Welcome to Ipswich ... where Buddhism is big

HELPING HANDS: Julia Wu (front), the principal of Tzu Chi Foundation Australia based at the Gold Coast, and other members of the Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation donate books to the Metro Hotel International and library services in Ipswich.
HELPING HANDS: Julia Wu (front), the principal of Tzu Chi Foundation Australia based at the Gold Coast, and other members of the Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation donate books to the Metro Hotel International and library services in Ipswich. Rob Williams

THE caring ties that bind Ipswich and the Tzu Chi Foundation have been strengthened with an agreement between the city council and the Buddhist group.

The Tzu Chi Foundation, which live by the creed that it is more of a blessing to serve others than be served, unexpectedly flew into Ipswich after the 2011 floods and has continued to help, regularly giving out care packages.

After the floods, the group known as Blue Angels due to their distinctive outfits gave $500, blankets and other supplies to 2000 families.

Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale, who has developed a close relationship with Tzu Chi, is delighted with the agreement signed on Monday.

"The founder of the organisation has over 10 million followers and this is the first agreement of its kind in the world," the Mayor said.

"This is not a business agreement. It is an agreement based on care and compassion between a great city and a great organisation."

Now, in a world-first, guests at the Metro Hotel International in Ipswich will be able to learn more about the Tzu Chi Foundation.

Cr Pisasale and Ted Matthews from the Metro Hotel International yesterday accepted a special presentation from the Buddhist compassion relief organisation.

Copies of a book on Jing Si Aphorisms will be in each of the hotel's 97 rooms and copies were also given to the city's library service.

Cr Pisasale said the donation was yet another wonderful gift to the city by the foundation.

"We are pleased to be able to accept these books which will provide the hotel's guests and Ipswich library patrons with the chance to learn more about the basics of the foundation," he said.

"This book is in four different languages - English, Japanese, Italian and Chinese - and this hotel will be the first in the world to get it."

In the book, Dharma Master Cheng Yen has translated the essence of the Buddha's teachings to exemplify life lessons.

Cr Pisasale said the council looked forward to working closely with the Tzu Chi Foundation.

"The foundation believes compassion is not only expressed through words but is to be realised through service to humanity," he said.

"With integrity, compassion, joy and courage we will embrace a bright and promising future together.

"People think that because Tzu Chi is a Buddhist organisation that they're there to sell Buddhism; they're not.

"But part of their religion is care and compassion for the community."

Buddhism Basics

  • Buddhism is a religion that encompasses beliefs and practices based on teachings attributed to the Buddha, meaning "the awakened one".
  • The Buddha lived and taught in the eastern part of India some time between the sixth and fourth centuries BC.
  • He is recognised by Buddhists as an enlightened teacher who shared his insights to help sentient beings end their suffering and attain the sublime state of nirvana.


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