In times of physical suffering, the human mind and heart are weak. The late Venerable Yin Yeung, Founder of the Centre for Spiritual Progress to Great Awakening (“SPGA”), was frequently accompanied by illnesses and accidents in her own life. Guided by the motto of “True Love is Borderless, Together We Overcome Hardships”, SPGA was established to enable those who are in poor health, in sickness or in the face of different challenges to embrace the cycle of life and be able to find positive energy through the practice of right mindfulness.
In a chanced meeting with Dr. Chau Ming Tak of Queen Mary’s Hospital, Ven. Yin Yeung and Dr. Chau talked about the urgent need of Buddhist chaplaincy service (“chaplaincy service”) in Hong Kong. As one who had an intimate understanding of bodily torment, Ven. Yin Yeung established a formal chaplaincy unit at the Queen Mary Hospital in 2011 with the help from Dr. Chau and its service has now been extended to eleven hospitals.
SPGA’s chaplaincy service provides prayers and rituals, spiritual care and counselling support etc. Very often, what the patient needs most is a pair of ears to listen to his anxiety and grievances, a big heart to share his regrets and fears, a pair of hands to hold his in the final stretch of his life journey.
The chaplaincy service is in high demand and to facilitate Chaplains’ work, SPGA engages volunteer Spiritual Envoys to bring the service to more people. Spiritual Envoys offer regular spiritual care and social support to hospitalized patients and their families. They also provide extended care for discharged patients after they return home. Aside from looking after the mental and spiritual wellbeing of patients, SPGA implements rigorous recruitment standards and structured training to support the emotional health of its Spiritual Envoys.
Recognizing the value and importance of Buddhist chaplaincy service, the Foundation supports SPGA’s service expansion enabling them to reach more patients, families as well as hospital staff. On top of the important work of bringing light and peace to a wider group, SPGA is dedicated to narrowing the gap between the high demand for Buddhist chaplaincy service and the existing supply. Currently, not all hospitals are receptive to the inclusion of Buddhist chaplaincy service in their facility. In the long run, it is SPGA’s mission to open more doors at different hospitals so they can get in touch with more who need their service, at the same time, to widen the space for other Buddhist organizations to offer similar services.