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Last updateWed, 11 Nov 2015 11am

Wednesday, 24 June 2015 13:34

Teen’s Fast-Track Learning on Sutra Performance

Written by  Chin Kee Keu,KL & Selangor / Translated by Tan Heang Shin

Li Jia Ying indicated that the act “Repenting the Obstacle of Afflictions” has reminded her to resist temptations and curb cravings so as to free the mind from worries. [Photograph by Leong Chian Yee]

Since May this year, 12-year-old Li Jia Ying has followed her parents’ footsteps in joining the sutra performance. With only two months away from the premiere, she has worked very hard to catch up, and stunned everyone with her focused expression, precise gestures and fluent chanting.


Li Jia Ying, a Form 1 student at Rafflesia International & Private Schools, is at a disadvantage. At 12 years old and 145 cm, the petite Jia Ying is not visible when standing among the adults in the formation. But this has not deterred her from participating in the Dharma Expressionist team for the upcoming sutra performance.

May 17, 2015 was an unforgettable day for Jia Ying as she was finally accepted into the sutra performance. In order not to disappoint her sign language coach, Khow Siew Moi, she has intensified her practice. Amazingly, the clever Jia Ying has successfully grasped the sutra verses and even the brief gestures in one week!

Learnt sutra verses by heart

Everyone soon found out that her parents are actually participants and have been practising at home with her listening and watching by their side. When she was assigned to the same group as her parents, she first memorized the verses and later comprehended the meanings to enable her to learn the sign language very fast.

The three of them would practise at home almost daily, and correct each other on their movements. They would also chant and fathom the verses together. If Jia Ying is unclear about the verses, she would clarify them with her mother when the latter sends her to and from school. The whole family is very serious in their learning.

Their affinity with Tzu Chi began in August 2014 when Mr and Mrs Li registered their eldest and second daughters for the Parent-child Bonding Class. They were encouraged by volunteers to partake in the sutra performance of Dharma as Water. Their eldest daughter, Jia Ying, was not accepted into the team then due to her short stature.

Jia Ying could never forget the neat and graceful gestures, as well as, the pleasant chanting and melody showcased during the 2014 Year-end Blessing Ceremony. This has sparked her interest in learning the sign language.

On May 17, 2015, she tagged along with her parents to USJ Community Centre. Seeing the adults practising when the music was played, she could not help but perform the sign language by the side. She could not conceal her envy for the adults.

The sign language coach, Siew Moi noticed her earnest interest and was deeply touched. Although she was small in stature, the coaches decided to place her in her parents’ sign language team which has relatively more difficult hand gestures.

Mr and Mrs Li thanked volunteers for the positive outcome, as this would give Jia Ying an opportunity to participate. They felt this would greatly help Jia Ying on her journey to growth.

Human beings have unlimited potential, and this is true in Jia Ying’s case for she has been inconceivably quick in her learning. Her parents, particularly the father, had also benefited from their daughter and made tremendous progress.

Due to a fall from his bicycle in April, Mr Li has hurt his hands. For this reason, Jia Ying would assist him with the kneeling and squatting movements from the side.

Touched by the essence of the sutra

The Li family members are all Buddhists. After studying the verses and having realized the practicality of the Buddha’s teaching, Jia Ying has vowed to do good and be a vegetarian. Furthermore, she hopes to influence the people around her to join the ranks of vegetarianism and abstain from killing.

She had shared with her schoolmates the moving true story of Teong Chwee Le that she learnt at a study group. Chwee Le, who is in Jia Ying’s team, has doted on her, and often motivated her and corrected her erroneous gestures.

Jia Ying related, “Although she was diagnosed with terminal cancer, she still participates in the sutra performance sincerely and faces her karmic retribution calmly. When she had surgery on her leg, which left a fist-sized hole, she felt as if she was slaughtered. She then repented for her past cravings for chicken.”  Upon hearing the story, some students expressed their will to stop consuming chicken from then on.

This verse from the scene “Expounding the Repentance Teachings” has been instilled indelibly on Jia Ying’s memory: “with hearts set on renouncing evil and doing good, flames of fire can transmute into a red lotus”.

Fire, which burns things down, can also bring on warmth and dispel the darkness. If everyone can do good and refrain from doing bad, there will be world peace, lesser disputes and no fear of robberies.

She also felt that even though the verse “delivers the world from suffering” could be easily understood by everyone, yet not everyone could put it into action. The world would be a much better place if everyone could have a compassionate heart. To Jia Ying, doing good must start with oneself.

The act “Repenting the Obstacle of Afflictions” has reminded her to be vigilant and not be easily tempted. One must curb the desires to be free from worries.

 

Mrs Li felt grateful to the sign language coach, for bringing her daughter into the sutra performance as this would help on her journey to growth. [Photograph by Leong Chian Yee]   Mr Li fell down from bicycle in April and hurt his hands. Movements like kneeling and squatting had proven strenuous to him. For this reason, Li Jia Ying would help his dad by the side. [Photograph by Leong Chian Yee]

Mrs Li felt grateful to the sign language coach, for bringing her daughter into the sutra performance as this would help on her journey to growth. [Photograph by Leong Chian Yee]
 
Mr Li fell down from bicycle in April and hurt his hands. Movements like kneeling and squatting had proven strenuous to him. For this reason, Li Jia Ying would help his dad by the side. [Photograph by Leong Chian Yee]
 
Li Jia Ying and her parents would practise together, correcting each other on the gestures and movements. They would also chant and learn the true meaning of the sutra together. [Photograph by How Siew Heok]   Upon learning the verses, Li Jia Ying appreciated the practicality of Buddhism and vowed to be good and adopt vegetarianism. [Photograph provided by Li Kuan Lu]

Li Jia Ying and her parents would practise together, correcting each other on the gestures and movements. They would also chant and learn the true meaning of the sutra together. [Photograph by How Siew Heok]
 
Upon learning the verses, Li Jia Ying appreciated the practicality of Buddhism and vowed to be good and adopt vegetarianism. [Photograph provided by Li Kuan Lu]