Joyfulness was truly the key characteristic of the tea gathering with close to 100 attendees. The thoughtful arrangement of transport ferrying guests to KL Tzu-Chi Jing Si Hall was another mindful effort from the volunteers.
The guests’ enthusiasm were obvious with early birds flocking into the Jing Si Hall way before the event time. Upon their arrival, each of them were warmly greeted by the English Group volunteers. Some were awed by the dignified ambience of Jing Si Hall, and exclamations of “wow” or “oooh” can be heard from time to time, as they toured around the Jing Si Hall.
The tea gathering kick-started with an introductory video summarizing Tzu Chi’s Four Missions and Eight Footprints right here in Malaysia. This was followed by fellow volunteers presenting one of Tzu Chi’s signature features – sign language. The song, “Let Love Heal the World” was chosen to deliver the message that the one thing that humankind share in common is love, and with Great Love, it transcends nationality, race and religion.
The event swiftly advanced into the highlight of the day, which is touring Jing Si Hall. This segment was facilitated by volunteers Loo Leong Tuck and Liew Kam Fong. To enhance the experience of the visitors, both of them provided an overview that covers key principles that Tzu Chi upholds dearly. This includes teachings in Tzu Chi that direct us to practise benevolence with others, and the significant meanings behind the two Chinese character, “慈 (Tzu)” and “济 (Chi)”. The tour around Jing Si Hall was organized such that visitors will be able to appreciate basic information of Tzu Chi and its founder – Master Cheng Yen, as well as in-depth insights of the latest progress in Tzu Chi around the world. Many commented that the brief 30-min tour was one that is both productive and inspiring.
Upon completing the tour of the Jing Si Hall, guests were ushered back to the tea gathering venue where the next speaker – Dr Zazali awaited them. Dr Zazali, a practising physician, spoke of his encounter with Tzu Chi, and how that had inspired him to continue his journey with Tzu Chi despite the difference in religion. To Dr Zazali, the Islamic teachings that he holds on to dearly as a devout Muslim has no conflict with what he sees and learns in Tzu Chi. Both religions speak of love and harmony. In fact, both religions are also aligned with his own values in life, where he believes that doing charity should be done without any thoughts of returns or rewards. To him, one can only be considered truly happy and wealthy when he or she is giving back to society through acts of kindness. What warms his heart most is in seeing volunteers in Malaysia coming together to support those in need and at the same time motivating others to join in spreading love and warmth to more. Dr Zazali’s sharing captured the heart of every single one person in the room that day.
The break-out session was yet another “popular” segment given that guests and hosts (English Group volunteers) had the opportunity to come together to form new friendships and enhance camaraderie amongst them.
Leng binti Makjen Hasibuan, an Indonesian volunteer, commented that Tzu Chi is a highly disciplined organization and her first time attending fellowship had radiated so much joy in her heart. It was also both touching and joyful to see that the tea gathering had inadvertently became the “meeting point” of three groups of lecturers from different institutions in Malaysia. What they share in common is that they are Muslims, and they are all wanting to spread love and warmth to this land called Malaysia. Thirteen-year-old boy Ryan Yap Jeh-Ern, accompanied by his parents, Tony Yap Toor Koon and Nancy Tan, was impressed with the way the Jing Si Hall tour was conducted, allowing him to learn about Tzu Chi in a fun manner. The young boy added that the tour had allowed him to better understand Tzu Chi’s missions.
The tea gathering ended on a high note with guests going home wearing a big smile externally, along with a joyful heart, internally.
In retrospect, perhaps it was more than pure coincidence that the tea gathering took place during the weekend where the entire nation celebrates Malaysia Day. The tea gathering epitomizes what Malaysia is truly about – it is about diversity where the event was graced by guests of different races including Chinese, Malay and Indians, as well as both local and non-locals. More importantly, the tea gathering reminds us all that Malaysia is a land that flourishes due to its occupants’ ability to co-exist harmoniously and peacefully amidst the differences in language, race and religion. And in Tzu Chi, the answer is revealed to us that to sustain such harmony and peace in the country, each of us simply has to awaken the love and compassion in us, and spread it out to the bigger masses out there.