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Saturday, 08 September 2018 00:00

Passing On the Dharma Lineage and Propagating the Tzu Chi Path

Written by  Tzu Chi Documenting Team, Malacca / Translated by Ong Mooi Lin

Participants welcomed six Dharma Masters from the Jing Si Abode and fourteen volunteers and staff from Tzu Chi Taiwan Headquarters, to share the Dharma and their experiences. [Photograph by Lee Kin Chee]

This is the time of the year for all Tzu Chi volunteers to free themselves from their busy schedules and return to their spiritual home for a retreat and revitalize themselves through the training. The theme this year was, “Passing on the Jing Si Dharma Lineage for everyone to nurture their wisdom-life with a pure heart, and flourishing the Tzu Chi path for everyone to strengthen the spirit of working in unity and harmony with mutual love and concerted effort”. With sincere gratitude to the predecessors who paved the path, the successors vowed to shoulder the responsibility of passing on the Dharma Lineage and propagating the Tzu Chi path.


On September 8 and 9, 2018, Tzu Chi Malacca organized a 2-day “4-in-1 Cadre Training Camp” at its premises. Six Dharma Masters from the Jing Si Abode, together with fourteen Taiwanese volunteers and staff, especially came to Malaysia to share the Dharma and their experiences with the participants.

At the opening ceremony, and having learnt about the work carried out by volunteers in the southern region a day earlier, Master De Yuan reminded everyone to learn the Dharma diligently in addition to contributing their time and efforts. Master De Yuan also expressed her hope for the participants to seize the opportunity to learn from the Taiwanese volunteers with an empty mind that is ready to learn, like filling up an empty glass with Dharma water.

Nurturing wisdom-life and strengthening spirit

In June 2018, a “Global 4-in-1 Cadre Training Camp” was held at the Tzu Chi Headquarters in Taiwan, and volunteers from Malacca who participated were overwhelmed with remorse seeing Master Cheng Yen’s great determination in preaching the Dharma despite her physical condition. Hence, they knelt reverently before the Master and vowed to listen to the Master’s Dharma teachings, as well as, encourage more people to attend the Master’s Dharma talk at dawn (via live telecast).

The first Saturday upon their return from Taiwan, the volunteers initiated a weekly Dharma session by listening to the Master’s Dharma talk at dawn. It has been going on for the past two months with an average of 40 attendees.

Teh Saw Keow, who assumes the role as the spoke-person for volunteer training since this year, would attend the Master’s Dharma talk at dawn occasionally. However, since returning from Taiwan, she decided to overcome her self-inflicted obstacles to listen to the Master’s Dharma talk more frequently. Besides attending the Dharma session every Saturday, she would also rise early to watch the “Wisdom at Dawn” programme aired on Da Ai TV. If she could not understand or missed the programme, she would listen to the online version through the Internet before leaving for work. Although it was tiring physically, she has been doing it persistently.

She shared, “Once, I encountered a challenging team member that I could not help complaining about. However, Master’s talk enlightened me. I learnt to be more humble and sincere. Now, we can still talk to each other normally. Without the Dharma I acquired from Master’s Dharma talks, it would be hard to deal with interpersonal issues on Tzu Chi path.”

This time, with support from a team of volunteers, she took up the programme coordinator role for the 4-in-1 cadre training camp. She felt that only when the disciples are able to do what they are supposed to do properly can Master Cheng Yen be rest assured that her disciples will manage the missions well.

Developing deep faith and understanding

In her sharing on the topic “Jing Si Dharma Lineage and Tzu Chi Path”, Master De Rang explained that having “faith” means having no doubts. Everyone must have true faith and clear understanding of Master Cheng Yen’s teachings in order to truly take the Dharma to heart.

Master De Rang emphasized, “Master Cheng Yen initiated the Tzu Chi path according to the Lotus Sutra, and paved the path together with the senior Dharma Masters of the Abode and Tzu Chi volunteers, so that we can walk on this Bodhisattva Path smoothly. As successors, we shall continue to expand this path for those behind us, so that they have a path to follow and are able to return to their pure innate nature.”

Lau Bok Lan, a community leader, was grateful towards David Liu, Echo Chien, and other senior volunteers for paving the Tzu Chi path in Malacca. She felt that it was not an easy feat to lay a long and wide Bodhisattva Path with far-reaching effect. She vowed to inspire more people to learn the Dharma, for she believes that when one practises the Dharma in life, one will grow in wisdom and be able to pass on the Jing Si Dharma Lineage. That is the best offering one could make to Master Cheng Yen.

Paving the spiritual path hand in hand

The second sharing by Master De Ying, Master De Kun and Master De Huang on the topic, “Passing On the Dharma Lineage” was hosted by Lu Pei Yu from Da Ai TV. The Dharma Masters from the Abode shared their experiences on the path of spiritual cultivation, as well as, some stories between them and Master Cheng Yen.

Master De Kun and Master De Huang were staff of Tzu Chi KL & Selangor and Tzu Chi Malacca respectively. Both of them attended a briefing on being a spiritual cultivator in 2012, and thereafter decided to return to the Abode to share Master Cheng Yen’s missions for the whole of humanity.

There were many amusing encounters faced by the two Malaysian Dharma Masters when they first arrived in Taiwan, due to cultural and language differences. Fortunately, Dharma Masters of the Abode have been understanding and tolerant. Master De Huang also shared that during Tzu Chi’s 51st Anniversary celebration, their team of less than ten Dharma Masters were to prepare meals for hundreds of people. The process where everyone executed their respective duties diligently moved Master De Huang, who remarked, “The senior Dharma Masters of the Abode had truly demonstrated their great sense of mission.”

Master De Kun shared stories about how she made self-adjustment and overcame difficulties, as she was adapting to living with others with different living habits. She urged the participants to deal with challenges with Master Cheng Yen’s teachings. This way, there will be no obstacles that cannot be overcome.

Apart from daily routine work, Master De Ying also assumes the role as the designer for the “red envelopes of blessing and wisdom”. Due to lack of art design and digital drawing skills, Master De Ying once felt troubled with this added workload. But with strong support from other Dharma Masters of the Abode, Master De Ying finally realized that one should learn to accept responsibility instead of rejecting it.

Volunteer Chum Yin Yin from Kluang was moved to tears listening to the sharing by the Dharma Masters of the Abode. She was grateful for the predecessors who arduously paved the spiritual path to benefit the successors. Being a cadre member of the charity division, she always found herself short of time to juggle between her career, family and Tzu Chi work. She even thought of retreating from Tzu Chi path one time, when she was faced with human conflicts. But out of her love for Master Cheng Yen, she learnt to shift her perspective and stayed on. She figured out that one should just do one’s best in the tasks entrusted but not to set expectations on others. Seventeen years since she first joined Tzu Chi, Yin Yin is only more resolute on the Bodhisattva Path.

Seeds of Dharma planted

On the second day of the camp, Master De Huang shared about the significance of attending Master Cheng Yen’s Dharma talks at dawn. How can the volunteers avoid getting upset over people and matters as they diligently give of themselves in charitable work? According to Master Cheng Yen, one should turn the Dharma wheel, or in other words, apply the Dharma.

Master Cheng Yen started expounding the Lotus Sutra since July 23, 2009. Up until April 29, 2018, Master Cheng Yen had given 1,619 sessions of Dharma talks, and reached Chapter 17 of the Sutra. Master Cheng Yen would prepare presentation slides every night for the benefit of her disciples worldwide, especially those who could not understand the Taiwanese dialect, so that they could grasp the teachings.

Dharma learning requires long-term and ceaseless effort. As one engages in spiritual cultivation, one should strive to turn knowledge into wisdom. Master De Huang urged the participants to seize the opportunity to attend Master Cheng Yen’s Dharma talks at dawn, for the Dharma is the solution to overcome difficulties in any situations.

Master De Yuan again emphasized that since we have made a vow in spiritual cultivation, we must observe precepts. Observing precepts is to protect us and help us to attain Samadhi and eventually grow in wisdom. Master De Yuan also advised everyone to be broad-hearted and not be disturbed by interpersonal issues. It is not important whether or not others acknowledge our efforts. What is important is that the seeds of wisdom and blessings have been planted in our eight-consciousness.

Volunteer Tan Chui Ing and two of her family members have been attending Master Cheng Yen’s Dharma talks at dawn (via live telecast) every Saturday. According to her, she could not understand the Taiwanese dialect and dared not talk about Tzu Chi to others previously. But through the Dharma talks, she can now understand Taiwanese dialect and is able to apply the Dharma in her teaching. She quoted an example where a student complained to her that no one was willing to sit next to him due to his body odour. She then advised him to take care of his personal hygiene and others would naturally accept him.

She shared further, “I don’t yearn for money but I yearn for extra sleeping hours. After listening to Master De Huang’s advice for us to seize every moment, I began to ponder whether I can do more things if I was to cut down two hours of sleep.” She aspired to learn the Dharma diligently and she remembered Master De Yuan’s reminder, “Even if we only grasp one verse or sentence in the Dharma talks, but if we are able to apply it one day when faced with unfavourable circumstances, we save ourselves. Or perhaps, we can share it with others who need it. This is also helping ourselves and others.”

Master-disciple relationship

Taiwanese volunteer, Ji Jing Yang joined Tzu Chi 40 years ago. However, she claimed that she was only 30 years old, for she had deposited 50 years of her age in the “Treasury of Age”. She shared humorously about her experiences with Master Cheng Yen at close distance.

She used to complain that her husband and children were not as good as others’. But when she asked Master Cheng Yen: “What defines the happiest life?”, the Master replied, “The happiest is one who has a healthy body and mind.” Through her years of Dharma learning, she realized that one writes one’s life script and there is no one else to be blamed for it. She was grateful for her involvement in Tzu Chi, which allowed her to sow blessings and nurture wisdom, and she vowed to follow in Master Cheng Yen’s footsteps life after life.

She has been attending Master Cheng Yen’s Dharma talks at dawn, and learning and spreading the Dharma diligently. She reckoned that if she does not listen to the Dharma and follow in the Master’s footsteps closely in this life time, she may not have the affinity to meet the Master again in her future life time. The Master once asked, “Having listened to 17 chapters of the Lotus Sutra, has the stupa of treasures within your heart emerged?” Jing Yang repented that her stupa disappeared sometimes when she encountered unfavourable circumstances. She urged everyone to listen to the Dharma daily because only when the Dharma stays in our hearts will the stupa of treasures within our hearts emerge. She also hoped that everyone can share the Master’s aspiration and walk the same path, and repay the Master with a grateful heart.

The Jing Si Aphorism: “Remain gentle even when the reason is on your side” best reflects the current state of mind of volunteer, Ong Yoke Ching. She would apply this Aphorism whenever she and her superior or colleagues held different views and could not attain consensus over work matters. She would change her perspective and take them as learning processes, telling herself to humbly accept others’ opinions.

Jing Yang’s sharing: “The stupa of treasures is built, don’t destroy it because of ignorance or a confused mind,” struck a chord with Yoke Ching: After joining Tzu Chi and listening to the Dharma, she had tried to correct her ill habitual tendencies and weaknesses. However, she would still be influenced by external factors and go back to her old self. She remarked, “In order to reinforce our resolve on the path of spiritual cultivation and to remain positive, we must befriend wholesome individuals, learn the Dharma diligently, and be vigilant not to err, so that the stupa of treasures within our hearts will never be destroyed!”

Spirit-boosting sharing

The 2-day camp with talks by Dharma Masters of the Abode and Taiwanese volunteers had boosted the spirit of all participants and moved them deeply.

Volunteer Hew Kwee Heong was diagnosed with a brain growth in 2015. She repented on the stage stating that she has been listening to Master Cheng Yen’s Dharma talks at dawn for more than ten years. That made her feel good about herself, thinking that she has been diligent and understood what Master Cheng Yen’s preached. But she later realized that she was being too arrogant. She once heard on Da Ai TV programme: “When listening to Master Cheng Yen’s discourse, if one always thinks that what Master has said only apply to others with no introspection of self, then it would be a waste of time and effort.” Upon reflection, she repented to Master Cheng Yen for not being able to make her family more harmonious even though she has joined Tzu Chi and listened to the Dharma for such a long time. She also vowed to get rid of her unwholesome habitual tendencies.

Volunteer Chia Chee Yong shared that things were full of uncertainties when he first joined Tzu Chi. It took him some time to find his direction, but, he did not have the courage to face problems he encountered. He will remember the advice from Dharma Masters of the Abode and take care of his mind so that his affinities with Master Cheng Yen and others will not be terminated.

Volunteer Yee Swee Fong was grateful that she could attend the “Global 4-in-1 Cadre Training Camp” held in Taiwan. There, she learnt about the significance of passing on the Dharma lineage and propagating the Tzu Chi path. After returning from Taiwan, she actively invited fellow volunteers to attend Master Cheng Yen’s Dharma talks at dawn, which help nurture her wisdom. She called upon more people to attend the Dharma talks, as well as, group study and cultivation sessions. She believed that Master Cheng Yen would be very pleased to know that her disciples are listening to her Dharma talks diligently.

At the closing of the camp, Master De Huang remarked that every volunteer is a seed of kindness that will sprout to spread the teachings preached by Master Cheng Yen. But one must first listen to the Dharma before one can help others to transform themselves. As long as Jing Si Dharma lineage stays in this world, the Tzu Chi path will continue to exist.

 

During the “Global 4-in-1 Cadre Training Camp” held by Tzu Chi Taiwan Headquarters in June 2018, volunteers from Malacca knelt before Master Cheng Yen and vowed that each of them will invite at least another person to attend Master’s Dharma talks at dawn. [Photograph by David Liu]   With support from her team mates, volunteer Teh Saw Keow assumed the role as the programme coordinator for the 4-in-1 cadre training camp. [Photograph by Lee Kin Chee]

During the “Global 4-in-1 Cadre Training Camp” held by Tzu Chi Taiwan Headquarters in June 2018, volunteers from Malacca knelt before Master Cheng Yen and vowed that each of them will invite at least another person to attend Master’s Dharma talks at dawn. [Photograph by David Liu]
 
With support from her team mates, volunteer Teh Saw Keow assumed the role as the programme coordinator for the 4-in-1 cadre training camp. [Photograph by Lee Kin Chee]
 
Volunteer Chum Yin Yin from Kluang (1st left) was moved to tears listening to the sharing by Dharma Masters from the Abode. [Photograph by Quek Kah Hoon]   Master De Yuan advised everyone to be broad-hearted and serve with joy. What is important is to sow seeds of wisdom and blessings in one’s eight consciousness. [Photograph by Hong Geok Hui]

Volunteer Chum Yin Yin from Kluang (1st left) was moved to tears listening to the sharing by Dharma Masters from the Abode. [Photograph by Quek Kah Hoon]
 
 
Master De Yuan advised everyone to be broad-hearted and serve with joy. What is important is to sow seeds of wisdom and blessings in one’s eight consciousness. [Photograph by Hong Geok Hui]
 
Ji Jing Yang hoped that everyone can share Master Cheng Yen’s aspiration and walk the same path, and repay the Master with a grateful heart. [Photograph by Quek Kah Hoon]   Ji Jing Yang’s sharing struck a chord with Ong Yoke Ching. She shared, “I must be vigilant and not to err so that the stupa of treasures within my heart will never be destroyed.” [Photograph by Quek Kah Hoon]

Ji Jing Yang hoped that everyone can share Master Cheng Yen’s aspiration and walk the same path, and repay the Master with a grateful heart. [Photograph by Quek Kah Hoon]
 
 
Ji Jing Yang’s sharing struck a chord with Ong Yoke Ching. She shared, “I must be vigilant and not to err so that the stupa of treasures within my heart will never be destroyed.” [Photograph by Quek Kah Hoon]
 
The 2-day training camp with generous sharing from Dharma Masters of the Abode and Taiwanese volunteers had energized the participants and moved them deeply. [Photograph by Tay Chun Wie]
  Tzu Chi path has been paved for us, and we shall expand the path so that our successors will have a path to follow. [Photograph by Kuek Kah Hoon]

The 2-day training camp with generous sharing from Dharma Masters of the Abode and Taiwanese volunteers had energized the participants and moved them deeply. [Photograph by Tay Chun Wie]
 
 
Tzu Chi path has been paved for us, and we shall expand the path so that our successors will have a path to follow. [Photograph by Kuek Kah Hoon]