[2017.08.19] SFYAD volunteers at Food Bank

On the 19th August, Saturday, over 40 Buddha’s Light International Association (BLIA) and Young Adult Division (YAD) members from San Francisco Chapter came to assist at the SF Marin Food Bank. The SF Marin Food Bank aims for a community where everyone can obtain enough nutritious food to support the health and wellbeing of themselves and their families. The food bank takes part in tackling the hunger issue in San Francisco.

While the SF Marin Food Bank aims to solve the hunger issue in San Francisco, programs such as volunteering helps to raise awareness of this issue in the community. Therefore, the BLIA and YAD members who came to assist at the Food Bank come from different age ranges. The youngest member who came was a girl who was just 7 years of age! The members are not strangers to this event, as they have been volunteering regularly since some years ago. The task for the day was to sort edible fruits from those that were not. At the end of the event, the team managed to sort out 37,000 pounds of edible fruits.

Kenny, a member of the San Francisco YAD said,“While sorting out fruits the entire afternoon is very tiring, I am satisfied because I was able to help the community who needs food. I’m also happy that there are many people who also share the same aspirations and values”. Another member, Prateek, a PhD. Candidate, also took time out of his busy schedule for this event. After seeing many fruits that can still be eaten, he could not help but wonder why customers at supermarkets discarded these fruits based on small flaws. He felt that this event is significant in raising awareness of food wastage and recycling. San Francisco YAD member Winson saw a lesson in life from this event. “We cannot just take one look at the outer appearance of the plum and decide whether it is good or bad. Even though it may have one or two black spots, does the fruit taste any different from the rest? If you peel of the skin, the fruit underneath is still the same fruit. It is the same for us. Don’t judge people by their appearance. We all have the same Buddha nature inside”.

Overall this event was very fulfilling for many of the members. They learned more about food recycling, awareness of hunger in San Francisco, and lessons towards life as well. Many are also enthusiastic to help at  similar events in future.

Text: Winson Yang

Edited: Venerable Miao Zhong


Young Adult Executive Conference 2017 (IBLYAEC 2017)

There’s an International Young Adult Division (YAD) conference coming up this July at Hsi Lai Temple (in LA), youths from YADs around the world will have representatives attending.

This conference adopted the theme of “Consensus and Openness” as it aims to come to terms on an idea of Humanistic Buddhism throughout YAD members worldwide.

Come join us at this conference. Register here.

Conference Details

Conference Dates: 7/11 – 7/15/2017

Location: Hsi Lai Temple @ Los Angelas

Fees: $50 for attending (Waived for paid SFYAD Members)

Registration Deadline: May 5, 2017. Starting from May 6, 2017, the registration fee will be increased to USD$100.

If you are leaving from San Francisco, we are planning to carpool from the temple. Please indicate your interest for carpooling on the registration form.

Optional After Conference Tour

For those interested in touring Disney Land, Hiking, Shopping, Santa Barbara Coast, SF tourist spots, Yosemite after the conference:

Tour Date: July 7/16-7/20/2017

Package $ per person: One Day $160, Three Days $350, Five Days $550

If you are planning to attend this, you may need to plan your own transportation back to San Francisco. If there are enough people joining the after tour, we can arrange for carpool back.

Detailed Tour Packages Info


Register for conference here

San Francisco YAD Enrich Themselves Through Experiencing Temple Life

San Francisco Young Adult Division (SF YAD) hosted their first Temple Life Experience camp for two consecutive weekends in June. Attendees were exposed to a wide range of activities including sitting meditation, seminars, Buddhism classes, tea meditation, sutra transcribing, Buddhist etiquette, and morning and evening prayers. The 20 attendees across both weekends even took turns handling kitchen affairs themselves; the experiences gained from the camp will hopefully serve the attendees well in their daily lives.

The first week of the camp was themed “Science and Buddhism”. The famed scientist Albert Einstein once said, “If there is any religion that would cope with modern scientific needs, it would be Buddhism”. Recent scientific breakthroughs have constantly resonated with the Buddha’s teachings from 2,500 years ago, and attendees learned about many unexpected connection between the seemingly distinct fields of science and religion. In the Buddhist etiquette and tea meditation classes hosted by Venerable Miaozhong, attendees were taught to use their five senses to drive away unnecessary thoughts and focus on the changes in causes and conditions.

Going into the second week, the theme was changed to “How to Live a Balanced Life”. The camp began with a special lecture, “Turning Point”, held by Venerable Dr. Juewei, Director of Nan Tien Institute’s Humanistic Buddhist Centre. Venerable Dr. Juewei used neuroscience to explain the reasons behind many psychological conditions, and shared stories of the practical application from Venerable Master Hsing Yun’s book “Humanistic Buddhism: Holding True to the Original Intents of Buddha”. The lecture brought a smooth transition between the science-oriented first week and the life-oriented second week.

The day’s activities included sutra transcribing, dharma instrument and Chinese knots classes, as well as a short film discussion. While participating in the activities, attendees learned how to focus on the present moment. Venerable Miaozhong led a discussion on the short film “The Last Knit”; attendees shared their many thoughts and reflections on the film, and learned from each other how to look at an event from different perspectives. Through Venerable Miaozhong’s guidance, students became more mindful of engaging in self-reflection, maintaining the right view, staying true to their goals, and practicing the Middle Way.

Cellphones and electronic devices were prohibited over the course of the camp; attendees were initially worried about being away from their phones, but later found that they became more focused and immersed in the camp. At the end of the Temple Life Experience camp, many attendees expressed their anticipation for the upcoming “International Buddha’s Light Young Adult Executive Conference” in July; they hope to bring back valuable knowledge and experience and host more spiritually cultivating events for Bay Area youths.

Text: Yen Ting Liew, Edited: Venerable Miao Zhong; Photos: Qiulin Peng, Selene Chew, Benson Kwek


Find yourself in nature: SFYAD returns to nature at Point Reyes National Park!

The long weekend on Memorial Day was slightly different for the Buddha’s Light International Association (BLIA) San Francisco Young Adult Division (SFYAD).  SFYAD organized a 3-day meditation retreat at Point Reyes National Park.

Since Point Reyes has limited communication signals, the group was very focussed during the retreat.

Under the leadership and guidance of Venerable Miao Zhong and the event committees, the group successfully completed a 3-day retreat.On the first day, Selene Chew, President of SFYAD, led the group with a prayer before setting off to Point Reyes. Qiulin Peng, the organizer of the retreat, planned many activities for the group. Among these were several hiking trips, picnic, making meals together, cooking competition, bonfire, and most importantly, meditation sessions and discussion. During these activities, we made new friends, memories, and understood each other better.The group bonded very naturally, and everyone helped each other out with responsibilities such as cooking, washing, and packing.

During the meditation sessions, Venerable Miao Zhong led us to understand the benefits of meditation for both our physical and mental health.We experienced both indoor and outdoor meditation. We learnt several breathing techniques to aid us in rejuvenating ourselves, releasing stress from our bodies and minds.We learnt to anchor our focus point on a single object, be it the sound of the birds, water, or our breath. The venerable also gave us several questions to investigate throughout the day. They were “What does it mean to have the whole world within you?” and “What is the difference between water and wave?”  At the end of the day during the bonfire, the Venerable led a discussion about these two questions, and encouraged us to practice our realization after the retreat.

Many of the participants gave very positive remarks about the retreat. Many enjoyed the Tomales Point Trail hike on the last day, cooking competition, the mediation, and bonfire. Everyone enjoyed the cooperative nature of the group, especially during the cooking competition. One of the participants said “Everyone is helpful and cooperated. It is simple yet fun and happy when everyone is trying to help. When everyone is involved, those chores become fun.”.

To sum up the experience of the whole trip, participants learned more about themselves during the retreat. New friendships and great memories were formed. Through being in nature for the 3 days, we learnt more about the nature of our minds.

Text: Winson Yang, Edited: Venerable Miao Zhong; Photos: KeeHeng Tiow, Katrina Chak, Selene Chew


Experience Life in San Bao Temple

Sign Up Here

Have you ever wondered what life in the temple is like? Do you want to learn more about yourself?

We invite you for a weekend stay at our San Bao Temple! Experience life in a temple, from morning chanting, meditation, vegetarian meals and Buddhism classes. We will also explore topics (see below) that applies to our everyday life in this modern age, and hope these will provide you with new perspectives after you leave.

  • Weekend 1: Science vs Buddhism
  • Weekend 2: How to Live a Balanced Life

You can join us on any of our weekend on 6/3-4 & 6/10-11! Please be sure to sign up early here!

Registration deadline: 5/20

Details below


  • Weekend 1 – 6/3 to 6/4
  • Weekend 2 – 6/10 to 6/11

Location: San Bao Temple, 1750 Van Ness Ave, San Francisco

Cost: Open Donation


Weekend 1: Science vs Buddhism

3rd Jun 10am – 4th Jun 10am

Day 1

  • Morning: 10am – 11:30am
    • Briefing of Temple Life Event + Temple Tour + SFYAD Introduction
    • Ice Breaker – Self Introduction
  • Afternoon: 11:30am – 5pm
    • Lunch
    • Buddhism Class I – Science and Buddhism
    • Learning Chinese Knots
    • Buddhist Etiquette Class – Half Bow, Prostration, Holding Incense,  BLIA Four Line Verse
  • Evening: 5pm – 10pm
    • Dinner Preparations
    • Dinner
    • Evening Prayer
    • Buddhism Class II – Science and Buddhism
    • Reflection

Day 2

  • Morning: 6am – 10am
    • Morning Prayer/Sitting Meditation
    • Breakfast Preparations
    • Breakfast and wash dishes
    • Wrapping Up
  • Optional: 10am-12:30pm
    • Dharma Service

Weekend 2: How to Live a Balanced Life

Jun 10th 10am – Jun 11th 10am

Day 1

  • Morning: 10am – 12noon
    • Buddhism Seminar (Special Lecture from Ven. Jue Wei): Turning Point – How to Live a Balanced Life
  • Afternoon: 1200 – 5pm
    • Lunch
    • Sutra Transcribing
    • Meditative Exercise
    • Sitting Meditation
    • Buddhist Etiquette Class – Buddhist Instrument
  • Evening: 5pm – 10pm
    • Dinner Preparations
    • Dinner
    • Evening Prayer
    • Buddhism Class II – How to Live a Balanced Life
    • Reflection

Day 2

  • Morning: 6am – 10am
    • Morning Prayer/Sitting Meditation
    • Breakfast Preparations
    • Breakfast and wash dishes
    • Wrapping Up
  • Optional: 10am-12:30pm
    • Dharma Service


Sign Up Here

Finding Yourself in Nature: Meditation & Nature Hike Retreat

Point Reyes

Sign Up Here

Get yourself immerse in the middle of nature over the Memorial Weekend!

Join us at Point Reyes for a Meditation and Nature retreat during Memorial Weekend (5/27 – 5/29), where we will be in the middle of nature and many more miles from the WI-FI signals. But you won’t need it since we will spend the days kayaking with a tour guide (optional), hiking along scenic trails, meditating in the sunlight, enjoying self-cook meals, laughing while playing games, and most importantly, finding yourself!

Limited spots only. Sign Up now to have more fun this holiday!

Who: Students, working adults, everyone is invited

When: 5/27/2017 9am to 5/29/2017 5pm

Accommodation: Point Reyes Hostel

Food: Vegetarian

Cost: $110, including logistics, accommodations and meals

Sign Up here


BLIA SFYAD (Buddha’s Light International Association – San Francisco Young Adult Division) is a young adult Buddhist group affiliated with Fo Guang Shan, San Bao Temple. We focus on providing a fun atmosphere for young adults (< 35 years) to contribute to the community and learn about Buddhism. We engage with local communities through social services such as volunteering at Food Banks, Homeless Shelter, Nursing Homes, Habitat for Humanity, etc., and also organize buddhist classes, retreats, meditation classes, etc.

No prior buddhist knowledge is required, everyone of any background, race, gender, sexual orientation, religion can join the discussion!

Website: http://sanbaotemple.org/san-francisco-yad/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/SFYAD/

Subscribe to our newsletter: http://eepurl.com/cLwmX9

BLIA SFYAD Sorts Medical Supplies at MedShare

On April 8, sixteen SFYAD members volunteered at MedShare’s Western Region Distribution Centre in San Leandro. MedShare is a leading nonprofit charity organization that distributes medical supplies and equipment from hospitals which would otherwise end up in landfill to countries in need. MedShare has delivered medical supplies worth over $150 million to 97 countries since it was founded in 1998. It was ranked 5th by Charity Navigator on their Top Ten Highly Rated Charities Relying on Private Contributions in 2011.

Volunteers arrived at MedShare’s warehouse at around 1:00 pm. After a  brief introduction by the staff, the volunteers sorted out the donated medical supplies, which included catheters and medical kits, into appropriately labeled boxes. Expired supplies were then discarded, and the remaining supplies were counted and boxed for delivery. SFYAD completed its goal of sorting and packing within 2.5 hours.

A young volunteer named Katrina found her experience volunteering for MedShare to be interesting and rewarding as it was the first time she had come across an organization that provided something that is so basic and often taken for granted by everyone. She said, “If organizations like MedShare didn’t exist, many more people in third world countries will die due to unsanitary conditions and lack of proper supplies to aid those in need of medical attention. To us, a broken heart monitor may seem useless, but when refurbished it is gold to those who do not have the luxury to buy a new one.”

MedShare addresses the critical issue that over 10 million children in the developing world die every year due to the lack of access to basic healthcare. They do so by working with hospitals, manufacturers and distributors by collecting and redistributing medical products to countries in need. For more information on MedShare and opportunities to volunteer with them, visit www.medshare.org.

Text: Prateek Yadav & Ian Miley; Photos: Kee Heng Tiow



BLIA SFYAD (Buddha’s Light International Association – San Francisco Young Adult Division) is a young adult Buddhist group affiliated with Fo Guang Shan, San Bao Temple. We focus on providing a fun atmosphere for young adults (< 35 years) to contribute to the community and learn about Buddhism. We engage with local communities through social services such as volunteering at Food Banks, Homeless Shelter, Nursing Homes, Habitat for Humanity, etc., and also organize buddhist classes, retreats, meditation classes, etc.

No prior buddhist knowledge is required, everyone of any background, race, gender, sexual orientation, religion can join the discussion!

Website: http://sanbaotemple.org/san-francisco-yad/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/SFYAD/

Subscribe to our newsletter: http://eepurl.com/cLwmX9 

April: SFYAD Upcoming Events

SFYAD has planned many events for April, and will be planning even more till July!
Our Monthly Seminar’s topic for April is “Ways to Obtain Freedom“. We will also be volunteering at the MedShare and having fun at California’s Great America! We hope for you to join us at any of these events!

April Upcoming Events

Preview imagePromotional Video Recording

[When] April 2nd, Sunday, 5pm
[Where] Meeting @ San Bao Temple, heading to Golden Gate Bridge together. Having Dinner after!
We will be recording a 20 second video as promotional materials for an upcoming youth conference held in LA. We would like to gather as many people to help us in this video! The whole group will be reading a few sentence together, with Golden Gate Bridge as the background.
[Register] https://www.facebook.com/events/100713947142850/





Volunteering @ MedShare [Registration Full]

[When] April 8th, Saturday, 12:30pm – 4pm
[Where] MedShare, San Leandro
MedShare depends on volunteers to sort and box donated medical supplies for shipment to healthcare facilities in developing countries. We will be sending 15 volunteers to help out at MedShare.
[Registration Closed]





Preview imageMonthly Seminar: Ways to Obtain Freedom

[When] April 9th, Sunday, 1:30pm – 3pm
[Where] San Bao Temple
“Nothing can stand on my road to freedom.” We aspire freedom, hoping to get rid of chain locked our steps. What is exactly the true freedom we are looking for? How can we truly be free? Join our monthly seminar to find out.
[Register] https://www.facebook.com/events/133100543889455/






Preview imageCalifornia’s Great America

[When] April 22, Saturday, 10am till late
[Where] Great America
Come join us for roller coaster ride!
[Register] https://www.facebook.com/events/405935866448327/








Preview imageBuddhist Seminar: The Importance of Causes and Conditions of This World

[When] April 23rd, Sunday, 2:30pm – 4:30pm
[Where] Holiday Inn San Francisco-Golden Gateway
The Vice Abbot of Fo Guang Shan, Venerable Hui Chao is invited to give a talk on “The Importance of Causes and Conditions in this World”, a chapter from Venerable Master Hsin Yun’s Book “Hear Me Out”.
[Register] https://www.facebook.com/events/1307503142664673/



Other Upcoming Events

Please email to sanfrancisco@bliayad.org if you are interested in any of the following events.

Tea Ceremony

[When] April 29th, Saturday, 1:30pm
[Where] San Bao Temple
Learn the proper way of hosting a tea ceremony!






Preview imageBay to Breakers Run!

[When] May 21st, Sunday, 8am
[Where] Main St & Howard St
We will be participating in this run! Everyone is welcomed to join us!
[Info] http://baytobreakers.com/





Memorial Day Weekend Retreat

[When] 5/27-5/29 (Sun – Mon)
[Where] TBD


Temple Life Experience Weekend

[When] 6/3-6/4 (Sat-Sun) and 6/10-6/11 (Sat-Sun)
[Where] San Bao Temple
Experience life in temple through this 1D1N stay @ San Bao Temple, for two subsequent weekends.


International Buddha’s Light Young Adult Executive Conference

[When] 7/11-7/15 (Tue-Sat)
[Where] Hsi Lai Temple, Los Angeles
[Info] https://www.facebook.com/events/153784688449530/

[Dec 2016] Food Bank Volunteering & Winter Clothing Drive

[2016.12.17] SFYAD volunteers at Food Bank

The BLIA San Francisco Young Adult Division (SFYAD) participated in volunteering at The Second Harvest Food Bank at San Carlos on the 17th of December, 2016. This food bank aims to provide nutritious food to over a quarter million low-income people living in the Bay Area every month. During the holiday season, the food bank receives a considerably large number of food items as donation. As such, there is a large demand for volunteers to help sort and pack the food items before delivery.

SFYAD gathered a team of 21 volunteers in a cold warehouse on a Saturday morning for this event. Our team was assigned the following tasks:

  1. Separating the sweet snacks from the salty ones from a huge stack of mixed snacks.
  2. Packing these items into small boxes weighing around 9 lbs.
  3. Stacking the boxes neatly onto pallets. The boxes containing salty snacks were stored separately from the sweet ones.

The team packed a total of 1120 small boxes of food within a mere 1.5 hours. Our fast and efficient teamwork was recognised and praised by the manager. Selene, the President of SFYAD, found this morning to be a “meaningful experience and definitely a good exercise too!” Carl, the Vice President of SFYAD, noted the efficient communication and synergy of the team and said, “communication allows teammates to express what they are comfortable with working on and allows teammates to switch roles with each other for better team performance.”

Text: Prateek Yadav; Photos: Carl Ho, Katrina Hallie, Selene Chew



[2016.12.18] BLIA SF and SFYAD collaborate with ECS’s Next Door Shelter to distribute donated Winter Clothes to Homeless

It was a slightly different Sunday for volunteers from The Buddha’s Light International Association (BLIA) San Francisco Subchapter and Young Adult Division. For the first time, the volunteers distributed winter clothing to unhoused adults at the Episcopal Community Services’ (ECS) Next Door Shelter.

The Buddhist organization had been accepting winter clothes donated at Fo Guang Shan’s San Bao Temple (1750 Van Ness Ave) from the 4th Dec to 18th Dec. The response was overwhelming. Over the short period of 2 weeks, the temple had received approximately 500 pieces of clothes, ranging from coats and sweaters to scarves and pants. All thanks to the charitable devotees and neighbors from around the temple.

Venerable Miao Zhong had personally informed Suzanne Markel-Fox, the Vice President of Middle Polk Neighborhood Association. She’s also a resident of Marlo, a condominium located right beside the temple. Suzanne had graciously set up a collection station for the condo’s residents in the lobby. This helped contribute tremendously to the number of clothes collected.

Selene Chew, President of BLIA’s San Francisco Young Adult Division (SFYAD), also reached out to Diana Almanza, Site Manager at ECS’s Next Door Shelter (1001 Polk Street), to propose a collaboration to distribute the winter clothes to the people there. Diana gladly agreed. ECS is a non-profit organisation that serves the homeless and low-income men, women and children in San Francisco. ECS’s Next Door Shelter provides safe, 24-hour access to shelter for unhoused adults in the city. They serve 345 adults daily, of which many are suffering from substance abuse problems, mental health issues and chronic medical conditions.

On Sunday, 18th of Dec, 25 volunteers from the temple sorted and packed the clothes into different types and sizes in the morning. During the afternoon, the clothes were distributed in the shelter. A volunteer named Flora Xu was assisting the homeless people to choose clothes in the female sweater section. She described her experience as interesting and heartwarming when she discovered that the happiness brought to the homeless made her smile too.

Coats and large sized clothes were the first to be gone. Most of those who arrived later had to leave with only a scarf or a towel due to the lack of clothes in their sizes. Isaac Seetho, another volunteer, said, “Today highlighted how important coat donations are; something I didn’t really think about before. Like, most of the people didn’t care for the sweaters at all, which wasn’t quite what I expected. It was interesting to see the other side of clothes donation.”

The volunteers helped almost 100 unhoused adults find clothes that they needed. About 150 pieces of clothing were given out directly, and 100 more were donated to the shelter to help out other adults in need of change of clothes. The remaining clothes were donated to Saint Anthony’s at Golden Gate Avenue.

Text: Selene Chew, Edited: Prateek Yadav and Yen Ting Liew; Photos: Kee Heng Tiow, Selene Chew

20161120 First Children’s Blessing Ceremony by San Bao Temple and SFYAD!

San Bao Temple held its very first Children’s Blessing Ceremony on November 20, 2016. Venerables Chuehhsing and Miaozhong led a chanting and prayer for over forty children; they wished for the children to grow healthily and treat others with courtesy. The Venerables encouraged parents to bring their children to the temple more often in order to deepen their connection with Buddhism and nurture the next generation of Buddhists.

After the ceremony, the San Francisco Young Adult Division (SFYAD) hosted a variety of fun activities for the children to enjoy. With their activity passports in hand, they toured stations such as origami, face painting, and musical chairs. At the end of the event, the most active children were also able to bring home some toys for themselves. The event was a great learning experience for the newly formed YAD Executive Team, and they hope to plan more activities that bring people of all ages and interests together in the future.

Text: Yen Ting Liew, Edited by Prateek Yadav.

Photography: Katrina Hallie Chak.