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Last updateWed, 11 Nov 2015 11am

Saturday, 27 June 2015 10:01

Repentance Resolved Conflicts between In-laws

Written by  Lok Ai Lean, Seremban / Translated by Goh Hwe Yong

Participation in the sutra adaptation gave Cheok Soh Tin a deep understanding of the Karmic Law of Cause and Effect. She repented for all her wrongs and took measures to mend all broken relationships. [Photograph by Wong Siew Chin]

The teachings of “Dharma as Water” had profoundly impacted Cheok Soh Tin to repent sincerely for her wrongdoings to her mother-in-law. She has since re-established a strong relationship with the former.


 
Cheok Soh Tin is wilful in nature, straight forward in her ways, and serious at all times. She is non-compromising. In all dealings, she thinks her way is the best. As a teacher, she carries out her duty with full responsibility; at times, staying back in school till late in the evening. This gives her little time to be with her husband and children.
 
Soh Tin was married in 1997. As she was reluctant to leave her home town, she requested her husband to live in Lukut instead. In February 1998, she gave birth to their eldest daughter, Yu Qian Ying. Her mother-in-law, who was entrusted with the task of taking care of the baby, sold the ancestor house to move to Lukut to live with the son.
 
Conflicts between in-laws
 
Soh Tin’s demanding character did not tone down and there were conflicts in the family. She considered herself the mistress of the household, and as such, did not listen to anyone in any matter.
 
In caring for Qian Ying, Soh Tin had looked up information for parenting, but her mother-in-law took care of the baby based on her experience. So conflicts in baby care were inevitable.
 
Once, she hurt her mother-in-law’s feeling with her inconsiderate action of changing her daughter’s dress, which was chosen by the grandma, on the spot. But, she was too self-assertive to realize her wrongdoing. On the contrary, she considered it a mother’s right to do what was best for her child.
 
Their relationship deteriorated over time, and they became strangers living under the same roof. They did not acknowledge each other in daily life. They even washed, dried and folded their own clothes separately. In short, they had a very cold relationship.
 
To avoid any further conflict, she chose to stay late in school with her child. On weekends, she would take her child back to her parents’ home, causing the relationship to further deteriorate.
 
Collapse of parent-child bonding
 
Soh Tin had taught a great number of students since she started her teaching profession in 1998. Being a disciplinary teacher, she was strict with her pupils, who had to be obedient. 
 
Yet, she could not control her daughter, whom she had treated with the same discipline she imposed on her other students. Her colleagues, however, were of the opinion that she was too compromising towards her child, hence her problematic behaviour in school. Soh Tin could not find an answer to the problem which later became the cause of family quarrels, affecting the couple and the in-laws.
 
When it was time for her daughter to go to Primary 4, she transferred her daughter to a remote primary school. By so doing, she had hoped that there would be less stress on her daughter without her mother overseeing her performance in the same school. However, this new arrangement did not produce the outcome she wanted.
 
Qian Ying was unhappy with her new environment, and for having to wait to be picked up by the mother late in the evening. Thus, she hated her mother for creating the unhappy situation for her.
 
Consequently, Qian Ying expressed her dissatisfaction by using vulgar language whenever she was annoyed. For this, she received hush punishment from Soh Tin, including a slap across the face and smearing of paprika on her mouth. This had, in turn, led to a further deterioration in the parent-daughter bonding.
 
When in high school, Qian Ying became rebellious. She had bad disciplinary records, and had been retained; and her studies were lagging behind. At home, she was always retaliating or indulging in Internet games that cost more than RM100 per month.
 
To ensure her daughter did not stray, Soh Tin would secretly read all messages in her handphone. When the daughter found out about this, a big quarrel ensued.
 
Encounter a guiding light
 
In 2009, Soh Tin enrolled for a degree course. It took up much of her time, and she struggled to keep the working life and home front in balance. In 2010, she was promoted as Deputy Headmistress of another school. There, she met an ex-colleague, Lok Ai Lean, which proved to be a turning point in her life.
Ai Lean became a Tzu Chi volunteer in 2011. Since then, she has promoted Tzu Chi’s activities to friends and relatives. In August 2012, Ai Lean invited Tzu Chi to the school to give a talk on environmental protection.
 
She took the opportunity to invite Soh Tin to promote recycling activity in the school. She also introduced her to volunteer at Tzu Chi recycling centre to learn more about the Foundation. The following year, an Environmental Society was formed in the school, led by Soh Tin and Ai Lean.
 
As they got to know more of each other, Ai Lean was sympathetic towards Soh Tin for the problems she had with her daughter. At Ai Lean’s suggestion, Soh Tin brought Qian Ying to participate in Tzu Chi’s Education Division, and to visit an old folk’s home in Endau, hoping that the latter could learn to care for the lonely old folks and observe how the peers in her group had treated the elderly with respect. She hoped the activity would foster a better mother-daughter relationship.
 
Through witnessing Qian Ying’s good relationship with other Tzu Chi teenagers, Soh Tin then realized the mistakes she made when educating her daughter.
 
Starting anew for a better future
 
Soh Tin decided to participate in a counselling course in order to mend the poor parent-daughter bonding. In deep spiritual communication, she realized that it was all due to the Karmic Law of Cause and Effect.
 
Later, she took part in the Dharma as Water sutra adaptation. She thought that the words and teachings in the scene “One by One, I Repent My Wrongs” from the act “Repenting the Obstacle of Afflictions” were very relevant to her wrongdoings. She realized that people had slowly avoided her because she was too wilful, too capable, too unyielding and too demanding.
 
Having studied the verses, she realized that she was the root cause of all problems, which were all due to her ignorance. Thus, she deeply repented for her wrongdoings and sincerely apologized to her mother-in-law and her daughter. With a change in mindset, and a sincere apology, the resentment was dissolved, and torn relationships were mended.
 
Qian Ying, who also participated in the sutra adaptation, was deeply touched by the verse, “utter gentle words, as if they are gentle lotus” and decided to stop using the vulgar language. Only with true repentance is one able to clear up the dust of ignorance that blocks the mind.
 
Soh Tin has learnt to deal with people and situations with a sense of gratitude and understanding. She hopes her inner change will bring harmony and happiness at home, and a better future in life.
 
 
Yu Qian Ying too participated in the sutra adaptation. She is determined to correct her wrongs and to be soft and gentle in words. [Photograph by Wong Siew Chin]   The verses greatly shocked Cheok Soh Tin as she realized how her wrongdoings had brought about all the untoward consequences in her life. [Photograph by Lee Heng Lun]

Yu Qian Ying too participated in the sutra adaptation. She is determined to correct her wrongs and to be soft and gentle in words. [Photograph by Wong Siew Chin]
 
The verses greatly shocked Cheok Soh Tin as she realized how her wrongdoings had brought about all the untoward consequences in her life. [Photograph by Lee Heng Lun]
 
Deep repentance gave Cheok Soh Tin the great courage to bow and apologize to her mother-in-law, who forgave her. [Photograph by Lee Heng Lun]   A big warm hug brings hope for a new bonding henceforth. [Photograph by Lee Heng Lun]

Deep repentance gave Cheok Soh Tin the great courage to bow and apologize to her mother-in-law, who forgave her. [Photograph by Lee Heng Lun]
 
A big warm hug brings hope for a new bonding henceforth. [Photograph by Lee Heng Lun]