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人,經常運動,能增強體魄;水,經常流動,能長保潔淨。同樣地,一個團體如果能經常舉辦活動,必定能充滿服務的幹勁。

目睹國際佛光會在會員大眾的努力下,各地協分會紛紛成立,我心中的歡喜真非筆墨能夠形容,但不知道大家是否經常舉辦一些有益身心、服務社會的活動?本會的發展固然要靠信仰的凝聚,更需要靠各種活動來充實內涵,因為有活動才有生命,有活動才有力量。

從加拿大多倫多協會舉辦的書法、國畫、插花、素食、烹飪等技藝訓練,可以讓人感受到全會充滿了蓬勃朝氣;巴西協會舉辦的南美洲弘法團不但把佛法弘揚到阿根廷、巴拉圭等地,更在各個大學舉辦佛學講座,甚至與天主教聯合舉辦祈福法會,帶動當地人士對佛教嚮往的熱潮;香港協會舉辦的家庭運動會內容多采多姿,受到廣大F眾的歡迎;中華總會自成立以來,更是舉辦了一系列轟轟烈烈的活動,像淨化人心運動」在全省蔚為風氣,為建設佛光大學所舉辦的各種籌募活動也引起佛教徒對文教事業的重視,其他如︰施診捐血、環保掃街、朝山參學、貧苦慰問等,每一項活動都充滿了愛心、熱心,讓受益者倍覺溫馨、感動。所以,在此我要告訴各位,辦活動具有什麼意義?

(一) 舉辦活動有學習的功能︰隨著科技文明的日新月異及交通工具的日益發達,現在已非過去秀才不出門,能知天下事」的時代,我們必須從F我和諧中,加快學習的腳步。其中舉辦活動可說是最佳的學習方式之一。因為辦活動必須策畫周詳、溝通協商,所以從中可以訓練我們的思考組織能力,培養我們尊重包容的美德,提高我們對周遭事物的敏銳度,促使我們廣泛地接受新的資訊。以獅子會、青商會、扶輪社而言,會員們不惜繳納高達數萬元的年費,為的就是能夠彼此觀摩學習,增加辦事能力。佛光會不但涵蓋一般社會團體的優點,更超乎其上的是,能讓我們從各種活動中實踐佛法,領略真理。所以,身為佛光會的會員們更應該積極參與各種活動,藉以充實自我,奉獻社會。

(二) 舉辦活動有擴大的功能︰當我們辦一項活動時,要有行政策畫籌備,要有財務評估預算,要有總務負責採購,要有公關對外聯絡;當人力和經費短絀時,要拜託大家支援贊助;當場所和物品不全時,要請求他人協助幫忙;當彼此意見不一時,要互相溝通包容;當遇到困難阻礙時,要同心協力尋求解決辦法。從辦活動中,我們能結交許多新的朋友,認識許多新的事物,為自己增加很多新的助緣,為佛教添進很多新的力量。總之,藉著活動,我們從個人立足的點,擴大到工作範圍的面,如此一來,不但擴大了新人新事,也擴大了社會關係。

(三) 舉辦活動有聯誼的功能︰佛教裡,有一句大家耳熟能詳的話︰「未成佛道,先結人緣。」在世間上要成就任何事業,「結緣」當列為首要條件。辦活動就是結緣的最好方法,因為任何一種活動,都不是只靠主辦者一個人的力量就能成功,必須要參與者互相幫助,互相成就,有時還得和其他的機關團體聯繫交流,溝通協調,有時在辦事的過程當中,又難免有錯誤、失敗的時候,只要我們肯併肩努力,一心一德,這所有的一切都能在共同參與之後,發展為共同的認知,進而完成共同的目標。所以舉辦活動不但給大家一個參與合作的機會,更能增進彼此的情誼,讓大家的心凝聚在一起。

(四) 舉辦活動有成就的功能︰辦活動能成就友誼,成就智慧,成就擔當,成就能力,最重要的是,成就佛光淨土的大目標、大願心。

辦一場活動,從起意策畫到聯絡交流,從開會協調到籌措經費,從場地布置到發動參加,從周知大眾到圓滿結束,每一個參與者都必須全心投入,互相支持,其中不知淌下多少血汗,如果活動辦得成功,得到眾人的讚美、社會的認同,就算歷經再多的辛苦,再多的委屈,都能成為甜美的回憶,因為自己已經得到成長的快樂,擁有成就的喜悅。

辦活動有學習、擴大、聯誼、成就等四種功能,希望只要有佛光人的地方,都能舉辦有意義的活動,讓大家一起在活動中成長,在活動中進步。

 


 

The Purpose of BLIA Activities

When a person gets regular exercise, he increases the strength of his body and mind. When water flows, it maintains its purity and clarity. In the same way, when an organization often sponsors activities for its members, it refreshes itself over and again, and thereby makes itself even more fit to fulfill its responsibilities.

My own observations of the BLIA and the activities held by BLIA chapters around the world have given me a great sense of satisfaction. If the aims of our activities are always to benefit the members of the BLIA and society at large, we cannot possibly fail to achieve our goal of spreading Buddhism. In this respect, it is important to remember that the foundation of the BLIA is one of belief in Buddhism. In a sense, we have no other foundation than our belief in the teachings  of Sakyamuni Buddha. Everyone who participates in BLIA activities should always bear this fact in mind. If we do, our programs will succeed in refreshing our organization, while at the same time recon- firming our faith in the Dharma.

The Toronto chapter of the BLIA sponsors many art classes. It provides classes in calligraphy, flower arranging, painting and cooking. These classes revitalize the Toronto chapter, as they provide excellent opportunities for everyone to participate in something that is held in an environment of deep belief. The BLIA chapter in Brazil has been instrumental in spreading the Dharma to Argentina and Bolivia. In addition to that, the Brazilian chapter sponsors classes on Buddhism in Brazilian colleges, and it has held meetings with Catholic organi- zations. These kinds of activities challenge and rejuvenate Buddhism, as they bring the BLIA into contact with all levels of society. The San Diego chapter has classes and services for English speakers, and it has been very active in translating Buddhist literature into English.  In Hong Kong, activities involving families have brought many new members into the BLIA, while the continuing efforts of the Taiwan chapter have brought about a revitalization of Buddhism that has affected the entire society of Taiwan. In the following sections, I will discuss the value of chapter activities in more detail.

Study

In this modern age, communication devices have developed to such  a point that one hardly needs to leave home to keep informed about what is happening in the world. There are many advantages to having so much information so easily available, but it is important that none of us forget that there can be no substitute for people actually coming together in groups to communicate with one another. Groups help us learn faster, and that is why they are one of the most important tools for teaching and spreading the Dharma.

Groups force us to plan, to work with others and to cooperate. They teach us tolerance, kindness and respect. They heighten our sensitivities to the needs of others, as they provide us with excellent opportunities to learn from many different kinds of people. The Lions Club, the Jaycees and the Rotary Club all are founded on these ideas. Members of these clubs willingly pay high annual dues because the benefits of membership are very great. The BLIA is capable of confer- ring the same benefits as these clubs on its members, but in addition to that, the BLIA also teaches the Dharma, providing all of its members with the opportunity to hear and learn the truth.

I hope all members of the BLIA will view their local chapters as a means to learn and study with others in an environment of active cooperation and tolerance.

Expansion

When we actively participate in BLIA activities, we expand our small selves until they are able to include many others. We open our hearts through the very process of planning and working together. When our chapters are short of money or supplies, we learn the valuable lesson of asking others to contribute. When we are short of helping hands, we learn the lesson of asking others to contribute time and energy. When we are divided in our opinions, we learn the lesson of communicating and cooperating with each other respectfully. If all of us have the same basic goals, there always will be a way to work through individual interpretations of how to achieve them.

In doing all of this, we also make new friends and learn more about ourselves. We learn new ways of approaching the practical matters of life. At the same time, we gain humility by understanding that our habitual way of doing things may not necessarily be the most effective way.

Friendship

In Buddhism there is a saying, “Before you become a Buddha, make good friends.” If you want to accomplish anything in this world, you must recognize the importance of friendship. If we do not expand  our relations with others, we cannot succeed in expanding our accomplishments in this world, and we certainly cannot succeed in realizing the fullness of our Buddha nature.

Planning activities with others and  participating  in  activities are two of the finest ways available to make good friends with other people. When we plan an activity with others, it is impossible not    to realize that the labors of many people are required to make our activity successful. We learn cooperation, communication and respect by working together.

Large-scale planning invariably creates mistakes, both our own and those of others. Mistakes require that we take stock of ourselves and go forward, despite what may or may not have happened. If we can succeed in moving beyond mistakes, we will learn how to face even more of life’s problems with a confident and mature attitude that does not expect everything to be perfect all the time. These experi- ences, when they form part of the consciousness of a group of people, produce an indomitable awareness of our true abilities, our strengths and our resolve.

Establishment

Activities help us establish in ourselves the higher virtues of the Dharma. Through active participation we learn the virtues of friend- ship, wisdom, responsibility and compassion. These are traits that only can be established through experience. You cannot make yourself wise and responsible through reading alone. Compassion and friendship cannot be generated solely in meditation. You must interact with other people. When we deal with others on this level, we force ourselves to grow in reality, and we come very close to establishing the Pure Land in ourselves.