Visit of Maori School Students to FGS South Island

To allow the students to have a better understanding of the multi-cultural and multi-religious nature of New Zealand society, Te Whanau Tahi Maori Language School chose Fo Guang Shan South Island as representative of the Buddhist faith and arranged for their students to pay a visit to FGS Temple South Island. On 30th November 2017. 18 students led by teacher Hayley visited the Temple to learn about Humanistic Buddhism and to experience practicing Ch¡¯an Meditation. On hand to welcome the visitors were Venerable Zhijing, volunteer Lih-son Ding and art gallery coordinator Vicky Han.

During the tour of the Temple, the visitors were introduced to the special features at the external wall of the main gate which got its design concept from the ¡®Longmen Grottoes¡¯. At the courtyard, the hosts explained to the visitors the Ch¡¯an content depicted in the paintings on the courtyard wall. The visitors were later taken for a tour of the Fo Guang Yuan Art Gallery where they went through the ¡®Ringing True¡¯ Paintings Exhibition by International Artist Keith Morant; the ¡®Ceramica¡¯ Ceramic Works Exhibition by Pottery Artist Tricia Morant and finally the ¡®Chan, Fun and Life Protection¡¯ Comic Exhibition by Artist Feng Yi Yin. Here the visitors witnessed first hand how Arts were interwoven with Buddhism.

Later, the students were ushered to the Buddha Hall where they watched the video movie ¡°The life of Buddha¡±. Venerable Zhijing then introduced to the crowd the etiquette involved in .Buddhist way of praying, and then led them in a session of Ch¡¯an Meditation. Venerable explained that through the 3 bowing gestures, one will learn to let go of one¡¯s ego and learn to be humble, thus taking the first step to finding the Buddha Nature within. Putting the palms together in prayer signifies unification of one¡¯s heart with that of Buddha. It also makes one feel connected to others in a friendly way. Through Ch¡¯an Meditation, one can calm one¡¯s inner self. Venerable encouraged the students to practice Ch¡¯an Meditation before the start of class as this can help improve their concentration and also uplift them spiritually.Venerable also talked about how to incorprate the concept of ¡®3 Good Deeds and 4 Givings¡¯ in one¡¯s daily life. Before their departure, the visitors were gifted with Dharma Publications by Venerable Master Shing Yun and a copy of ¡®FGS NZ 10th Anniversary Report¡¯.

Teacher Hayley said that she felt a inner peace the moment she stepped into the Temple and the students likewise became more subdued than normal during this visit. She thanked FGS for this rich experience. She promised to convey to her school. the news about the coming 3G4G Cultural Festival to be held by FGS south Island. The students finally parted in joyous mood waving Lotus hand signs and uttering the words ¡®farewell¡¯ in perfect Mandarin!