Media cover first Buddha’s Light Scout Group in UK
【人間社記者 Mun-Kit Choy Manchester, UK報導】 2017-12-21
  • 圖說:The Guardian that has been publishing left-centre news in the UK since 1821 breaks the news first a day before the opening ceremony of First Buddha’s Light Scout Group in Manchester. The Venerables in Manchester Fo Guang Shan read the news eagerly. 人間社記者Mun-Kit Choy攝

  • 圖說:The Guardian publishes an extended online article mentioning that the young daughter of the Group Scout Leader of the Buddha’s Light Scout Group has become a Cub in the group. “She’s really excited thinking about getting badges.” 人間社記者Mun-Kit Choy攝

  • 圖說:The Guardian's reporter Frances Perraudin headlines the news of Buddha's Light Scout Group with “‘Good things’ expected for new Buddhist Scout group”, reporting inclusivity of the Scout Movement and the intention of social integration of the group. 人間社記者Mun-Kit Choy攝

  • 圖說:On BBC Breakfast, presenters Charlie Stayt and Naga Munchetty invited Simon Fanshawe, a well-known writer and broadcaster, to review newspapers. Mr Fanshawe picked The Guardian’s news on Buddhist scouting as the first article to talk about. 人間社記者Mun-Kit Choy攝

  • 圖說:ITV News covers the opening ceremony of First Buddha’s Light Scout Group. Buddha’s Light Cub Scout Leader Jane-June Tan looks forward to bring the children to do outdoor activities and to learn independent and leadership skills. 人間社記者Mun-Kit Choy攝

On 3rd December 2017, the first Buddha’s Light Scout group, which is also the first Buddhist Scout group, launched in the UK, the country of origin of the Scout Movement. As an important milestone in the history of both UK’s and Buddha’s Light scouting, the mainstream media in the UK covered and reported the event in their prime positions and time slots. The social impact and significance of Buddhist scouting have become a hot topic in social media and online forums. Discussions and comments from all walks of life have reflected the expectations for setting up a Buddhist Scout group in the UK. These are indeed valuable ideas to set the directions of Buddhist scouting.

The Guardian breaks the first news

The Guardian that has been publishing left-centre news to the liberal middle-class readership in the UK since 1821 broke the news first a day before the opening ceremony of First Buddha’s Light Scout Group in Manchester. The Guardian’s readers are generally very interested in social and cultural issues. Reporter Frances Perraudin headlined the news with “’Good things’ expected for new Buddhist Scout group”, while inclusivity of the Scout Movement and the intention of social integration of Buddha’s Light Scouts were the main storylines.

Although conceived along Christian beliefs when founded by Lieutenant-General Robert Baden-Powell initially, the Scout Movement has evolved into multiculturalism. In 2014, even atheists were given an option to be invested as a Scout using a secular promise. While the Buddhist Scout group has been reportedly welcomed by UK’s Chief Scout Bear Grylls, the news article also introduced the foundation of Buddha’s Light scouting by Fo Guang Shan and Buddha’s Light International Association based on Venerable Master Hsing Yun’s “do good things, say good words, keep good thoughts”. Despite the fact that it is a Buddhist group, the Buddha’s Light Scout Group of Manchester is open to all children interested in scouting and hoping that children from its own community can integrate into other local communities through scouting. The Guardian also published an extended online article mentioning that the young daughter of the Group Scout Leader of the Buddha’s Light Scout Group has become a Cub in the group. “She’s really excited thinking about getting badges.”

BBC discusses the launch of the first Buddhist Scout group

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) discussed the topic of Buddhist scouting on the same day when the news was published in The Guardian. During its morning news programme BBC Breakfast, presenters Charlie Stayt and Naga Munchetty invited Simon Fanshawe, a well-known writer and broadcaster, to review newspapers. Mr Fanshawe picked The Guardian’s news on Buddhist scouting as the first article to talk about. He found it encouraging that the first Buddhist group has been set up after a long 110 years of scouting history in the UK. It is definitely a positive development for the Scout Movement to expand diversity from a Christian-based origin. Ms Munchetty added that the atheist scouts were given the option to be invested using an atheist promise only very recently in 2014, while Mr Stayt wondered that how a Buddhist Scout group can be inclusive. Mr Fanshawe affirmed that the Buddha’s Light Scout Group, being a Buddhist group in a temple with Buddhist etiquettes, is definitely open to children of all backgrounds and, through scouting activities, facilitating the children in the temple to integrate into the local communities.

ITV News covers the opening ceremony

Independent Television (ITV) News, through its North West regional news programme Granada Reports, covered the opening ceremony of First Buddha’s Light Scout Group. The news presenter announced the opening of the first UK’s Buddhist Scout group in Manchester and stressed that it is a Scout group open to children of all backgrounds. The news showed the happy moments when the Buddhist Scouts read their promise and played together with their scouting friends from Gorse Hill Scout Group during a joint meeting after the ceremony. When interviewed, Buddha’s Light Cub Scout Leader Jane-June Tan told the reporter that she was looking forward to bring the children to do outdoor activities away from their families so that they would be able to learn independent and leadership skills.

The news regarding the launch of Manchester Buddha’s Light Scout group have attracted attentions in various social media and forums like Facebook and Twitter. “Likes”, comments and discussions flew in from the moment the news were published, reflecting immerse interests and enthusiasm on Buddhist scouting in the UK. Most people congratulated and welcomed the new Buddhist group; especially the UK Muslim Scouts was feeling great to see scouting reaching all communities in the UK. Multiculturalism or social integration has been an important issue in the Western societies. Many people have expressed uncertainty about setting up religious Scout groups. Fortunately there have been intellectuals like Mr Fanshawe helping to explain that Buddha’s Light Scout Group is open to all and bringing children to serve the local communities. This is the best way to integrate Buddhists into local communities and the other way around: local communities into Buddhism.