Hsi Lai Temple’s TAG School celebrated its closing ceremony for the Spring 2022 semester on Sunday, June 19, at the Hsi Lai Center in a joint group of preschool, kids’, and youth classes. The Abbot, Ven. Hui Dong, and Superintendent Ven. Yi Shan were invited along with parents and teachers to acknowledge the students’ accomplishments over the last several months. TAG School bases its teachings on the “Three Acts of Goodness” which are: do good deeds, say good words, and think good thoughts, the simple and foundational Dharmic principle promoted by the Fo Guang Shan Founder, Ven. Master Hsing Yun. Over the past semester, these seeds of goodness were planted in our children with age-appropriate lessons and activities that took place virtually on Zoom.
The ceremony began with a speech by Ven. Abbot Hui Dong who graciously took the time to share his auspicious greetings and words of wisdom to the students who have been set on this Bodhisattva path. He spoke about the importance of teaching TAG to the youth because they will bring light to our troubled world. He encouraged parents to continue teaching the Dharma in their homes and thanked the parents, students, and teachers for all their efforts in teaching and practicing the Buddha’s teachings every day!
After the Abbot’s speech, he awarded certificates and gift bags to the preschool students which was followed by an adorable song and yoga performance. They performed the “Three Acts of Goodness Song”, and “GuanYin Pusa” which is a song about Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva. They then took to their yoga mats onstage, demonstrating simple poses that they learned in class as an early practice of mindfulness meditation. The crowd was alight with joy to see the little ones perform which set the stage for the next performance from the kids’ class who performed a beautiful tai chi choreography. The kids’ class teacher, Ms. Ching, shared a few touching words beforehand noting how determined they were to learn tai chi in order to rise to the challenge of performing, despite the limitations of learning it on a virtual platform. She called them her “heroes” in an emotional expression of appreciation for her students’ never-give-up mentality.
An air of magic was left in the room after the kids’ class performance, as Superintendent Ven. Yi Shan took to the stage to award them their well-earned certificates and gifts. Next, the youth class received their acknowledgements and gifts, and although they did not perform they are preparing for a big upcoming presentation on “Buddhism Around the World.” They were assigned to research and present the historic and modern influences of Buddhism, and how it was spread around different areas of the world such as China, Thailand, Indonesia, and India. This project was designed to develop the youth’s public speaking skills while giving them the opportunity to learn about cultural influences on Buddhism and how the original teachings of the Buddha remain a uniting force among practicing Buddhists all over the planet. Last but not least, TAG teachers were given their due acknowledgments for making all the classes possible, and for their contribution to teaching a new generation of good citizens. The teachers designed the curriculum and volunteered their time to propagate the Dharma in their classrooms, always with the student’s best interests in mind. Once the teachers received their well-deserved certificates and gifts of appreciation from the temple, everyone joined together for a group photo. As it was Father’s Day, all the fathers were honored for their integral role in teaching, loving, and nurturing their children. Superintendent Ven. Yi Shan awarded the fathers who participated in the ceremony with tokens of appreciation.
Learning the Dharma begins in the home, where the foundation of goodness is set from an early age and continues throughout life. The TAG School’s goal is to complement parents’ efforts to plant seeds of goodness in the hearts and minds of our future generation of citizens and leaders. By practicing three simple rules: do good deeds, speak good words, and think good thoughts, we could all make our communities and, ultimately, the world a better place.