On 4th June 2018, upon the proposal of Indonesia’s presidential office, a national Vesak Day celebration was jointly organised by Tzu Chi Indonesia and Perhimpunan Majelis Agama Buddha Indonesia, a Buddhist representative organisation in Indonesia, at the Tzu Chi Jing Si Hall in Jakarta.
The event was graced by the presence of Indonesia’s 5th President, Megawati Sukarnoputri, 6th Vice President, Try Sutrisno, and the Coordinating Minister for Human Development and Cultural Affairs, Puan Maharani.
Megawati was very impressed by Tzu Chi’s development in Indonesia and the selfless commitment and efforts of its volunteers. The affinity between Megawati and Tzu Chi started 15 years ago, where she attended the inauguration ceremony of Tzu Chi Great Love Village and free clinic on 25th August 2003. At the event she said, “This (housing construction) project is a good example for other NGOs in Indonesia to follow. It can inspire these organisations to do the same for the local people. The residents in Tzu Chi Great Love Village should continue to maintain their wholesome, positive culture.”
This important Buddhist occasion was attended by 121 Dharma masters and close to 2,000 people from various fields and professions. The programme included a sign language performance of the song, “One Family”, by Tzu Chi volunteers in Indonesia and teachers from a Tzu Chi school, as well as students from Nurul Iman, an Islamic boarding school that has received aid and support from Tzu Chi for many years. Everyone hoped that, one day, the world could become a global village where all people would live together harmoniously and peacefully as one big family.
Tzu Chi signs MOU with Nahdlatul Ulama to better serve people
Besides celebrating Vesak Day, an MOU was also signed between Tzu Chi Indonesia and Nahdlatul Ulama, the largest Muslim organisation in Indonesia, with an estimated membership of 50 million. The signing of the MOU signified interfaith cooperation between two religions, and the MOUs’ content included partnerships in a number of areas, such as charity, medicine, education, environmental conservation, etc. Tzu Chi’s CEO of Global Affairs, Stephen Huang, was present to witness the signing of the MOU by the deputy CEO of Tzu Chi Indonesia, Sugianto Kusuma, and the chairman of the executive council of Nahdlatul Ulama, Said Aqil Siroj.
In his speech, Said Aqil Siroj shared that the issues facing Indonesia are complex and cannot be resolved by a single group or organisation alone, and that teamwork is needed to tackle those issues. He further added that Nahdlatul Ulama is currently working with the Interpol to prevent extremism and also partnering with universities in Taiwan on student exchange programmes. And the organisation plans to collaborate with Tzu Chi on disaster relief missions, education and medical initiatives, etc.
The multiplying effect of human kindness
Tzu Chi’s CEO of Global Affairs, Stephen Huang, said that as Buddhists are considered a minority group in Indonesia, Tzu Chi Indonesia should cooperate with other religious groups in order to spread Master Cheng Yen’s spirit of Great Love throughout the country. He also said that if the millions of Nahdlatul Ulama members worked to conserve resources and to stop littering, it would bring about a powerful impact on saving the planet and purifying people’s minds.
In addition, Huang expressed his hope for Da Ai TV (Indonesia) to work with Nahdlatul Ulama to spread Tzu Chi’s spirit and missions by leveraging on the broadcast power of the TV station. The managing director of Da Ai TV, Pak Hong Tjhin, said in his speech that good deeds cannot be accomplished by one single group or person, and thus, the TV station is working with various local organisations to better serve people. He highlighted that the goal of the partnership with Nahdlatul Ulama is to bring about goodness in society, and hoped that the efforts of millions of Nahdlatul Ulama members would create a multiplying effect of human kindness.