Believe in Tzu Chi and Believe in Love: Brother Han Huang’s Care and Encouragement for Inland Tzu Shao

National Headquarters  |  July 5, 2022
Photos provided by Inland Tzu Shao Team

Jolin Chang and Suong Chang 
Inland Tzu Shao Team
Translated by H.B. Qin

*Tzu Chi Youth Association (TCYA, also called Tzu Shao), is a branch of the Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation. Inland Tzu Shao is one of its chapters.

The Inland Tzu Shao’s team was created in 2012, merging two expanding groups. While they were fearful since they had no experience, the Tzu Chi volunteers at the lead were sincere in their efforts when they took on this seemingly impossible task.

Because of the favorable geographical location, we were lucky to invite Brother Han Huang to give regular lectures. Whenever I introduced him as the CEO of Tzu Chi USA, the young children would gently whisper, “wow,” as they looked closely at this handsome young man. I remember when I once asked him to introduce Tzu Chi, Brother Huang mingled with the children in fluent English, and they laughed one after another. He encouraged Tzu Shao members by showing Tzu Chi USA 360 videos, sharing his international disaster relief experience, and talking about his having studied in the United States. Brother Huang told Tzu Shaos that the purpose of life is not just to get perfect grades, to go to a top university, to get a high salary, and to enjoy a high social status, which are all life experiences. At the same time, the most important thing is the spirit of great love – serving the masses and those in need. The meaning of life lies in inspiring love, revealing pure love, and going deep into the dark corners to comfort the suffering. Saying so to this group of teenage Tzu Shaos, he hoped to plant kindness in their young and tender hearts. 

“Brother Han Huang, please come to the graduation ceremony of Tzu Shaos…” Every year in May, when the Poinciana trees bloom, farewell songs are sung during the joint graduation ceremonies for Tzu Shao and Tzu Ching (Tzu Chi Collegiate Association) members across the Tzu Chi USA Headquarters Region. Brother Huang always fulfilled all expectations and participated in every ceremony in the area. As he went from place to place, he was often apologetic if a light sweat glistened with gold on his forehead under the hot May sun. He’d say with a sincere smile, “I apologize. Now, let me share some words of encouragement with you. And then, I gotta get to Irvine.”

In May 2019, Brother Han Huang participated in the last graduation ceremony of Inland Tzu Shao. In the concentric central square of the Tzu Chi USA Headquarters campus, Brother Huang, who was both traditional and innovative, often thought out of the box and contributed different new ideas. He said, “Come on, let’s make a soda fountain.” Then, everyone merrily sang the Happy Birthday song. Brother Huang said, “Every day is a good day, and every moment is a good moment. I wish every Tzu Shao good luck and to be a good child who acknowledges, cherishes, and creates blessings; who acknowledges, is grateful for, and repays kindness”. Brother Huang was a CEO thirsty for knowledge, modest, and who thought out of the box.

As the CEO, Brother Han Huang, like many Tzu Chi elders, was multi-talented and wise. At the opening ceremony of Tzu Shao, he chose the song “Sweet Home,” and said: “Thank you for the innate fate that allows us to become a family. If you’re in a bad mood and speak harshly, let me hold you and cry with you. Cherish the fate of sharing joy and sorrow, and let us always be a family; every time we argue and then understand, the process is one where the love in our hearts becomes deeper and deeper.” Brother Huang, who had a great sense of rhythm, danced to the song, motivating everyone. And now, this song is deeply imprinted in everyone’s heart. In the big Tzu Chi family, if there is love, there is space and tolerance for others, allowing a sense of companionship through which we can share one another’s joys and sorrows.

Brother Han Huang was straightforward and honest in nature, optimistic in attitude, and at ease by instinct while desiring little in life. Every March, inland Tzu Shaos will hold a “Cooking Talent Contest for the Promotion of Vegetarianism.” Tzu Shaos are always full of energy on that occasion. With the main dishes, snacks, and drinks, Brother Huang liked to be the judge because he had a lot of unique ideas about “food.” “It doesn’t need to be delicious and grandstanding,” he said, “but it needs to encompass Tzu Chi’s humanistic spirit.” He was referring not just to the ingredients in the recipe, as Brother Huang paid attention to the presentation of the food and the way one ate at the dinner table. He reminded Tzu Shaos about the importance of manners and polite behavior. In doing so, he used simple terms and kind language, and everyone felt relaxed and light like a spring breeze.

Photos provided by Inland Tzu Shao Team

Our Tzu Shao team lacked experience; we led Tzu Shao with pure enthusiasm. In retrospect, we asked Brother Han Huang for advice on all matters. Once in April, when we faced trivial issues such as selecting the new year’s Tzu Shao cadres, Brother Huang enjoyed providing guidance with his vision and wisdom. He knew how to cultivate the correct attitude and temperament in Tzu Shaos, who will later become Tzu Ching and, hopefully, Tzu Chi volunteers someday. I still remember him sharing this Jing Si Aphorism at that time: “Learn to nod, bow, but don’t learn to fist fight; in particular, those who are in the rebellious age, when you are full of vitality, you need to cultivate a responsible, professional attitude, and courageous commitment. It will make a difference.”

Brother Han Huang was a true leader for Tzu Shao and his volunteer brothers and sisters. The distribution of fruits and vegetables was on Sundays, and he would personally remind participating volunteers that safety comes first during the pandemic. Before Tzu Shaos visited nursing homes for seniors, Brother Huang would come to remind them that in “the care and love between people, body language is very important…”

Brother Han Huang paid particular attention to the importance of “legacy.” Whenever there was a succession between a new and an existing cadre, he would say earnestly: “The legend of the lamp is endless, and the heart and hand are connected to Tzu Chi. The future of Tzu Chi depends on you!” Brother Huang endeavored to inspire and recruit people to join the Tzu Chi family all the time, and said to us, “Tzu Shao is a land of great blessings. Every family that joins Tzu Chi has a predestined relationship with Tzu Chi. We should seize the opportunity to receive and guide.” 

Over the past ten years, as Brother Han Huang expected, the Tzu Shao team has worked hard to cultivate each member, fostering a correct outlook on life, perseverance, responsible leadership, and most importantly, the spirit of giving and asking for nothing in return. Parents follow Tzu Shaos and are devoted to Tzu Chi’s courses. They agree with what the brothers and sisters have done, are moved, and become Tzu Chi volunteers, undergoing apprenticeship training. Brother Huang once mentioned this to me: “Sister Tzu Shi, could you please invite the parents of Tzu Shaos who have become Tzu Chi volunteers to go to Taiwan? So that Master Cheng Yen can see that the Tzu Chi volunteers in the United States are working hard to cultivate blessing fields.” At the time, I was both happy and overwhelmed. I felt that I was only doing what every Tzu Chi volunteer should do, but Brother Huang was so impressed and affirmed that he would go to Master and share it. Whenever I wanted to evade going to Taiwan, Brother Huang always encouraged me by saying, “There is no need to be too stressed. The Master is like our mother, and sincerity and love are all we have from a mother.” Although this visit hasn’t happened yet, I remember it firmly in my mind. I hope to one day realize Brother Han Huang’s dream. I believe “if you have the intention, you will have the power, and hard work will bring your dream closer.”

Han Huang passed away on June 18, 2022. He was a beloved Tzu Chi volunteer and the CEO of Tzu Chi USA from 2012 to 2019. We have received many tributes to his life and legacy. Please join us in remembering our cherished Tzu Chi brother.

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