My first experience of traveling and student camp in Malaysia from 6th to 24th December, 2017

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by Ven. Silar DOUNGBOUTDY
BA Student

I got a good opportunity from International Buddhist College (IBC) to gain new experiences about many things and share a little Dhamma knowledge with young students in Malaysia. This was the first time for me to visit Malaysia. We shared Dhamma in English and it was a new challenge that I have never faced before. When we reached at Than Hsiang Welfare Association Pajam Center, we received a warm welcome from many young students and especially from sister Pau Chu. I was so surprised and I did really enjoy the game they used to interact with us in our first ice-breaking meeting after the long seven hours of traveling from Thai-Malaysian border to Pajam. After receiving this first surprising gift of ice-breaking activities, their beautiful smiling faces and warm welcome ceased our tiring day automatically.

On first day at Pajam we discussed about our project and the topic was “how to respect.” We divided the topic into six categories and led by six venerables as follow:
1.    Respect to the Buddha, led by Ven. San Pisith
2.    Respect to the Triple gem, led by Ven. Rin Phyrun
3.    Respect to the Parents-Teachers, led by Ven. Silar
4.    Respect to the Elders, led by Ven. Chinh
5.    Respect to friends, led by Ven. Chan and
6.    Respect to the environment, human society & other things led by Ven, Anh Troug

In the beginning of my first lesson I could not speak any words because I was afraid and felt nervous. After taking a few deep breaths only I could start my lesson. I used power point and video to support myself in my presentation. On one hand it made my teaching more interesting and lively and on the other hand, it also made easier for students to understand my message. When I finished my presentation, I felt much relief and happy. I feel grateful to have this wonderful opportunity to share my knowledge with children. At the same time I reflect on my skills and think if I want to have a bright future I must work hard and practice more.

On December 15, 2017 we traveled to Penang from Pajam to participate at the International Young Buddhist scholars Conference organized by International Buddhist College (IBC) at Than Hsiang Temple. This was also my first participation in an international conference with many scholars from all over the world. Many speakers in the conference presented their interesting research papers. The speakers presented their papers in different methods, techniques and skills to support their messages. From this one day conference, I have learned many things from them. For instance, how to present a paper, answer questions immediately to audience etc. After that we came back to Pajam again as we had another camp in Klang. We spent three days for that camp and meantime we had a lot of free time to visit many places such as Mountain climbing at Mantin Hill, Broga Hill, Batu Cave, KLCC twin towers, I-City, Kek Lok Si, Burmese temple and Thai temple in Penang.

Among all these interesting places we visited, I prefer Broga Hill. Broga hill is a cliff hill and difficult to climb but finally we reached on top of the mountain. It was beautiful, the air was fresh and the scenery was peaceful and nice. I love the environment and it made me miss my home town. This made me think of my childhood again. I often used to follow my elder brother, climbing mountain looking for fruits. But now at Broga Hill I took many beautiful pictures with my Dhamma friends and school mates for memory.

The second place is the twin tower; it was beautiful and an amazing building. When I reached the top of the building I could see many beautiful scenes of Kuala Lumpur. Third, it was a natural cave that converted into a Hindu temple called Batu Cave; there were many bats, monkeys and pigeons flying around the cave. These are the popular places that I’ve visited during my stay in Malaysia.

On December 21, 2017 we reached Klang center in the afternoon. There we met up with Ven Aggadhamma’s group. After an hour of cleaning and preparation for the coming camp; on that night itself we shared many activities with students such as modern art, paper craft and drawing. We had a fruitful evening and a drink of milo before going to bed.

Next morning on December 22, 2017 I saw many parents bringing young children to the center; I found that this time, it was more interesting and challenging because most of them could not understand English well. I was fortunate to have some assistants who were able to help me to do the translation. Otherwise, I was unable to communicate with them. However, at the end of my presentation I received beautiful smiling faces in return.

At the last session of the camp all venerables and students shared their feelings, thoughts and some repented for their past unpleasant conducts and asked for forgiveness. I believe through such activities we can develop honesty, trust, purity and sincerity. During the camp I had a nice time with my students in terms of understanding and respecting each other and live together happily.

Finally, I would like to thanks IBC, Than Hsiang Temple and sister Chu Pau Chu which I am not able to write out by words. I hope next time we will have same good opportunity again for the benefits of all. Thank you very much with Metta.