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Last updateWed, 11 Nov 2015 11am

Saturday, 25 April 2015 17:07

Negative Habitual Tendencies Eradicated with Dharma Water

Written by  Kang Miew Tiang, Melaka / Translated by Ong Mooi Lin

On April 25, 274 performers from Muar arrived at the mock stage in Melaka Cheng Industrial Estate for practice for the first time. [Photograph by Sen Ah Wat]

Seventy-four-year-old Teh Poi Kim has a deeper understanding about the Karmic Law of Cause and Effect after taking part in the sutra adaptation performance; and he has started to give generously and is kind to others. Nurtured by Dharma teachings, Tey Soo Lee and Tay Soo Wee have both eradicated their ill-temper, thus bringing joy and happiness to their families.


 
Muar Liaison Office initiated their weekly sutra study and practice of sutra performance on Dharma as Water in November 2014. On April 25, 2015, 274 volunteers from Muar arrived at the mock stage in Melaka Cheng Industrial Estate for the first time. After five months of practice on flat ground, they finally stepped onto the concrete stage, feeling distinctively different ascending and descending the staircases.
 
Volunteers from Tzu Chi Melaka had thoughtfully arranged for group practices, setting up the stage and marking the landmarks on and off stage to enable performers to familiarize with their positions and formations.
 
The two-hour-plus practice that day commenced with songs, namely, “Love and Care for All”, “The Incense Chant”, “Verse for Opening a Sutra” and “Life after Life on the Path of Enlightenment” that were played accordingly, allowing everyone to understand the flow of the opening performance.
 
From initial bewilderment, the performers gradually improved under the Melaka coaching team. With repeated rehearsals, the atmosphere in the room was soon filled with tranquillity and solemnity.
 
Eradicating worries by taking Dharma to heart
 
Teh Poi Kim, a volunteer from Labis, had participated in the simple performance in the sutra adaptation performance on Dharma as Water in 2011. This time round, after being assigned to the sign language team, he found it difficult to memorize the many gestures. However, after many practices, he overcame the challenges and finally grasped the sign language movements. 
 
Poi Kim also faced the challenge of kneeling down for a long time. Due to lack of physical exercises, his joints have stiffened. To ease the pain in his stiffened knees, he is determined to exercise more, and kneel down and stand up more at home. The opportunity of moving up and down the mock stage this time had provided him a real sense of performing on stage.
 
During his participation in the sutra adaptation performance in 2011, he understood more about the Karmic Law of Cause and Effect after watching the scenes where animals were slaughtered for consumption. Hence, he constantly reminds himself to refrain from creating unwholesome affinities with all sentient beings, and has even started practising vegetarianism.
 
Poi Kim is grateful for his wife’s thoughtfulness in preparing a variety of scrumptious vegetarian meals during the transitional period. He concurred that vegetarianism is a healthy living lifestyle.
 
He remarked regrettably that today’s society is too busy to spare time for Dharma learning. With this rare opportunity, he participated again not merely for performing but hoping to learn in depth about the sutra and to self-reflect. It is a different experience revising the sutra verses time and time again.
 
Lately, when he encountered many challenges as the person-in-charge of the supervision and renovation work at Labis Liaison Office, he applied sutra verses from Dharma as Water to free his mind from worries and to learn to let go. He hopes that the local Tzu Chi Liaison Office could benefit countless people and recruit more volunteers to carry out Tzu Chi’s missions.
 
Seventy-four-year-old Poi Kim understood the impermanence of life, hence, has practised kindness and generosity. In October 2013, he and his wife joined the Entrepreneurs’ Group for a trip to Taiwan. On that visit, they gained a deeper understanding of Tzu Chi and admired Master Cheng Yen’s great compassion and selfless giving.
 
They concurred with Tzu Chi’s missions and hence contributed money and efforts. In 2014, they donated NT$2 million and became Honorary Board Members1. He felt it was hard to come across a good Master and is hoping to follow Master Cheng Yen’s footsteps closely on the Bodhisattva Path.
 
Subduing ill-temper with Dharma teachings
 
This will be Tey Soo Lee’s first participation in the sutra adaptation performance. After a few months of practice, and with the lyrics of the songs constantly playing in her mind, she felt the urge to repent. In the past, she was petty and often argued with her husband over trivial matters, not to mention, the communication problem she had with her children. All these had resulted in a tense atmosphere at home.
 
She said, “If you are fierce, I would be fiercer; if you are loud, I would be louder.” She admitted that being a hard-headed person, she could not agree, accept or tolerate others, and was also inconsiderate towards the feelings of others. She had always thought she was right.
 
When reciting the lyrics: “Repenting for one’s jealousy, intolerance and meaningless harmful acts”, she was remorseful upon reflecting on her bad attitude when dealing with people and when handling matters. She vigilantly reminded herself to be calm, gentle and soft spoken, and her transformation has also influenced her family, thus, leading to a harmonious interaction at home.
 
Tay Soo Wee said every verse in the sutra has helped to eradicate her negative habitual tendencies. Being an impetuous person with quick temper, she often offended others with unconscious remarks.
 
She shared, “I shout and speak loudly as if scolding others.” Hence, the sutra verse: “Repenting for the anger, ill-nature and hurt that I have caused”, has alerted her to change her attitude, and to be mindful of her speech and conduct. After learning the sutra, she began to repent reverently, uphold the “do not bad-mouth and scold others” attitude, practise vegetarianism, as well as, do good deeds and give generously.
 
 
Through Dharma as Water sutra adaptation performance, it is hoped that everyone will repent and eradicate their negative habitual tendencies, thereby leading a positive life thereafter.
 
1 Years ago, Master Cheng Yen called upon all benevolent people to contribute towards the Tzu Chi Hospital Building Fund. In response to the Master’s appeal, Tzu Chi volunteers initiated every means to raise funds for this cause. Back then, NT$1 million was a huge amount. As the Master was very grateful to these patrons who had donated over NT$1 million, she appointed them as Tzu Chi Honorary Board Members to show her appreciation and commended their acts of kindness as a role model for everyone to emulate.
 
 
Tey Soo Lee took part in the sutra performance for the first time, and reflected on her attitude towards others in the past after learning the verse, “Repenting for one’s jealousy, intolerance and meaningless harmful acts”. [Photograph by Sen Ah Wat]   Teh Poi Kim (centre) learnt to eradicate his worries and to be generous in giving after participating in the sutra performance. He also understood more about the Karmic Law of Cause and Effect. [Photograph by Sen Ah Wat]

Tey Soo Lee took part in the sutra performance for the first time, and reflected on her attitude towards others in the past after learning the verse, “Repenting for one’s jealousy, intolerance and meaningless harmful acts”. [Photograph by Sen Ah Wat]
 
Teh Poi Kim (centre) learnt to eradicate his worries and to be generous in giving after participating in the sutra performance. He also understood more about the Karmic Law of Cause and Effect. [Photograph by Sen Ah Wat]