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Friday, 31 July 2015 15:42

Dwelling into the Suffering of the World

Written by  Cecilia Chen, KL & Selangor / Translated by Chong Pei Fen

Yip Sook Ying always serves with full dedication. Her sincerity always made others feel comforted. [Photograph by Peng Han Ni]

While treading on the Bodhisattva Path, Yip Sook Ying realized that to purify minds, we must first give of our love. With the teachings of her late father and Master Cheng Yen close to her heart, she lovingly serves the underprivileged, bringing them a little warmth and comfort in a time of need.


 
“I started learning Buddhism after experiencing some unexpected losses that led me to Tzu Chi and Master Cheng Yen,” recounted Yip Sook Ying.
 
Despite occasional visits to the churches, Sook Ying had no religious belief. Then, more than a decade ago, her father succumbed to acute leukaemia. This was followed by the sudden demise of her friends, one after another. The unexpected losses left her in agony. She could not help but ponder, “Why would meritorious people breathe their last just like that? Don’t they deserve good consequences?” To solve the puzzles in her heart, she started to study Buddhist scriptures and listen to Dharma talks. And that led her to Buddhism.
 
The understanding of the Law of Karma has helped her to accept the truth that everything in life is subject to its cause and is transient in nature. With a passion to delve deeper into Buddhism, she attended a Buddhist exhibition, and there, she chanced upon Tzu Chi. Although Master Cheng Yen’s compassion had made a deep impression on her, she was not driven to learn more about Tzu Chi. In 2010, her path with Tzu Chi finally crossed again, and she joined as a member of Tzu Chi International Medical Association (TIMA).
 
The founding principles of TIMA is “curing people, treating illnesses and healing minds”. Besides safeguarding the health of the disadvantaged group, the medical personnel also raise healthcare awareness and promote healthy vegetarian living in communities. As a Pharmacist, Sook Ying assumed the role as an Activity Planner for the Weight Management Campaign launched by TIMA in 2013; and in the following year, she played a role in the Healthy Living Campaign by taking charge of the promotion of healthy diet.
 
Serving with a genuine heart
 
Sook Ying can always be seen contributing happily in various health screening activities organized by TIMA. Be it monthly free clinic for the Burmese refugees, health screening for construction workers of KL Tzu-Chi Jing Si Hall, street fundraising for victims of catastrophes, environmental protection awareness campaign, and so on, Sook Ying always serves mindfully and wholeheartedly. Her sincerity always made others feel comforted and gratified.
 
Sook Ying runs a Pharmacy in Selayang, the town where she grew up. She always greets her customers with a bright smile even before they set foot in her shop. She jokingly remarked that she worked in an area which is predominantly Malay and Indian, and had not been in contact with so many Chinese, not until she joined Tzu Chi four years ago. She said, “I always had the impression that Chinese cared about personal interest more than anything else. But through Tzu Chi, I realized there are actually many kind-hearted people out there!”
 
Sook Ying could not agree more with Tzu Chi’s ideology of “helping the poor and educating the rich”. She said, “While helping the needy, Tzu Chi also inspires them to be self-reliant so that they can not only rise above adversities, but also lend a hand to others.”
 
Through her long-term interactions with refugees, Sook Ying discovered most of them lead unhappy lives. She related, “Although these refugees are said to be ‘seeking temporary shelter’ in Malaysia, many of them have been staying here for more than a decade. Due to their unrecognized identities and language barriers, they are often helpless when confronted with life’s challenges, thus they are in dire need of our care.”
 
The love of volunteers will make the refugees feel psychologically balanced, and eventually, reduce social problems. Sook Ying believes that negative emotion, particularly depression, is the root cause of many health problems; and the antidote is an open heart.
 
Slowing down her pace of life
 
Sook Ying was born in a patriarchal era, with three brothers – two elder and one younger. Due to the rationale that she would get married and leave the family one day, her mother did not see the need for her to receive much education. As the only daughter in the family, she was expected to complete all house chores before she could start her revision. Thus, every opportunity to study was precious to her.
 
She was deeply grateful to her open-minded late father, who granted her wish to study abroad. She spent six years in the United Kingdom, a nation where human rights and equality are valued. There, she learnt to be independent and be aware of women’s rights. During her spare time, she volunteered as an interpreter for the Vietnamese refugees, who had fled to the United Kingdom. In recollection, she said, “In retrospect, it seems like I already had the intent to help others that time.”
 
After returning to Malaysia, Sook Ying worked very hard to make money, and a few years later, she opened her own Pharmacy. She is remorseful that she only focused on a successful career back then, and had overlooked her aspiration to do good deeds. She confessed that she was constantly striving for efficiency and perfection. Not only did she have high expectations of herself, but she also demanded others to meet her expectations. Later, she observed that she was living life too fast and started to lose her patience with her children. The faster she moved, the more her heart was troubled.
 
One day, she saw on a Buddhist scripture a line that read, “Slow down and look around you; for when you slow down, you will be able to see things more clearly.” Thus, she started to slow down her pace of life and make time to attend Dharma talks.
 
Witnessing the power of love
 
Sook Ying started reaching out to the needy after joining Tzu Chi. In the process, she learnt what Great Love is and was deeply moved.
 
She had recently visited a Chinese youth, who injured his spine in an accident at 19 and was paralysed from below his neck. This youth has been bedridden for ten years, depleting all his family’s savings to finance his treatment. His will to live waned with each passing day, and he lost his direction in life. Sook Ying remarked, “Before that, he seemed to strongly resist our visits. He could have taken his own life if he was more mobile.” However, Tzu Chi volunteers did not give up on him. They perseveringly took him for physical therapy at the rehabilitation department of Universiti Malaya Medical Centre, and finally, his health began to recover.
 
Words cannot describe the joy and relief volunteers felt in seeing the progress of this youth all the way through, from gradually being able to move his hands to feeding himself, and from frowning to smiling.
 
“There are many heartwarming and inspiring stories in Tzu Chi,” said Sook Ying, before she continued to relate the story of another caregiving case. This care recipient, who has two children, suffers from diabetes, muscle atrophy, and drooping eyelid due to uncontrollable nerves. The family lives on a meagre income from his wife, as a cleaner. Despite suffering bodily, he has a positive outlook towards life, and there is always a pleasant atmosphere in his home, with loads of chatter and laughter. Impressed with his optimism, Sook Ying regards him as her teacher, from whom she has learnt to count her blessings and free her worries.
 
Sook Ying said, “My late father was heavily influenced by Confucianism. He used to advise me to be a person of value and to contribute to family and society.” While listening to the Master’s morning Dharma talk, Sook Ying often sees in the Master the shadow of her late father, both reminding her to do good.
 
The Master has constantly called upon her disciples to reach out to those in distress, far and near. The Great Love spirit of the Master has driven Sook Ying to realize that in order to purify minds, we should first give of our love. With the teachings of her late father and the Master close to her heart, Sook Ying is giving her best to warm the hearts of the needy with love.
 
 
Yip Sook Ying lovingly teaching the Burmese refugee children vocabulary. [Photograph by Leong Chian Yee]   Yip Sook Ying (2nd left) assumed the responsibility of promoting healthy diet in conjunction with the Healthy Living Campaign launched by TIMA KL & Selangor. [Photograph by Chin Teck Min]

Yip Sook Ying lovingly teaching the Burmese refugee children vocabulary. [Photograph by Leong Chian Yee]
 
Yip Sook Ying (2nd left) assumed the responsibility of promoting healthy diet in conjunction with the Healthy Living Campaign launched by TIMA KL & Selangor. [Photograph by Chin Teck Min]
 
TIMA KL & Selangor held an Anti-smoking Campaign at the construction site of KL Tzu-Chi Jing Si Hall, and presented certificates to those who successfully quit smoking as an encouragement. [Photograph by Ong See Lim]   After experiencing some unexpected events in life, Yip Sook Ying started learning Buddhism and was led to Tzu Chi. [Photograph by Liang Yun Fen]

TIMA KL & Selangor held an Anti-smoking Campaign at the construction site of KL Tzu-Chi Jing Si Hall, and presented certificates to those who successfully quit smoking as an encouragement. [Photograph by Ong See Lim]
 
After experiencing some unexpected events in life, Yip Sook Ying started learning Buddhism and was led to Tzu Chi. [Photograph by Liang Yun Fen]