Every week, we feature a news article from Chinese news that may not caught the eye of the western media. Find out what happens in China outside of what is published on China Daily. Johann, from Easy Mandarin Chinese School (www.easymandarin.cn), will be finding, translating and helping us learn some related words to teach us a little more about China.This news is my favorite,what an experience for the kids! Don’t you agree?
Kids Go To Summer Camp with Buddhist Monks
At the Yun Tai Chan Monastry (云台禅) located on Tongbaishan Mountain (桐柏山), 44 children from 7 to 12 years old participated in a 5-day special cultural event: a Monastery Summer Camp.
So, what is it like to attend a Monastery Summer Camp?After the opening ceremony, parents are asked to leave the temple. The camp teaches children to be more independent and parents should not interfere throughout the event.
The first lesson learned by the campers is how to make your bed by yourself. This is something totally new for these young children whom are mostly spoiled by their parents.
The camp schedule is synchronized to the monks’ schedule. At 5:30am all campers join the monks in the praying hall for morning prayers. For most of them, it is their first time waking up so early. After prayers, in order to get the day started, teachers engage students in morning exercises by practicing the ”8 Brocades” – a set of Qigong exercises with unique health benefits.
The study program includes reading and learning Chinese classic books such as the “San Zi Jing” (the Three Characters Classic) and “Di Zi Gui”, among other classics. These books are about teaching children good manners, thankfulness, appreciation and respect for elders.
During lessons in order to make studies more effective, the teacher separates everyone in 4 groups. Each group receives scores for their performance and competes with the others.
An important part of this cultural course is to teach “eating etiquette”, taught just before lunch. After the lesson, students go to the dining hall, recite eating prayers, and then have lunch with the monks. They eat in total silence. Students nod or shake their head to express themselves. Then, after eating, everyone wash their dishes.
Afternoons are spent playing games / sports and doing cultural activities.
On the third day afternoon, teachers take the campers on an excursion in the mountain. The goal of this exercise is to develop their sense of adventure and curiosity. During the outing, children will have several tests such as crawling barefoot on rocks and walking through rivers.
During the exercise, children and parents will climb the mountain behind the temple. On their way up, campers are barefoot and blindfolded – one parent helps each camper to find their way with the help of a torch. On the way down, roles are changed – it is the parents who are blindfolded and barefoot. Back at the temple, as a thankful gesture, children wash their parent’s feet.
On the evening of the fourth day, parents return to the temple and join in with their children for a special night. Students and parents engage together in a “trial and hardship” exercise in order to be thankful for the education received and to strengthen parents/children relationship.
On the last day of the camp, a prayer ceremony is organized to close the event and each student receives a certificate of completion.
寺庙 (sìmiào): temple / monastery
夏令营 (xiàlìngyíng): summer camp
免费 (miǎnfèi): free of charge
独立 (dúlì): independent
叠被子 (dié bèizi): make the bed
僧人 (sēngrén): monk (written form, spoken =和尚 (héshàng))
奖励 (jiǎnglì): reward
礼仪 (lǐyí): etiquette
探险 (tànxiǎn): adventure
电筒 (diàntǒng): torch
蒙 (méng): cover (eyes OR face)
祈祷 (qídǎo): prayer