angeles, where "Om" signifies "my spirituality," and "Shanti" in Sanskrit means "peace," expressing wishes for inner tranquility, peace, and universal harmony. Through harmonious music in 2024, the aim is to purify humanity with pure, tranquil power, resonating with the universe and bringing about peace and harmony to the world under the shared belief of "Om Shanti!" Venerable Chao Chu, Chairperson of the Los Angeles Buddhist Union, mentioned technological advancements could satisfy more greed but also stressed the need to curb the impacts of societal violence. He urged gratitude, listening to others, and respecting all beings to coexist peacefully.

Abbot of Hsi Lai Temple, Ven. Hui Dong and Ven. Bhante Chao Chu led the Hsi Lai Temple venerables in chanting the Heart Sutra. Ven. Hui Dong reverently read Venerable Master Hsing Yun's "A Prayer for World Peace" aloud in English. Buddha's Light Youth Symphony Orchestra (BLYSO) presented 13 symphonies for the world's prayer, including renowned pieces like Johann Strauss II's "The Blue Danube" and Mozart's "The Marriage of Figaro Overture" and the "Hungarian Dance No. 1," along with three Buddhist symphonies: "The Rhythm of the Buddhist Youth," "The Song of Fo Guang Shan," and "Venerable Master Hsing Yun Lineage: Buddha’s Light Verse." The performance ended on a high note of appreciation—as the audience shared their lengthy, heartfelt applause.