"I am willing to pass on Jing Si Dharma lineage!"
"I am willing to take up the responsibility to promote Tzu Chi School of Buddhism!”
"May the Dharma lineage and school of Buddhism continue to thrive in the Lion City forever!"
Mr Low Swee Seh, CEO of Tzu-Chi Foundation (Singapore), gave a solid and impactful speech at Jing Si Hall. His loud and determined voice inspired the entire audience to make a vow.
People responded enthusiastically in unison to every vow he uttered: "I am willing!" "I will shoulder the responsibility!"
Finally, the audience cheered three times: "Forever present in the Lion City!"
The volunteers' firm conviction and unwavering faith, vows, and actions were inspiring.
Tzu-Chi Foundation (Singapore) celebrated its 30th anniversary on 28 October 2023. Nearly 600 volunteers and Tzu Chi staff gathered in Jing Si Hall to reflect on the Foundation’s thirty years of hard work. Also present were the Board of Directors of Tzu-Chi Foundation (Singapore), Dharma Master Shih De Rang, Dharma Master Shih De Ge, Vice President and CEO of the Buddhist Tzu Chi Charity Foundation, Taiwan, Madam Lin Pi-Yu and Mr Yan Bo-wen, and other guests from Taiwan who had made a trip to Singapore to offer their blessings.
Witnessing positive developments in the Foundation after three decades of hard work
“Let's congratulate Tzu-Chi Foundation (Singapore) on its 30th anniversary!" said the emcee as he rallied the crowd to send well wishes to each other, instantly filling the Jing Si Hall with resounding cheers of blessings. Everyone was beaming with joy and enthusiasm.
This year's anniversary celebration was themed "Celebrating 30 Years of Serving with Compassion". The logo design of the theme is based on the architectural aesthetics of Tzu Chi Jing Si. It is inspired by the roof that shapes like the Chinese character "人" (which means "person" in English), which represents the courageous surpassing of boundaries.
With the aim of guiding the audience to look back on the past and forge ahead for the future, the evening event started with the display of the documentary titled "30 Years of Serving with Compassion", which narrated the developmental history of Tzu Chi Singapore in the past 30 years.
Next was the sign language performance, which presented the history of Tzu Chi with each decade as an era. The story of each generation was vividly interpreted through the narration of the narrator and Tzu Chi's sign language performance team. Accompanied by the music performance by young volunteer Fu Chuanxi, who performed the song "Wish" with a violin, the performance brought back everyone's fond memories of Tzu Chi's past. The three-part "Ten Years" story told the hardships of Tzu Chi's humble beginnings to the vigorous development of the four major missions. It is the dedication and efforts of every volunteer that have made these achievements possible.
Next, Tzu Chi staff representatives from various departments, community volunteer leaders and senior volunteers performed the song "Great Love Sails into the New Century" in sign language on the stage to express gratitude for the efforts of the predecessors. The performance symbolised the continuous work of Tzu Chi in purifying people's hearts and minds, passing on their mission from one generation to the next.
Mr Low Swee Seh led every member of the floor to vow, "I am committed to passing on the Dharma Lineage! I will work towards promoting Tzu Chi’s school of Buddhism. May the Dharma lineage and school of Buddhism continue to thrive in the Lion City forever!"
The sight of everyone making vows in unity was spectacular. Mr Low hoped that in the future, everyone would join hands and be united at heart to let the Lion City shine with boundless love.
Dharma Master Shih De Rang said in her speech: "We have boarded the Dharma boat from this shore to the other side. We all practise the Dharma in unity, seizing the moment and learning to let go. Have faith in our selfless nature and that everyone has a loving heart. Let's sail with great love into the new century together!"
Madam Lin Pi-Yu, Vice President of the Buddhist Tzu Chi Charity Foundation, Taiwan, gave her blessings for the anniversary. She also expressed her gratitude towards local volunteers who serve as role models by showing compassion and attentiveness towards all living beings. With the ear of great wisdom, they listen to the voices of all living beings and uphold Tzu Chi's mission globally. She encouraged individuals to believe in the unlimited potential for a better future to ensure the continuation of Tzu Chi's positive impact, inspire compassionate individuals, and spread love worldwide.
Mr Yan Bo-wen, the CEO of the Buddhist Tzu Chi Charity Foundation, Taiwan, is grateful for the opportunity to work in Singapore 17 years ago. His wife introduced him to Tzu Chi, and his life became very meaningful after that because of Tzu Chi. He observed Tzu Chi’s appeal to local young people and wished that Tzu Chi in Singapore would be passed down from generation to generation and have many more 30 years to come.
Handing out Red Packets of Blessings and Wisdom as a form of blessing
During the prayer session led by Dharma Master Shih De Rang and Dharma Master Shih De Ge, everyone lit their lotus lamp and devoutly sang their prayers. Dharma Master Shih De Ge encouraged Tzu Chi volunteers to follow the path of the Bodhisattva and adopt a vegetarian diet.
Master Cheng Yen specially instructed Dharma Master Shih De Rang and Dharma Master Shih De Ge to bring the 2023 edition Red Packets of Blessings and Wisdom from Taiwan and distribute them to every volunteer and staff who attended the appreciation night to wish everyone safety and happiness. The volunteers and staff were filled with gratitude and joy while queuing up to receive this blessing from the Dharma Masters on stage.
In the video, Master Cheng Yen expressed her gratitude to Tzu Chi volunteers worldwide, saying, "Never forget that year and that person. We can stand strong in Taiwan and serve the world because of Tzu Chi volunteers around the world. We must be grateful every day. We are never alone because we are surrounded by Bodhisattvas. We will always be a person who is responsible and accountable."
The first generation of Tzu Ching now shouldering Tzu Chi’s missions
Tzu Chi volunteer Lew Loon Keong was the lead co-ordinator of the anniversary event and also the first generation of Tzu Chi Youths (a.k.a. Tzu Ching) in Singapore. He shared that his batch of Tzu Chings were all present at the event and have been united and dedicated to following Master Cheng Yen's teachings. They would persevere through challenging situations no matter how hard things are.
As Tzu Chi's missions continue to expand, Lew Loon Keong recognises the significance of keeping up with the organisation's mission and not lagging behind. He feels emotional witnessing senior volunteers age and how physical limitations make tasks that were once easy for them now difficult. As part of the middle generation, Lew Loon Keong is committed to continuing the work of his predecessors and preserving their legacy.
Lew Loon Keong is now a member of the unity team. Despite being busy with work and family, Lew Loong Keong adheres to the principle of focusing on work during working hours and dedicating himself to charity after work. The integration of career and personal goals is difficult to balance. He is grateful for the support of his team when he could not find time to attend to Tzu Chi's activities. With such perfect harmony among people and matters, the team achieves perfect harmony in principles.
Volunteer Toh Chin Keong joined Tzu Chi when he was in college and has been with the Foundation ever since for 24 years. Toh Chin Keong sentimentally shared that after he started working, he became busy with his career and family, thus having less time to volunteer with Tzu Chi. Now that his two sons have grown up to become teenagers, he seized the opportunity to return to Tzu Chi to continue to serve.
Toh Chin Keong is now a mutual love team leader of the North Zone and is in charge of charity home visits. It saddens him every time he sees community volunteers quitting and leaving. He vows to bring back Master Cheng Yen’s disciples and spread the love of Tzu Chi to reach out to more abandoned corners of society.
Hence, Toh Chin Keong believes in serving in the community as it is where volunteers are recruited. Having different people serving in various positions was how Tzu Chi was established. He is motivated to contribute to the noble cause of Tzu Chi and believes there is still much to seek guidance from Dharma Masters to progress and pave a path for others to take on the Bodhisattva path.
Abirami, who works at Tzu Chi Great Love Preschool, was invited by Ms Tai Nyeok Moi, Head of Tzu Chi Education Development Department, to participate and observe this meaningful celebration. She accepted the invitation without hesitation as she was keen to see how Tzu Chi celebrates its 30th anniversary.
Even though the programmes of the night were mainly in Mandarin, Abirami felt peaceful and deeply moved. Through the video, she learned that Tzu Chi has contributed to local communities for 30 years and admired the volunteers for their selfless acts, all for a noble cause.
Abirami said, "Love can transcend language barriers." Having felt the kindness and great love of Tzu Chi volunteers, she vowed to follow in their footsteps and become a volunteer.
Tzu Chi volunteers are united at hearts to strive towards a common goal: exert the power of great love to purify hearts worldwide, make a difference and progress through countless thirty years.