Hsi Lai Temple marks 25th anniversary with arts and music

As part of its 25th anniversary, the Hsi Lai Buddhist Temple will celebrate with a free music and art festival this Saturday in Hacienda Heights.

“Buddhism is the way to understand the heart,” explains the Temple’s abbot, Venerable Hui Dong. “Music and art are also means that touch the heart. By putting them together, the festival is in fact a journey to the deepest of one’s heart.”

Organizers have lined up more than a dozen bands and artists for the family event. It will be held from 4 to 8:30 p.m. in the temple courtyard at 3456 Glenmark Drive.

“We’ll have some great local bands perform this weekend,” said Mario Cee, one of the festival organizers. “It’s sort of East meets West, with indie and folk bands performing along with the Chinese drum troupe, as well as the temple’s zither and erhu bands.”

The Walnut photographer says Buddhism has had a dramatic effect on him.

“It’s totally changed my life. The meditation and teachings have taught me to live in the present and be mindful of how I treat others,” Cee said.

The Hsi Lai Temple docent has led tours of the Buddhist Temple for the past six years. He studies meditation in the Hacienda Heights shrine every Sunday.

“Meditation really helps my concentration and focus,” Cee noted. “We’re lucky to have such a beautiful Buddhist temple right here in Southern California.”

The traditional Chinese mountain monastery is built off Hacienda Boulevard in the Puente Hills. It is one of the largest temples in North America, and the American headquarters for one of Taiwan’s biggest Buddhist organizations, Fo Guang Shan.

The temple’s founder, Venerable Master Hsing Yun, built it to serve as a bridge between East and West. It teaches Buddha’s instructions on kindness and compassion, as well as joy.

For more, read Rich Irwin’s story BUDDHIST.

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