As we hope to practice the Buddha’s ways of compassion, we hope our actions, no matter how small, can brighten up the world around us. And as newcomers to a foreign place, we are grateful for the warmth and kindness PEI has shown us. Therefore, not only does community service give us the chance to put our teachings into practice, it is also a great way for us to give back to the community.
GWBI is often touched by the work of other charities and non-profit organizations, and make an effort to support them through various efforts. For example, our refectory nuns baked bread and donated them to Families First, a local charity that supports struggling families. We also sponsored a tree planting activity with the Royal Bank of Canada.
When we learned about Roma, a non-profit national historic site, we admired their passion for preserving the island’s history. To show our support, we gifted Roma the “Bench of Peace”, hand-painted by our novice nuns; we also make visiting Roma a part of our parishioners’ itinerary when they come to the island for retreats.
What is perhaps even more rewarding for the nuns at GWBI is the giving of time and becoming personally involved with the community. The simplest form of giving is to care for others; sometimes the nicest gift is a friendly smile, encouraging words, and a listening ear. GWBI does what it can to show support and uplift the spirits of people going through difficult times. We’ve visited patients at the hospital, senior citizens, and sent heartening messages to struggling single-mothers and victims of natural disasters.
We feel great admiration and appreciation towards Canada for its values of multiculturalism. Not only do the nuns at GWBI make an effort to learn about Canadian customs and fit in with our greater society, we also hope to play a part in Canada’s rich diversity by sharing our traditions and culture. As a relatively new religion and culture in PEI, the local communities have shown great interest in Buddhism. Throughout the year, GWBI presents to various community groups and schools (e.g., local schools and universities, Rotary Club, Women’s Institute, etc.), introducing Buddhism and life in the monastery.
GWBI believes that peace among religions can play a significant role for world peace, and works to promote respect and friendly communication between religions. Buddhist nuns from GWBI visit and make friends at various churches. We also hosted the service activity for Canadian Lutheran Anglican Youth (CLAY) when they were on PEI last year for their national gathering.