Translated by: Andrew Yang
Summer is a time for many to travel and rest. But for the abbot of the International Buddhist Temple and many of his followers, it is a time to think about students in villages of northern Thailand and get practical aid to them.
On June 18, Venerable Guan Cheng led a group of Buddhists and delivered medical and school supplies to Huaxing Chinese Primary School and Mae Salong village in Chiang Rai, northern Thailand. The delegates were from Vancouver, Seattle, Hong Kong and Malaysia.
Students and teachers of Huaxing Primary School and villagers from Mae Salong turned out to warmly welcome the visitors. The Master and members of the delegation then held a meeting with the teachers and administrators as well as villagers to update on their needs and their latest situation. In a speech, Venerable Guan Cheng emphasized the importance of educating the children. He hoped that more local students would complete primary education so that more could get on to college. He also said that education helps students find better employment in the future and encouraged them to return to serve the local villagers and make their due contribution to society.
The Master thanked those who support the project for their kindness and compassion, so it could continue smoothly. Together, the visitors distributed medical supplies and stationery to the students and villagers in a warm and touching atmosphere.
Also at the meeting, a student from Huaxing School read a letter of thanks on behalf of all the students. It said that they sincerely thank the Master for his long-term support to the school, bringing them warmth and encouragement, and giving them an opportunity to learn and be educated. They will remember the Master’s kindness, study hard, and be a good person. They pledge too to carry forward traditional Chinese culture. To express their appreciation, the students sang two touching songs: “A Grateful Heart” and “Kids Turning on Lights”.
Through the trip, Venerable Guan Cheng and members of his delegation understand deeper the hardship of retaining Chinese culture in northern Thailand, as well as the diligence of the local teachers and students. The master and his members hope that in future Huaxing will continue its mission and they will continue to bring love and support to the children and villagers living in these remote mountains.
Located in Chiang Rai, northern Thailand, Huaxing Chinese Primary School is the largest of its kind and the only one that adopts Buddhist compassion in its curriculum. The students of this school are from poor families and there is a serious shortage of teachers. The starting years of the school was particularly difficult. Later, aided by his followers, Venerable Guan Cheng made a commitment to help the school operate, with a view to providing education to more children.
Residents of Mae Salong village are mostly descendants of soldiers from Kuomintang’s 93rd Division who ended up in northern Thailand when the Chinese civil war ended in the 1950s. A few years ago, Venerable Guan Cheng learned of the hard life for children in Mae Salong. In 2013 the Venerable launched a student-aid and poverty-alleviation project for the village and its school and has supported it ever since.
This northern Thailand project is one of the several overseas charity programs run by the International Buddhist Temple. For details of its student-aid, poverty-alleviation program, please refer to the website: https://buddhisttemple.ca