Nam Mo Bon Su Thich Ca Mau Ni Phat.
Kinh thua Thay Tru Tri Tu Vien Quang Duc, TT Thich Nguyen Tang, kinh quy Huynh Truong, Doan Sinh cung quy Phat tu,
Con xin loi Thay – but so that I can deliver my message clearly, and not confuse all of you, I will continue in English – Cam On.
Thay Nguyen Tang asked me to say a few words to you, words of encouragement, and words of what I think it means to be part of the GDPT.
Whether GDPT come together from around Melbourne, around Victoria and even from around Australia, it is my privilege and a joy to be with you today, even if only for a short time.
At Quang Duc, the GDPT know I feel you are like my extended family, and it is heart-warming when you invite me to share in some of your activities. I look around and realize how big that extended family has become over the past decade. There was a time when I thought the GDPT were simply Sunday School Scouts, and in some ways, you are. But over time, I have realised that the GDPT are far more than that, and you have the opportunity to make it even better.
Since first coming to Quang Duc Monastery in 2002, I have watched as many young children become young adults. For some, as they grew older, their lives took a different path, and they left the family. But I believe most, if not all of those, will carry many of the lessons that they have learned with them and that it will have a positive effect on their lives, as I believe, Lord Buddha intended. Thankfully many of you have stayed to pass on what you have learned and share that with the new young members who joined the family. You have also welcomed more who have joined QDM from other temples.
During the passing years, I have watched how you older members have guided and nurtured the younger ones, how you have taught them and each other, not only practical skills, but also how to be creative, compassionate and considerate of each other, through your actions and words.
This has been especially easy to see during the annual retreats and camps. It seems to bring out the best in so many of you, whether playing together or, as leaders, workings together to help create and ensure the retreat or camp activities go smoothly. Or at Quang Duc Monastery, when you dedicate yourselves to helping to raise very necessary funds, providing security in the car park, or simply helping to keep Quang Duc Monastery clean and tidy.
And yes, some of you can be very vocal (but that’s no surprise) especially at the Tet celebrations as some of you prepare for the lion dance or when you perform traditional and sometimes not so traditional performances. But all of this is possible because of your common belief in Buddha and wanting to help each other and those around you. I hope that you never forget the things that you learn and the experiences you share during your time in the GDPT. No matter where you go, or whatever you do, you will always be a part of Lord Buddha’s family.
There are many moments when I see in you, the light of Buddha. I hope that you will try your best to ensure that, through you, his light continues to illuminate the hearts and minds of those young ones around you, by setting the example of what it is to be the best Buddhist you can be.
I believe that being in the GDPT, offers a wonderful opportunity for all young Vietnamese-Australians to learn the cultural and spiritual traditions that are part of your heritage. Through your experiences these traditions will live on. You are also wonderful examples of what it means to be a young Buddhist Vietnamese-Australians, and I hope that all of you will also realise that you share an important role in ensuring the future of Buddhism, especially in Australia, continues to grow.
Before closing, I would like to thank and acknowledge the Thich Nguyen Tang for his support of the GDPT. And it would not right if I didn’t acknowledge the hard work and dedication of your GDPT leaders and your parents, that all work to ensure your time in the GDPT as good an experience as it can be.
Thank you for allowing me to share my thoughts with you today. Cam On Nhieu Lam
Nam Mo Bon Su Thich Ca Mau Ni Phat.
Steve Lowe Nguyen Thien Bao