On October 15, the Day-of-Giving at Hsi Lai Temple—a volunteer activity geared toward local residents—celebrates its anniversary of gratitude with the addition of the "Four Givings". Ven. Zhi Xing, Leader of the Department of Social Education & Outreach, shared the Day-of-Giving practices what Venerable Master Hsing Yun always emphasized, localization does not imply the “removal” of any elements but the action of “giving.” The Four Givings—-giving people confidence, joy, hope, and convenience. In the first year, 200 participated.
Ven. Zhi Xing shared, Venerable Master Hsing Yun set the "Four Givings" as the working creed of Fo Guang Shan, and Buddhism places great importance on "learning, contemplating, and practicing." Upholding this belief, Hsi Lai temple organized the "Day-of-Giving" and invited residents to participate in this once-a-month Saturday activity. By participating in a two-hour activity, volunteers strengthened their right view of the Dharma, and also learned to let go of attachments. The Four Givings is like a stream that irrigates and nurtures the Bodhi mind.
During the year, Day-of-Giving volunteers packed and donated blankets in wintertime for people in need; decorated Hsi Lai Temple with lamps to welcome Chinese New Year and then removed all the decorations afterward; set up the Mid-Autumn Festival Dharma service venue, created Hsi Lai’s float for the 4th of July Parade, painted walls and railings, pulled weeds in the monastery, etc. Although the services differ, the connotation is the spirit of the Four Givings and collective creation.
On each Day-of-Giving Venerable combined the day's volunteer activities with the Dharma. On painting day, Ven. Zhixing reminded everyone, "Brushing paint is like brushing the heart; it is a good opportunity to cultivate mindfulness because the hollowed-out transitions and corners require extra focus to apply the paint evenly.”
Participants cleaned the classrooms on Hsi Lai School's old campus, on Oct. 15th, in preparation for a new future. Ven. Huicheng encouraged everyone with the story of Śuddhipanthaka. Śuddhipanthaka was Buddha’s disciple and had a poor memory. The Buddha taught him to keep reciting the words “sweeping dust and dirt” when sweeping the floor. With diligence on focused sweeping and reciting, Śuddhipanthaka recognized the importance of sweeping away all the dust and dirt in his heart. He became enlightened, and attained Arahanthood.
Volunteer siblings, Alexander and Michelle Vogel, recalled they have participated in Day-of-Giving four times, and now have a better understanding of Hsi Lai Temple and Humanistic Buddhism.
LaWanda Hudson, who lives about an hour's drive from Hsi Lai Temple, attended the Day-of-Giving in August when the temperature exceeded 100 degrees. She expressed, “The joy of service makes her totally forget the fatigue of driving and the heat.”
If you are interested in participating in the Day-of-Giving program and becoming a "Four Givings Volunteer", kindly register on this website. http://www.hsilai.org/en/events/localcommunity/GettingInvolvedInHLT.php