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Last updateWed, 11 Nov 2015 11am

Thursday, 30 April 2015 18:05

Derive Happiness from Understanding the Dharma

Written by  Tan Kim Hion, KL& Selangor / Translated by Tan Heang Shin

To Zhang Xiu Mei, participating in the sutra performance has enabled her to deeply comprehend the sutra, thereby eliminating her emotional afflictions. [Photograph by Lee Wei Kean]

On March 29, 2015, volunteer Zhang Xiu Mei practised the steps for the song “Life after Life on the Path of Enlightenment” with the rest. To her, this is not just a performance, but a mental cleansing as well.


 
Away from home for a year to participate
 
Volunteer Zhang Xiu Mei, who came from Kedah, closed her eyes slightly while standing on the mock stage at KL Tzu-Chi Jing Si Hall. When the song “Life after Life on the Path of Enlightenment” began playing, instructions from Lin Chia Hua, leader of the planning team, could be heard: “Start squatting…Stand up, turn around, follow the lyrics and walk to the front, right leg forward, left leg now, right leg, left leg… Everyone please take note of the tempo as this will make the team look organized…”
 
Xiu Mei followed the instructions carefully, immersed in the vast sea of Dharma, feeling relaxed and calm. She opened her eyes slightly, and when she saw the beautiful smiles of volunteers as they placed their palms together devotedly, she was deeply touched.
 
Although it was a rehearsal and there was no audience, Xiu Mei had performed wholeheartedly, taking each step and gesture seriously. She said, “I am so lucky and blessed to be involved in the sutra performance of Dharma as Water and to make the vow with so many Bodhisattvas to walk on the path of enlightenment for lifetimes.”
 
She was also grateful for the divine affinity of being with a big group of Bodhisattvas. She recalled how she met Ch’ng Eng Guat, a volunteer from Klang, at the Jing Si Abode, Taiwan, in 2013, and was later invited by the latter to visit Klang.
 
However, upon returning home, her mother fell ill and she stayed back to look after her in Kedah until the latter’s demise in early 2014. After settling all matters, she finally paid Eng Guat a visit in August 2014.
 
Coincidentally, study groups on Dharma as Water had just commenced, as well as, the practice sessions for the sutra performance, scheduled to be staged on July 4 and 5, 2015. After learning that Xiu Mei, who is single, had retired from the teaching profession and had nothing to worry about, Eng Guat invited the former to stay put in KL to participate in the sutra performance.
 
“Sister Eng Guat was very thoughtful as she has provided me with accommodation at her home and brought me along to all activities. Hence I am still able to carry out Tzu Chi’s activities when I am staying in Klang,” said Xiu Mei.
 
Upon learning about the sutra performance, a great joy filled her heart. She agreed to join without hesitation; and she does not mind staying in Klang for a year till the end of the performance because she knows this is a chance of a lifetime.
 
Like a droplet in the vast sea of Dharma
 
“I feel thankful to the Dharma brothers and sisters back in Kedah for their encouragement after learning about my participation in the sutra performance and my one-year stay in Klang! I am also grateful to them for taking over my responsibilities in the Education Mission in Kedah during my absence,” said Xiu Mei, who is determined to work towards a good performance with the KL & Selangor volunteers.
 
Many years ago, she had the opportunity to participate in the musical performance on Sutra of Innumerable Meanings together with Penang volunteers. Through deep comprehension of the sutra, it had brought her joy and amazement. However, fearing her incompetence, she did not join the sign language team but had instead participated in a simple performance.
 
This time, Eng Guat had encouraged her to go for the sign language performance. She thought of declining initially but changed her mind after hearing these words from Eng Guat, “I am older than you and I can do it. You are only 40-plus, why can’t you do it?”
 
With that encouragement, Xiu Mei agreed to join the sign language team. During the practice, she realized she had to deeply concentrate on the many gestures; but, to her surprise, she has learnt to take good care of her mind and did not allow her thoughts to go astray.
 
“I am taking the Dharma to heart bit by bit from the practice every time. When I sang the song from the scene ‘The Story of Dharma Master Wu Da’, I realized that arrogance had led to the creation of unwholesome karma. It had, thus, served as a good reminder to me,” said Xiu Mei.
 
Once, she followed Eng Guat to help out at the kitchen in KL Tzu-Chi Jing Si Hall. There were two “packing” lines running and as Xiu Mei was trying to move boxes from one line to the other, a Dharma sister stopped her abruptly. Xiu Mei was unaware that the Dharma sister was counting the total meal boxes.
 
In the past, she would have been hurt by such an incident and would have walked away. She said frankly, “Being a teacher for so long, I can’t help but think highly of myself. When I get advice or reminders during duties, I would feel uncomfortable as if I needed guidance. On this occasion, when the incident occurred, I thought of the sutra immediately and the human-faced sore formed on the knee of Dharma Master Wu Da. I quickly composed myself. I know the Dharma sister had been kind to remind me and therefore I must thank her.”
 
In that instant, she went to apologize to the Dharma sister. She felt at ease thereafter, and all her unhappiness was swept away. She finally understood how to use the Dharma water to cleanse the mind. Listening to the Dharma teachings every day will remove the mental defilements clouded by avidya. Without Dharma, minor uneasiness may snowball into serious afflictions.
 
Xiu Mei would tell her curious friends that she is using her retirement to tread the spiritual path, instead of travelling around for food.
 
With a deeper understanding of the sutra, she appreciated the kind intention of Dharma Master Wu Da in composing the Water Repentance text so that everyone can learn the Law of Karma and be aware of their own unwholesome behaviour, thereby transforming themselves and end their vices which create negative karma.
 
She felt truly blessed to be able to participate in the sutra performance and be a droplet in the vast sea of Dharma. Xiu Mei is always wearing a smile these days as she has now come to understand the sutra. The ripples of a smile are gradually spreading and creating a wave of gratitude in her…
 
 
At the invitation of Ch’ng Eng Guat (left), Zhang Xiu Mei (right) decided to stay in Klang for a year to participate in the sign language performance. [Photograph by Koh Poo Leng]   Participation in the sutra performance has allowed Zhang Xiu Mei to be vigilant of her sense of pride, and to use the Dharma to remove mental defilements. [Photograph by Leong Chian Yee]

At the invitation of Ch’ng Eng Guat (left), Zhang Xiu Mei (right) decided to stay in Klang for a year to participate in the sign language performance. [Photograph by Koh Poo Leng]
 
Participation in the sutra performance has allowed Zhang Xiu Mei to be vigilant of her sense of pride, and to use the Dharma to remove mental defilements. [Photograph by Leong Chian Yee]
 
With the encouragement from Ch’ng Eng Guat, Zhang Xiu Mei has joined the sign language team, instead of participating in the simple performance as she did in the previous musical on Sutra of Innumerable Meanings in Penang. [Photograph by Lee Wei Kean]   Zhang Xiu Mei has been actively involved in Tzu Chi Klang, and is eager to share with everyone on Dharma learning. [Photograph by Lai Kin Hoong]

With the encouragement from Ch’ng Eng Guat, Zhang Xiu Mei has joined the sign language team, instead of participating in the simple performance as she did in the previous musical on Sutra of Innumerable Meanings in Penang. [Photograph by Lee Wei Kean]
 
Zhang Xiu Mei has been actively involved in Tzu Chi Klang, and is eager to share with everyone on Dharma learning. [Photograph by Lai Kin Hoong]