On February 12, 2006, the Taipei International Book Exhibition successfully concluded. 440,000 people visited in swarms,an unprecedented record.
The Exhibition lasted for six days, from February 7-12. The first two days were open for professionals, i.e. publishers. This exhibition included not only publishing companies from Europe, but also Chinese book companies from all over the world in order to display the latest trends in Chinese books. In the early morning on February 7, a group of publishers used cameras and videos to film at our booth. Unlike other booths, the Dharma Realm Buddhist Books Distribution Society (DRBBDS) booth was simple yet attractive in design. It conveyed a sense of refreshing purity and was quite impressive. The name “Venerable Master Hsuan Hua” was displayed in large characters on the white wall, next to it was a big screen playing the story of the Master; people often stood in front of our booth to enjoy the presentation.
From the afternoon of the 8th, the flow of visitors to the exhibition, open to ordinary people, increased greatly with tens of thousands circulating through; our booth was always packed. Originally, people kept asking in disbelief, “How could this beautiful recipe book be given away for free?” The news spread quickly and everyone came to request copies. In six days over 9,280 copies of the first and the second volumes were given away. The gift books were printed using a collection of small donations for “Liberating Life”. Some visitors requested small books from series such as “Pearls of Wisdom” and “Inspiring the Deaf and Dumb.” Others watched the video of the Venerable Master on the screen wall, which outlined how the Venerable Master brought the Dharma to the West and educated his Western disciples. Inside the booth, visitors stood in silence, attentively reading the Venerable Master’s instructional talks. Many people were deeply moved. Some made donations on the spot and some resolved to help promote vegetarian food in order to reduce the killing of animals, and to advocate the Venerable Master’s teachings to increase world peace.
The author of
Light of Hope, the latest publication of DRBBDS, signed many copies at the booth. Through her lively and adorable drawings, the Buddhadharma will gradually influence the hearts of young students guiding them to lead positive lives and improve their lives.
This year, DRBBDS participated in this exhibition on its own for the first time. The location of a booth is crucial because the exhibition area is so huge. The location of each booth was determined through drawing lots. Ours had only two units and was a fairly small one in our category, so our drawing was near the end. Layman Xu, the representative who drew for us, felt great responsibility and did his work vigorously. Not only that but before the drawing, he went to DRBBDS, knelt before the Venerable Master’s image for half an hour and prayed to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas for a successful outcome. Sure enough, the location drawn was exceptionally good—not only was it on the three main crossroads, but also next to four of the major publishing companies in Taiwan. Almost all of the tremendous number of visitors had to pass by our booth.
In order to save cost, volunteers of DRBBDS arranged our booth, designed the activities, produced the gifts and served at our booth all by themselves. Even though it was tiring, everyone was sustained by Dharma bliss throughout the entire process. Their efforts made this event a success.