Prince Siddhartha the Musical Performance at Stafford Texas
“Prince Siddhartha the Musical” , which will be performed on 11/18/2018 at Stafford Centre, is being co-hosted by Chung Mei Temple and the City of Stafford. More than a dozen of performers from Fo Guang Shan, Guang Ming College Philippines, traveled with the production team to present their 112th musical event that have been toured around the world. Even on a chilly, rainy Sunday night, more than a thousand attendances, from different ethnicities and religions, have packed the Stafford Centre to show their supports of the multicultural musical event.
Prince Siddhartha the Musical is presented through the eyes of a third person, Ananda, who grew up with Siddhartha, as he followed the path of the Buddha throughout his life. His narration brought us to 2500 years ago, into an era where the Buddha was born and living among us. Ananda unfolded how Prince Siddhartha was concerned about life and death, cultivated spiritually, and became the Buddha in our mundane world. The story shed lights upon the fact that the Buddha was actually a human being who possessed a compassionate and kind-loving heart, as he impartially benefited all sentient beings with different social backgrounds.
The talented young college students from Philippines have brought out the lively performance with great singing voices that captured the audiences.
“The actors are truly amazing, and the performance has such a compelling story to it,” said Leonard Scarcella, the mayor of Stafford City. He was pleased that Stafford has been providing the venue to host cultural event, and hope that more activities of such nature will be brought back.
The director of Interfaith Relation at Interfaith Ministry of Greater Houston, Gregory Han, says that the story of Prince Siddhartha is about finding that middle path to liberation, not just for himself, but to serve others through non-violent, compassionate ways, thus will resonate with people from all walks of lives and religions.
The director of Chung Mei Temple, Venerable Chueh An, said that “The rare opportunity of co-hosting such an event with the City of Stafford bears significant meanings, because it promotes cultural exchange between the East and the West by focusing on the artistic and musical part of the performance.”
The founding abbess of Guang Ming College, of Fo Guang Shan Philippines, Venerable Yong Guang expressed her gratitude to the audiences, said that “Venerable Master Hsing Yun was inspired by the singing and dancing talents of the students, thus he founded the Art Institute of Guang Ming College to foster the talents of the younger generations. The musical is based on the book “The Biography of the Shakyamuni Buddha” written by Venerable Master Hsing Yun, introducing Buddhism and harmonious ideas into the society through theatrical and musical performance.
Siddhartha the Musical – The Story of Buddha – 11/18/2018 Sunday 7:00 PM @Stafford Centre The musical is based on the book “The Biography of Sakyamuni Buddha” by Venerable Master Hsing Yun. It is directed by Paul Alexander Morales, and performed by students of Guang Ming College in Philippines. The musical performance has been staged more than 55 times worldwide, and Chung Mei Temple is honored to sponsor the sole event in Texas during their 2018 North America Tour. “Siddhartha: The Musical” tells the story of Siddhartha, the prince who renounced his royal status to seek enlightenment. He would eventually become the Buddha, the awakened one. Visit ‘Prince Siddhartha Musical’ on Facebook
Youth Represent Hope and Respect
The “Youth Represent Hope and Respect” campaign at Stafford Center was co-organized by Chung Mei Buddhist Temple and the City of Stafford. The evening concert has attracted more than 1,300 audiences, mostly young adults from age 15 to 35, from different cultures and ethnicities.
Among the attendances are more than 200 government officials including the mayor of Stafford, city councilmen, representatives of congressmen, policemen, fire department and the school district officials. This concert is based on the “Consensus and Openness” theme, promoted by Venerable Master Hsing Yun, “to cultivate the youth, to promote Humanistic Buddhism through music, and to advocate hope and respect throughout the world”. The concert invites popular icons of YouTube including: Kev Jumba, who has a million subscribers, Clara C., a famous singer, Paul Dateh, a young violinist, all gathered to promote “The 3 Acts of Goodness” and its impact on the world.
Venerables from other Fo Guang Shan temples have traveled to Houston from other states and countries to provide crucial supports, and performed a harmonious choir of Buddhist chanting. The success of the event has proven the powerful concept of “by envisioning the dream, one’s wish can be accomplished”.
Clinton Foundation Partnership Against Substance Abuse
The Clinton Foundation and The Institute of Spirituality And Health (ISH) co-hosted a conference to discuss the opioid epidemic and it’s effect on US society. In addition to psychologists, doctors and spiritual counselors, Chung Mei Buddhist Temple was invited as a representative for various religions. In the meeting, Venerable Chueh An shared the story of initial meeting between former US Presidents
Clinton and Fo Guang Shan’s Senior Venerable Chi Rong, which sparked the beginning of a long lasting relationship between both organizations. Buddhists have been taught to uphold the “Five Precepts”, in which to refrain from abusing drugs, thus protecting their health, safety and honor. Currently there are millions of Buddha’s Light Association members around the world following the precepts of refraining from drug abuse. Fo Guang Shan and BLIA also investing heavily on propaganda against drug abuse in campuses and communities, and provide spiritual counseling for the victims.
Alexander Chan, CEO of Health Matters Initiative from Clinton Foundation, hopes to fully utilize the power of religious beliefs to help the victims of drug abuse. Toral Sindha, Chief Executive in Houston area, is planning for partnership between Clinton Foundation and religions to successfully encounter the spreading of opioid epidemics.
Chung Mei Temple was elected as the representative of Buddhism in Houston area to attend the meeting of Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston, the oldest inter-religious social service in Houston. In wake of the Santa Fe High School and 22 other schools shooting incidents in the United States this year, the Interfaith Ministries is committed to find a solution. Among the attendees are IM Vice President Jodi Bernstein, CEO Rev. Gregory Han and other representatives of major Christianity and Catholic Churches.
Venerable Chueh An and Tiong-Ee Ting, the president of BLIA Houston, shared the teaching of Humanistic Buddhism and “The 3 Acts of Goodness” as the foundation in educating school students on the “Right View” and emotional management. The idea resonates with the organizers’ values and intentions, and further proposals and action plans will be discussed.
Food Delivery for Emergency
To help the elders and people with disabilities better prepared for the upcoming hurricane season, the Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston launched a project called “Operation IMpact” to deliver home-made dry food and bottled water to their homes. BLIA Houston responded to Interfaith Ministries’ call into volunteer delivering meals and clean water door to door. A group of 20 people were led by Venerable Chueh An, Tiong-Ee Ting and Kathy Wang, splitting into 5 cars to complete the mission.
For more than four hours, they drove around unfamiliar neighbourhood, relying on sketchy GPS signal and knocking door to door to deliver food and some encouraging messages. Greeted by the smiling faces of the elders, the volunteers truly feel the happiness within by spreading the joy. The BLIA Houston is deeply honored for the opportunity to work with local non-profit organizations to better serve the community.
Prayers for Children Trapped in Thai Cave
While the whole world is concerning about the safety of the junior soccer team that is trapped in the cave in Thailand for more than 2 weeks, news have came out that their 25 year old coach is keeping the stranded and hungry teenagers alive by teaching them meditation skills. The fact that the coach has been practising as a Buddhist monk has sparked further interest from the public about Buddhism.
Chung Mei Temple is interviewed by KHOU11 (CBS-Affiliated TV station)to share information about the importance of Buddhism beliefs and meditation. Venerable Chueh An said that in times of difficulties, sitting meditation will instill tranquility, and eventually develop into power and hope. Alice Hsiao shared the importance of collective prayers of Buddhas, Bodhisattvas and Buddhist disciples in overcoming various difficulties. Finally, the news anchor hopes that with firm beliefs and meditation skills, the stranded children and their coach will be returning home safely.
UNICEF Partnership Against Human Trafficking
Chung Mei Temple and BLIA members, lead by Venerable Chueh An, were invited to attend UNICEF’s Annual Summit in Washington, DC. Among the attendees are UNICEF Chairman Peter Lamm, CEO of NICEF USA Caryl Stern, representatives of major companies like Johnson & Johnson, CNN TV, American Airline, Houston Mayor’s Education Director Juliet Stipeche and renowned singer Beyonce.
Important topics of discussion are to raise the public awareness of the seriousness of human-trafficking , and how to provide refuges and education for victims of human-trafficking such as women and children.
At the meeting, Secretary of the BLIA Houston , Alice Hsiao, encouraged the abused youth from Africa and Asian, who lost their homes and families, to believe that they can achieve their dreams, as long as they have hope and confidence in themselves. Venerable Master Hsing Yun always advocates universal respect among all people, providing education and caring for the youth to foster growth and talent. Thanks to the United Nation’s establishment of UNICEF, and the supports of the government agencies and local charities, more hungry and abused women and children finally have the opportunity to receive education and improve their lives.
Next day after the conference, BLIA Houston was given a chance to meet with the Representatives of Texas Congressmen to discuss and seek action on global children’s issues. Venerable Chueh An shared the spirit of “four givings”, to provide education and encouragement for the future generations. Houston has became the #1 breeding ground for human trafficking in the States, and the situation strikes home closer than most Houstonians’ thought. Nelson Bowman,Regional Managing Director at Fund for UNICEF, and Juliet Stipeche, Director of Houston Education Initiatives, hope to enlist the help of religious groups, Chung Mei Temple and BLIA to provide spiritual counselling and moral education to the schools and local community.
HURRICANE HARVEY DISASTER RELIEF
Hurricane Harvey has became one of the costliest tropical cyclone on record, inflicting damage primarily from catastrophic rainfall-triggered flooding in the Houston metropolitan area. In a four-day period, many areas received more than 40 inches of rain as the system slowly meandered over Texas causing unprecedented flooding. The resulting floods inundated hundreds of thousands of homes which displaced more than 30,000 people and prompted more than 17,000 rescues.
Chung Mei Buddhist Temple has opened its door to accommodate the general public who were being displaced overnight by the rising water level. While the major airports were closed and supplies were scarce, BLIA Houston Vice-President Arron Wang has opened up his private runway in Woodlands, so that tons food and emergency goods can be flown in from other cities to reach Houstonians in a timely manner.
BLIA Houston communicated closely with the local charity groups in Stafford and Greater Houston area to help supplying emergency goods, such as drinking water, blankets and so on. Many volunteers of Chung Mei Temple have prepared home cooked meals, and delivered them to temporary refugee centers around Houston where hot food is needed.
Venerable Master Hsing Yun reminds us that to transform our world, we must be actively engaged in it. “Community transcends the individual,” he says, “and in doing so, fulfills the individual in the most complete way possible.”
For centuries, Buddhist monks have been serving tea to distinguished guest at the temple. To promote cultural exchange with the residents of Meadows Place, Venerable Miao Ju represented Chung Mei Temple,along with young trainees Helen Long and Eric Helfman, held a Buddhist tea ceremony at the community center of Meadows Place, Texas. By serving Tieguanyin,a famous tea leaves in China, they introduced the tea set, demonstrated the technique of tea brewing and the etiquette of drinking tea.
Through smelling the scents, observing the change of colors and taste of the tea leaves, the participants gained a deeper understanding on the meaning of mindfulness and concentration. By contemplating on the process of tea brewing, participants were able to experience the phenomenon of “impermanence”.
During the Tea Ceremony, most of the participants were delightful in enjoying the rare tranquil moment in life, and they were looking forward for the next event.
Abbot Venerable Long Xiang’s Inauguration Ceremony
Thousands of people have traveled from around the globe to Stafford, Texas to witness the Inauguration Ceremony of Abbot Venerable Long Xiang at Chung Mei Temple. Most prominently, the founder of Fo Guang Shan, Venerable Master Hsing Yun, made a rare appearance from Taiwan to honor the ceremony. Among the honored guests are Mayor of Stafford Leonard Scarcella, the Chinese Consul General Gao Yan-Ping, and senior venerables from temples across the States.
On behalf of the Congress,the assistant of Congressman Al Green presented the certificate of recognition to Venerable Master Hsing Yun and Fo Guang Shan for decades of contribution to the community, and advocacy of peace and mutual respect.
The ceremony officially began with the rolling of the drum. Venerable Master Hsing Yun read the Dharma Scripture, and personally bestowed the sacred robe and auspicious object, a ritual signifying the transferring of the “Dharma Flow” and responsibilities. Then Venerable Long Xiang sworn in, that he will embrace his teacher’s will to promote Buddhism to benefit all sentient beings. Following the Dharma Choir, all witnesses started singing “the Praise of the Sangha” to congratulate Venerable Long Xiang. Venerable Master Hsing Yun said that Chung Mei Temple is strategically placed in the U.S. Central area to become the center of cultural exchanges between Buddhism and Western society, presenting a harmonious blend of people with different languages and social backgrounds.
Call: 281 495 3100
Address: 12550 Jebbia Lane,
Stafford, TX 77477, USA.