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What kind of organization is the Buddha's Light International Association? Is it a religious group? Cultural institutions? Education group? Or a charity?

What is its core idea? What is Humanistic Buddhism all about as promoted by Master Hsing Yun?

Today, The five Bhikkhuni will be representing Buddha's Light International Association to answer all the above questions at the Equality forum of the 62nd session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.

They are consist of Buddha's Light International Association's General Secretary, Venerable Jue Pei, Deputy Secretary of Canada, Venerable Yong Gu, Deputy Secretary of Europe, Venerable Man Qian, Deputy Secretary of Asia, Venerable Jue Cheng and Deputy Secrety of South Africa, Venerable Jue Kai. On March 15th, they will be at the the New York City Event Center venue of the United Nations Headquarters to present at the "Empowering Women and Girls: Arts, Culture and Social Change" Seminar. They will talk about how Master Hsing Yun propagates Buddhist teachings, education, culture and charity events through the establishment of Buddha's Light International Association. Also, they will show how the concept of equality, equal rights, harmony, and peace as emphasized by Master Hsing Yun has been brought out through that various activities that have been implemented.

Since 2003, Buddha's Light International Association officially became the member of United Nation's Non-Governmental Organization. This is the very first time that Buddha's Light International Association represented by five Bhikkhuni presenting Buddhism on the international stage at the Annual meeting Equality forum of the Commission on the Status of Women.

More than 200 non-governmental organization representatives from different countries and sectors attended this forum and interacted with the Venerables on site. The reaction is very inspiring.

Venerable Jue Pei was the first to speak with the representatives and said that Buddha's Light International Association is an organization that emphasizes on the equality of all living beings. While everyone are enjoying the benefits of technology and globalization, Buddha's Light International Association has not neglected the social issues such as gender inequality, racial discrimination and poverty.

She also said that Equality is the main core concept of Buddhism. In order to achieve equality, Buddha's Light International Association will put a lot of effort to overcome the serious issues.

She stated the Buddha's Light International Association provides assistance to places in need around the world through humanitarian aid. It emphasizes on long term assistance, ensuring the children in poor areas have access to education and is also committed to solving the problems faced by women and children.

She emphasized the founder of Buddha's Light International Association, Master Hsing Yun, is not only a religious teacher, but also an educator and practitioner. He is devoted to Buddhism. Buddhism that embraces life, solves life and death, and fulfills life. "The equality he advocates not only respects cultural differences and different beliefs but also cultivates self-confidence through encouraging one to develop his own talents with each individual's talents thereby allowing everyone to realize the value of life."

Venerable Jue Pei said, "Every speaker represented today is a woman. We each continue to promote the concept of Humanistic Buddhism in Africa, Asia, the United States, and Europe. In our hearts, the mission of peace should be irrespective of sex. We must implement the idea of equality. Women should bravely realize their dreams, and then undoubtedly tell other female friends: Yes, I can!"

The other speaker, Venerable Yong Gu introduced Buddha's Light International Association to the participants and gave an overview of Buddha's Light International Association's rescue activities that took place in various countries such as Africa, Paraguay, India, Nepal, the Philippines, and Myanmar.

She said, as Master Hsing Yun have said: "Education is the ultimate charity, and education alone can change the fate of humanity. Therefore, the Buddha's Light International Association is actually an "educator."

Venerable Jue Cheng from Asia introduced Master Hsing Yun and his ideas. She said that Master Hsing Yun advocates equality and equal rights, harmony and peace, respect and tolerance. She said that if the world can practice these ideas, the world will become a better world.

The Venerable Man Qian from Europe talked about "Humanistic Buddhism." She said that Humanistic Buddhism values the implementation of Dharma in life and allows others to benefit from it. In addition, she also explained the core values of the Buddha's Light International Association and the importance of education.

Lastly, Venerable Jue Kai from Africa brought four girls from Nan Hua Performing arts academy to do a live performance and explained to the participants the origin of the Tianlong team.

The enthusiastic performances of the four girls won warm applause from the attendees. While enjoying the performances, the attendees also listened to stories about how the encounter with the Buddha's Light International Association have changed their lives which touched everybody who attended.

美國時間十五日,代表國際佛光會世界總會的五名比丘尼在聯合國總部的周邊會場紐約市活動中心,主講「帶動婦女與女孩:藝術、文化和社會改變」研討會。

說明佛光山開山星雲大師如何通過在全世界成立國際佛光會,來推動弘法、教育、文化和慈善的工作,並從已經推行的種種活動項目中,帶出星雲大師所強調的平等、平權、和諧及和平理念。

國際佛光會自2003年正式成為聯合國非政府組織的會員以來,首次在婦女地位委員會年席會議的平行論壇上發言。超過兩百名來自各國和各個領域的非政府組織代表出席了這項論壇,並在現場與主講的法師進行互動,反應令人鼓舞。

國際佛光會世界總會秘書長覺培法師首先發言。她說,國際佛光會是一個強調和貫徹眾生皆平等的組織,在世人享受到科技和全球化帶來的好處的同時,國際佛光會並沒有忽略社會上的種種問題如兩性不平等、種族歧視以及貧窮的問題。

覺培法師強調,平等是佛教的核心思想,為了達到平等的目標,佛光會通過種種努力解決了一些重大的問題。她指出,國際佛光會通過人道援助,為全球所需要的地方提供服務。它強調長期的援助,確保貧窮地區的孩子有機會接受教育,也致力於解決婦女和兒童所面對的問題。

國際佛光會創辦人星雲大師不僅是一名宗教家,更是一名教育家、實踐家。他所致力的佛教,是擁抱生命的佛教,解決生死的佛教,更是落實生活的佛教。覺培法師說,「星雲大師所倡導的平等,不僅尊重文化差異,不同信仰,甚至在每個人的長才上發展自己的天賦,培養自尊自信的人格,讓每個人都能發揮生命的價值。」今天的每一位發言者,都是以女性的身份出席,我們各自在非洲、亞洲、美州和歐洲等地,持續推動著人間佛教的理念,在我們的心中,致力和平的任務是沒有男女之別,落實平等的主張,女性更應該勇敢地實現自己的夢想,然後肯定的告訴其他的女人性朋友:「是的,我可以!」

來自亞洲的國際佛光會世界總會副秘書長覺誠法師介紹星雲大師和其主張。她說,大師主張的是平等與平權、和諧與和平、尊重與包容。她說,如果世人都能實踐上述主張,將能把這個世界改變得更好。來自歐洲的滿謙法師介紹「人間佛教」理念與實踐。她說,星雲大師一生致力推動人間佛教,是重視把佛法落實到生活中,使自己與他人受用,此外,她也講解了佛光會的核心價值以及為什麼重視教育。

最後,來自非洲的覺開法師帶來了南華體能藝術學院天龍隊的四名女生作現場演出,並向出席者講解組織天龍隊的緣起。這四名女生充滿熱情的演出贏得了出席者熱烈的掌聲,在享受表演的同時,也耹聽她們如何因與國際佛光會相遇而翻轉人生的故事,感動了每一位出席的人。

國際佛光會站上國際舞台,讓人間佛教的思想和實踐傳向世界。

聯合國婦女地位委員會,第62屆會議(CSW62),3月12日到23日,在美國紐約聯合國總部召開。來自全球1萬3000名政府官員代表、婦女組織、和非政府組織出席。