First Buddha’s Light Scout group launches in UK
【人間社記者 Mun-Kit Choy Manchester, UK報導】 2017-12-08
  • 圖說:Buddha's Light Cub Scout Leaders, Jane-June Tan and Siew-Hon Teay, invest the Cub Scouts. 人間社記者Jane Lee攝

  • 圖說:Buddha's Light Scout leaders, Kenny Tan and Cathleen Liu, invest the Scouts. 人間社記者Jane Lee攝

  • 圖說:The County Commissioner of Greater Manchester West Mr Andy Farrell, accompanied by the District Commissioner of Stretford Mr Matt Osborne, invest the five Buddha's Light Scout leaders using the Buddhist "Dharma" version of the promise. 人間社記者Jane Lee攝

  • 圖說:On behalf of the World Buddhist Scout Council (WBSC), the Secretary General Mr Matthew Percival presents a khata to Venerable Miao Di symbolising the wishes from WBSC. 人間社記者Jenny Chew攝

  • 圖說:Honoured guests, friends and well-wishers fill the hall during the opening ceremony. 人間社記者Jane Lee攝

  • 圖說:Group photo of the opening ceremony, everybody was feeling proud to be part of the historic moment. 人間社記者Jane Lee攝

  • 圖說:The leaders from Buddha’s Light and Gorse Hill Scout Groups set up joint activities such as hungry hippos. The children from different groups and backgrounds play together happily. 圖/Simon Carter提供

  • 圖說:The leaders from Buddha’s Light and Gorse Hill Scout Groups set up climbing wall for children to experience outdoor challenges. 圖/Simon Carter提供

In 1908, Lieutenant-General Robert Baden-Powell founded the Scout movement to support young people through outdoor and survival skills in the UK. The scouting programme has been spreading world-wide ever since. In 2000, Venerable Master Hsing Yun kick started Buddha's Light scouting in Taiwan to provide fun activities for the youngsters to learn Three Acts of Goodness. Buddha's Light scouting has reached different parts of the world with the Dharma flow of Humanistic Buddhism ever since. On 3rd December 2017, Buddha's Light Scouts stood steadfast in the motherland of the Scout movement being invested as the first members of the first Buddha's Light Scout Group in Manchester and the UK. The philosophies of the two great thinkers will intertwine in Great Britain guiding the youth to go higher and better.

Months of hard work have finally paid off as five Buddha's Light Scout leaders, seven scouts and 14 cub scouts have eventually gathered in Manchester Fo Guang Shan Temple in their smart uniforms merrily. The Buddha's Light neckerchief looked especially appealing with the five Buddhist flag colours. The hall was decorated with big printed words "The Opening Ceremony of First Buddha's Light Scout Group" and the "Three Acts of Goodness Gate" built with sticks and scout knots. There was a Chinese couplet on the "Three Acts of Goodness Gate" reminding everybody that "once a scout, always a scout".

The opening ceremony commenced in the solemn rhythm of the Ode to the Triple Gem. The Director of Manchester Fo Guang Shan Temple Venerable Miao Di enunciated the history, aims and current development of Buddha's Light Scouts in Taiwan and other parts of the world. Then in the applause of the audience, Venerable Miao Di announced the opening of the UK's first Buddhist and Buddha's Light Scout group. She also reminded the children to always practise Three Acts of Goodness and become a quality person with characters, qualities and intuitions.

The President of Buddha's Light International Association in Manchester Ms May Yau wished that Buddha's Light Scout Group grows in the spirit of Three Acts of Goodness and Four Givings as advocated by Venerable Master Hsing Yun. The County Commissioner of Greater Manchester West Mr Andy Farrell welcomed new members to join and share common values, as that is what we all have in common with scouting - the aspiration to share belief, goals and inclusivity.

On behalf of the World Buddhist Scout Council (WBSC), the Secretary General Mr. Matthew Percival presented a khata to Venerable Miao Di symbolising the wishes from WBSC. As Buddha's Light Scouts are a member of WBSC, Mr Percival too wished to see Buddha's Light Scouts grow in the Europe. Everybody watched a video message from Venerable Master Hsing Yun delivered during the 2016 World Buddha's Light Scout Jamboree advising the scouts to be equipped with determination, courage and Three Acts of Goodness.

The most important part of the opening ceremony was the investiture. It was the first time in the UK's scouting history that the whole group was invested using the Buddhist "Dharma" version of the promise. The County Commissioner of Greater Manchester West Mr Andy Farrell, accompanied by the District Commissioner of Stretford Mr Matt Osborne, invested the five Buddha's Light Scout leaders and, in turn, the leaders invested the scouts and cubs. Everybody put the left hand on the District Scout flag and did the Scout sign with the right hand, while promising to try their best to do their duty to Dharma and the Queen, to help other people and to keep the Scout Law.

The opening of a Buddhist Scout group has been widely reported and discussed by national media in the UK such as The Guardian, BBC and ITV. They were generally amazed by our new Buddhist Scout group that wants to do good things and embrace diversity. Before and after the opening ceremony, the leaders from Buddha's Light and Gorse Hill Scout Groups set up joint activities such as climbing wall and hungry hippos. The children from different groups and backgrounds were able to play together happily. Hopefully with the strength of Three Acts of Goodness and Four Givings, the Buddha's Light Scouts will be able to help and integrate into local communities.

The honoured guests attending the opening ceremony included the County Commissioner of Greater Manchester West Mr Andy Farrell and Youth Commissioner Mr Lewis Foster, the District Commissioner of Stretford Mr Matt Osborne, the Secretary General of WBSC Mr Matthew Percival, the Head of Media Relations of The Scout Association, UK Mr Simon Carter, Leaders with parents and cubs from Gorse Hill and Quest Scout Groups, and committee members of Buddha's Light International Association in Manchester. They were all feeling proud to be part of the historic moment.