Wednesday, Dec 13th

Last updateWed, 11 Nov 2015 11am

Friday, 05 June 2015 17:20

Comprehend the Dharma and Embrace Each Other with Love

Written by  Tan Kim Hion, Mentakab / Translated by Chong Pei Fen

Thanks to the Dharma as Water sutra adaptation performance, Lim Seo Hoe and her son, Tey Yi Xian, released their grievances and confessed their love for each other. [Photograph by Kevin Tan Kok Sieong]

Lim Seo Hoe and her youngest son, Tey Yi Xian, live in Mentakab and Kuala Lumpur respectively. Despite the physical distance, their hearts are brought together thanks to the Dharma as Water sutra adaptation performance, which has helped them to release their grievances and embrace each other with love.


 
Lim Seo Hoe was reluctant to take part in the Dharma as Water sutra adaptation performance due to her poor memory. However, after learning about a shortage of performers, she decided to overcome her learning obstacle and join the Dharma Expressionist Team*.
 
To memorize the verses, she requested her daughter to get her a small portable music player so that she can play the songs saved in her thumb drive on the player and chant along wherever she goes.
 
She said, “Even my youngest son with visual impairment is in the ‘Light of Great Love’ team. He has learnt nine songs and is left with a few more to go. His accomplishment gives me all the more reason not to back out.”
 
Having learnt the hand gestures for the first song, Seo Hoe, who was completely new to sign language, was more confident and was motivated to practise even harder.
 
To her, the verses are simple and comprehensible. It feels like the Buddha is preaching the Dharma, reminding everyone to guard one’s actions, speech and thoughts, and refrain from creating unwholesome karma.
 
Seo Hoe understands that it is hardest to cultivate one’s body, speech and mind as every devious thought or abusive word results in a seed of unwholesome karma. Recollecting her past, she was most regretful that she had not given Yi Xian a happy childhood.
 
The bitter past
 
Seo Hoe related, “I had encountered a few unexpected events. More than 20 years ago, I lost my voice for two years due to swollen vocal chords. Another time, when trying to light a fire, the kerosene container suddenly went up in flames. My hands and clothes were on fire, and the pain was excruciating. I had to take off my clothes to save my life.”
 
The burns and recuperating process were the most horrendous experience for Seo Hoe. She suffered indescribable pain when her burnt skin was peeled off piece by piece. Then, she was left with patches of pale scars on her arms. For a long time, she had to shield her arms from sunlight as exposure to the sun would cause her pain. Despite all these, she was strong enough to carry on with her life as a rubber tapper, taking care of her children and handling household chores.
 
Although life in the rural area was simple, Seo Hoe always had her hands full with family matters. That, coupled with a change in her temper after experiencing the illness and fire, she lost her patience on Yi Xian and would yell at him despite her daughter’s constant reminder of her piercing voice, which could be heard a few streets away.
 
In recollection, Seo Hoe was remorseful for scolding Yi Xian for his scribbled handwriting notwithstanding that he suffered from severe amblyopia since young and had to rest his head on the exercise books to write.
 
She explained, “I was irritated that it often took him close to midnight to complete his homework. I had to take care of him and rise early the following morning to work. It was exhausting. So I always lashed out my anger at him. Once, I reproached him for not listening to me and asked why he wasn’t responding. He replied abruptly, ‘I like it this way!’ I was really furious and helpless at the same time, didn’t know how I should educate him.”
 
Yi Xian was accepted for Braille learning in a special school in Kuantan when he was 11. Worried about him going about his life alone in a new environment far away from home, Seo Hoe went with him to Kuantan to keep him company. A month later, when Yi Xian had adapted to his school life, Seo Hoe decided to go home. On the day of departure, Yi Xian burst into tears. It was not until then that they realized how much love and care they had for each other, though unexpressed.
 
Repent and confess courageously
 
After Yi Xian found a job as a telephone operator in Kuala Lumpur, both mother and son discovered they share a common interest, that is, Tzu Chi. Seo Hoe started joining Tzu Chi’s activities in Mentakab through the encouragement of her second son, while Yi Xian started participating in Tzu Chi’s study group and recycling activities, and gradually committed himself as a volunteer.
 
Upon learning from the Master’s lectures that we must guard our actions, speech and thoughts, Seo Hoe reflected on the unkind words she used on Yi Xian in the past, and apologized to him. Yi Xian was surprised and puzzled. Then, when both of them participated in the Dharma as Water sutra adaptation performance, Seo Hoe again reflected and repented for her past mistakes and sought for forgiveness from Yi Xian.
 
Understanding how his mother was feeling, Yi Xian told her that he would not hold a grudge as all he could remember were the good times. He related that during his ten-year studying period in Kuantan, his mother would take a bus to bring him home for the school holidays, and to cook him tasty food. When he started working in Kuala Lumpur, his mother would also visit him frequently and help to clean and tidy up his room. When they were out, he would have his hand on his mother’s shoulder, and she would describe to him what she saw along the way and alert him of the obstructions. It is through his mother’s eyes that he sees the world.
 
When he complained to his mother that others had teased him because of his visual impairment, she would advise him to be more understanding and tolerant, and be more grateful and content, with verses from the Dharma as Water.
 
She also reminded Yi Xian to appreciate those who have been kind to him as she learnt that the volunteers have taken extra care of him. Besides offering him a ride, some volunteers would also prepare meals for him during weekends, when food catering is unavailable, to save him the trouble of packing meals from outside. During the “Light of Great Love” practices at the community centre, volunteers would also sit beside him, hold his hands and guide him with the hand movements. They also saved all the songs for the Dharma as Water in his computer so that he could listen to them conveniently.
 
While listening to the songs, Yi Xian translated the verses into Braille, word by word. Every day, he would read the Braille and sing the songs. To help Yi Xian memorize the verses, Seo Hoe would read the verses for him, and emphasize to him the Karmic Law of Cause and Effect and teachings in the sutra. She told Yi Xian, “It is because you did not write a good script of life in your past life that you suffer from impaired vision now. So in this lifetime, you must guard your body, speech and mind, and don’t give rise to worries and unwholesome thoughts. If you could cultivate yourself well in this life, you would be blessed with a blissful life in your next lifetime.”
 
Keeping his mother’s words in mind, Yi Xian also shared with her the verse, “the Samadhi Dharma water cleanses and purifies the sins of all beings” which struck a deep chord in him. Every time when he sings this verse, he would recall the time when he was younger and would answer back to his mother out of anger and resentment. At his workplace, he would argue with his colleagues and scold people who teased him.
 
Aware that these are all unwholesome behaviour, Yi Xian promised his mother that he would no longer complain and be disgruntled. The song has served as a constant reminder for him to be courteous when dealing with his mother and others. Seo Hoe is happy that a reserved and low self-esteemed Yi Xian is more cheerful now, and would even greet others with a smile.
 
From the sutra, Yi Xian also learnt about filial piety. On May 10, when he attended Tzu Chi’s 3-in-1 celebration of the Buddha’s Day, Mother’s Day and Tzu Chi’s Day at the KL Tzu-Chi Jing Si Hall with his family, he happily offered his mother a foot bath.
 
While rubbing his mother’s feet, he found calluses on them and felt grateful for all that his mother had done for him over the past 26 years. She has not only been his eyes to see the world, but has also been walking the Bodhisattva Path with his hands in hers. After giving his mother a foot-bath, he embraced her tightly, and confessed his love for her for the first time, “I love you, mum!”
 
 
Even though Seo Hoe and Yi Xian will be performing on different platforms in the upcoming Dharma as Water sutra adaptation performance on July 4 and 5, 2015, Seo Hoe knows that when she calls from the stage with her hand gestures, Yi Xian, who will be at the “Light of Great Love” section in the audience seats, will be responding to her with his hand gestures too. What makes this even more precious is that Seo Hoe’s daughter and son-in-law, who live in Kuala Lumpur, will also be performing together on the other stage platforms. To Seo Hoe, the affinity to learn and douse in the Dharma together with her children is the greatest blessing in life.
 
* A group of people who expresses the meaning of the lyrics of the song composition through beautiful subtle hand movements.
 
 
Lim Seo Hoe had a poor relationship with her son, Tey Yi Xian. It was not until the moment when she was to leave 11-year-old Yi Xian in a special school in Kuantan that she realized their love for each other. [Photograph provided by Lim Seo Hoe]   The Master’s Dharma lectures have awakened Lim Seo Hoe to the importance of guarding one’s body, speech and mind. She repented for the undesirable words she used on Yi Xian in the past and finally released her resentment. [Photograph by Lim Chin Tong]

Lim Seo Hoe had a poor relationship with her son, Tey Yi Xian. It was not until the moment when she was to leave 11-year-old Yi Xian in a special school in Kuantan that she realized their love for each other. [Photograph provided by Lim Seo Hoe]
 
The Master’s Dharma lectures have awakened Lim Seo Hoe to the importance of guarding one’s body, speech and mind. She repented for the undesirable words she used on Yi Xian in the past and finally released her resentment. [Photograph by Lim Chin Tong]
 
Volunteer helped Tey Yi Xian with his hand movements during sign language practice. [Photograph by Low Mai Yin]   Tey Yi Xian converted the verses in the Dharma as Water into Braille, and learnt singing by reading the Braille. [Photograph by Tang Weng Tong]

Volunteer helped Tey Yi Xian with his hand movements during sign language practice. [Photograph by Low Mai Yin]
 
 
Tey Yi Xian converted the verses in the Dharma as Water into Braille, and learnt singing by reading the Braille. [Photograph by Tang Weng Tong]
 
Lim Seo Hoe and Tey Yi Xian attended Tzu Chi’s 3-in-1 celebration together. Yi Xian is deeply grateful for his mother, who has not only been his eyes to see the world, but has also been walking the Bodhisattva Path with his hands in hers.  [Photograph by Kevin Tan Kok Sieong]   Tey Yi Xian happily offered his mother a foot-bath. [Photograph by Lim Kar Guan]

Lim Seo Hoe and Tey Yi Xian attended Tzu Chi’s 3-in-1 celebration together. Yi Xian is deeply grateful for his mother, who has not only been his eyes to see the world, but has also been walking the Bodhisattva Path with his hands in hers. [Photograph by Kevin Tan Kok Sieong]
 
 
Tey Yi Xian happily offered his mother a foot-bath. [Photograph by Lim Kar Guan]