Reflections: Volunteering

2009 Buddha Gate Monastery Bodhi Seed Camp
Darlene (Chuan Ling) Cioffi-Pangilla

When I got home from volunteering at the Gardens at Heather Park in Walnut Creek, where I had spent two hours pulling up plants that had seeded and gown in unexpected places, I could not help but recall an article written by the manager of the Gardens and reflect on Buddha Gate Monastery’s Bodhi Seed Camp.

To paraphrase the article:

Life begins and ends in the garden; this year’s seed is next year’s flower. The hot days of summer are perfect for propagating plants that will be put into the garden during the autumn or next spring. A garden is different from a landscape – it is constantly evolving because the gardener is part of the evolution.

No doubt growth, change, frustration and surprise will come with spending time with the plants. While some may be a nuisance, others add a new dimension to the forever changing garden.

The gardener is the Buddha, through the BGM Shifus and volunteers. The plants are the children being seeded with the seeds of respect, kindness, harmony, truthfulness and gratitude.

Who knows where these newly seeded “plants” will be in the autumn or next spring. Many of these “plants” will seed in places not in the original planting plan. However, NO plant will need to be pulled up because it seems to be in a wrong or unexpected place. There is no wrong or unexpected place when the tenets of Chung Tai are strong and flourishing!

Bodhi Seed Camp

Katherine Huynh  (Chuan Wen)

During the two weeks of the summer camp, it’s been pretty tiring but it was good experience with most of the kids. Even though the kids were rowdy, enthusiastic, or full of energy, they were just excited for the next activity and making new friends with one another. As a TA it was exhausting taking
care of the kids but in the same it I met a lot of friendly new faces as well. I think that seeing the kids taking in and learning new things like meditation, folding clothes, calligraphy, martial arts, gardening, scout training, learning Mandarin,  and etc, got them really excited to do the activities.  In my perspective, these four days were lively and cheerful.  I realized that taking care of kids was not easy but also not hard. The activities were enjoyable and I hope most of the kids will return to the Bodhi Seed meditation class and looking forward to the next summer school as well.

 

Bodhi Seed Camp TA

Drew Dickson (11)

I had a lot of fun being a TA.  It was hard keeping the kids together and having them listen, but overall it was fun just to help them and work with my other TAs. While I was there helping I did learn a lot of new stuff like how to bow, meditate, speak mandarin, not waste food, and chant. I had a lot of fun being a help to the Buddha gate monastery and learning many new things that can help me later in life.

Jamar Pagpaguitan (12)
Being a TA at BGM’s 2012 Bodhi Seed Summer Camp was a great and fun experience for me.  That was my second year there and now I know how TAs felt last year when I was a Bodhi seed.  I made many new friends from Bodhi Seeds to Teachers, volunteers, and shifus.  We helped each other and
spoke up when needed.  In my opinion, driving approximately 1 hour to BGM is worth it.  I wish everyone there and who was there a great rest of the year.  And I hope to see me being a TA again in 2013.

Jessica Ly  (12)
I have been a Buddha Gate member since I was 5 years old. Now I am almost 12. For the past 3 years of the Bodhiseed Summer Camp as a Bodhiseed, I’ve learned a lot of things and made many new friends.
And for this year I’ve become a TA. As a TA I’ve experienced a challenge to handle with kids. When I had to handle the kids, it was very hard for me. And once I learned about them, I figured that each and every one of them had different personalities of many things. But when they learned about the Four Tenets of Chung Tai (as in Respect, Kindness, Harmony and Truthfulness) and the other stuffs, they’ve improved so much. Even if they struggled a lot they kept on trying their best and never giving up or slacking off so basically they’ve been really diligent during this camp. And even though I had hard time to do these difficult things and activities at this camp, I had a very spectacular summer. So I   hoped they enjoyed their summer here at the Bodhiseed Summer School, too. But most of all, I’d like to thank the Abbess and all Shifus for giving me this opportunity to be a TA. And if I get another opportunity again then I’dlike to be a TA again. Amitofo!

 

佛門寺菩提子夏日學園—散播菩提種子

佛門寺秉持佛法慈悲的精神以及  導師上惟下覺大和尚的諄諄教誨,自 2009 年起,以「中台四箴
行」為校訓,舉辦菩提子夏日學園,將「敬慈和真」融合於各式的課程活動中,以期啟發老師、
學員、隊輔、家長、義工菩薩等,所有與會者的覺性種子。
今年,兩梯次的夏日學園,有 96 人次,五到十歲的小菩提子,及 32 人次的隊輔,30 人次的老師,
上百位護持的義工菩薩們共同參與。課程活動包含:禪修靜坐、 過堂行儀、佛門巡禮(學習佛菩薩
慈悲智慧)、孝親感恩法會、反省日記、武術健身、洗手衞生、摺衣服(慈善捐贈)、園藝(怎麼收穫
怎麼栽)、童軍訓練、涼扇香皂染衣 DIY 等,「敬慈和真」不但融入於課程活動的內容,課堂中更
進一步實踐。每一堂,上下課時,由隊輔呼班,帶領小菩提子,向師長行禮,長養恭敬心; 課程中,
耐心學習,長養慈悲心; 互相幫助,長養和睦心; 專注投入,長養真誠心。
此次夏日學園,更以弟子規為輔助教材,略分為四篇章:恭敬篇、自律責任篇、慈悲智慧篇以及
學文利他篇。鼓勵菩提子背誦,以助於生活中,在學校、家庭,對父母、師長、同學人等乃至天
地一切眾生,具體落實「敬慈和真」。祈願早日,遍地菩提花開。

傳文 (11 歲) 真誠隊輔  菩提子夏日學園心得

兩週下來,(兩梯)的夏日學園,實在很累,但和這麼多的孩子一起,確是很好的體驗。儘管小孩
子吵吵鬧鬧的,他們熱誠、充滿活力地結交新朋友,期待下一個活動。擔任隊輔雖然很累,但同
時也遇到許多友善的新面孔。我想,看著他們投入學習新的事物,像是靜坐、摺衣服、書法、武
術、園藝、童軍訓練、華語等課程,他們真的很積極地參與。個人觀感:這是活潑愉快的四天。
我體會到,照顧小孩並不容易,但也不難。活動充實愉快,希望大多數的孩子回到菩提子兒童禪
修班,也期待明年的夏日學園。

Drew Dickson (11 歲,和睦隊輔)

當隊輔,非常開心。要讓小孩隊伍集中並聽話,很難。但整體來說,幫助他們學習以及和其他隊
輔合作,很愉快。當我協助他們時,我自己學到最多,如:問訊、靜坐、說中文、不浪費食物以
及唱誦。我很高興能在佛門寺發心,並學習許多新的事物,幫助我未來的人生。

Jamar Pagpaguitan (12歲  慈悲隊輔)

擔任2012年佛門寺菩提子夏日學園的隊輔,對我而言是很棒的體驗。這是我第二年參加,現在我
知道,當我還是菩提子時,隊輔的感受是什麼了。我結交了很多新朋友:菩提子、老師、隊輔、
師父們。我們提出需要,並且彼此幫助。在我看來,開大約一小時的車程到佛門寺是值得的。我
希望在那裡的每一個人愉快的渡過這一年,並希望2013再回來當隊輔。

Jessica Ly (傳聲 12 歲,和睦隊輔)

五歲時,我就是佛門寺的一員。現在,我十二歲了。過去三年,在菩提子夏令營還是學員,  學了
很多,也交了很多新朋友。今年,我變成了隊輔。當隊輔,帶領孩子,是一項挑戰。當我必須管
理孩子時,對我來說實在很困難。但我認識他們之後,我發現他們每一位都有不同的性格。在他
們學習了中台四箴行(敬慈和真) 和其他規矩,他們進步快速。儘管他們也有掙扎,他們不斷努力,
從不放棄,也不懈怠,基本上,在學習過程中,他們真的很勤奮。雖然在營隊中,我也曾遇到難
關,但這是精彩的暑假。希望他們在夏日學園中,都很愉快。另外,我特別要感謝住持和所有師
父給我機會擔任隊輔。如果未來還有機會,我要再當隊輔。阿彌陀佛!