Graduating with Great Fulfilments - Imbuing Daily Lives with Humanistic Values


At the End-of-Term Ceremony cum Exhibition of the Tzu Chi University Continuing Education Centre (Singapore), graduates showcased the fruition of their learning through stage performances and exhibits. Many indicated that not only have they become more cultured, they also made what they learnt an integral part of their daily lives.

Members of the Tzu Chi sign language class putting up a performance about The Sutra of Filial Piety which they have practiced for a long time. It is amazing that though many are making their debut, all have their facial expressions and hand movements in unison. (Photo: Khoo Chai Ling)

In the Cultural Hall on level one, works of calligraphy, pressed flower art, photography, and flower arrangement attract much admiration from the guests, with some of them couldn’t help snapping photographs on the spot. (Photo: Ng Ching Hang)
The educational volunteers are on duty to introduce characteristics of the courses and the exhibits to the guests. (Photo: Khoo Chai Ling)
Students from different classes sharing their learning experience, many of whom indicate that they have become more cultured and they have made what they learnt an integral part of their lives. (Photo: Ng Ching Hang)
The audience is deeply mesmerized and awed by the beautiful music played by the Chinese zither class. (Photo: Ng Ching Hang)
Instructor and students of the Yang’s Taiji Quan class invite members of the audience to do some stretching and relaxing exercise on the spot, teaching them the DIY acupoint exercise known as “the ten skillful hands”. (Photo: Khoo Chai Ling)
Students of the Continuing Education Centre and residents living nearby invite their family members and friends to attend the end-of-term ceremony. More than 300 guests get together to witness and admire the “fruits of labour” of the students in a humanistic environment and atmosphere. (Photo: Khoo Chai Ling)

“All who come here to learn are in for a happy experience,” said Chen Rouyun who has been learning yoga at the Tzu Chi University Continuing Education Centre (Singapore) for the past three years.

Three years ago, Chen enrolled in the yoga class after getting to know the centre’s yoga instructor, Mdm Liw Tiam. Though she had to travel one to two hours to and fro, Chen was always punctual for her classes. This is because she didn’t want to disappoint Mdm Liw who cares a lot for her students and is totally committed to her teaching.

“Not only do we learn yoga from the teacher, we also learn about the attitude towards life and the way of getting along with others from her. She cares for us as much as she cares for herself. A year ago, my backbone became misaligned and the conditions have improved since I learnt the ‘cat style’ yoga posture.

“In these few years, I have learnt much life wisdom from Mdm Liw (also a Tzu Chi volunteer, Mdm Liw shares Master Cheng Yen’s aphorism in class) and have applied it in my own life, and I now have a much cordial relationship with my family members.”

The second semester of the courses ran by the Continuing Education Centre was coming to a conclusion in end October / early November. On 6 Nov, the graduating students showcased the fruition of their learning through stage performances and a two-day exhibit spanning across the weekend of 6 and 7 Nov.

Stepping into the Cultural Hall on level one, one couldn’t help but to stand still and admire the humanistic scene comprising works of calligraphy, pressed flower art, photography, flower arrangement and so on.

The educational volunteers on duty were enthusiastically introducing the characteristics of the continuing education courses and the exhibits to the guests, making them highly interesting and appealing to the crowd. More than 300 guests later proceeded to the third floor to witness the “fruits of labour” of the graduating students.

At the end-of-term ceremony, students from different classes were first invited to share their learning experience. All of them indicated that not only had they become more cultured, they had also made what they learnt an integral part of their daily lives. Courses like the Chinese ink painting class and the sign language class have also helped some of the elderly mothers and grandmothers discover their potentials in the arts, injecting much fun into their senior lives.

After the students’ sharing, students of the yoga and Yang Style Taiji Quan classes took turns to perform, drawing much applause from the audience. Both the instructor and graduating students of the Taiji class also invited members of the audience to join them for some stretching and relaxing exercise, teaching them on the spot the DIY acupoint exercise, “the ten skillful hands”. In addition, the instructor and graduating students of Chinese painting class drew on the spot and within a short span of ten over minutes, started to hold their colourful paintings high one by one, adding much hue to the ceremony.

Graduating students of the Tzu Chi sign language class, many of them mothers and grandmothers, put up a partial performance of the Sutra of Filial Piety created by Tzu Chi Foundation. Their facial expressions and hand movements were in strict unison, making it hard to believe that many of them were making their debut in public performance.

Tzu Chi volunteer Wang Guilan was one of them.

An introvert, Sister Wang encountered many “technical” difficulties in the beginning due to her stiff body and limbs. It got even more difficult closer to the ceremony performance as she needed to remember her positions on the stage and she was also required to squat and kneel down in her part.

“I read Master Cheng Yen’s aphorisms every day to encourage myself to overcome my psychological barrier. The pain in my knees almost made me give up, but fortunately I had the moral support from my fellow classmates and I had a masseur to massage me. My body is now a lot more flexible and my knees do not hurt anymore,” said Sister Wang.

“In Tzu Chi, I’ve learnt how to transcend myself and also be humble.”

Performing together with Sister Wang was fellow Tzu Chi volunteer Li Laihua. She too has learnt about the meaning of bonding with family and relatives, as well as filial piety through the sign language performance.

Sister Li related to the passing of her elder brother while she was busy practicing for the performance: “Birth, aging, sickness and death are what everyone has to experience. I was very busy with daily chores and was very sad by the death of my brother, but I still made time for the rehearsals.” By not giving up on the performance, the strong volunteer managed to adjust her psychological wellbeing and recovered from her sadness.

At the end of the ceremony, class representatives took turn to receive the certificates from the Vice CEO of Tzu Chi Singapore Branch, Sister Zhao Xinyu, and that marked the successful completion of the three-month continuing education term.

Amidst a heartwarming, humanistic environment and the dedication of the course instructors, students of the Continuing Education Centre have managed to have many happy learning sessions despite their busy daily lives, thereby allowing them to have a peaceful mind and body and to learn and benefit from each other’s wisdom towards life itself.

Tzu Chi University Continuing Education Centre (Singapore) was set up in December 2005 and its courses originally covered areas like humanities, practical skills, arts and so on. It aims to inculcate in its students humanistic spirit which in turn will influence every household, injecting into the society a refreshing stream of humanistic values. Five years on, the courses have been augmented to cover more varieties, which are very much welcomed by the public.

From January in 2011, the centre will introduce several new classes, such as Erhu (a Chinese string musical instrument), patchwork and quilting, and healthy vegetarian cooking. We hope to attract people of different backgrounds to be involved in lifelong learning, to make their lives more meaningful and to create many happy families and a peaceful society.

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