Educational Meets and Networking: IBC, PSU and Confucius Institute
IBC and PSU (Prince of Songkla University) are two tertiary institutions located not far from one another. Interaction began more than two years ago with mutual visits and exchanges. Recently, IBC students wee invited again to attend seminars and workshops related to religion and philosophy at PSU.
On September 30, 2007, some IBC students attended a seminar on "Confucius Ethics in Daily Life" held by Confucius Institute and Faculty of Liberal Arts at Prince of Songkla University. The seminar focuses on how a healthy society can be developed by educating the young people with the traditional cultures such as Confucius ethics. IBC students contribute to building a healthy Thai society through their regular effort in educating children and youths in such regular programs as summer children camps and Weekend Dharma School.
Prof Ma of the Confucius Institute presented ethical issues of public interest in China and the attempts instituted to transform the society for the better through the existing education system from kindergartens to tertiary institutions. One of the most touching stories he related concerned a common issue of rebellious and belligerent youths encountered in educational institutions, who refused to study, who were bullies, who were spoiling for a fight, who disrupted classes, bent on destroying a learning environment. How did one high school deal with a situation where the school educational standard and moral standing were sinking because of irresponsible acts of rebellious youths who did not know better? In great despair, the Principal of one such high school threw up his hands and fell to his knees in one public school assembly. Down on his knees, in tears with palms together, facing several thousands of his students and staff, he begged and pleaded to the students, 'please don't fool around anymore, don't waste your life anymore; return to your classrooms, resume your studies; work hard on your studies; make something of yourselves.' This public plea was splashed across local newspapers, so touched the communities, other students and parents that all, the principal, students, staff and students' parents, and the communities worked together to improve the learning environment, ethics and moral conduct of the students. That public plea saved the high school and its students, and by extension, the communities that the high school served.
Assistant Prof Dr Porntipha focused on the importance of education on morality, the ethical system of Confucius and its application in raising morality. It is so important for the progress of a nation and the world at large that it is the duty of everyone to work on educating the youths on morality and ethical conduct. Another speaker, Mr Weng M F focussed on the teachings of Confucius.
IBC students shared with those in the seminar their views on societal issues and highlighted those that affected their society deeply. They talked about drug and human trafficking; the plight and exploitation of orphans and street children; they talked about corruption; they talked about many more issues. They saw in themselves a role to play in correcting these social ills; as responsible and educated members of the Sangha, of the communities they come from; and of what they can do for their communities and the world. They once again see the importance of education in leading the way to contributing to the betterment of the society from which they come and to which they return eventually.
The seminar had been one of those enjoyable and fruitful ones. Thanks to the organisers for inviting us to listen at the seminar and for an opportunity to share our views, Prof Ma of Confucius Institute and Assistant Prof Dr Porntipha of Faculty of Liberal Arts of PSU.
On October 7, 2007, IBC students also participate in the Seminar on "Diamond Sutra" by Mr. Gill Alon from Israel, who was ordained under the Japanese Soto Zen tradition. The seminar is held in the lecture hall at the Faculty of Environmental Management.