Toronto Three Acts of Goodness Smart Kids Following the Footsteps of Venerable Master Hsing Yun

August 12, 2023

From August 7th to 12th, Fo Guang Shan (FGS)Temple of Toronto hosted a six-day Children Summer Creative Workshop. The program was packed with a wide range of activities for 24 participants aged 6 to 11. The spirit of the Three Acts of Goodness was imparted to the children through stories and creative art projects. Lessons on the Dharma and the wisdom of words, which the founder of FGS, Venerable Master Hsing Yun, so finely embodied in his lifetime, allowed the kids to learn the right view of “Never Forget One’s Initial Aspirations” and how to face challenges with courage.

Venerable Chueh Fan, the Abbess of FGS Temple ofToronto, reminded the children to integrate the Three Acts of Goodness and the Four Givings into their lives. Ven. Chueh Fan also presented the books written by Venerable Master, including Footprints in the Ganges, Humble Table, Wise Fare, and The Biography of Venerable Master Hsing Yun (comic version) to express gratitude to the teachers, volunteers, and teaching assistants for dedicating time and efforts to support the workshop. 

The theme of this year’s Summer Creative Workshop, “Gratitude: The Greatest Wealth,” was chosen to commemorate the late Venerable Master’s noble characters and teachings. Venerable Ru An brought the children to the on-site Water Drop Tea House to share the story of the “half bowl of pickled vegetables.” This session inspired the youngsters to reflect on the virtue of gratitude and ways to follow the late Venerable Master’s example.The children then watched an animated film depicting the life of Venerable Master Hsing Yun and his fearless spirit while fulfilling the vow of spreading Humanistic Buddhism. 

The core teachings from For All Living Beings:A Guide to Buddhist Practice – the Threefold Training on Morality, Meditative Concentration, and Wisdom – were captured and conveyed through short stories and discussions. Puffin the Cat served as a great lesson on the spirit of respect and not violating others in upholding Buddhist precepts. This story also reminded the students that the cultivation of morality extends to proactively benefiting others through kindness. The Mindful Walking activity began with children skipping and running around. As time passed, the kids started to show awareness of their thoughts and actions. The Wealthy Beggar encouraged everyone to discover their Buddha Nature from within.

The creative workshops featured a wide variety of activities such as paper clay, making mooncakes, DIY bug repellent, dotpainting, and flower arrangements. The kids devoted their undivided attention to learning these crafts and loved bringing their creations home to share withtheir families. On the first day, the children were guided to create different figures and decorations out of colourful paper clay. Each student demonstrated their creative spin and interpretations based on the pre-made samples provided. 

In the “Little Chef” session, Trish taught the children how to make mochi-covered mooncakes step-by-step. From making theouter mochi layer to preparing the fillings and final assembly, the children had fun making the traditional dessert by hand. The Scout leaders brought new life into coffee grounds by transforming them into natural bug repellents. Moreover, the kids quickly grasped the art of making of origami collapsiblefans, another useful DIY item. 

The dot painting session trained theparticipants to be patient in the creative process, one dot at a time. The flower arrangement sessions also made use of dried vegetable chips and freshfruits. Richard first demonstrated how to make impressive displays out of simple material. The teachers warmly praised the imagination and creativity ofthe children. 

On the final day, the students and their families gathered at the Temple to celebrate their accomplishments. With wide grins on their faces, the children relived the memories made over the course of the program through a recap video. The Dharma Treasure Hunt was centred around the Venerable Master’s memorial exhibition and exploring around different parts of the Temple. This enjoyable family activity brought wisdom and Humanistic Buddhism to every participating family.

Venerable Miao Mu, the Superintendent of FGS Temple of Toronto, praised the weeklong learning journey that the youngsters undertook together. All the children received a copy of The Life of Sakyamuni Buddha (comic version).  The program concluded after a touching singing performance of the “Ten Cultivation Song.” 

Not only were the children filled with great joy in learning, but parents also expressed gratitude to the temple for organizing the engaging hands-on projects that were completed by the teaching of Dharma, bringing beauty and wisdom home. Ka Ki Chan expressed that her kids usually dreaded waking up early for school, but were eager to get out of bed for the program. Everyone was looking forward to being a part of the Three Actsof Goodness Children Summer Creative Workshop next year!

The group photo with the Abbess Venerable Chueh Fan, Venerable Ru An, the teaching team, volunteers, and our happy Three Acts of Goodness children. (Photo by Glen Chan)
Venerable Ru An led the children to sing the Ode to the Triple Gem. (Photo by Grace Ho)
Venerable Ru An brought the children to the on-site Water Drop Tea House to share the story ofthe “half bowl of pickled vegetables.” (Photo by Grace Ho)
Instructor Richard pictured guiding the children inthe flower arrangement session session. (Photo by Glen Chan)
Instructor Trish demonstrated how to use themooncake mold. (Photo by Glen Chan)
Abbess, Venerable Chueh Fan warmly asked the children aboutwhat they had learned. (Photo by Grace Ho)
Instructor Huan Chen showed the children how tocreate adorable figures out of paper clay. (Photo by Glen Chan)
Families had a marvellous time completing themissions in the Dharma Treasure Hunt and take time to learn about VenerableMaster Hsing Yun at the memorial exhibition. (photo by Hong)
Venerable Miao Mu pictured along with theparticipants who had just received copies of the comic version of The Biographyof Sakyamuni Buddha. (photo by Hong)