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Last updateWed, 11 Nov 2015 11am

Saturday, 11 July 2015 09:30

Sail on, Dharma Ship! Carry on the Teachings!

Written by  Soon Fock Chuan & Koh Poo Leng, Klang / Translated by Goh Hwe Yong

Volunteer training-cum-“Water Repentance” thanksgiving took place at the hall of SRJK Kong Hoe. Participants are seen here singing a song, “Where the Sun Lingers”. [Photograph by Ng Su Lim]

In the 3-day 6-show “Dharma as Water” sutra adaptation performance presented by Tzu Chi KL & Selangor, performers, who have had a deep study of the sutra, gave a highly and spiritually evoking performance, awakening the intrinsic Buddha-nature in the audience.


 
A week following the final sutra adaptation performance, Tzu Chi Klang organized a thanksgiving session on Water Repentance in its July volunteer training programme to recollect the unforgettable moments on stage through a video footage.
 
At about 6 pm on July 11, 2015, some 600 volunteers, who participated in the sutra adaptation, gathered in the school hall of SRJK Kong Hoe, Klang. Unlike the month of June when they were there to study the sutra, they entered the hall light-heartedly that evening. A mixed bitter-sweet feeling soon crawled back into their minds.
 
They met with the emotional greetings of “It’s over, no more counting steps 12345678…22345678…” Yet days after the show, and deep in their hearts, they missed the counting of steps!
 
Transferred merits accrued to late mum
 
From nothingness to existence, and from something to nothing, it might take months or hours. From the day they responded to the call to partake in the sutra study sessions in August 2014, the performers had spent 11 months of continuous efforts in learning and practising.
 
“My mum passed away on the following day after our full dress rehearsal. Filled with sadness, I had wanted to withdraw but decided to complete my task after volunteers encouraged me to go on. I dedicated the merits of my efforts in the performance to my mother…” said Goh Kar Ngo in a choking voice, as she shared her feeling.
 
When she first learnt about the sutra adaptation, she was not so keen to participate as she had never performed sign language. However, with her group leader’s persistent encouragement, she enrolled herself for “Dharma Accompaniment” team.
 
After joining study group, she began to understand the significance of the performance. So, despite all the difficulties and trying situations during study or practice, she persisted and gained applause from her spiritual friends.
 
Parting from loved ones is always painful, it caused her to totally lose her wits. Her mother’s demise made her realize the fragility of life, and caused her to lose her calmness.
 
Fortunately, guidance and encouragement from the spiritual friends had enabled her to see the light, that is, bring her love for her mother to a higher level. Hence, with approval of family members, she bravely performed the last two shows on stage with her practising partner, Teh Kok Keong.
 
She said, “My mum had promised that when she was able physically, she would follow me to do recycling. I pray at this very moment for her to come back with a healthy body, and continue her affinity with Tzu Chi.”
 
Undeterred by trying situations
 
Cao Xiu Qing participated in the “Light of Great Love” team. As a result of reciting the verses loudly, her impaired vision had improved. Xiu Qing was amazed with this unexpected “reward”, which she considered a miracle; and to think she was reluctant to participate in the initial days.
 
She had turned down the invitation to partake in the performance because she would have to observe vegetarianism. However, when she saw participants at the community recycling activity practising the sign language, she was hooked. She started observing two vegetarian meals a day, and before long, she was on her way to participation.
 
Two weeks prior to the scheduled performance, she developed a fever. Through experience, she chose to recuperate at home simply because she wanted very much to accomplish the Dharma assembly. However, she did not recover when the big day arrived and thought she would perform for just one show. She later changed her mind after the stunning first performance.
 
Apparently, she had also been feeling unwell as some sand dust got into her eyes earlier and nothing seemed to help. However, on the day of the premiere, as she was singing aloud, she suddenly felt the sand dust falling out from her eyes; and this had proven true upon checking after the show. The following day, she also recovered fully from the fever. She found these unbelievable, besides feeling happy.
 
“It must have been a trial on me. Whatever is the right thing, just do it without hesitation. Taking part in the sutra adaptation was worth the effort,” she said laughingly.
 
Believed in the power of love
 
To Li Qin Xiang, who holds a senior position in the corporate world, participating in a Buddhist activity never crossed his mind, as he is a Christian. He admitted that he had doubts about Tzu Chi in the past. But after having personally experienced Tzu Chi’s various missions, he has since changed his opinion about the Foundation.
 
Qin Xiang elaborated, “After being involved in Tzu Chi’s activities, I have learnt some Buddhist teachings, and felt certain positive changes in the way I think. Many friends had asked me why Tzu Chi? I told them it is because Tzu Chi’s spirit of Great Love sees no racial and religious boundaries.” He won a round of rapturous applause for what he said.
 
“When you know what it is that you want, and you have made a vow, the next natural thing to do is to realize it. Words must be followed with actions. I do good deeds out of love, and a heart with love is filled with gratitude. Whichever religion it is, its very primary thinking centres around kindness and love,” added Qin Xiang.
 
Confucian teaching places importance on self-reflection three times a day; Catholic teaching stresses on confession of wrongdoings, while Buddhism preaches about repentance. These are different ways to correct one’s wrong actions, which transcends religion and language, as well as, social status.
 
Indeed, Qin Xiang has a deep understanding of the Buddhist text. He had also observed a vegetarian diet for 108 days; and since he felt good, he decided to continue being a vegetarian. He said, “I have witnessed the selfless-giving by all involved. Their devotion shall be a driving force that spurs me on.”
 
 
Master Cheng Yen reminded all that the show may have ended, but the mission of spreading the Dharma should carry on. We should be ready to extend a helping hand to all sentient beings. To quote the Master: “For those who are yet to learn to be kind, give them the chance to be so; for those who have learnt to be kind, allow them to mature in kindness. Only those who are kind get the chance to be liberated from the sea of samsara… The Dharma ship shall sail on, let the Dharma assembly remain in our hearts, never to die!”
 
 
Volunteers cooked a delicious and sumptuous meal for all participants in the performance. [Photograph by Lee Wei Kean]   Volunteers performing the sign language for the song, “Love in the World”. [Photograph by Lee Wei Kean]

Volunteers cooked a delicious and sumptuous meal for all participants in the performance. [Photograph by Lee Wei Kean]
 
Volunteers performing the sign language for the song, “Love in the World”. [Photograph by Lee Wei Kean]
 
About 600 volunteers attended the function held at SRJK Kong Hoe on July 11, 2015. [Photograph by Lee Wei Kean]   Though he is a Christian, Li Qin Xiang is happy to join in Tzu Chi’s activities after taking part in the sutra adaptation. [Photograph by Lee Wei Kean]

About 600 volunteers attended the function held at SRJK Kong Hoe on July 11, 2015. [Photograph by Lee Wei Kean]
 
 
Though he is a Christian, Li Qin Xiang is happy to join in Tzu Chi’s activities after taking part in the sutra adaptation. [Photograph by Lee Wei Kean]
 
Cao Xiu Qing shared on how she recovered from impaired vision after reciting the sutra verses aloud. [Photograph by Ng Su Lim]   Goh Kah Ngo overcame the grief of losing her mother, and transferred the merit of their efforts to the deceased. Here she is accompanied by Teh Kok Keong. [Photograph by Ng Su Lim]

Cao Xiu Qing shared on how she recovered from impaired vision after reciting the sutra verses aloud. [Photograph by Ng Su Lim]
 
 
Goh Kah Ngo overcame the grief of losing her mother, and transferred the merit of their efforts to the deceased. Here she is accompanied by Teh Kok Keong. [Photograph by Ng Su Lim]