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Last updateWed, 11 Nov 2015 11am

Sunday, 03 May 2015 15:33

Prostrating Pilgrimage for World Peace

Written by  Loh Siew Chien, Bee Yong Chin & Keah Hwei Har, Melaka / Translated by Lee Marn Fong

On Wesak Day, May 3 this year, 280 volunteers participated in a prostrating pilgrimage, paying their utmost respect to the Buddha and Bodhisattvas. [Photograph by Chin Fook Kuen]

On Wesak Day, volunteers had participated in a prostrating pilgrimage to pay homage to the Buddha and Bodhisattvas. Lim Geok Choe has been with Tzu Chi for more than 20 years with an unwavering commitment. Wong Siew Yoke found peace and wisdom with the Buddha’s teachings and vowed to spread the right teachings. Chin Yoon Heong aspired to take on the Master’s mission as her own and to tread the Bodhisattva Path with more diligence.


 
At the break of dawn, the sound of Buddhist chants in the morning mist brought calm and serenity. On May 3, 2015, also the auspicious day of Wesak, 280 volunteers congregated at Tzu Chi Melaka Branch to pay homage to the Buddha and Bodhisattvas.
 
A prostrating pilgrimage has three significance; firstly, to cultivate faith, perseverance and courage; secondly, to get rid of arrogance and subdue anger; thirdly, to cultivate conviction. Everyone prayed earnestly for a world free from disasters and to walk and move on the Bodhisattva Path with diligence.
 
Twenty years of unwavering commitment
 
CEO of Tzu Chi Melaka, Lim Geok Choe, joined Tzu Chi 22 years ago. The prostrating pilgrimage reminded her of the image of the lotus rising out of the mud. One should not allow worries to disturb the mind and at the same time, learn to let go of ego and treat people with humility. Reflecting on the past two decades of serving among the masses, she cherished her blessings through witnessing sufferings and pursued the Dharma wisdom with zeal.
 
“Master always remind us to take the Dharma to heart and put the Dharma into practice, and along the way, we would be able to experience the profound Dharma. When we feel like giving up, the Dharma will guide us back to our initial aspirations. With the Dharma in our heart, one can overcome all obstacles along the Bodhisattva Path,” said Geok Choe.
 
Tzu Chi activities have brought out the loving-kindness and wisdom in her. She is motivated to walk the Bodhisattva Path. While singing the verses from the song “Making Vows”, she made a wish for cooperation and teamwork among the volunteers, to help the needy and jointly accomplish the three wishes of Master Cheng Yen – purification of the mind, creating a harmonious society and a world free from disasters.
 
For the three-in-one celebration of Wesak, Mother’s Day and Tzu Chi Anniversary on May 12, she had hoped that many more will join in, pray reverently and offer their blessings for the Nepal quake victims.
 
Spread the right Buddhadharma
 
Ng Siew Yoke joined Tzu Chi in 2011 and this was her third time she performed the prostrating pilgrimage. “One round of prostrating pilgrimage is like a life journey. Along the path, there will be stones and sand which made it painful to kneel down and the pain can go beyond imagination. But then this is our chosen path.”
 
One will likely lose balance if one takes too big a step forward. Thus one needs to remind oneself to take smaller step. The Buddhist chant is comforting to the ear and purifies the mind; it is akin to the peace and comfort when listening to the daily Dharma at dawn.
 
Siew Yoke paid homage with great sincerity; she was grateful for the peace and safety and the healthy body from her parents. She also repented for the past wrongdoings and dedicated the merits to all sentient beings.
 
Although Siew Yoke is a new volunteer in Tzu Chi, she got to know the foundation better by volunteering in compiling and archiving Tzu Chi’s history in Malaysia and reading the various publications. Better understanding brings more commitment in passing on the spirit of Tzu Chi; she courageously takes up more responsibilities and hopes to contribute to the future of Tzu Chi. “I believe religion has a great influence on people and I hope to spread the right faith continuously.”
 
Dedicating merits
 
Chin Yoon Heong joined Tzu Chi in 2003 and has only missed one prostrating pilgrimage. The recent pilgrimage took her 40 minutes to reach the venue, from leaving home to picking up other volunteers. She had to wake up an hour earlier but she did not complain nor was she deterred.
 
“To prostrate after taking three steps may seem a simple physical action; in reality it is a profound teaching.” Yoon Heong believes that through prostration, she learnt to let go of attachments and ego-centeredness.
 
When prostrating, some of us are distracted by the cleanliness of the place and on the pain when the skin touches the sandy and coarse stones. Can one persevere and continue the process without distraction? It is akin to the occasional obstacles along our Bodhisattva Path; do we choose to avoid or be mindful and carry on?” Yoon Heong elaborated.
 
At end of the pilgrimage, Yoon Heong dedicated the merits to Master Cheng Yen, for good health and longevity. She has dutifully carried out the wishes of Master, and loved the people that Master loves. In the recent fundraising for Nepal quake victims, as the Team Lead for her community, she proactively planned and organized five street donations within a few days. At the recycling centre, volunteers also prayed for the affected people in Nepal.
 
The pure wish of a child
 
Teo Ee Cheng is only three years old, but had prostrated piously, though he was distracted at times. His eight-month-old brother, Teo Ee Yang stayed warm in the arms of the mother, watching quietly as the mother bowed during the pilgrimage.
 
The brothers have actually taken part in the pilgrimage even before birth. Their mother, Lee Mei Sha has insisted for her children to participate and also dedicated the merits to the Master and her parents. While in prostration, scenes of disasters came to her mind. But through the Buddhist chant, she managed to pull herself together and pray for the victims in Nepal.
 
On the same day, the family also brought back three filled bamboo banks from home. Mei Sha explained to her children about the disaster that was screened on Da Ai TV channel and encouraged them to donate to the less fortunate. Ee Cheng poured the coins into the respective urn. Innocently he told his mum that the money was meant to repair their house.
 
 
Leaning the Dharma is to comprehend the true meaning of the Dharma; not only to benefit oneself, but to benefit all sentient beings. Tzu Chi volunteers have performed prostrating pilgrimage to purify the mind, to join their hearts and to pray earnestly for all sentient beings.
 
 
Lim Geok Choe, through prostration, learns to handle matters with calm and humility. [Photograph by Chin Fook Kuen]   Ng Siew Yoke dedicated the merits from the prostration to all sentient beings. [Photograph by Chin Fook Keun]

Lim Geok Choe, through prostration, learns to handle matters with calm and humility. [Photograph by Chin Fook Kuen]
 
Ng Siew Yoke dedicated the merits from the prostration to all sentient beings. [Photograph by Chin Fook Keun]
 
Chin Yoon Heong learnt to let go attachments and ego. [Photograph by Quek Kah Hoon]   Teo Ee Cheng poured out money from the bamboo bank and donated it to the Nepal victims. [Photograph by Quek Kah Hoon]

Chin Yoon Heong learnt to let go attachments and ego. [Photograph by Quek Kah Hoon]
 
Teo Ee Cheng poured out money from the bamboo bank and donated it to the Nepal victims. [Photograph by Quek Kah Hoon]