When Buddha Meets the Gods 2024


Text | Jill Nishida

“Since the past, we have not been kind to the gods because we often connect gods to ghosts. The gods and the Buddha should be in the same category. Many gods do not have their festivals. We should celebrate all gods and create a festival for them. Let them communicate (with each other) to create world peace. May Taiwan become a united nation of religions.” Those were Venerable Master Hsing Yun’s words that will continue to live on throughout future generations.

By creating a special event called, When Buddha Meets the Gods, Venerable Master Hsing Yun reminded people that world peace is the common desire of every individual, regardless of his or her background. This desire can be an achievable goal with the encouragement of equality, diversity, compassion, and kindness which were all expressed at this event.

This event was held on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day of this year. Christmas is a universal holiday. The decision to celebrate When Buddha Meets the Gods on a universal holiday created a common ground for people of different backgrounds and beliefs. It also created a bridge of equality for everyone.

Equality was encouraged when every god was welcomed and respected as they were carefully placed in front of the Buddha. The tradition of blessing each god with an auspicious amulet and holding them individually above the incense during the Dedication Ceremony showed that they were all special. Gods that were not commonly introduced in every country, such as the Earth God in Native American culture, also participated in this event. This inclusion helped to create more awareness and diversity.

Diversity was embraced when every group was allowed to represent their gods and proudly showcase their cultures in their traditional clothes while entertaining everyone with unique performances. The positive energy from this event will always be a reminder to learn while embracing differences, instead of criticizing them.

Learning from others and understanding them can open people’s minds to new ideas, knowledge, and opportunities for self-growth. When people understand each other and keep an open mind, they will be understood in return. This positive cycle creates compassion and kindness for everyone. It will also lead to positive solutions that are integrated with various ideas and differences.

Venerable Master Hsing Yun’s creation of this special event, When Buddha Meets the Gods, will always be appreciated and remembered. He did not just create “a big event” for everyone. He created an opportunity for everyone around the world to find common ground, form friendships, teach, and learn while being mindful of the following concepts: equality, diversity, compassion, and kindness. May everyone at Fo Guang Shan be blessed and appreciated for their dedication to making this event successful every year.

When Buddha Meets the Gods will always be a significant event to be celebrated, remembered, and revered throughout future generations around the world. May the positive energy and blessings from this event continue to flourish and inspire future generations to create peace through equality, diversity, compassion, and kindness.