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Master's Teaching
Friday, 19 April 2013 00:00

Seizing Upon the Seed of a Good Thought

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In the early years, Master Cheng Yen led commissioners and medical personnels to visit needy people in their homes. Photo: Dr. Huang Bo-shih seeing a care recipients. (Photo provided by Tzu Chi Foundation; date: 1972/11/12 ~ 1972/11/13; location: Hualien County, Taiwan)

[Master's Teachings]

In a conversation with Dharma Master Cheng Yen, a renowned writer in Taiwan remarked that he found her to have novel and refreshingly different approaches in every field of work she gets involved in, bringing new concepts to the field. Raising the medical field as an example, he asked her if she could talk about what her vision for a better kind of medical care was.

Tzu Chi's kindergarten children were taught to give love to the less fortunate since young. [Photograph by Lim Shy Tean]

[Master's Teachings]

Editor's Introduction: People who live in poverty not only suffer the physical hardships of going without basic life necessities, but can also experience a sense of despair, feeling that there is nothing they can do to improve their lot. When they understand the Law of Karma, they know that to beget good fortune, they need to plant the seeds by doing good and creating good karma. But, how do they do this when they are so poor that they have nothing? In the following, Dharma Master Cheng Yen tells a story about a man who came to the Buddha with this very dilemma.

【Photo by Kee Boon Soo】

In November 2012, volunteers returning to Taiwan for training and certification met with Dharma Master Cheng Yen. The newly certified Tzu Chi volunteers shared their thoughts with Master and then made vows to work for the good of humanity and to inspire more people to join them in this cause.

【Photo by Khor Siew Ai】

As an ordinary person, we give rise to all sorts of thoughts in our mind. They enter and exit our mind constantly. When we give rise to a kind thought, we may act on it and do a good deed to help others. When we give rise to an unwholesome thought, such as an angry one, we may say something mean to others. Our actions are greatly influenced by our thoughts.

【Photo by Lee Kok Keong】

When a renowned Taiwanese writer and staff of a leading newspaper in Taiwan visited Dharma Master Cheng Yen, the newspaper's Deputy Editor-in-Chief commented that Tzu Chi's international relief work has helped Taiwan become more visible in the international community.  Given this, he was interested in Tzu Chi's international relief capacity, and asked the Master how she analyzes, prioritizes, and decides which disasters to get involved in.  How does she manage such a large number of volunteers worldwide, and mobilize them to make  Tzu Chi as effective as it is in international aid work?

【Photo by Cheong Huey Chiat】

In his lifetime, the Buddha met many different kinds of people. Some were kings and ministers of court, others were people who lived in abject poverty, yet others were prominent and influential people of society. In fact, the Buddha interacted with people from all walks of life. Depending on the people he encountered, he would offer the teaching most suited to their condition in life. But no matter who he spoke to, his purpose in giving teachings was always the same—to help people awaken from delusion so they may aspire to learn the Dharma, realize the true nature of life, and begin walking the path of enlightenment.

【Photo by Kee Boon Soo】

Practicing the Bodhisattva way, one of the most important qualities we need to nurture is patient endurance – the capacity to bear with unpleasant and trying circumstances. Patient endurance gives us the power to rise above difficult situations and overcome our inner afflictions rather than be overcome by them.

【Photo by Lee Kok Keong】

"As inhabitants of the earth, we are nourished and sustained by Mother Earth who provides us our food and all the resources for life.  If she is healthy and well, we will be healthy and well.  Our fates are intertwined." —Dharma Master Cheng Yen

【Photo by Wong Poh Fatt】

When a renowned writer in Taiwan visited Dharma Master Cheng Yen, he marveled that besides alleviating people's suffering, Tzu Chi has inspired altruism in many, many people in Taiwan, so that they're willing to work together to help others. Because of this, Tzu Chi has been able to help people in over 70 countries around the world. He sought to better understand how Tzu Chi has been able to do this.

【Photo by Soo Chee Han】

When members of the Buddhist Japanese humanitarian organization Rissho Kosei Kai visited Tzu Chi and met Dharma Master Cheng Yen, a young woman in the group spoke about how, while she was visiting, she was struck by the way Tzu Chi volunteers all aspire to have the same spirit as their teacher, Dharma Master Cheng Yen. This had inspired her to make the resolution to cultivate herself and aspire to the same spirit as the founder of her organization, Rev. Nikkyo Niwano. However, she could foresee this would not be easy for her because her personality is rather strong-willed and stubborn. Therefore, she asked the Master for her advice on how one can cultivate oneself and stay committed to self-cultivation.

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