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Last updateWed, 11 Nov 2015 11am

Friday, 05 June 2015 11:02

Undeterred in Joining the Sutra Performance though English Educated

Written by  Loh Siew Chien, Melaka / Translated by Wong Mun Heng

Besides learning the sign language, Lee Kin Chee also helped other fellow volunteers, one of whom is Loo Jun Jiang. [Photograph by Quek Kah Hoon]

Relying on phonetics to memorize the sutra and making full use of any spare time to learn the sign language, Lee Kin Chee managed to absorb the sutra and thus, cleansed his mental defilements. By participating in the sutra performance, he has eliminated many bad habits and is now a better person.


 
On stage, Lee Kin Chee is well-versed with every hand gesture; off stage, he chants every verse by heart. He can even remind the people around him. The participants do not even realize that he does not read, write or speak the Chinese language.
 
Tzu Chi Melaka started the lessons and practices for Dharma as Water sutra adaptation performance since October 2014. Initially, they were held once a week and later thrice a week. English-educated volunteer, Lee has never missed any of these sessions. 
 
Even at home, he would do his homework by going online to look for phonetics for certain sutra, English translations and lessons from video clips. He has a special notebook to jot down phonetics for the song lyrics and explanations in English.
 
When he has the time, be it day or night, in the car, office or at home, he would repeatedly play the songs until he is familiar with them. As memorizing the song lyrics and sign language was not good enough for him, he went a step further to take note of details like the positions, flow and beauty.
 
After seven months, he managed to memorize 16 songs; and sometimes, he had to put in many hours of effort just for one song. He had to work doubly hard but he does not consider such work as difficult. He believes that with perseverance, nothing is insurmountable.
 
He said, “It would be a pity if I miss the two-hour stage performance. I can’t rely on the lyrics projected on the screen because I can’t read Chinese. That’s why I need to memorize. If not, I won’t be able to follow.” Instead of giving excuses for his handicap, he has put in extra efforts.
 
Mindfulness makes one professional
 
Apart from learning the sign language, Lee also helped other fellow volunteers, like Loo Jun Jiang, whose movement was frequently corrected by the former. Loo has greatly improved with Lee as his role model.
 
Due to his diligence, Lee was appointed as team leader and was positioned in front of the team. Whenever others had difficulties, he would be the one to guide them through, step by step. Later, when he was reassigned to another team, Loo, who had been relying on him all this while, felt a bit lost. As such, he had to work harder on his own.
 
One of the overall coordinators, Ong Kee Boon commended on Lee’s diligence and noted that whenever there was a change in the sign language, Lee could perform the new version at the next practice. He had obviously done a lot of practice at home.
 
According to Ong, it was not easy to memorize so many songs; and even for him, it was quite tough. So, it would be doubly hard for Lee, who was not Chinese-educated. Besides, he is also mindful and mindfulness makes one professional. Thus, he is greatly admired by Ong.
 
As a photographer volunteer, Lee knows what it takes to bring out the best in aesthetic beauty. In 2013, he was with the photography team in Singapore watching and capturing the Dharma as Water sutra performance. At that time, he did not have a good grasp of the sutra.
 
This time around, he has been totally committed to attending the sutra study and sharing. He admitted that without a good understanding of the sutra, his photography could only capture the superficial beauty. Though he is not involved in photography this time, his understanding of the sutra will enable him to appreciate the beauty of every song and movement and how to project the essence accordingly.
 
Negative habits eradicated through Dharma water
 
From the sutra verses, Lee has gained a better insight into the Law of Karma. He has started to make a conscious effort to repent, starting with his daily bad habits. For example, in the past when a driver wanted to overtake him, he would not give way if the driver did not signal. His rationale was that since the other party was not following traffic rules, why should he give way. But now, he is more tolerant and realizes that by giving in, he would have nothing to lose. Furthermore, accidents could be avoided.
 
Similarly, he no longer beats his dog during training. Instead, he adopts a much gentler approach, and his dog is better behaved now. His wife, Yen Yu Chu also commented, “Last time, whenever he picked a flea from the dog, he would immediately squeeze and kill it. But now, he would free it instead.” Something which was so instinctively done in the past is no longer practised now.
 
Once, he accidentally caused all the fish in his tank to die due to his carelessness. He felt deeply remorseful and told himself to be more vigilant going forward, and this has also changed the way he handles matters.
 
When he heard Master Cheng Yen mentioning about “correcting past wrongs and cultivating for the future”, he suddenly discovered that in order to change for the better, one must repent for past mistakes. Only by so doing can the layers of dirt that have enveloped our heart all these while be cleansed, thereby enabling one to see the pure heart again.
 
The way to happiness begins with the right thinking
 
Being a stubborn person, Lee used to have squabbles with his wife often. At times when his wife nagged him for not helping her, he would burst out in anger; and at times, would end up in cold war.
 
Recently in April, his wife discovered his attitude has changed. He is more responsive whenever his wife asked him to do something and does not lose his cool so easily anymore. With his ability to control his temper, he has taken good care of his action, speech and mind. Furthermore, by being more considerate to his wife, their relationship has improved.
 
He explained, “Since it will make the other person angry, why do we still do it? When the other person swears, bad karma arises; and this is not good! A lot of times, it’s the mindset. With a change in mindset, our habit will naturally change too.” To him, this is his biggest gain ever since he got involved in the sutra performance.
 
When the wife saw her non-Chinese-educated husband reciting the sutra, she was impressed and has been motivated to learn more. Like her husband, she would practice the sign language even in the car. In fact, her husband has become her personal tutor, correcting her sign language gesture every now and then.
 
Though the sutra performance practice has taken up a lot of their time, their relationship has not been affected in any way. Rather, they are now more steadfast in walking the Bodhisattva Path together.
 
 
The cause for all the social unrest and natural disasters happening all over the world is mainly the result of an unwholesome mind. The upcoming sutra performance on stage is going to be Lee’s first performing experience. He hopes that with total commitment, he can help to spread the wonderful sutra very confidently. He added, “So long as we put in our best effort, I am sure we can touch the hearts of the audience.”
 
He sincerely hopes that the Dharma as Water sutra adaptation performance on July 4 and 5, will make the public feel cleansed and that society will be more harmonious and free from disasters.
 
 
Impressed by his transformation, Lee Kin Chee’s wife has been motivated to follow his footsteps in practising harder. [Photograph by Hong Geok Hui]   Lee Kin Chee has a special notebook to jot down phonetics for the song lyrics, explanations in English and timing for movements. [Photograph by Yong Siew Lee]

Impressed by his transformation, Lee Kin Chee’s wife has been motivated to follow his footsteps in practising harder. [Photograph by Hong Geok Hui]
 
Lee Kin Chee has a special notebook to jot down phonetics for the song lyrics, explanations in English and timing for movements. [Photograph by Yong Siew Lee]
 
From the sutra verses, Lee Kin Chee has gained a better insight into the Law of Karma. [Photograph by Chin Fook Kuen]   When time permits, Lee Kin Chee would practise in the office. [Photograph by Loh Siew Chien]

From the sutra verses, Lee Kin Chee has gained a better insight into the Law of Karma. [Photograph by Chin Fook Kuen]
 
When time permits, Lee Kin Chee would practise in the office. [Photograph by Loh Siew Chien]