Celebrating Compassion and Love at the Grand Opening of the Tzu Chi Center

Northeast  |  October 16, 2019
Photo by Peter Chu

Written by Dilber Shatursun
Edited by Anik Ghose

On a brisk autumn morning, four Dharma Masters from Taiwan, friends and special guests from across the country, and Tzu Chi volunteers and staff joined together to herald a new beacon of hope: the Tzu Chi Center for Compassionate Relief.

Situated at 229 East 60th Street in Manhattan, near United Nations Headquarters, we held the Center’s grand opening ceremony at 10 AM, Sunday, October 13th; the date being an auspicious one.

After September 11th, 2001, Dharma Master Cheng Yen began a prayer that October 13th that Tzu Chi volunteers around the world would carry on in their own practice.

In his opening remarks, Master of Ceremonies Austin Chu explained it so:

First, we pray for human hearts to be purified, to end our hate with love. The second thing we pray for is a harmonious society, without conflict. And, the third thing we pray for is for peace on Earth, without disaster. So, we hope that this opening represents another step towards those ideals which we work for everyday.

Austin Chu, Tzu Chi Volunteer

In fact, the day is so significant that the banner to unveil the building had 13 strands of ribbons to be pulled – and what a reveal it was!

After guests were ushered to the garden, Dharma Master De Yuen, New York City Council Member Peter Koo, Parliament of the World’s Religions Audrey Kitagawa, and others offered reflective remarks, including the Tzu Chi Education Foundation’s Nakia Douglas.

Photos by Huei Liu

I’ve seen the impact compassionate love that Tzu Chi has bestowed upon, not only our students but our community and society… Compassionate love transcends religion, it transcends race, and it transcends time... it’s important that we embrace… all of the compassion that Tzu Chi provides for all.

Nakia Douglas, Executive Director: TRIO and Pre Collegiate Programs at University of North Texas at Dallas

Visitors and guests then got the chance to dive deep into the fabric of Tzu Chi’s compassion through its multi-floor displays.

The main floor features a sprawling retail space for the Jing Si Shop and DA.AI Technology, the latter of which made its retail debut in the United States for the first time! All of its items are made from recycled plastic P.E.T bottles, proving one person’s trash is truly another’s treasure.

Explore DA.AI Technology’s innovative, eco-friendly products and, for a limited time only, receive 25% off and discounted shipping at checkout!

The second and third floors featured multimedia exhibits that showcased Tzu Chi’s many relief efforts around the world, the origins of Tzu Chi’s founding, plus a Bodhi tree for visitors to leave their well wishes on. Outside, Great Love Vision Mobile Units were on display for touring, too.

Photo by Peter Chu
Photo by Huei Liu

Once the ceremonies were over, guests broke bread together over a delicious vegetarian buffet and then proceeded to see keynote speeches from speakers that included Stephen Huang (Tzu Chi’s Executive Director of Global Volunteers), Ingrid Liu (President of Tzu Chi University in Hualien), and Bruce Knotts (Director of the Unitarian Universalist United Nations Office).

Our afternoon program taking place at the All Saints Episcopal Church, Mr. Knotts brought to light a powerful fact.

Photo by Peter Chu

We’re in a Christian church, and Tzu Chi volunteers have built Christian churches that have been destroyed, they have built mosques that have been destroyed… It’s about brotherly love.

Bruce Knotts, Unitarian Universalist United Nations Office Director

We’re proud to have reached this momentous milestone, and thank all our guests for their attendance and our supporters for their dedication over the years.

Explore more photos and videos from our grand opening festivities and pay a visit to the Tzu Chi Center in New York to feel the brotherly love we all stand for.

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