"What is ‘spreading the Dharma and benefiting sentient beings'?” After a trip to Lumbini, Nepal, Tzu Chi volunteer Chang Hui-Wen (張惠雯) understood.
A group of four Tzu Chi youth volunteers from Taiwan arrived in Lumbini for an eight-day journey from August 18th to 25th. In addition to passing on the mission of Tzu Chi to local youth volunteers, they also engaged with the local community; they participated in charitable visits and taught Jing Si Aphorisms at schools. Chang Hui-Wen witnessed the efforts of Tzu Chi teams from Singapore and Malaysia, who have for the last two years been dedicating themselves to fulfilling the compassionate wish of Master Cheng Yen, founder of Tzu Chi, to give back to the Buddha's birthplace in Lumbini.
"I will return to Taiwan and share the inspiration from these days with more people, encouraging them to join hands in supporting others and take on the mission of giving back to the Buddha's birthplace," Chang said.
Be Content with Little
On August 18th, Taiwanese Tzu Chi youth volunteers Jiang Yu-Huan (江于函) and Huang Xun-Yuan (黃薰緣), under the guidance of senior Tzu Chi volunteers Chang Hui-Wen and Cai Ming-Xian (蔡明憲), arrived in Lumbini. The next day they organized the first-ever Tzu Chi Youth Camp in Lumbini. After a successful event, they immediately joined local volunteers in visiting the poor and promoting Jing Si Aphorisms at schools. They engaged in lively interactions with young students and taught Mandarin to volunteers and youngsters.
On August 20th, they visited Shree Balrampur Secondary School in Lumbini to conduct Jing Si Aphorisms sessions. The Tzu Chi youth volunteers initiated team-building activities to break the ice with the students. They also brought love from Taiwan in the form of pencils to distribute, to create positive connections with the children. The children replied with innocent smiles and enthusiastic participation.
Chang’s experience in Lumbini affected her profoundly, especially as she knew that this was the place to which Master Cheng Yen had earnestly wished to give back. As an educator, she was deeply moved. Despite the language barrier, the educational volunteers from the Singapore and Malaysia teams had been diligently working there for over a year, and the children recognized their uniforms. Chang observed the striking difference in the educational environment between Lumbini and Taiwan; she could not help but feel for the children. They understood the importance of learning and were willing to help their families and secure their own futures. She hopes to bring back to Taiwan what she witnessed and heard and share it with more Taiwanese children, so they can appreciate the value of their blessings.
Venturing into Campuses to Share Environmental Love for the Earth
On August 24th, Tzu Chi Youth from Taiwan paid a visit to Khudabagar Adarsh College in Nepal. Despite a delayed arrival due to rain, Principal Ram Bali Yadav graciously made time to welcome them.
Although some students were unable to attend due to the rain, a total of 28 students eventually joined the event. The Tzu Chi Youth engaged with the students, played games, and quickly bonded with the group.
Dipak Gupta, a second-year business student, expressed his deep appreciation for the visit of Tzu Chi Youth: “We are grateful for the joy you brought us. I also learned the importance of teamwork from the games we played. It's important for everyone to communicate clearly to avoid mistakes.”
Tzu Chi Youth member Huang Xunyuan also shared the importance of using eco-friendly pens and advocated collecting plastic bottles to protect the environment. Principal Ram Bali Yadav said that plastic bottles can be repurposed into useful items like blankets, clothes, and hats. He shared his own experience visiting Tzu Chi's environmental protection stations in Taiwan; he witnessed Tzu Chi volunteers actively involved in environmental conservation. He received as a token a hat made from recycled plastic bottles.
The event lasted for approximately an hour, during which the students showed great enthusiasm. They took photos with the Tzu Chi Youth, fostering strong interpersonal relationships.
Visit Communities and Witness Dedicated Volunteer Poverty Alleviation
On August 24th, Tzu Chi Youth visited local volunteers and households in Nepal. Their first stop was the home of Bechu Lodh, a young man who was injured and unable to work. The volunteers assisted in repairing his roof and helped him set up a small grocery store to provide him with self-reliance opportunities.
Later, the team visited the home of Bhavachi Kurmi, an elderly lady who prepared lunch using taro leaves and generously donated rice to Tzu Chi. The Tzu Chi Youth members felt the dedicated companionship of the volunteers toward the local residents and the opportunities they provided for the community to transform their lives.
At 4:30 PM, Tzu Chi volunteers from Nepal and Tzu Chi Youth from Taiwan gathered for a heartwarming event at the Tzu Chi Center. The event began with a Taiwanese indigenous folk song, “We Are All Family” and a lively dance performed in a traditional indigenous dress. Hand in hand, they danced joyfully, creating a vibrant atmosphere. Then the Tzu Chi Youth from Nepal performed the song “We Are All Tzu Ching” along with dynamic sign language dance, presenting their youthful energy and growth; they were witnessed by Tzu Chi volunteers from Singapore and Malaysia.
During the sharing session, Huang emotionally acknowledged the dedication of volunteers in Nepal, especially in caring for the children and improving their lives; this brought about touching moments and tears. Sumina, a Nepali volunteer, expressed her reluctance to say goodbye as she had created many beautiful memories with the Tzu Chi Youth. Another volunteer, Amarkesh, thanked the Tzu Chi Youth for organizing an exciting camp and providing everyone with enjoyable times and emphasized the importance of sharing such activities with more people.
Pass On the Mission with Love
In the final moments of their gathering, the Tzu Chi Youth invited the volunteers to join them in dancing to “The Happy Faces.” Jiang Yuhuan was filled with mixed emotions and thought about the first time they danced together; now, as they prepared to part ways, she felt deeply grateful. She emphasized that all of this became possible because volunteers from Singapore and Malaysia had initially dedicated themselves to nurturing this place in Nepal with great care; she expressed her heartfelt appreciation.
Chang invited Dr. Tang Kiat Beng (陳吉民) to participate in a flag-handing ceremony, to symbolize the passing of the mission from Tzu Chi Youth in Taiwan to their counterparts in Nepal, with the hope that they will continue to cultivate Tzu Chi's love in this land.
Dr. Tang, the Tzu Chi head in Lumbini, expressed satisfaction with the growth of Tzu Chi Youth in Nepal and encouraged them to continue to integrate the teachings of Buddhism with their mission. Finally, they all sang the Nepali version of “We Are All Family”; this marked the perfect ending to this heartwarming and touching Tzu Chi Youth gathering, as they prepared to embark on their respective journeys.
A Jing Si Aphorism says: “To be kind and loving, we must be friendly and amiable. To be wise, we must be humble.”
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Story by Yang Wen-Ting, Huang Hui-Wan, Liao Yue-Hong, Xie Qian-Yi, and Shen Ya-Hui