Charity led by Master Jun Hong Lu propagates Buddhism at the 38th Annual Lotus Festival in Los Angeles
Hot summer time in Los Angeles has never been boring with the abundance of festivals and events. One of the special activities is the annual Lotus Festival taking place in July, timed for the blooming of the lotus flowers. On July 14, 2018, the 38th Annual Lotus Festival kicked off with an opening ceremony at Echo Park Lake where is surrounded by local Asian communities and bustling city life. The 2-day festival is organized by the city of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks, aiming to promote awareness of the contributions by Asian Americans to L.A. The theme of this year is “Honoring the Chinese community”. As one of the most influential nonprofit local organizations, Guan Yin Citta Dharma Door Buddhist Association of Los Angeles attended this festival and brought spotlight to Buddhism.
The lotus flower has always been the symbol of divine and the representative of the purity of mind in Buddhism. On the day of opening, the lotus beds in the park were in full bloom, which it is said are the largest lotus beds in the United States and have existed as early as 1891, long before the park was built in 1920s. Like the lotus flowers blooming most beautifully from the deepest and thickest mud, Buddhist practitioners have to go through difficult times and then rise again with compassion and wisdom. In one of Buddhist Master Jun Hong Lu’s books, Words of Wisdom Volume 1, he mentioned, “We need to rid ourselves of the defilement within us to regain our inherent Buddha-nature. We need to let go of everything to transcend this world and to help all sentient beings become enlightened and be free from suffering. Only when we attain a high level of spirituality can we be liberated from the cycle of rebirth.” This is exactly the lotus flower spirit of “Live in the silt but not imbrued”, a noble quality which every Buddhist practitioner should cultivate and possess as a goal. In this sense, starting a Dharma propagation activity in such a place full of blooming lotus flowers really accords with the flower’s symbolic meaning in Buddhism.
In spite of the hot weather, over 20 volunteers from Guan Yin Citta Los Angeles Chapter joined this event and meticulously prepared many kinds of delicious food for the visitors to taste, including salad, fried vegetable, dumplings, sticky rice balls, fruit cakes, red bean porridge, etc. All the volunteers dressed up bright red polo T-shirt and demonstrated their vitality. Some of them walked around to hand out flyers with big smiles on their faces. A simple greeting or by asking “Enjoying the festival?” made many visitors feel warm and walk into the booth with the engagement of learning more details about the Guan Yin Citta and Master Jun Hong Lu. The volunteers offered these visitors an opportunity to rest, reinvigorate themselves with the free vegetarian food and water. Many visitors walked away with the free books and expressed their interests in the coming Dharma Talk by Master Jun Hong Lu in Los Angeles on October 4, 2018. It is like the spring rain moistens everything silently, spreading Buddhism lies in every subtle good attention and ways to put them into actions.