The group is diverse in many ways. It includes lay people and monastics, students and professionals, U.S. citizens and foreign nationals. All are united by a common interest — the study of Buddhism and its application to daily life.
Hsilai Friends was created in 2004 by graduate students from Hsi Lai Buddhist College as a way to discuss and practice Buddhism among people. Today, the journey continues and expands as members explore the Buddha's Dharma with activities that include reading key portions of sutras, learning more about other Buddhist traditions, and meeting with non-Buddhist groups for discussions and various activities.
Humanistic Buddhism, as practiced at Hsi Lai Temple and promoted by its monastic order Fo Guang Shan, urges people to become engaged in social activities that improve the lives of all human beings. With this spiritual goal in mind, members of Hsilai Friends continue to reach out to all citizens of Southern California in an attempt to promote understanding, to increase compassion, and to seek new friends.