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Painting Ta-Kuan
Chair Professor Wang Bang-hsiung of Tamkang University
      Without knowing Ta-Kuan had already left this world for ten years while the Chou Ta-Kuan Cultural and Educational Foundation has been working for the same period of time. There is no doubt that the existence of the foundation is the embodiment of Ta-Kuan and the promotion of “Life is priceless. The world is filled with love” equals to the extension of his life. Lao Tze said, “He who lives out his days has had a long life.” A physical life is always short. Whether a life is long or not depends on a loving heart that lasts in the human world forever.
      The poems collection “I Still Have One Leg” that Chou Ta-Kuan produced has touched numerous people at home and abroad. His children’s language brought a clear stream to this dust and dirt covered world. It washed out the dust in the power field as well as the dirt in the fame and wealth circles. Lao Tze said, “…return to being a baby.” So the road to redemption from drifting on the streets in this world lies in the sincere words of a naive child. They will certainly touch people’s hearts that have been enthusiastic in chasing fame and wealth and guide each one of us to return to the primitive hometown of life.

      If Ta-Kuan was still alive, this should be the year for him to walk on the path of “the Great Learning”, leading him to a promising future as he grows to become a romantic youth from a naive child. During these ten years, the Chou Ta-Kuan Cultural and Educational Foundation has fully fulfilled the spirit of “the Great Learning” under delicate planning and action. “Life is priceless” fulfills the meaning of “illustrating illustrious virtue”; “the world is filled with love” points to “renovating people.” It is a bright nature, the “illustrious virtue”, which Heaven has given to each one of us. If we follow our inner nature to practice morality externally, we will achieve the so-called “illustrating illustrious virtue”; we not only treasure our own lives, but also honor lives of others and this kind of enthusiasm to life is exactly the accomplishment of “renovating people.”

      Life is priceless and to spread the ideology of “the world is filled with love” is such a heavy responsibility to shoulder. Without making efforts to show our loving heart when we should have is the most regretful thing in life. We should always move forward toward the goal of “the highest excellence”, thus, life reaches its ultimate and final rest and this is called “to rest in the highest excellence.” “Rest” means to “rest on”. In the ultimate and final place of the highest excellence, everything can be let go because “the ultimate” is the highest ideal and “the final” is the last true affection. Since the highest state has been achieved, it is also the end of journey and there shall be no more search no more wandering in life. To this stage, the thought has become a religious feeling of saving the world and people.
      As I see it, the Chou Ta-Kuan Cultural and Educational Foundation can be the liveliest humanitarian team with the widest global vision and the highest achievement besides the “Tzu Chi Foundation”. The founders Chou Chin-Hua couple were so reluctant to let go of their Ta-Kuan as he passed away without growing up. They missed his bravery of fighting against cancer until the last second and his spirit of love of lives so much that they set up the foundation. For ten consecutive years, they have held the selection campaign and citation of the Global Love of Lives Award and through media exposure brought those life warriors forward, who walked out of their life valley with sunshine in heart, from each corner of the world to appear in front of people to encourage each and every one who is suffering in desperate situation not to bend to fate and to urge people to have the moral courage and life strength to live again.

      Besides, Chou Chin-Hua couple has also accompanied cancer children and their families to walk through the most unbearable days in life since after chemotherapy, the child’s white blood cells would drop dramatically and would need to get shots of growth hormone otherwise the treatment cycle could not continue and many poor families could not afford such a huge amount of burden. This is when the Chou Ta-Kuan Cultural and Educational Foundation comes to the rescue. It has already helped out a thousand sick children to fight against cancer for five to six years and it has also consoled many parents as they sank deep in despair for their children.
      Due to culture lag, this era suffered a pain of marriage breakdown and the eruptive increase of single parent families. The loving heart of the Chou Ta-Kuan Cultural and Educational Foundation also extended to care for the youth who lacked of family warmth or even dropped out of school. The foundation aggressively located those drop-outs and encouraged them to start all over again to return to the campus and grow up as everyone else does; to resolve individual anger of being abandoned by the society and the helplessness of self-exile so as to prevent that sort of sufferings from becoming cancer cells in heart and eventually devouring the beauty of life. Under the encouragement of the Chou Ta-Kuan Cultural and Educational Foundation by receiving the “Hope Medal”, many of them have successfully passed the examination and enrolled into universities.

      On this 10th anniversary of the Chou Ta-Kuan Cultural and Educational Foundation, the sad black and white drawings that had the poems collection “I Still Have One Leg” and the life of Ta-Kuan’s nine years six months and twenty-one days blended together re-appeared in front of readers with a brand new style full of colorful hope and vision. It is expected that under the big environment of unstable politics and economic slump more and more people can sweep up the darkness in heart and walk out of the grey area in their life to live again. From having the value of “life is priceless”, the willpower of believing that “the world is filled with love” shall be triggered and as we follow the life train of Ta-Kuan’s ten-year story in drawings, we are on the route of an eternal search for endless hope no matter how regretful the life may seem.

      Ta-Kuan is not with us. He has incarnated into a spirit in Heaven. Now he has a colorful coat on and wanders in the cartoon world. As a ten-year old child forever, he must be feeling so fresh and fun!