In Memory of Han Huang: Tzu Chi Collegiate Association Loves You

National Headquarters  |  July 1, 2022
On July 13, Tzu Chi USA held its monthly food distribution at Villacorta Elementary School in the Rowland Unified School District. Photo by Jennifer Chien.

Nancy Ku, National TCCA Advisor Lead
Translated by Ariel Chan

Shock, disbelief, and impermanence knocked on the door, then swept in, taking away a respected and loved teacher from members of the Tzu Chi Collegiate Association (TCCA), also  referred to as Tzu Ching. Although we know that life and death are the laws of Nature, we still feel sad, hurt, and tearful in the face of it. 

It’s hard to believe that Han Huang, whom Tzu Ching affectionately called Uncle Han, has truly left. On May 21, 2022, Uncle Han, representing Debra Boudreaux, CEO of Tzu Chi USA, attended the first staff meeting of the 2022 TCCA Leadership Conference and gave his blessings to Tzu Ching members. He was full of energy with a bright smile on his face. We still can’t believe that he left us so soon, only a few weeks later, on June 18. 

At that meeting in May, he told us: “Congratulations to all of you, senior volunteer guides, Tzu Ching alumni, and current Tzu Ching. This year, 2022, is exceptional as we celebrate the 30th anniversary of Tzu Ching. I want to thank all of you for your hard work over the past few years to foster so many strong cohorts of Tzu Ching and alumni. This is not easy.” 

Han Huang spoke gently and elegantly, and his words were always humble. He was grateful at all moments for every little thing. He was genuinely a role model for young people. Uncle Han also encouraged us. During that last meeting, he said:

Han Huang shares the meaning of “heart lamp” with Tzu Ching at the 2018 camp gathering, encouraging Tzu Ching to raise their productivity, spread love, and light all corners of the world with their altruism.

Every year, I try to join the TCCA Leadership Conference camp as much as possible, and I say the same thing every year. You might wonder why. For the younger generation, Tzu Ching is the hope for Tzu Chi. Every time I come here, I’m delighted by the sight of so many young people gathering to study together. So, try your best to do what you should do. I believe that guiding volunteer Ming Jin and your other guides in Northern California will support you wholeheartedly. And not only them, but Tzu Chi USA will also do its best to support you as long as you need help. Please don’t be shy, but do tell us your needs. Combining the power of Northern California and Tzu Chi USA, nothing is impossible.

Uncle Han was witty and full of positive energy. His encouragement gave us confidence. We were no longer alone, knowing that he was our strongest backbone. But now, he’s no longer with us, and we can’t help but cry.

Because Han Huang had a Tzu Ching background, he understood our thoughts. During the meeting that day, he also said: “While the pandemic has not subsided, I’m grateful for everyone’s willingness to host this camp. I believe that everyone will feel a little pressure. But as long as everyone is attentive, careful, and cautious, I believe you will lead a successful camp. Thanks for your efforts! You guys are amazing!” 

Uncle Han never said any harsh words to us, only those of support and encouragement. He also did his best to fulfill our dreams. In October 2019, when we discussed the affairs of Tzu Ching with him and the CEO at the time, Jackson Chen, he emphasized that Tzu Ching and alumni were capable enough to manage the TCCA independently yet could lean on the support of Tzu Chi USA. Alumni could also act as a bridge between Tzu Ching, teachers, and the guiding volunteers, whom we often refer to as our aunts and uncles, helping ease any personnel matters. We’re grateful for his confidence in us and his willingness to give Tzu Ching and alumni a lot of creative space. To everyone, he wasn’t just a teacher but also a friend.

The Tzu Ching camp often arranged for Han Huang to give speeches, sharing Master Cheng Yen’s spiritual philosophy and encouraging young people to practice Tzu Chi, especially to be diligent in the way of the Bodhisattva. He always conveyed the spirit of Tzu Chi in a light-hearted way, making it easier for young people to accept it without feeling pressured. His immense love, caring, and kindness invited Tzu Ching to reach out to him, and his forever reassuring smile always brought calmness. But now, he is no longer with us. We can’t help but ask, why did he die so young when he had so many unfinished dreams and was such a magnificent human being? 

Uncle Han was concerned about the development of Tzu Ching and the future of Tzu Ching. He had been looking forward to a closer connection between Tzu Ching and Tzu Chi’s spirit and humanistic culture. As we were hosting the Tzu Ching camp, he encouraged us to host it at Tzu Chi USA headquarters at each five-year milestone so that Tzu Ching from across the nation could return to the home of Tzu Chi volunteers in the United States. 

During the peak of the pandemic in 2020, Han Huang encouraged us to host the annual camp online and emphasized that it must promote vegetarianism. Living up to his expectations, we did it! And now, Uncle Han, we would like you to know that as we advance into 2023 and beyond, Tzu Ching will continue to do its best to live up to your expectations. We will strive to gain the support of our aunts and uncles at Tzu Chi USA and return to Tzu Chi to fulfill your hopes for us. 

Han Huang once collaborated with and forged strong bonds with many Tzu Ching, alumni, and Tzu Chi volunteers. We share many moving and unforgettable memories in each of our lifestreams. Our encounters with you at Tzu Chi must have been good karma from our past lives. Although destiny set the endpoint and we had to part, we’re reluctant to say goodbye as we wish you to rest in peace and pray you will return to this world again soon to continue the Tzu Chi journey with us! We love you!

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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