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Tuesday, 12 May 2015 09:58

Prostrating Pilgrimage for Mind Purification at KL Tzu-Chi Jing Si Hall

Written by  Tzu Chi Documenting Team, KL & Selangor / Translated by Susan Ong

Tzu Chi KL & Selangor organized the first prostrating pilgrimage at KL Tzu-Chi Jing Si Hall to commemorate Tzu Chi’s 49th Anniversary and Master’s birthday. [Photograph by Lim Chin Tong]

Prostrating pilgrimage is a show of faith in its highest form with a pious heart. In conjunction with the 49th Anniversary of Tzu Chi Foundation, some 850 volunteers and public members humbled themselves through bowing and kneeling to pray for a world free from sufferings.


 
In the midst of the recitation of “Namo Shakyamuni Buddha”, the hearts of all present were calm as they prostrated with every three steps in solemnity. Master wished that all would introspect quietly as they walk steadily on the Bodhisattva Path.
 
In conjunction with Tzu Chi’s 49th Anniversary on May 12, 2015, Tzu Chi KL & Selangor organized for the first time a prostrating pilgrimage at KL Tzu-Chi Jing Si Hall. About 850 people congregated and humbled themselves to pray reverently for a world free from disasters.
 
I cannot do without Tzu Chi
 
Prostrating pilgrimage is actually the expression of one’s most sincere faith with the most pious heart. There is a phrase in Buddhism that says: “The Buddha is found not from afar at the Vulture Peak but in our heart. Everyone can practise spiritual cultivation within our own minds.”  This is a reflection of volunteer, Ch’ng Eng Guat’s feelings.
 
Eng Guat’s husband passed way at Dalin Tzu Chi Hospital in Taiwan in 2008. Tzu Chi volunteers in Taiwan took turns to chant continuously for ten hours and organized a memorial service for the deceased. Eng Guat’s heart was moved with gratitude.
 
“I cannot do without Tzu Chi. Without Tzu Chi, I would have collapsed!” expressed Eng Guat.
 
Today, Eng Guat upholds Master’s conviction of “just do it”. She bravely shoulders whatever responsibilities given to her and puts all her efforts and energy to ensure the tasks are properly carried out. She shared, “The more vows I make, the more energized I am, and I have more strength to undertake bigger tasks.”
 
Learning to be good
 
“Thank you Master!” said Zhan Rong Zhou, who lives in Pulau Ketam and is always teary at the mention of the Master. He learnt from volunteers that Master had watched the video shots of his recycling work and even mentioned his name. He vowed to better his work in recycling and discard his “bad guy” image.
 
Rong Zhou admitted that he had done lots of unwholesome deeds in his younger days and many people he knew had looked down upon him. However, at Tzu Chi, he is much respected and has even earned the nickname “Recycling Hero” for jumping into rivers to pick up floating rubbish. He has since regained his confidence. Led by volunteers, Tan Sow Lang, also a Pulau Ketam resident, and Eng Guat, he works tirelessly on recycling activities to protect the environment. 
 
The elimination of an unwholesome habit leads to the reduction of emotional afflictions and the development of purifying the mind. Rong Zhou’s heart was filled with happiness each time he prostrated. To him, being able to be in Tzu Chi and cultivate together with others have strengthened his determination to succeed.
 
Feeling joyful to be ‘home’
 
Through the prostrating pilgrimage, one can overcome one’s ego. As most lay people feel more superior to others, think highly of themselves and refuse to tolerate, the act of prostration can help eradicate one’s unwholesome habits.
 
Kek Wei Seng and his family of three, who participated in the pilgrimage, felt that to prostrate with great sincerity had brought profound meaning to the family. Wei Seng recalled his days in Tzu Chi feeling agitated as he busied himself in work. Even though he attended the Dharma lecture at dawn*, he could not internalize the Dharma and precipitate his mind.
 
Today, when he followed the big group in performing the prostration with every three steps, he did not appreciate what was going on initially as he was thinking of external matters while listening to the Buddhist chant. But he gradually controlled his wandering thoughts and settled his mind to further train his mindfulness. He realized his cultivation in Tzu Chi would allow him to find the strength to calm his thoughts.
 
Kek Yie Chuen who is in her twenties this year, had followed her parents to perform the prostrating pilgrimage. To her, “time is life”, thus she does not want to waste her life. As her parents are busy with work and Tzu Chi’s missions, and she is busy with Tzu Chi Collegiate Youth and her job, they hardly meet up or get together although they live under the same roof. Her parents would have gone to bed when she returns from work late at night, and set off early the next morning before she wakes up.
 
She will soon go overseas to further her studies, and the time to be with her parents will gradually be shorter and shorter. In order to keep pace with her parents, she follows them to the Dharma lecture at dawn daily, and also accompanied them to this prostrating pilgrimage.
 
Wang Wen Bin and his wife, Ji Xiang Hua who came from Jing-Si Books & Café in Selangor, have followed Master for 21 years and would previously return to the Jing Si Abode in Hualien on this day.
 
“I felt like going ‘home’ too this year, especially when I saw the picture of the Buddha sprinkling Dharma water,” exclaimed a happy Xiang Hua. As she bowed and knelt, she prayed for all besides herself, in particular the cancer patients and the victims in Nepal.
 
Three years ago, Xiang Hua contracted cancer which she accepted with an open heart. “Every hurdle offers opportunity for self-enhancement,” she equated her cancer healing process to the analogy of the “transformed city” to ward off evils as mentioned in the Lotus Sutra. This was to encourage herself to overcome each challenging treatment. The process was like the prostrating pilgrimage where the journey could only be completed with each continuous bowing and kneeling.
 
Wen Bin felt that the unorganized group at the beginning was like joining Tzu Chi at first, unsure of what to do. In the process of adjusting the pace, he reflected from time to time if he is falling behind, if he is walking too fast or if he is ahead of others.
 
“We only have to observe left and right; if this step is incorrect, adjust the next step to be in line with others, and the formation will naturally be solemn.” Ever since Wen Bin joined Tzu Chi, he has learnt to let go of his ego for the benefit of all, just like the spectacular scene of the prostrating pilgrimage which had started with individuals.
 
When all participants sang the verses of “Making Vows”, Wen Bin was reminded, “Whenever I make a vow to the Master, how much have I done?” Both the husband and wife have held a single thought of devotion for many years by listening to the Dharma lecture at dawn, in support of the Master in spirit and in action. They have vowed to listen, teach and spread the Dharma.
 
Lastly, the verses of “Transference of Merits” were solemnly chanted. With a pious, calm and pure heart, all participants made a wish for all beings to live in peace without disaster, making it a perfect ending to a splendid event.
 
 
* The live video telecast of the Master’s Dharma lecture at dawn (on the Lotus Sutra), with subtitles in Chinese, is available at Tzu Chi community centres across Malaysia at 5.20 am daily. The Dharma lecture is one of Master Cheng Yen’s gifts to the Jing Si disciples, hoping that apart from doing kind deeds, they could eventually gain wisdom through Buddhist cultivation.
 
 
Volunteers arrived at the KL Tzu-Chi Jing Si Hall to prepare for the prostrating pilgrimage at the crack of dawn. [Photograph by Lim Chin Tong]   With a single pious thought, volunteers were able to humble themselves and adjust their pace to present a dignified and uniformed march. [Photograph by Lim Chin Tong]

Volunteers arrived at the KL Tzu-Chi Jing Si Hall to prepare for the prostrating pilgrimage at the crack of dawn. [Photograph by Lim Chin Tong]
 
With a single pious thought, volunteers were able to humble themselves and adjust their pace to present a dignified and uniformed march. [Photograph by Lim Chin Tong]
 
The group had prostrated orderly and solemnly from the outdoor to the indoor of Jing Si Hall. [Photograph by Choo Kok Choi]   About 850 participants had humbled themselves to offer Master their deepest blessings, and pray for a world free from disasters. [Photograph by Sam Pin Fook]

The group had prostrated orderly and solemnly from the outdoor to the indoor of Jing Si Hall. [Photograph by Choo Kok Choi]
 
 
About 850 participants had humbled themselves to offer Master their deepest blessings, and pray for a world free from disasters. [Photograph by Sam Pin Fook]
 
Ch’ng Eng Guat, who has been with Tzu Chi for many years, confessed that she cannot live without Tzu Chi, as it has let her to lead a fulfilling life. [Photograph by Tia Yee Ling]   Zhan Rong Zhou from Pulau Ketam regretted for his unwholesome deeds in his younger days. He is committed in doing recycling to rid his “bad guy” image. [Photograph by Ong Siew Geok]

Ch’ng Eng Guat, who has been with Tzu Chi for many years, confessed that she cannot live without Tzu Chi, as it has let her to lead a fulfilling life. [Photograph by Tia Yee Ling]
 
 
Zhan Rong Zhou from Pulau Ketam regretted for his unwholesome deeds in his younger days. He is committed in doing recycling to rid his “bad guy” image. [Photograph by Ong Siew Geok]
 
Kek Wei Seng’s family of three participated in the pilgrimage with great sincerity, which is of great significance to the family. [Photograph by Tia Yee Ling]   Wang Wen Bin of Jing-Si Books & Café in Selangor realized the need to let go of his ego in the spirit of teamwork, thus he participated in the spectacular prostrating pilgrimage which also begins with oneself. [Photograph by Choo Kok Choi]

Kek Wei Seng’s family of three participated in the pilgrimage with great sincerity, which is of great significance to the family. [Photograph by Tia Yee Ling]
 
 
Wang Wen Bin of Jing-Si Books & Café in Selangor realized the need to let go of his ego in the spirit of teamwork, thus he participated in the spectacular prostrating pilgrimage which also begins with oneself. [Photograph by Choo Kok Choi]