On a 5-acre plot along Kepong's main road, Malaysian, Buddhist and Tzu Chi flags were seen flying in the wind against the cloudless blue sky. The place was bustling with people since the early morning of September 16, 2010 (the Malaysia Day).
Malaysia Day is held on September 16 yearly to commemorate the establishment of the Malaysian Federation on the same date in 1963. As of 2010, this special day has been gazetted as a Federal public holiday. Tzu Chi Kuala Lumpur had also chosen this day to hold the long awaited groundbreaking ceremony for their Jing-Si Hall.
Tzu Chi volunteers from many countries and 18 Chapters in Malaysia, attended the ceremony. Also present to witness this historical event were the Venerable Masters and representatives from various Buddhist organizations, the Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon, Representative from Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Malaysia, Mr. Lo Yu-chung, Representative from cooperation partners, Tzu Chi members and members of the public.
The seeds of Tzu Chi's Great Love landed in Malaysia in 1992. In 1997, the Melaka Branch opened the first Tzu Chi Jing-Si Hall in Malaysia. This was subsequently followed by the establishment of two more Jing-Si Halls in Penang and Kedah by the Penang and Kedah Branches respectively. This building in Kepong will be the fourth Jing-Si Hall in Malaysia.
This Jing-Si Hall is strategically situated in Kepong, a township with a large Chinese population. Surrounded by a commercial centre, light industries, schools and residential estates, the 4-storey Jing-Si Hall will have a built-up area of 442,000 sq.ft that accommodates many facilities.
A role model to society
The groundbreaking ceremony began at 9 am with Tzu Chi's Faith Corp Team marching in with a Buddhist flag, a Tzu Chi flag and the model of KL Jing-Si Hall.
Brother Yoo Ming Wai, who carried the "Jing-Si Hall" model, said it was an emotional moment for him when he held the model up with both hands. He said, "We have waited for so many years for today! The model is heavy, but we know we have an even heavier responsibility to carry - that is the responsibility of Tzu Chi."
In his speech, the Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon, delivered the Malaysian Prime Minister's best wishes to Tzu Chi, as well as, expressed his appreciation to the foundation for its contribution to society. He said he was very impressed with Tzu Chi's relief work in the northern part of the Peninsular when it was hit by the 2004 tsunami. Tzu Chi was the first organization to arrive at the disaster scene.
He also said that he was glad he and his wife had the opportunity to meet Master Cheng Yen in 1996; and he felt her great love and compassion. He said, "Tzu Chi is a religious organization with the Right Belief and it is a role model for all to emulate. I hope all parties will give their support to Tzu Chi in their effort to promote the true Buddhist Spirit."
In his speech, Reverend Dhammaratana, Chief Monk of the Buddhist Maha Vihara, said that Tzu Chi is a Buddhist organization that reaches out to the public. He was impressed with Tzu Chi's spirit of "First to arrive and last to go".
Venerable Ming Ji, Chairman of the Selangor and Kuala Lumpur Branch of Malaysian Buddhist Association, hoped that all Buddhists will learn this spirit of "showing great mercy even to strangers, and great compassion for all" as preached by Master Cheng Yen.
Representative from the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Malaysia, Mr. Lo Yu-chung, also took the opportunity to deliver the government's best wishes to Tzu Chi Malaysia.
The historical moment
Lin Pi-yu said, "Jing-Si Hall is a building we build together to train more bodhisattvas to carry on the spirit of great love."
Lin Pi-yu, Tzu Chi Foundation's Vice President, was also present at the ceremony to deliver Master Cheng Yen's message. The Master hopes for all bodhisattvas to always emulate the spirit of a farmer who ploughs his land diligently. She also thanked Tzu Chi volunteers in Malaysia for diligently spreading the seeds of great love in Malaysia and connecting people with selfless love.
"First shovel, let's pray for peace and prosperity, and good weather; second shovel, let's pray for a harmonious society; third shovel, may all lives on Earth go on forever..."
A team, comprising of 150 Commissioners and Faith Corps (Tzu Cheng), marched in with gloves, gifts and shovels at the ceremony, and this attracted much attention.
Mr. Zhou Han Huan and his fiancee were among the VIPs. They thought donating money before their wedding for the construction of the Jing-Si Hall was a meaningful thing to do.
All present had a chance to participate in the groundbreaking. With a permanent home in place, Tzu Chi volunteers hope to invite more people to learn more about Tzu Chi and do good deeds together.
CEO of Tzu Chi Kuala Lumpur, Echo Chien, had this to say, "Seventeen years ago, I had wondered where our home would be? The land searching mission was very tough, but I am glad that we have many volunteers who never gave up in their search; and we finally found it here. This Jing-Si Hall is the result of many people's efforts. I hope that when completed, the Jing-Si Hall will become the spiritual home of the neighbourhood and benefit more living beings, besides spreading Buddhism."
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