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Saturday, 17 December 2016 00:00

Walk the Bodhisattva Path Diligently to Create Blessings and Nurture Wisdom

Written by  Loh Siew Chien, Bee Yong Chin & Lee Shook Lan,Melaka / Translated by Yi Qin

The theme for Tzu Chi’s 2016 Year-end Blessing Ceremony is: “Create blessings, every gain of rice delivers eternal love; nurture wisdom: each tiny particle holds life’s truth.” [Photograph by Lee Kin Chee]

From the original intention to do good deeds, volunteers gradually realize that “life is enriched as one contributes to benefit others, and wisdom grows as one awakens to life’s truths”. As 2016 comes to an end, they reflect upon themselves and make resolutions for the year ahead.


Holding firm to her initial aspiration, Master Cheng Yen has never wavered in practising the Buddha’s teachings in the past five decades. Likewise, Tzu Chi volunteers in Malaysia, who aspire to emulate the Buddha’s compassion and uphold the Master’s conviction, have been reaching out to those in pain and suffering with utmost sincerity and genuine love.

On December 17, 2016, volunteers donned in their neat uniforms, attended the annual Year-end Blessing Ceremony joyfully. Everyone was grateful for having a peaceful and safe 2016, and was looking forward to commit themselves even more in the year ahead.

The theme for the 2016 Year-end Blessing Ceremony is: “Create blessings, every gain of rice delivers eternal love; nurture wisdom: each tiny particle holds life’s truth.” Since its humble beginning 50 years ago, Tzu Chi’s missions have been supported by donations pooled from the public. It is the Master’s hope that the volunteers will not only create blessings through carrying out charitable work, but will also nurture wisdom through understanding the Dharma and testifying the teachings as they serve amongst the masses.

During the event, volunteers performed the sutra adaptation of the chapters, “Prelude”, “Preaching” and “Ten Merits” from the Sutra of Infinite Meanings. The sutra verses, photos, video footages and the graceful body movements of the 92 performers took the audience down memory lane, to witness how the volunteers have lived out the spirit of a Bodhisattva as expounded in the sutra, with great determination to reach out to the needy despite obstacles and challenges.

The audience also shared the joy and offered their sincere blessings to the 23 newly certified Tzu Chi Commissioners and 46 volunteers, who officially received their name tags as Tzu Chi recycling volunteers, on this meaningful occasion. The volunteers vowed to stay committed and walk the Bodhisattva Path diligently.

A red envelope of blessings and merit

Volunteer Koo Seng Kiaw, who joined Tzu Chi in 2003, sighed at the passing of 13 years in the wink of an eye, but was grateful that she has become a better person. She shared, “I am a home-maker. I used to be a careless and authoritative person, and one who would argue my point to death.”

Due to her quick temper, she often had clashes with others. But now, she has learnt to take a gentler approach. This has not only helped her to accomplish tasks harmoniously, but also won her better relationships with others.

With a pure intention to give, she has been guiding a group of women and elderly people to partake in Tzu Chi’s activities in a remote township, Jasin. She shared, “Actually the most important qualities of a leader are sincerity and love. If we could care for others as how we care for our family, they would naturally be touched and happy to contribute.” This year, there were 12 members from her community zone who received their name tags as Tzu Chi recycling volunteers.

She said, “We should try to be a positive influence, especially to those who have good karmic affinities with us. Every person counts.” She hopes to invite more people to do good deeds to harness the power of kindness for the chaotic society. From one who used to keep to herself and was impetuous, she has learnt to bring everyone together and accomplish tasks with team work. She shared, “A person’s capacity is limited. We need collective efforts from everyone.”

At times when she was faced with interpersonal issues, she would think about the burden on the Master’s shoulders and spur herself on with the Dharma teachings and support from fellow volunteers. She said, “It is a great blessing to be able to walk the Tzu Chi Path and spread positive energy to people around us. As life is short and characterized by suffering, we should seize the opportunities before they slipped by.”

To her, each red packet from the Master represents her “achievement” in Tzu Chi. “It is a highly valuable result slip of my life!” she exclaimed.

Nurture wisdom while giving

Volunteer Ng Swee Huang has actively involved herself in various Tzu Chi’s missions since she joined the Foundation in 2013. To her, what she should do at this stage of life is to give back to society. While volunteering at the hospital, she witnessed how the volunteers’ care and comforting words brought smiles back on the faces of the patients; and while doing recycling, she learnt to cherish resources and to save Mother Nature through vegetarianism. She has also learnt to humble herself to introduce Tzu Chi to the public and invite them to join the ranks of Great Love. She always felt touched and experienced joy as she served and gave selflessly. Thus, she happily underwent volunteer training and was certified as a Tzu Chi Commissioner in 2015.

She revealed that she joined Tzu Chi with a pure intention to do good deeds and help others, and had never thought that she herself would be transformed along the process. She shared, “I guess my greatest improvement is in my temperament. I used to be stubborn and always insisted on what I thought was right.” Thanks to the Master’s teachings, she started to value harmony, form good relationships with others, and gradually overcome her shortcomings. As her heart broadened, she found her journey of spiritual pursuit smoother too.

Swee Huang was saddened when she saw a video footage of the Master, who was unwell, walking with unsteady steps and calling on everyone to cultivate diligently as time is running out. She felt sorry that the Master, with her frail body, has to care for the world. In reflection, she said, “Master has done so much but what have we, her disciples, done?”

Swee Huang was not a religious person. But on one occasion, she heard that, “It is rare to be born as human beings, to come across the Dharma, and to encounter a great teacher.” That served as a wake-up call for her to not only do good deeds to sow blessings, but also to nurture wisdom. Realizing that the Dharma actually shows us the truths of life, she started to attend the Master’s Dharma lecture at dawn.

She said, “We, ordinary man, tend to retreat when we are overcome by worries and trouble. Hence, it is very important for us to learn the Dharma, so that we will be guided to walk the Bodhisattva Path persistently.”

Never wavered once committed

Being an unbending and doughty person, Lee Shook May, a newly certified Tzu Chi Commissioner, was described by her family members as a cactus!

In 2012, Shook May was invited to participate in an environmentally-themed camp in Taiwan, and was recommended to share her experience at the closing ceremony. She recalled, “I was the eighth to share with the audience. By the time it was my turn, what I had wanted to share had been mentioned by the ones before me. Then a thought came to my mind and I made a promise before the Master that I will do recycling forever.”

Although deeply touched during the camp, Shook May was disappointed to find a gap between reality and her expectation when she started to involve herself in voluntary work. Thus, she decided to contribute only when she was free and felt like it.

Three years later, she was invited to share about recycling at a volunteer training session. After giving her talk, she stayed back to listen to the sharing by other volunteers, and that opened her doors to volunteer training. Although there were still issues that she was unhappy with, she continued to undergo volunteer training with great determination. She also learnt to reflect upon herself and see things from a different perspective. She said, “How could I criticize others when I myself refused to take part?”

Shook May admitted that when faced with setbacks, she once asked herself, “Why should I make my life hard, and why burden myself when I should be enjoying my retirement soon? Isn’t a laid-back life a better choice?” But the fact that the Master, who is twice her age, had never complained for whatever circumstances she may face, had motivated her to carry on. Now, she has learnt to humble herself and face interpersonal issues with an open heart.

During the Commissioning Ceremony in Taiwan, she noticed that the Master had struggled with her steps as she walked into the hall slowly. But, for the sake of her disciples’ wisdom growth, the Master still gave her sermon tirelessly. Thus, Shook May promised herself that she will keep on to her initial aspiration and never slack off. She also hopes to pass on her experiences to the junior volunteers so that they could take the leadership roles at the recycling centre, and she herself could then contribute in other missions.

A new journey has begun

After receiving his name tag as a Tzu Chi recycling volunteer, Nadarajan a/l Kotaraju shared delightfully, “I feel honoured to become a Tzu Chi volunteer. It is something that money cannot buy. I have no extra money to contribute financially, but I could contribute my efforts and time to do good deeds and recycling.”

Nadarajan learnt from his neighbour about Tzu Chi’s recycling effort in 2015. Although he had no idea of the Foundation back then, he started to collect recyclables for volunteers knowing that it was for charity. Then on a visit to a recycling centre, he observed that the volunteers were all very mindful in sorting out the recyclables, and he was moved by their selfless efforts. He had great admiration for the Master when he learnt that the proceeds from the sale of recyclables were used to help the poor and needy, and that Tzu Chi had been carrying out relief work worldwide regardless of race and religion. Since then, he has become even more active in doing recycling. He would go around collecting recyclables on his motorbike and request the volunteers to bring them to the recycling centre after sorting them out.

At the ceremony, he gained a better understanding of Tzu Chi’s philosophies through volunteers’ explanations. After watching the video footage on international disaster relief, he reminded himself to take good care of his living environment and his mind, so that there would be fewer disasters around the world. His eyes turned red as he pressed his palms together before the Master’s portrait and whispered, “I am sorry that I am late and have wasted a lot of time on other things.”

As Nadarajan returned to his seat with his name tag and a red packet from the Master, he could not help but shed tears. He was overwhelmed with joy that he is finally a part of the Tzu Chi family and would have many more opportunities to do good deeds and cultivate blessings.


Tzu Chi is a place to create blessings and nurture wisdom. Every little effort could have a positive, significant impact. As 2016 comes to an end, volunteers made a promise to themselves that they will be more diligent in sowing blessings and nurturing wisdom, as well as spreading the spirit of Great Love to the world.

 

Volunteers rejoiced in the annual Year-end Blessing Ceremony held on December 17, 2016. [Photograph by Chin Fook Kuen]   Volunteers reached out to the needy with sincere love, and vowed to follow in the Master’s footsteps and be more diligent in spiritual cultivation. [Photograph by Tan Lian Hee]

Volunteers rejoiced in the annual Year-end Blessing Ceremony held on December 17, 2016. [Photograph by Chin Fook Kuen]
 
Volunteers reached out to the needy with sincere love, and vowed to follow in the Master’s footsteps and be more diligent in spiritual cultivation. [Photograph by Tan Lian Hee]
 
Volunteer Lee Shook May made a promise to herself to hold on to her initial aspiration. [Photograph by Quek Kah Hoon]   Through her involvement in Tzu Chi, volunteer Ng Swee Huang realized the importance of nurturing wisdom besides doing good deeds and sowing blessings. [Photograph by Tan Yen Pack]

Volunteer Lee Shook May made a promise to herself to hold on to her initial aspiration. [Photograph by Quek Kah Hoon]
 
 
Through her involvement in Tzu Chi, volunteer Ng Swee Huang realized the importance of nurturing wisdom besides doing good deeds and sowing blessings. [Photograph by Tan Yen Pack]
 
To volunteer Koo Seng Kiaw, each red packet from the Master represents an “achievement” in Tzu Chi. She was full of joy and was motivated to keep treading the Bodhisattva Path. [Photograph by Tan Yen Pack]   After receiving his name tag as a Tzu Chi recycling volunteer, Nadarajan received a red packet from the CEO of Tzu Chi Melaka, Lim Geok Choe. [Photograph by Yong Siew Lee]

To volunteer Koo Seng Kiaw, each red packet from the Master represents an “achievement” in Tzu Chi. She was full of joy and was motivated to keep treading the Bodhisattva Path. [Photograph by Tan Yen Pack]
 
 
After receiving his name tag as a Tzu Chi recycling volunteer, Nadarajan received a red packet from the CEO of Tzu Chi Melaka, Lim Geok Choe. [Photograph by Yong Siew Lee]
 
Forty-six volunteers officially received their name tags as Tzu Chi recycling volunteers and became a part of Tzu Chi family. [Photograph by Lee Kin Chee]  

Forty-six volunteers officially received their name tags as Tzu Chi recycling volunteers and became a part of Tzu Chi family. [Photograph by Lee Kin Chee]