For the first time, Tzu Chi USA was invited by National VOAD to lead the invocation at the 2023 National VOAD Awards Dinner, held as part of the 2023 National VOAD Conference this May in St. Louis, MO.
It was a powerful moment to be able to share wisdom from Tzu Chi’s founder, Dharma Master Cheng Yen, with an audience of more than 800 other guests. For Tzu Chi volunteer Diana Kwok, who delivered the address, said “Once I was on stage and just thinking about Dharma Master Cheng Yen, I think it really calmed my heart… I’m kind of, you know, speaking the words but I’m really sending a Tzu Chi spirit to all.”
Furthermore, ‘reflection rooms’ setup by National VOAD allowed conference goers to engage with faith-based voluntary organizations and learn more about their faith traditions. Coincidentally, the timing of this year’s Conference coincided with the annual Buddha Day, or Vesak Day, Ceremonies held by Buddhists around the world.
It was an opportunity for Tzu Chi volunteers to share the beauty, philosophy, and blessings of this auspicious holiday with fellow NGOs and their representatives, giving them a better understanding of the peace and compassion that drives Tzu Chi’s work. Attendees were invited to participate in the Buddha Day Ceremony itself.
For Lameen Witter, a videographer from FEMA whose main task was to document events at the conference, said, “I actually really was just covering it as a videographer, right?… But I was completely moved by the emotion and… I guess, wholesomeness of the ceremony itself. I found myself after the gratitude ceremony fighting back tears.”
See these touching moments and more in our latest video.