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Sunday, 28 January 2018 00:00

First Lesson – Creating Good Affinities

Written by  Tzu Chi Documenting Team, KL & Selangor / Translated by Lee Hui Yieng

With red spring couplets in their hands, the volunteers were ready to walk amongst the crowd to send out their well wishes. [Photograph by Leong Chian Yee]

On January 28, 2018, the usually solemn KL Tzu-Chi Jing Si Hall was filled with festive joy, with volunteers gathering at the main entrance with red spring couplets in their hands, ready to send out their well wishes to the public.


The first volunteer training session in 2018 was held at the KL Tzu-Chi Jing Si Hall, with attendance from 967 participants. As Chinese New Year was approaching, the participants went amongst the crowd in the afternoon to distribute spring couplets. In addition to sending out their greetings, they also encouraged the public to nurture their kindness through donations for good causes.

CEO of Tzu Chi KL & Selangor, Echo Chien, encouraged the volunteers to do and listen more, because one “learns through doing and comprehends through learning”. She also urged everyone to recognize their goals clearly and have good faith in the chosen path, brave through difficulties and take practical steps along the way. She said, “As long as everyone is mindful, the donors will naturally have confidence in us. Carry out Tzu Chi’s work seriously, do things properly and create good affinities with others. We should also nourish ourselves with the Dharma so that we will be able to resolve problems we encounter with wisdom.”

Create good affinities with the public

The Jing Si Hall was filled with festive mood as the volunteers held the red spring couplets in their hands, getting ready to go amongst the public.

The distribution of spring couplets also served as an opportunity for the volunteers to cultivate patience. In the company of senior volunteers, the participants learnt to let go of their pride and take the courage to approach the public while distributing the spring couplets from door to door.

When volunteer Yong Boon Keat led the participants into a Thai restaurant, the boss was reprimanding his staff angrily. He was stunned to read what was written on the Jing Si Aphorism poster handed to him by the volunteers: “Being angry is punishing ourselves with the mistakes of others.” After pondering over the words, his anger gradually subsided. He then happily got the volunteers to paste the Jing Si Aphorism poster and spring couplet at the most noticeable corner in his restaurant, and asked for a bamboo bank so that he could put it at the cashier counter.

Lee Swee Lin, proprietress of a lighting shop, was happy to receive the spring couplet. She said, “I want to put it up at the most conspicuous spot, so that my customers and I can see it as we step into the shop and feel joyful.” Having learnt that small kindness when accumulated can go a long way to help others, her family of five signed up as Tzu Chi donors, hoping that they too could help those in need.

When volunteers came to Juz Vegie, a vegetarian restaurant ran by a Muslim, they were hesitant to go in due to religious sensitivity. They were, however, delighted that the owner accepted the spring couplet happily when they finally decided to walk in with an open heart.

Volunteer Lee Soo Mee was afraid to approach the public to encourage them to do good deeds even though she had solicited donations in a school campus before. But, knowing that it was the right thing to do, she still did it with courage. She said, “One’s mindset matters most. If one can master the mind, then fear can be overcome.”

With a determined heart, nothing is too difficult to accomplish. Despite being deaf and mute, volunteer Ho Yuen Yee did not excuse herself. Her courage to use hand gestures to convey the message on the spring couplet is indeed admirable.

As a reticent person, who is not good in socializing with strangers, volunteer Chan Lay Koon felt nervous when she and fellow volunteers walked into a pet shop owned by an Indian couple. But with encouragement from fellow volunteers, she overcame her fear. She said, “I was inspired to take the first step upon seeing how Sister Jia Lik talked about Tzu Chi eloquently.” She and her teammates not only managed to give away a spring couplet, but also convinced the owner to become a Tzu Chi donor.

With team work and mutual support, as well as, the company of senior volunteers, the participants had conquered their fear to evoke kindness and solicit donations in public. They also learnt how to introduce Tzu Chi to others and understood that “Blessing is experiencing joy through the actions we take, and wisdom is gaining spiritual freedom through being understanding.”

 

Lee Swee Lin (in red top), proprietress of a lighting shop, was happy to receive the spring couplet and learn that small kindness when accumulated, can go a long way to accomplish great deeds. [Photograph by Gan Wee Meng]   As a reticent person, who is not good in socializing with strangers, volunteer Chan Lay Koon (1st right) was motivated by fellow volunteers to take the first step in promoting Tzu Chi and evoking kindness amongst the public. [Photograph by Gan Wee Meng]

Lee Swee Lin (in red top), proprietress of a lighting shop, was happy to receive the spring couplet and learn that small kindness when accumulated, can go a long way to accomplish great deeds. [Photograph by Gan Wee Meng]
 
As a reticent person, who is not good in socializing with strangers, volunteer Chan Lay Koon (1st right) was motivated by fellow volunteers to take the first step in promoting Tzu Chi and evoking kindness amongst the public. [Photograph by Gan Wee Meng]