BLIA YAD shares Growing Up Experience

On the 14th of January BLIA Young Adult Division NZ shared their life stories in FGS Buddhist temple to the Srimara students. Present at the session were BLIA committee members, members and youths making up about 30 people.

The host, KokWei Low said that because the Chinese Year of the Dog is coming, BLIA YAD chose the Chinese word ¡°Wang¡± which translates into ¡®Woof!¡¯ (a dog barking sound, similar sound in Chinese as ¡®prosper¡¯) theme to bless the spreading of Humanistic Buddhism in NZ. Before the main sharing session began, a hand gesture musical performance ¡°Stars and Clouds¡± by the YAD took everyone into a calm and happy mood.

Winnie Lin said that she was introduced to FGS in 2012 after meeting with Venerable Master Hsing Yun, and came to New Zealand in 2016 for a holiday working. A year later, she came across Venerable Abbess Manshin at FGS North Island, and started on some volunteering work, eventually moving to FGS South Island helping the Water Drop Cafe. After many conversations with the Abbess, she decided to stay in New Zealand to propagate Humanistic Buddhism.

Vicky Han stayed in Auckland for 16 years but was never exposed to Buddhism. A chance got her visiting FGS North Island and she became acquainted with the BLIA YAD. She started doing some volunteering work at the Avalokiteshvara Shrine at the entrance of the temple. Four months later, a staff suddenly resigned from the Fo Guang Yuan Art Gallery Christchurch, and under Venerable Abbess¡¯s recommendation, she moved to Christchurch to take up the role. At first, she was clueless about how to handle the tasks. In spite of that, she followed the guidance of the Venerables, slowly peeling off all the bad habits from herself. She is very grateful of everyone¡¯s support, and knows that she is not alone in this. Her advice for everyone when faced with something that is wrong, is to correct it immediately, rather than to run away.

CaoQian was exposed to FGS NZ South Island after the 2011 earthquake. She said that in the beginning, she felt proud to be a youth from China with a rich cultural knowledge, but this also unconsciously carried her over many preconceptions about Buddhism that were incorrect. At her first Buddhism class, she was sceptical of what the Venerables taught about. The Venerables however, told her that if she were not to believe in the Dharma, no one will be able to make her believe it. From that point onwards, she took a step back, and started to humbly learn and absorb the Dharma with a new sense of wisdom. During the 2013 Buddha¡¯s Birthday Festival, she remembered clearly the strong coordination and effort from the BLIA volunteers led by the Venerables in cleaning up the grounds after a heavy rainfall flood event. That high level of dedication and outstanding service attitude was the reason she has been servicing the temple non-stop since. She bravely took up various roles, and many small jobs that she wasn¡¯t even good at, for example baking. Often it seemed simple enough to just follow the recipe someone made before to bake a cake, but things don¡¯t always turn out to be that straightforward, and she has tasted many bitter failures. Yet under the Venerables and everyone¡¯s encouragement plus her personal drive, she was finally able to present a delicious cake in front of everyone. She says that lifelong learning is like growing a tree. The roots first need to dig in deep before the stems can shoot up high. In times of crisis, one must learn to use the Dharma¡¯s teachings and the right attitude to face it, and she thanked all of the Venerables for their teachings and guidance that has enabled her to grow as a person.

Karzin Leong said that last August, FGS NZ South Island needed to move their storage space and it coincided with the 20th ANZBYC anniversary gathering. A lot of YAD members volunteered their time to work on the storage moving, but she was sad that she could not join in with the other YAD as the ANZBYC preparatory work took precedence. In that, she learned on how to cherish the moments where everyone is together. She told of how editing the ANZBYC handbook came with a lot of challenges, and that she bothered the Venerables for advice numerous times. At the very last night of editing, some mistakes yet to be fixed and it meant that the Abbess had to sacrifice sleep to ensure the final version came out alright. At that time, she saw her own problems and was repent. Karzin told everyone however, not to be afraid of making mistakes, and that we should treat attention to minute detail as a way of perfecting one¡¯s self on our growing up journey. She truly believes that having demands placed on her is a wonderful thing, and that by having high demands for one¡¯s work, one can become so much more better.

Nick confides that, in order to pass his exams, he went to FGS North Island for a prayer event. After graduating, he was really impressed by the never ending efforts in propagating Humanistic Buddhism by the Venerables, and decided to join the FGS NZ family. Every time he didn¡¯t know about something, he would ask the Venerables or Abbess, because they give the best positive answers and guidance. He recalled that at one time, Venerable Abbess made him endure three consecutive nights of video editing, with corrections following corrections in a never ending sight. At one point when he was very down, Venerable Abbess suddenly served him a bowl of hot porridge. The gesture melted his heart, and he set out to finish the video clip properly once and for all.

One of the Srimara student, Chen Wei said that last year was her first time to NZ, following the Dunhuang dance troupe and she became acquainted with everybody. She is happy to see everyone again, especially seeing how youths have grown and matured since then. Yet at the same time, she felt bad for not accomplishing as much as some of the YAD have done here, and hopes that she will change in this new year. Kok Wei Low thanked everyone for attending this sharing session, and he encouraged everyone to rid themselves of greed, hatred and ignorance. He welcomes anyone with passion to join the BLIA YAD group in cultivating good karma.