The 2020 International Buddha's Light Young Adult Conference was held on the morning of August 1st Taiwan time (July 31st evening PST), over 800+ YAD members from around the world joined this 3-hour online conference through Zoom. During the conference, everyone shared updates from various regions and broke out into smaller discussion groups to have more in-depth sharing.
The online format had brought much convenience for everyone; SFYAD had a record high of 18 members attending this year's conference. Among the 18 attendees, 7 are attending YAD conferences for the first time, and 5 have been attending Regional/International YAD Conferences since 2015. The following are some of their reflections about the event:
This was my first time attending the BLIA YAD conference and I was so touched to see 700+ young adults who share the same faith gathering online from all over the world. When they were sharing what they have done over the year to propagate dharma and serve local community, I was really inspired by their creativity & compassion. I have gained lots of motivations and confidence in faith through this conference. Thank you for all the committees and volunteers who made this conference so meaningful.
~ Lillian Tao, first time attendee
The 2020 online BLIA conference was an informative, fun, and uplifting experience that educated the participants about the organization’s events of the past year in light of the Corona virus, and the future of the organizations efforts, which will rely on online media to reach members until things are safe outdoors. I really enjoyed the lectures by Venerable Hui Chuan, which were very insightful and inspiring. I also really enjoyed the ice breakers and breakout sessions, which allowed people from all over the world to communicate. Overall, the event was really fun, and I look forward to BLIA future events, whether they be online or in person.
~ Ian Miley, second time attendee
This was the first time BLIA YAD has hosted an online event of this scale, and the first time I've attended such an event too. Seeing how the host keeps everyone's spirits high during the technical and schedule delays, how the translator steadfastly mans the English channel, etc, I learned as much from observing how the whole event unfolded as I did from listening to the actual presentations and discussions. It's amazing how everyone from the participants to Ven. Hui Chuan managed to pull this whole thing off together, and I hope everyone got to take away something from the YAD family and have a blast with them at the same time.
~ Yen Ting Low, attending YAD Conferences since 2015
For the 2020 YAD conference, I could see the spirit of YAD and Humanistic Buddhism through the organizing committee’s work and interaction between all YADs. Bonds and affinity between people do transcend between time and space. I further understand the importance of forming affinities with others, and see why there are so many inspirational leaders in YAD. Everyone carries with them the heart of a Bodhisattva. I felt a sense of remorse for my lack of wisdom to inspire others, my lack of aspiration to be more willing for YAD and Humanistic Buddhism, and my lack of sense of responsibility for YAD and Buddhism. Walking along [the Bodhisattva] path requires one to take up responsibilities for one’s family, friends, society, and the world, and it starts by having aspirations to make a change for ourselves and the people surrounding us; it starts with us wanting to put ourselves out for others, which is also found in the YAD spirit. After the conference, I want to put myself out more for YAD and Humanistic Buddhism. I want to be a stepping stone for others so that they can achieve and be successful. I want more people to know more about Humanistic Buddhism and the wisdom it can offer to our lives.
~ Winson Yang, second time attendee. Click here to see full reflection
My biggest takeaway was experiencing the Fo Guang YAD spirit from how everyone came together and took initiative to make this event possible. Being a group leader, I was honored to experience the backstage of this event, and the amount of effort and team spirit that were put into this event really touched me. Everyone demonstrated that we’re one, and each of us going the extra mile to overcome all the hiccups that are happening LIVE was absolutely amazing and touching to experience. I’m glad to be given this opportunity to see how this event unfolded at the hands of talented YAD members. So much to learn from everyone. And made me vow to do more to bring this Fo Guang Spirit to everyone!
~ Selene Chew, third time attendee
It was a great experience! It was fun meeting YADs from all around the world and sharing our thoughts and experiences when we broke out into small groups! I was surprised to see there were YAD members from places like Chile and France. It was also really cool that there were even people who couldn’t speak Chinese or English very well, but they were still so enthusiastic about YAD, so it showed that it transcends languages.
~ Vicky Hibbert, first time attendee
What I enjoyed: I can experience the global YAD conference at home. I enjoyed the group discussion part: meeting people from other countries and getting to know what they have been experiencing during the pandemic. The new YAD song - Connecting Heart is awesome. It was fun/ inspiring to know other YAD events during the pandemic. For example, I saw one have “the dharma” uno. Areas of improvement: The conference delayed for one hour. Some people couldn’t get into the group discussion due to technical issues.
~ Qianjun Wang, first time attendee
I think the host was very impressive because of her high energy level and cheerful spirit. The meeting had clear agenda and each activity was carefully designed and prepared. Engaging hundreds of people all around the world at the same time and organizing group activities are challenging. I think a combination of multimedia tools can be helpful to convey the key takeaways to the audience, keep them focused, and help them enjoy the wait time due to technical issues. Examples are videos, stories, news, music, chanting, etc
~ Anna Chen, first time attendee
I learned the importance of having Right View and Right Thoughts. Online is great, but can't replace in-person experience
~ Lathan Huang, attending YAD Conferences since 2015
I really enjoyed it. Got to meet new people.
~ Kenny Ng, second time attendee
While I do like the idea of an online conference, I was having audio issues(my mic not working and some stuttering when someone talked), and I had many distractions that prevented me from giving my full attention. The only real criticism I have for the conference was how short it was, though it's a problem that's impossible to solve given everyone is in different timezones. Maybe have short sessions over the course of two-three days?
~ Edward Li, attending YAD Conferences since 2015