Tuesday, Oct 24th

Last updateWed, 11 Nov 2015 11am

Wednesday, 24 June 2015 17:48

Explore Dharma to Breakthrough and Re-orientate One’s Life

Written by  Yen Yu Chu, Melaka / Translated by Lee Ren Hui

The deeper Yong Hock Ann studies the sutra scriptures, the deeper his self-realization. [Photograph by Quek Kah Hoon]

The world is imbalanced, with man-made and natural disasters occurring one after another. Tzu Chi Melaka hopes that through Dharma as Water sutra adaptation performance, the public can better understand the Karmic Law of Cause and Effect, repent for their misconduct, and cleanse their minds with Dharma water, thereby liberating themselves and others.


 
Since November 2014, Melaka Jing Si Hall has been organizing sutra study and sign language practice of Dharma as Water every Friday, with three classes conducted concurrently at three different locations.
 
Thanks to the relentless efforts of a group of dedicated volunteers, the sessions are conducted smoothly, with sound control playing a vital role in bringing the whole session to live. Be it sound, music, video, lighting and so on, they are all inter-connected and need to be seamlessly aligned with the performance on stage, as well as, the conditions off stage, in order to present a perfectly coordinated performance that resonates with the audience.
 
Volunteer Yong Hock Ann has been in charge of sound control for various events held at Jing Si Hall since 2014. For the eight-month long sutra performance rehearsals, he has volunteered himself for the sound control of Team B.
 
“You gain when you give! Other volunteers in charge of different tasks in the sutra performance are all doing their part, giving all that they have,” shared Hock Ann shyly.
 
When participants under the stage sat quietly and followed the guide on stage to study the sutra, he was “locked” inside the small sound control room, busily playing videos, songs and other information contents, while paying attention to adjusting the lights and sounds as and when required.
 
Initially, he was very nervous as he was unsure of the operating procedures, thus was always on the alert and unable to join in the learning of the sutra. As he became more and more familiar with the flow, he could then manoeuvre the machine while listening to the sharing by the guide on stage.
 
However, as he was unable to completely apprehend the sutra then, he merely treated it as a normal event without paying extra attention. He conceded regretfully, “I was not very serious about it back then.”
 
Participated with complete devotion after comprehension
 
It was not until March this year that he realized his misbehaviour, after receiving earnest advice from the sign language coach, Tan Chai Yen. He began to adjust his mindset and became more committed. He also understood that participation is not about acting and coordinating with a team of performers and it is also not the sole responsibility of the planning team.
 
Therefore, he no longer carried out his tasks upon reminders and urging from the team, but began building up his sense of responsibility and finding the motivation to practise. Since then, he would review the sign language sheets and seize every opportunity to practise, even with only ten minutes to spare.
 
Meanwhile, his wife, Loo Chia Chia, also a participant, was unable to commit fully initially due to work commitments, hence was often absent from rehearsals. He would then remind her and check on her progress, encouraging her to be more dedicated so that she could catch up with the team’s progress.
 
Every Wednesday, the community would organize extra rehearsals, and if they need sound control personnel, he would definitely be their best candidate. During the two-hour rehearsal, everyone would practise according to music while being guided by the instructor on stage, who would carefully observe and adjust each participant’s gesture, and help clear any doubts and blind spots.
 
On every occasion, Hock Ann could only be stationed silently in the sound control room, patiently operating the machines every now and then. As such, he could only take advantage of the small breaks in between to do a little practice. He said, “It’s okay. Most importantly, the team can practise. I will practise more on my own later.”
 
Hock Ann is shy hence, he often hides in his room to practise, giving his wife the impression that he was playing with his phone. Later, she found out that he was actually watching the sutra performance staged in Taiwan repeatedly, learning from the sign language coaching video, and practising in private diligently. Then there were the times he went alone to the community centre to practise in front of the mirror and adjust his gestures and movements.
 
His little finger on his left hand was stiff and unable to straighten and bend freely due to RSI (repetitive strain injury). Although he was corrected by the instructor repeatedly during rehearsals, he did not explain his problem as he believed that would become an excuse to hinder him from making progress.
 
So he tried to move his finger even though it was painful; and he also tried to soften the bones in order to make the movements. Perhaps because of his frequent practices, his little finger can now move freely without pain.
 
Inspire others onto spiritual cultivation after self-breakthrough
 
Chia Chia was more surprised when she found out that her husband actually broke out of his shy personality and actively participated in the online community chat group to encourage other team members to practise at home. It was the first time he posted a message since he joined Tzu Chi as a volunteer in 2009.
 
At first, when Chia Chia saw the message, she thought he must have copied from somewhere as he was not good at expressing himself and he was not familiar with phonetics. But, when she read the message carefully and found a few typing errors, she was certain the message was left by her husband.
 
“Hock Ann is a very shy person, and this is the first time he wrote such a long message. Therefore, I could not find any excuse for myself anymore. Now, I must work as hard as he does!” shared volunteer Du Qing Zhen. Hock Ann’s courage in standing up and speaking out his deep concerns and spurring others on, has deeply inspired Qing Zhen.
 
When Qing Zhen realized that the sutra performance is not an individual effort but a team accomplishment, she began to participate more diligently thereafter. The two volunteers she has been tasked to ferry to the rehearsals will also have the chance to participate.
 
A simple idea of standing up and speaking out to encourage and inspire others has gradually led to a domino effect of driving more people to come and learn the sutra. This unexpected turnout has made him happy. Since then, he has never ceased to leave uplifting messages to show how much he values the sutra performance with his determination and thoughtfulness.
 
A very amazed Chia Chia expressed, “His dedication reminds me to be more vigilant. He was a relatively slow learner, but he is much faster than me in learning the sign language this time.” From her husband’s proactive attitude, she could feel his will power, and this had spurred her on to practise at home every night and during lunch breaks.
 
Turning over a new leaf after understanding the sutra
 
“This is the starting point of my life.” The deeper he studied the sutra verses, the more insights he gained. He shared, “Do not do wrong and then repent. The sutra teaches us to completely introspect and start anew.”
 
The sutra carefully stated the sins of killing, stealing, fornication, cravings and lying, to remind everyone to be cautious and take good care of our action, speech, and mind. All these had inspired Hock Ann to correct his past misconduct, to reform and begin again.
 
He recalled being affected by rumours at his workplace in the past, and would bring home the negative mood occasionally, thus affecting the family atmosphere without realizing it. The sutra has made him to be more wary of himself.
 
He said, “Everyone says inappropriate things all the time but is unaware that the abusive language, lies and flattery are all easy mistakes made by us.” Furthermore, we always kill mosquitoes even though we know that it is not good to kill living beings, but we choose to ignore.
 
After studying the sutra, he gradually realized the negative karma and has since been asking the mosquitoes to leave him alone, or finding ways to drive them out of the house. The process is about learning to respect all lives. Chia Chia happily shared that, “I would remind him not to kill previously but was in vain. After he learnt the sutra, the smell of insecticides had vanished from our house.”
 
 
After continuously watching the Dharma as Water sutra adaptation performances staged in various regions of Taiwan, coupled with numerous rehearsals at the community centre, Hock Ann has finally gained a thorough understanding of the Karmic Law of Cause and Effect as described in the sutra; and this has given rise to new perspectives and behaviour while cleansing his heart at the same time.
 
He then shared his understanding and knowledge with others relentlessly by inviting the participants in his community to gather and watch the sutra performance staged in Taiwan. In addition, he also encouraged team members in the online chat group to boost everyone’s morale in studying the sutra. He has indeed demonstrated the power of enlightening others through self-enlightenment.
 
 
Besides participating in the sutra performance, Yong Hock Ann also acts as the sound controller, responsible for playing the videos, songs and information contents, while adjusting the lighting and sound as and when needed. [Photograph by Yong Siew Lee]   Seeing the shy Yong Hock Ann (left) calling on others enthusiastically, Du Qing Zhen (middle) was inspired to participate actively, leading two other volunteers to join in as well. [Photograph by Chin Fook Kuen]

Besides participating in the sutra performance, Yong Hock Ann also acts as the sound controller, responsible for playing the videos, songs and information contents, while adjusting the lighting and sound as and when needed. [Photograph by Yong Siew Lee]
 
Seeing the shy Yong Hock Ann (left) calling on others enthusiastically, Du Qing Zhen (middle) was inspired to participate actively, leading two other volunteers to join in as well. [Photograph by Chin Fook Kuen]
 
The shy Yong Hock Ann has become active in the online community chat group, to encourage team members to practise at home. [Photograph by Chin Fook Kuen]   Thanks to her husband, Yong Hock Ann’s reminders and care, Loo Chia Chia also started catching up by practising diligently. [Photograph by Yong Siew Lee]

The shy Yong Hock Ann has become active in the online community chat group, to encourage team members to practise at home. [Photograph by Chin Fook Kuen]
 
Thanks to her husband, Yong Hock Ann’s reminders and care, Loo Chia Chia also started catching up by practising diligently. [Photograph by Yong Siew Lee]