“Life is beautiful at Nalanda”, said Sis. Faith Teh when describing her volunteering experience at Nalanda. I believe all Nalandians who embrace the spirit of ‘selfless service’ and strive for spiritual growth would understand the meaning of this phrase and attest to it based on their own experiences.
Prior to meeting her, I was shown the photo of Sis. Faith featured in the Nalanda Bulletin, May 2013 Issue; and ‘cheerfulness’ was my first impression of her. Indeed, she is a jovial and pleasant person whose easygoing personality made me feel at ease during the interview, which was also our first time meeting each other. I could sense her positive energy throughout our conversation.
Sis. Faith, an active volunteer at Nalanda since February 2012, felt that there were many other volunteers who deserve to be an Exemplary Nalandian. While I do not know the other deserving Nalandians mentioned by her, I have no doubt as to why she was chosen. The more I talked to her, the more I was convinced that whoever was involved in nominating and giving her the honour have indeed made the right decision, having considered many of her noteworthy attributes.
Sis. Faith has demonstrated her courageous character by taking up the challenging role of ‘Communications Manager’. At that time, being relatively new to Nalanda, she was not familiar with the culture and appropriate writing style. She was also unsure how she could observe timeliness in delivering her tasks – which include updating and managing Nalanda’s website and Facebook daily, as well as sending weekly e-mails to close to 3,000 contacts to disseminate updates about the programmes at Nalanda. Aside from her key responsibilities in the communications aspect, Sis. Faith was also entrusted to be the emcee for many of Nalanda’s major events. Wow! It is really not an easy job that any ordinary person would want to commit to and do it voluntarily.
With a strong sense of responsibility and her openness in receiving feedback, ideas and guidance from others, Sis. Faith has not only proven her capability in carrying out her duties, but has also set herself as a good example to other Nalandians within the short span of her voluntary service here. Of course, Sis. Faith didn’t accept the tasks assigned to her with an expectation that she would turn out to be an Exemplary Nalandian. It is her sincerity to serve others, which is in line with the value of ‘Service’ that she felt most strongly about out of Nalanda’s ‘Eight Core Values’, that gives her the energy and drive to discharge her duties with vigour and joy. When asked to give a few words of advice to fellow Nalandians, she said, “In volunteering our service, it is important to do so with a joyful heart while continuing our practice as a Buddhist. Always be sincere and don’t forget the big picture.” Sound advice indeed.
Sis. Faith expressed her gratitude to her Dhamma brothers and sisters, and especially her mentor, Bro. Tan, who have been good friends and teachers throughout her time at Nalanda. In the past two years, she felt herself progressing to being more patient, humble and peaceful. Although the growth is subtle and intangible, she believes she is a different, better person today!
Nalandians will no doubt be missing Sis. Faith a lot, as she will be migrating to Australia in early 2014. Over there, she wants to continue her practice and deepen her understanding of the Dhamma. Apart from studying the suttas, she hopes to meet like-minded friends to form a group to support each other by meeting regularly for Dhamma discussions. We wish Sis. Faith all the very best in her spiritual endeavours. May she continue to progress in the Dhamma and inspire many more through selfless service!
Interviewed by Sis. Soh Beng Choo