Newsletter No. 358

No. 358, 19.5.2010 project coordinator Miss Esther Cheng says, ‘Students go on guided tours to churches and temples. They visit mosques and Buddhist halls to have a taste of Islam and vegetarian food. They also take lessons in “Zen” practice. These first-hand experiences are much inspiring than classroom lectures.’ As for secondary school teachers, the HID organizes workshops for them to deepen their understanding of religious traditions and doctrines, familiarize them with the theories of the sociology of religion, and teach them the skills of organizing religious study activities. Moreover, activities such as international conferences and inter-faith concerts are held on an irregular basis. The project has a different theme each year. The one this year is ‘Religious Sites and Daily Life’. Professor Kung says, ‘We have a variety of religious sites around us and many have interesting stories that can be used to shed light on the relationship between religion and everyday life. For instance, while taking students on a tour of Chi Lin Nunnery, in addition to introducing them to Tang dynasty (AD618–906) architecture, of which it is a replica, we also draw their attention to the fact that it is a home for the elderly. We stimulate their thinking by asking questions like: why does this religious organization provide such service? What’s wrong with the elderly services in Hong Kong? How can religious organizations fill the gap?’ Teaching Resources Database This year sees the seventh anniversary of the project. Miss Cheng says, ‘Though the number of participating schools varies from year to year, there were around 20 at the lowest, maximizing at 37. The ratio of schools with religious backgrounds and those without is three to one. In Hong Kong, 40% of secondary schools are Protestant church-run, accounting for the majority of the participating schools. Some students joined the project at their own will. The result is encouraging. We found out that several students who had taken part in the project were admitted to CRS and other CUHK departments.’ Professor Kung believes that the most meaningful aspect of the project is the application of the University’s research output to religious and life education in secondary schools. Teaching materials for the said purpose have been compiled and databases set up. Professor Kung says, ‘As religious studies have been earmarked as an independent study topic of the Liberal Studies curriculum in the New Senior Secondary Curriculum and the importance of moral and civil education has been emphasized, more opportunities for CUHK and secondary schools to strengthen cooperation have been opened up. The only problem is funding. The project is now partially supported by CRS. But a big chunk of support for its running cost comes from the Quality Education Fund, which we have to apply for every year. With such unstable financial sources, its continuity is in question, making long-term development impossible.’ (接上页 Continued ) 去年11月举办的跨宗教音乐会 An inter-faith musical concert held in November 2009 禅修 ‘Zen’ practice 内蒙的海外考察 Field trip to Inner Mongolia 从生活看宗教 龚教授说:「我们的目的不是宣传宗教,而是从社会学的角 度,让学生认识我们生活的世界是有着宗教层面的。好像 黄大仙庙,既是善信参拜求神的地方,也是著名的景点; 香港许多非佛教徒也会到庙宇吃斋;赤柱的军人坟场也是 游人爱到的地方。」 计划活动包括专题研习、文化讨论、领袖训练、义工培训、 人物采访、海外体验团,以及宗教和社区考察等。计划统 筹郑盈中小姐补充说:「我们会带学生走出教室,在导赏 员讲解下参观教堂、庙宇,又会到清真寺和佛堂品尝回教 菜和素食,参与禅修。这些亲身体验较在课堂听讲来得真 实。」支援教师方面,则会有专题工作坊, 方便他们掌握宗教传统、宗教学和宗教社 会学的理论知识,以及策划宗教考察的技 巧。此外,计划亦会举办非定期活动,如国 际会议及跨宗教音乐会。 生活不断在变,是以计划的主题也每年 不同,本年度的主题是宗教与日常生活场 所。龚教授表示:「各式各样的宗教场所近 在咫尺,我们常有接触。这些场所背后隐 藏着很多故事。因此,带领学生参观志莲 净苑时,除讲述其仿唐的建筑结构,也会 带出原来内有不少长者居住,由此引导学 生思考,为何这个宗教团体会承担安老服 务?继而引伸下去,再问香港的安老服务 出现了什么问题?宗教团体如何补足?」 In the past, the six religions communicated with each other but the communication was limited to formal meetings between high-level personnel. Interaction never impacted daily life. When the project was proposed by CUHK, the six religious leaders have been very supportive by not only acting as consultants, but also encouraging their schools’ participation. ‘We believe it is good for Christian school students to learn something about Buddhism and Daoism, and vice versa. This learning process can foster mutual respect among different religions and cultures, and achieve harmony in diversity.’ Religion in Life Professor Kung says, ‘Instead of promoting religion, our objective is to develop students’ understanding of the religious aspects of human life from a sociology perspective. For example, Wong Tai Sin Temple is as much a place of worship as a tourist attraction. Non- Buddhists visit Buddhist monasteries for vegetarian meals. And the Stanley Military Cemetery is a favourite spot for sightseers.’ The project comprises activities ranging from project learning, cultural discussions, leadership training, volunteer training, interviews, overseas study trips, to field trips to religious institutions and communities. Its 建立中学教材资料库 计划踏入第七年,总结成果,郑小姐说:「虽然每年参与 计划的学校数目不同,但最少也有二十多所,最多有三十 七所。有宗教背景和没有的比例则是三比一,由于四成的 香港中学是由基督教开办,故又以基督教学校数目最多。 有学生参加活动后,翌年主动向学校查询何时再可参加, 并连续数年参与,这是令人欣慰的。我们还发现有曾参与 计划的学生其后入读中大文化及宗教研究系及其他学系 哩。」 数字以外,龚教授认为最有意义的是把大学的关注和研究 成果,应用于中学的宗教及生命教育。藉此机会,也为中 学编写了教材和建立资料库。 龚教授又说:「随着新高中课程中的通识教育科将宗教列 为可参考独立专题研习之一,加上中学亦需处理品格和公 民教育,正好开拓了更多大学与中学合作发展的空间。唯 一的问题是,计划小部分经费由文化及宗教研究系支持, 大部分需每年向优质教育基金申请拨款,财政不稳定,不 能作较长远的策划,窒碍了计划的延续发展。」