Meet Jonathan Tran, an UCSD Tzu Ching member that is majoring in Literature and has a strong interest in Education.
Jonathan joined us back in the 2015-2016 school year when he found that he enjoyed volunteering. He explored various volunteering opportunities and stumbled upon UCSD Tzu Ching. This loving fellow has an interest in K-Pop and you can probably find him dancing to various K-Pop choreographies from groups and artists such as BTS, EXO or even Psy! Not only does he dance, but he also has a musical talent of playing piano, which he consistently performs for the elderly at Convalescent Home. Jonathan is now currently a 3rd-year at UCSD and recently had the opportunity to attend the 2016 TCCA Leadership Conference this past summer.
Let’s see what Jonathan has to share about his experience at the 2016 TCCA Leadership Conference!
2016 TCCA Leadership Conference Reflection
When I think of the TCCA Leadership Conference now, I ask myself, “What did I learn?” In terms of raw knowledge, I didn’t learn a lot of new things. Most (or even all) of the teachings and guidelines were already familiar to me because I’ve encountered them before at some points in my life. But the review does help me keep the lessons fresh in my mind. Also, I did learn at least a few things from attending the conference.
I got to see for myself what Tzu Chi is all about. In my short time as a Tzu Ching member so far, I’ve been to several volunteering events. Yet volunteering itself is only one component of Tzu Chi’s mission. At the conference, I was able to participate in many activities such as Waking Up to Wisdom, for which we woke up early to start our day with Master’s teachings; formal lunch, during which we ate in silence to keep in mind the preciousness of each meal; and Secret Pusa, which encourages us to learn from the positive traits of people around us. All of these events reminded me to be more aware of our world, all the good in our world, and the potential in each of us to help our world grow. I tasted a sample of the mindful Tzu Chi lifestyle.
I loved the atmosphere created by everybody at the conference. This was the first time I’ve been around so many friendly and caring people for nearly three whole days. I enjoyed learning from the unique stories and perspectives that were shared with me. For example, we had a workshop about how to reduce and eliminate afflictions, or things that trouble us. We shared our own afflictions and discussed possible solutions. I learned not only from the ideas my groupmates suggested for me but also from hearing about their afflictions and solutions. I could apply their examples to similar situations in my own life. I also liked hearing from older speakers who passionately talked about their backgrounds, their journeys, and more. Leon SG, a senior Tzu Chi member, joined my group during Sweet Sweet Family Time. Leon strongly admires Master Cheng Yen and has been sent on missions by Master herself. Leon shared a story that demonstrates Master’s wisdom. A foreign billionaire was moved by Tzu Chi’s efforts and wanted to make a very generous donation to the first Tzu Chi Hospital. But Master turned down the money. Many people were shocked by Master’s decision because Tzu Chi was struggling to raise funds for their hospital. The donation would have been more than enough to finish construction. Leon explained Master’s reasoning: Master believed that the best way to fund the Tzu Chi hospital is for Tzu Chi members to work together. They should build their own hospital through teamwork no matter how difficult the task would be.
Good company makes every event worthwhile, but I felt very refreshed and uplifted among all the positive people. Besides having to say goodbye too soon, the only sad part of my TCCA experience was having to choose between getting six hours of sleep each night and staying up late with friends to enjoy our limited time together. I had great company at the conference. Though it wasn’t a profound, life-changing experience, the conference did help me take a few small steps toward a better direction — a few small but unique steps that were made possible by meeting the wonderful TCCA staff and fellow attendees.