Seeds of kindness are continuously nurtured through time and as we engage ourselves with different people and circumstances. When we take kindness by heart, we eradicate the barriers of race and religion. With that, we strengthen the language of love.
On December 10, Tzu Chi’s year – end humanity class gathers over 700 Tzu Chi scholars from grade school to tertiary level at the Jing Si Hall in Quezon City to cultivate their seeds of kindness through the teachings of Tzu Chi founder Master Cheng Yen and the examples of Tzu Chi volunteers.
The humanity classes are held in two sessions. Tzu Chi scholars in grade school and high school attend the morning session, while college scholars attend in the afternoon. Each session is different in terms of treatment and the materials used. The programs are also organized according to the scholars’ level of understanding. But one thing is for sure: at the end of the day, it is hoped that the students will learn to maintain a kind-heart and continue to spread good seeds across humanity.
The monthly humanity class is never easy to manage, according to Tzu Chi volunteer Rita Tan. She compares the planning of the event to an orchestra. “It’s like being a conductor, having a company to play the instruments and make them sound harmonious together to create a musical piece.”
Nonetheless, she explains the importance of attending the humanity class at Tzu Chi and the fruit that it bears.
“In their schools, they learn all the concepts and theories. Here, we provide and nurture their good values by educating them with the teachings of Master Cheng Yen. And one day, they will be able to pay it [the help] forward because of the good seeds we’ve planted [in their hearts],” explains Tan.
The college Tzu Chi scholars barely blink as they watch an animated video where Master Cheng Yen tells the story of ‘The Deer and The King’.
Aldrin Lorenzo, a Grade 11 student of Lorenzo Ruiz Academy in Manila, shares about the scene that moved him the most.
“The Deer helped a man who was drowning. But the man deceived the Deer and told the King where the deer lives. However, when the King met the Deer, he realized that the Deer is kind-hearted. The King decided to show compassion by stopping the hunt,” says Lorenzo.
“From that I realized that showing compassion to others is important and with compassion we are creating a good sense of communication,” he adds.
The scholars are also fully engaged when Tzu Chi volunteer Eduard So shared about achieving kindness through words and action. He also reminds the audience to be kind without expecting something in return or because of a personal agenda.
“With just a simple smile, you can make other people smile and that is an act of kindness. It is the basic value that everyone possesses. We just have to cultivate it because we sometimes forget how is it to be. When there is kindness, there is love,” shares So.
Meanwhile, a different program for the 110 graduating scholars is held where 5 alumni of Tzu Chi scholars gave a career talk.
One of the alumni Ailyn Tambong, a relationship manager in a BPO company, shares her way of giving back kindness to others and how she manages to practice the Tzu Chi values in the present.
“I become a role model by showing the discipline I learned at Tzu Chi. At home, you show respect to your family and obey your parents. At work, I show it by being punctual. It’s nice to practice these good traits because it reflects your personality and the kind of upbringing you have,” shares Tambong.
Living in kindness through vegetarianism
Kindness is not only for humans, but animals as well. Hence, the topic of Vegetarianism is also discussed during the humanity class.
Tzu Chi volunteer Michael Siao presents an animated video titled, ‘Man’, which shows how humans are taking advantage of all the living beings and the planet’s natural resources to satisfy his wants. Little did man know that the world is being destroyed due to his selfishness.
The video left many things worth reflecting upon among the scholars.
“After watching the video, I’ve learned that the rainforests that we need are gone because they are being cleared to serve as grazing area for livestock. It is better if we eat more veggies to help save our world; also, to lessen our carbon emissions and greenhouse [gas] effects,” says Jay Clyde Dy, a Tzu Chi scholar for seven years.
Anna Nicole De Jesus, a high school student, admits that she’s not a vegetarian but she makes it a habit to eat only vegetable meals once every week.
She also helps in spreading the advocacy. “As an officer in my school, I set an example to my fellow students by not eating meat products as much as possible and sharing with them the things that I learn at Tzu Chi.”
Tzu Chi volunteer Siao also takes the opportunity to encourage the scholars to join and spread awareness about the Earth Ethical Eating Day. The advocacy was started by Tzu Chi’s USA chapter in 2015. Since then, it has been an annual event across the world where there are Tzu Chi offices. The campaign aims to get the public to eat only vegetable meals on January 11 every year.
“I am very grateful to be invited by the organizing committee to talk about Vegetarianism. At the same time, to get them to support the 1-1-1, [or] Ethical Eating Day, and bring awareness of this concept to the people. After all, it goes with Master Cheng Yen’s advocacy,” shares Siao.
Jay Clyde Dy (right), a Tzu Chi scholar for 7 years, attentively listens to the presentation of Tzu Chi volunteer Michael Siao about living in harmony with the Earth. 【Photo by Grace Limbher Daigdigan】
Tzu Chi scholars from the grade school level review the Tzu Chi etiquette. 【Photo by Grace Limbher Daigdigan】
Tzu Chi volunteer Rita Tan takes a photo opportunity with one of the siblings of a Tzu Chi scholar. 【Photo by Grace Limbher Daigdigan】
Tzu Chi volunteer Michael Siao promotes the 1-1-1, or Earth Ethical Eating Day campaign and encourages the scholars to support the advocacy by pledging to eat only vegetarian meals on January 11, 2018. 【Photo by Grace Limbher Daigdigan】
During the humanity class for college scholars in the afternoon, everyone is all ears as Tzu Chi volunteer Eduard So shares how he practices kindness in words and actions. 【Photo by Grace Limbher Daigdigan】
Ailyn Tambong, an alumna Tzu Chi scholar, shares with the graduating scholars her own journey of struggles and success, as well as how she puts into practice the values she gained from Tzu Chi. 【Photo by Grace Limbher Daigdigan】
The organizing committee of the humanity class held a singing contest dubbed as ‘Tzu Chi Scholar Got Talent’. 【Photo by Grace Limbher Daigdigan】
A graduating Tzu Chi scholar, Ednalyn Naniong, jots down notes as the career talk progresses. 【Photo by Grace Limbher Daigdigan】
Tzu Chi scholars in the grade school level thank the Tzu Chi volunteers for cooking their delicious snacks. 【Photo by Grace Limbher Daigdigan】