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Last updateWed, 11 Nov 2015 11am

Saturday, 04 July 2015 11:42

Persisted in Hearing the Dharma

Written by  Tan Kim Hion, KL & Selangor / Translated by Chong Pei Fen

Chan Yuen Sum was grateful for the opportunity to learn the Dharma and feel the great compassion of the Buddha. [Photograph by Lim Chin Shein]

On July 4, 2015, as Chan Yuen Sum was praying with a lotus torch in her hand, a sense of gratitude filled her heart. She was astonished by the spectacular performance, and was thankful for the blessings to experience the Dharma joy and the great compassion of the Buddha.

Since young, Chan Yuen Sum has been a paraplegic due to a tumour, which affected her nerves. She has, nevertheless, been leading an independent and normal life. Early this year, she relocated to Ipoh, a city about 2.5-hour drive from Kuala Lumpur, to stay with her mother. Since then, she has been visiting and keeping in touch with volunteers in Kuala Lumpur quite often.
At volunteers’ invitation, she joined the “Light of Great Love” team for the “Dharma as Water” sutra adaptation performance. Due to the distance, she had to skip regular practice sessions on weekdays and learn the hand movements herself by referring to the videos; and whenever a rehearsal was held on a weekend, she would drive to Kuala Lumpur alone to join the practice.
Lately, considering her deteriorating health and the long five-to-six-hour journey back and forth, she contemplated withdrawal from the performance. Fortunately, with encouragement from volunteer, Leong Chian Yee, she decided to persevere against all odds for the rare opportunity to grasp the Dharma.
During the full dress rehearsal on July 3, 2015, volunteers inadvertently caused great pain to her curved spine while seating her at the “Light of Great Love” section. She said, “I was late for the rehearsal that night and could only join the last half an hour. Then, I experienced intense pain on my spine and had to get a painkiller shot from the hospital.”
Despite volunteers’ thoughtful arrangement for a volunteer with nursing knowledge to carry Yuen Sum to her seat the following day, her spine still hurt due to the small seat. After enduring the pain for a few minutes, she managed to relax and lean back gently. A caring Dr Eddie Chan from TIMA also visited her to make sure that she was fine, as well as offered her a painkiller. She thanked volunteers smilingly for their attention.
Doused again in the Dharma water
Yuen Sum’s pain vanished as she was engrossed in the sutra chanting by the 2,000-plus performers onstage. Completely immersed in the Dharma assembly, she could feel the great compassion of the Buddha as her defiled heart was being purified by the Dharma water.
She shared, “The chanting of the song, ‘One by One, I Repent My Wrongs’, brought me to repent for disrespecting my mum and not being soft in my words.”
She revealed that her mother left her to work in the U.S. when she was in her late teens. As they only met each other once a year, they became distant and could not communicate well. Years later, her mother returned home. But, that did not bring them closer. They often argued as a result of different views and expectations.
In recalling her mother’s love and care for her, Yuen Sum said remorsefully, “I want to apologize to my mum for not showing her the respect she deserves. It is my fault. I should not hurt her feelings. I will improve my attitude.”
Yuen Sum wished her mother was there with her at the Dharma assembly. As it was not to be, she knew it was bound by karmic affinity, just as she would have missed the chance of participating in this Dharma assembly if she had withdrawn from the performance.
She appreciates the great blessings of learning the Dharma and purifying her heart. As such, she endured the pain and immersed herself in the Dharma again during the second show. She said, “The pain is no big deal. It can be eased with a painkiller shot. But I do not know whether I will live to see tomorrow and have another chance to learn the Dharma if I missed it now. Every chance to hear the Dharma is bringing me more joy and blessings!”

After reconsideration, Yuen Sum decided to overcome all challenges to participate in the sutra adaptation performance. [Photograph by Lim Chin Shein]    

After reconsideration, Yuen Sum decided to overcome all challenges to participate in the sutra adaptation performance. [Photograph by Lim Chin Shein]