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Taiwan Research Programme
London School of Economics and Political Science
Houghton Street
London, WC2A 2AE


Professor Stephan Feuchtwang

Dr Fang-Long Shih

Exploring Reactions to the Sign Language Opera Love Transcends the Skyline

With Dr Yu-Mei Tsai and Master De-Yin Shih (Tzu Chi College of Technology)

Series: London Taiwan Seminar, special series of Forums with Tzu Chi 

Date: Monday 22 November 2010, 6pm-8pm

Venue: Thai Theatre (Room LG.03), New Academic Building, London School of Economics (LSE)

Chair: Dr Fang-Long Shih (LSE Taiwan Research Programme)


This paper analyzes reactions to the sign language opera Love Transcends the Skyline, which has been performed in the US, the UK, and Taiwan, focusing on the sentiments expressed by the composer and experienced by audiences on the topics of parental kindness, teachers as models, and the Buddha's teachings.

Tzu Chi volunteers value repaying kindness out of gratitude, and this gives Tzu Chi missions the sustainable power to expand across religions around the globe. The composer therefore hopes to spread the power of compassion and the true meaning of repaying the kindness out of gratitude.

This paper discusses kindness out of gratitude as the composer's life value, and reflects on the meaning of interdependency, such as the interdependent relationships of parents, teachers, persons from all walks of life, ethnicities, nations, and religions. Three kinds of sentiments are evoked in the audiences: repentance, gratitude, and altruism. Repentance arises from a deep reflection on ignorance; gratitude comes from the warm feelings received from human relationships; and altruism touches on the bonds with family members, teachers, society, nation and culture, bonds that inspire a bigger picture of life as a world stage and a great heart for the good of the world family.

About the Speakers

Master De-Yin Shih rceived her Bachelors Degree in Music Performance from Musashino University in Tokyo, which was established on "Buddhist-based" principles. She has been teaching music and Tzu Chi Humanities at Tzu Chi College of Technology for 15 years. Determined to practice Buddhism in action, in 1995 Master De-Yin became a monastic practitioner at the Jing Shi Abode, led by Venerable Dharma Master Cheng Yen.

In addition to developing an interdisciplinary curriculum of activities in the humanities, art, language, history, geography, and environmental education, Master De-Yin is dedicated to promoting officially canonized Tzu Chi songs through books for chorus, piano and chamber music. She also coordinates concert performances and sign-language opera performances of Love Transcends the Skyline

Dr Yu-Mei Tsai is a dedicated professional in the field of education. She received her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Texas, Austin, and she is an assistant professor at Tzu Chi College of Technology, where she serves as Director of the General Education Center. Dr. Tsai is particularly interested action research on the humanities and moral character education, and she has spearheaded research in these areas.

Since 2002, she has coordinated several projects funded by Taiwan's Ministry of Education in the areas of EFL teaching, humanities education, and cross-cultural exchange. She uses each as a means to introduce Chinese traditional culture and moral ethics, focusing on the value found in benefiting others through unselfish giving as highlighted in Tzu Chi Humanities education.