Passionate, driven and truly selfless

10 June 2012

As the participants of the Volunteer Induction Programme took turns to introduce themselves, it dawned upon me that these volunteers are no ordinary people.

These volunteers are superheroes with superpowers.

What superpowers do they exhibit? Compassion. Courage. Humility. Faith. Respect.

To have this opportunity to be amidst these ‘superheroes’ who have ardently dedicated much time, energy and effort in the Nalanda Buddhist Society, Nalanda Institute, Nalanda Dhamma School, Nalanda Free School, NEO@Happy Garden and Pustaka Nalanda was indeed a privilege and a Sunday well spent!

The founder of Nalanda, Bro HS Tan commenced the session by introducing the 8 core values of Nalanda. He encouraged us to internalise these values as these are the guiding principles in order for us to embody the “Nalandian Spirit”- being humble, eager to learn, being easy to admonish, yet confident and courageous to act and live wisely.

Having internalised the 8 core values, a Nalandian is then inspired to strive for the attainment of balance and happiness in one’s life, as well as others. This personal and social transformation can be achieved by actualising the 6 Well-beings of Nalanda.

In alignment with Nalanda’s mission of Holistic Education for Integral Human Development, one’s own cultivation (internalising core values and achieving well-being) is the epitome of transformation (integral human development).

The quality of human development lies in the holistic growth and character development of its people. Therefore, Nalandians play a crucial role in personifying the disposition of Nalanda.

Bouts of laughter and joyful moments as Bro HS Tan shared his rich experiences from working with the volunteers of Nalanda.

Plunge In! With Nalanda’s meticulous emphasis on transformative growth, when one plunges in, one will definitely learn to swim. To be involved as beacons of Nalanda, volunteers will acquire rich experiences: knowledge, skills and qualities, which in return, can be highly instrumental in our very own personal growth. Hence, as Nalanda grows in numbers, Nalandians grow in depth.

As the law of cause and effect takes its course, when we do good, we will eventually feel good. This is because the joy of service comes from the action of service. Serving others altruistically emanates the feel good factor that far outweighs the fatigue from the act of serving. This statement is a proven theory as experienced Nalandians such as Bro Lee Kong Foo, Bro Charlie, Sis Evelyn, Sis Joyce, Mrs Choo, Sis Sandy and Sis Santi shared their joy of serving with Nalanda. The privilege to serve is indeed a privilege that only those who serve can privilege from.

Sis Sandy assimilated her learning experiences with an onion. Peeling off layers of defilement is likened to peeling off layers from an onion- painful and unpleasant, but once completed, is aromatic and full of taste.

The 7 Exemplary Nalandian Award Recipients (L-R : Sis Faith, Sis Chooi Kim, Bro Zhen Yang, Bro Yap, Bro Willie, Sis Xeyiing and Sis Santi)

Like a tiny mango seed that will grow into a bountiful mango tree, our little acts of service can be assimilated to that tiny mango seed and should not be disregarded. One small act of kindness can be a life-saver to the person who is in need. For example, if parents were to miss a day of voluntary work in feeding their wailing baby, that baby would have suffered from hunger and might not see the light of day. As volunteers of Nalanda, we must believe in the power of our service. What we give out to the world is what we get in return. By the logic of this statement, what we give and what we have given is most important.

Before the session ended, Sis Nandini dedicated a song to all volunteers of Nalanda . The title of her song is 我愿.

The Mandarin song lyrics, literally translated into English equates volunteers of Nalanda to a bridge over a river, allowing others to trod on to the other shore but is not affected by the trample of feet nor the turbulence of water. The song also equates us to a barge on rocky seas, full of courage and perseverance in overcoming the unyielding waves.

What is worth doing is worth doing well! Nalandians, let’s continue contributing to society, humanity and civilisation. Our service of volunteerism is a veritable triumph! Anumodana.