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Wednesday, 30 August 2017 00:00

Practising Right Faith to Benefit All Beings

Written by  Tham Yok Seng & Bee Yong Chin, Tampin / Translated by Lily Leong

Everyone prayed sincerely for peace and harmony. [Photograph by Tay Chun Wie]

To truly liberate sentient beings from suffering, we must uphold the right faith and sow blessings. If we have the right thinking and refrain from practices like animal sacrifices and burning of paper money during the Seventh Lunar month, we will find peace within.


The older generations, with strong believes in traditional Chinese customs, generally believe that the Seventh Lunar month is the time when the gate of hell is wide open, and hence, one should observe certain taboos to keep oneself safe from spirits and ghosts. As such, believers would make offerings of animal sacrifices and paper items when praying for safety.

In order to create awareness on the true meaning of “deliverance from suffering” during the Seventh Lunar month, Tzu Chi volunteers have been spreading the right faith and views in their respective communities.

On the 26th and 30th of August 2017, blessing ceremonies were held at Tzu Chi Liaison Office in Tampin and Dewan Rumah Rakyat Jambu Lapan in Bahau respectively, with a total attendance of 245 participants. Volunteers performed a lively sketch to clear the myths surrounding the Seventh Lunar month.

Good performance despite a short rehearsal

“Darling, have your prepared the animal sacrifice and paper money for the offering rituals? We shall make a more lavish offering this year to get more monetary rewards!”

“Good brothers, oh good brothers, please grant me good fortune this time! Also make sure it is not given to the wrong person, ya?”

“In Buddhism, the Seventh Lunar month is regarded as an auspicious month, a month of filial piety instead of a ghost month as people generally believe. Have you heard the story of how Venerable Maudgalyayana saved his mother? Now let me tell you the story…”

The humorous sketch was amusing and the audience was full of praise for the excellent performance although one of the performers was entrusted a role in the sketch just a few hours before the show.

Volunteer Xie Cai Quan seldom stay in Tampin because of his job. Whenever he returns home to Tampin, he would seize the opportunity to join Tzu Chi activities. This time, he was invited to perform in the sketch, which he gladly accepted. Despite having only a short rehearsal, he managed to give a good performance.

He remarked, “I hope to grasp every opportunity to contribute. I am fine with the role in the sketch to explain the origins of the auspicious Seventh Lunar month because I always watch programmes on Da Ai TV and read Master Cheng Yen’s publications.”

Doubts cleared

Venerable Chang En commended, “The theme of this blessing ceremony is very clear. It is a good start. You have done an excellent job in conveying your messages through the sketch. Those who could grasp the messages will feel enlightened. I am always impressed with Tzu Chi Foundation for its ability to educate through a simple ceremony or event. This is teaching by setting examples.”

Sek Yong Kian, who attended the blessing ceremony, organized by Tzu Chi Tampin for the first time, understood that in Buddhism, the Seventh Lunar month is regarded as a month of auspiciousness and gratitude. However, the elders at home have some taboos, which they are afraid to break. “It is great that Tzu Chi cleared people’s doubts regarding the Seventh Lunar month through a sketch,” he said.

Another audience, Peng Qiu Ming, shared that the blessing ceremony held by Tzu Chi was different from others. He disagreed with the common practice of spending a great deal on offering rituals and burning an increasing amount of paper money. To him, it is better to donate the money, that would have been spent on purchasing the paper money, to help the needy.

Arumugam A/L Kunji had been attending the auspicious Seventh Lunar month blessing ceremony organized by Tzu Chi in recent years. He shared that Hindus celebrate the month of July by chanting and worshipping in the temples. They would also have deity processions where some devotees would share vegetarian food with others. To them, July is also an auspicious month so no slaughtering of animals is involved.

Dong Wei Wen from Thailand attended the ceremony with her friends. She had attended such ceremony for many years and, as her children dislike meat, she has stopped poultry farming. She agreed that fruits and vegetables are good for health and her family has reduced the burning of paper money.

Volunteers used scientific data to explain how gases emitted from the burning of paper money will harm human health. We will enjoy better health and living environment by changing our eating habits to have more fruits and vegetables and less meat.

Through this blessing ceremony, the true meaning of the Seventh Lunar month was conveyed. Besides praying for peace and harmony, we can also protect our Mother Earth.

 

 

Tzu Chi volunteers shared the right understanding of the Seventh Lunar month through a lively sketch. [Photograph by Tay Chun Wie]   Children from the Parent-child Bonding Class promoted the idea that vegetarianism is a way to save Mother Earth. [Photograph by Tay Chun Wie]

Tzu Chi volunteers shared the right understanding of the Seventh Lunar month through a lively sketch. [Photograph by Tay Chun Wie]
 
Children from the Parent-child Bonding Class promoted the idea that vegetarianism is a way to save Mother Earth. [Photograph by Tay Chun Wie]
 
Dong Wei Wen from Thailand has been attending Tzu Chi’s auspicious Seventh Lunar month blessing ceremony for many years. She agreed that fruits and vegetables are good for health, and has reduced the burning of paper money. [Photograph by Tay Chun Wie]   Arumugam a/l Kunji prayed sincerely in the ceremony. He donated savings in his bamboo bank to support Tzu Chi’s charitable work. [Photograph by Tay Chun Wie]

Dong Wei Wen from Thailand has been attending Tzu Chi’s auspicious Seventh Lunar month blessing ceremony for many years. She agreed that fruits and vegetables are good for health, and has reduced the burning of paper money. [Photograph by Tay Chun Wie]
 
 
Arumugam a/l Kunji prayed sincerely in the ceremony. He donated savings in his bamboo bank to support Tzu Chi’s charitable work. [Photograph by Tay Chun Wie]
 
Venerable Chang En presented a token of appreciation to the attendees at the end of the ceremony. [Photograph by Tay Chun Wie]

Venerable Chang En presented a token of appreciation to the attendees at the end of the ceremony. [Photograph by Tay Chun Wie]