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Saturday, 30 December 2017 00:00

Pave the Tzu Chi Path with Great Love

Written by  Tzu Chi Documenting Team, Malacca / Translated by Connie Yew

Holding the red envelopes from Master Cheng Yen prompted the volunteers to reflect on whether they have put compassion into action and grown in wisdom. [Photograph by Charlie Kam How Chan]

The Year-end Blessing Ceremony held annually by Tzu Chi Chapters worldwide is an extra meaningful event for the volunteers. While receiving Master Cheng Yen’s red envelopes, they also reflect on whether they have put compassion into action and grown in wisdom in the past one year.


“With my luggage packed, I am crossing the ocean and heading home.
The train is moving along the coastal railway lined with greenery.
I am filled with joy to see the Abode, where my heart belongs, standing a short distance away.
There were only a few people but now, the team has grown much bigger.
We, Master’s disciples, are coming home…
It will be a joyful reunion as we usher in the New Year together…”

The song, “Master’s Disciples Are Coming Home”, which reflected the volunteers’ feelings, were playing in the background as 510 Tzu Chi volunteers gathered at the Malacca Tzu-Chi Jing Si Hall on the evening of December 30, 2017, for the annual Year-end Blessing Ceremony. A series of images brought everyone to recollect Tzu Chi’s major events and work throughout 2017, both locally and abroad.

Everyone watched attentively as Master Cheng Yen expressed her gratitude to all volunteers and expectations for them to “join efforts together to give Great Love to the world, and take steadfast steps to pave a path that protects Mother Earth”, thereby bringing about a peaceful and harmonious society.

Let Great Love grow further

This year has seen ten newly certified Tzu Chi Commissioners/Tzu Cheng Faith Corps members in Malacca, and 44 recycling volunteers receiving their name tags, a recognition of their efforts in environmental protection. At the ceremony, all of them were invited on stage to receive the blessings from the audience. When Lim Geok Choe, CEO of Tzu Chi Malacca, put on the name tag for Lai Ah Ying, who was in her new recycling volunteer uniform, she beamed with joy and said, “Finally I have the uniform. I will wear this to recycling activity in future. What a delight it is!”

It was her first attendance at Tzu Chi’s Year-end Blessing Ceremony. She was moved by the video footage showing what Tzu Chi had done, and decided to also involve herself in other Tzu Chi’s missions apart from recycling. She also wished to make a trip to Taiwan to see the Master. Volunteers Chin Kim Moy, who introduced Ah Ying to recycling activities, and Wong Yon Hin, who received her name tag as recycling volunteer last year, were both glad to witness the inspiring moment. Kim Moy shared happily, “We shall work harder to bring more villagers into recycling and charitable work.”

Guiding with sincerity

Yon Hin started to join Kim Moy in recycling activities in 2015 when she retired from rubber tapping.

As they had no means of transport, volunteer Cheng Tee Fang, who worked as a night-shift security guard in Durian Tunggal, offered them a lift. Every Thursday after work, Tee Fang would pick them up at Machap Baru and send them to Seri Bayan Recycling Centre in Durian Tunggal, and then ferry them home after recycling in the afternoon. The journey takes about two hours in total per week, and Tee Fang has been doing it willingly for two years.

Grateful of Tee Fang’s untiring efforts and happy to see Yon Hin not only enjoying recycling but would also encouraging her neighbours to recycle by sharing with them recycling concepts, Kim Moy told Yon Hin, “Tee Fang has been coming all the way to fetch us, so let’s get more people involved and fill the car seats!” Hence, they began to take active initiatives to invite fellow villagers to join them in recycling. Yon Hin even offered her house as venue for a get-together session to promote Tzu Chi and convey the importance of recycling. Ah Ying, who had never heard about recycling before that, was among the villagers who attended the get-together. Upon learning that recycling could not only save Mother Earth, but also contribute to charitable causes through its proceeds, she decided to contribute her part.

Since then, the three of them often invite others to do recycling, and began to lead their neighbours in collecting recyclables at home and join the monthly recycling activity in the village. Volunteer Lee Teck Watt, who has been helping to transport the truckload of recyclables each month shared, “Initially, only volunteers and a few villagers were doing recycling. But in the recent three years, more and more villagers are getting into recycling. The volunteers’ role has now turned into guiding them.” Tee Fang expressed that as Master’s disciple, one must set an example in order to lead others into Tzu Chi’s missions. She was happy to see the results of sincere companionship.

The cycle of love

Volunteer Loo Mei Fong was guided by late volunteer, Wong Ah Lan, in conducting home visits. Now playing the role of guiding new volunteers, she can better understand Ah Lan’s concern that time was running out, and that they must keep up the charitable work and train new volunteers in this regard.

Mei Fong would apply different approaches on different volunteers. For example, volunteer Tan Bee Yan is a housewife and has to stay at home to babysit her grandchild during the day time. So, she would invite Bee Yan to go on home visits in the evening. Bee Yan later learnt to shoulder greater responsibilities in home visits, and she was grateful for Mei Fong’s companionship.

With increasing number of care recipients, Bee Yan also passed down her experience in home visits to fellow volunteer, Han Mei Lan. As Mei Lan was able to manage the care recipient cases in the community, Bee Yan turned to help in another community zone. Likewise, Mei Lan passed down her experience to another volunteer, Tang Dee Hui.

Dee Hui, who thought that it was not a difficult task to conduct home visits once a month, later discovered that there were many other details to take note and skills to learn. She also realized that the volunteers had been strict in approving the care cases because they needed to ensure that donations from the public were used properly where they were needed most. She has also learnt to visit the Social Welfare Department and other governmental departments herself, for matters pertaining to care recipients. She would also contact the senior volunteers for advice whenever she encountered problems.

From Ah Lan to Dee Hui, the volunteers have been passing down their experiences and supporting one another in carrying out charitable missions.

Benefitted from helping others

Other than sharing of personal experiences, volunteers also presented sutra adaptation of “The Twelve Vows of the Medicine Buddha” to encourage everyone to learn from the great compassion of the Medicine Buddha and alleviate the suffering of others.

One of the performers, volunteer Goh Poh Huey, is mother to an autistic child. She met another six mothers with autistic children at the professional social organization, where she sent her child for treatments. They would meet up regularly and lend each other support. It has been more than a decade now, and there are eight members in the group. Poh Huey has been playing the leader’s role and extending as much help as she could. She would listen to them with empathy and patience, offer them a ride when required, share with them the wise words of Jing Si Aphorisms, and so on. Eventually, this group of people, ranging from 30-plus to 50-plus years old, has become as close as sisters.

Poh Huey believed that Tzu Chi’s educational concepts are good for character-shaping and spiritual growth. Hence, she actively involved herself in various activities and encouraged her friends to join her. One of the mothers, Hong Ee Phing, who has four autistic children, became a Great Love Mother under her encouragement and provision of transport. Ee Phing also brought along her daughter to volunteer, and they participated in sutra adaptation performance, group study sessions, recycling, Parent-child Bonding Class, and other activities.

Ee Phing was grateful to Poh Huey for her care on the “sisters” (the mothers with autistic children). She cited an example that Poh Huey would send her and her daughter, who has a keen interest in sign language, to sutra adaptation performance practices.

Unfortunately, in caring for her families and friends, Poh Huey had neglected her own well-being, and fell into depression eventually. Her depression recurred following her father’s demise and she had to be on medication. Fortunately, with support from her husband and “sisters”, and with her attending Tzu Chi Teenagers’ Class with her eldest son, she managed to overcome her emotional breakdown.

This year, as Poh Huey participated in “The Twelve Vows of the Medicine Buddha” sutra adaptation performance, she found that it helped her to stay focused and calm her mind. Feeling the care and support from those around her, she deeply realized that “what goes around, comes around”.

Sharing the wisdom through books

Every year, the highlight of the event would be the presentation of Master Cheng Yen’s red envelopes. Tea Nyok Juan, who participated in the volunteer session for the first time, learnt that the red envelopes came from the Master’s book royalties. Hence, she purchased a few copies of the Master’s publications, with the hope of sharing Master’s wisdom with others.

Nyok Juan revealed that she has learnt a lot from reading Master’s publications and she especially loves the Jing Si Aphorisms, which she found meaningful and comprehensible. She used to give cash gifts for special occasions, such as, weddings. But she later felt that the Master’s publications would make better gifts, as the receivers would benefit from the Master’s teachings and could pass them down to the next generation.

The ceremony ended with a prayer to evoke the love and kindness in everyone, and for the world to be filled with love, kindness, warmth and harmony.

 

Chin Kim Moy (middle) invited Wong Yon Hin (right), who then invited Lai Ah Ying (left) to participate in recycling activities. They hope to inspire more villagers to join them. [Photograph by Loo Chia Chia]   Lai Ah Ying, who put on her recycling volunteer uniform for the first time, happily received her name tag and Master’s red envelope. [Photograph by Teng Swee Ueng]

Chin Kim Moy (middle) invited Wong Yon Hin (right), who then invited Lai Ah Ying (left) to participate in recycling activities. They hope to inspire more villagers to join them. [Photograph by Loo Chia Chia]
 
Lai Ah Ying, who put on her recycling volunteer uniform for the first time, happily received her name tag and Master’s red envelope. [Photograph by Teng Swee Ueng]
 
Volunteers Loo Mei Fong, Tan Bee Yan, Han Mei Lan and Tang Dee Hui all shoulder great responsibilities in the Mission of Charity. They have testified to the significance of passing down their experiences and sincere companionship. [Photograph by Alex Tan Ah Lek]   Towards the end of the ceremony, everyone lit up the lamps, signifying the lighting up of their inner lamps to be beacons for others. [Photograph by Lee Kin Chee]

Volunteers Loo Mei Fong, Tan Bee Yan, Han Mei Lan and Tang Dee Hui all shoulder great responsibilities in the Mission of Charity. They have testified to the significance of passing down their experiences and sincere companionship. [Photograph by Alex Tan Ah Lek]
 
 
Towards the end of the ceremony, everyone lit up the lamps, signifying the lighting up of their inner lamps to be beacons for others. [Photograph by Lee Kin Chee]
 
Volunteers gathered at Tzu-Chi Jing Si Hall for the annual Year-end Blessing Ceremony and did a video recording to send New Year wishes to Master Cheng Yen and Masters at the Abode. [Photograph by Tan Lian Hee]   Goh Poh Huey (2nd right), her “sisters” and their children attended the Year-end Blessing Ceremony together. In the middle and in grey shirt is Hong Ee Phing. [Photograph by Quek Kah Hoon]

Volunteers gathered at Tzu-Chi Jing Si Hall for the annual Year-end Blessing Ceremony and did a video recording to send New Year wishes to Master Cheng Yen and Masters at the Abode. [Photograph by Tan Lian Hee]
 
 
Goh Poh Huey (2nd right), her “sisters” and their children attended the Year-end Blessing Ceremony together. In the middle and in grey shirt is Hong Ee Phing. [Photograph by Quek Kah Hoon]