20200828走入人間菩薩道 Forming Affinities with Dharma Families on the Bodhisattva Path
Hey there! Look at this elderly volunteer. She used to carry recyclables with a shoulder pole and now she wears a metal back brace.
My bones have been aching.
Take care of yourself. You're our treasure. She tells her children that, “If we have something to eat let’s remember to share it with others.” “Let’s help others.” She’s so aspired to that.
When I help people who are struggling, I feel happy. I like helping others. I had struggled a lot in the past. I want to help people. I think doing recycling helps people so it’s good. In the past, I often went on without even rice. Tzu Chi volunteers nicknamed me “Shoulder Pole Granny”.
Is it tiring to carry things with a shoulder pole?
No, I don’t think so. Many people collected recyclables so I’d carry them back. I didn’t care what people thought, I only cared if I couldn’t carry them back. When I could, I’d keep carrying them back.
I’m 83. The metal back brace won’t stop me. I’ll keep doing this until I can’t. Now, I can’t do it like before; sometimes I do the lighter work, and my granddaughter does the heavier work. She keeps saying, “Grandma don’t do this anymore.” But I say I want to keep moving. If I can, I’ll keep on doing this, I don’t think about other matters.
Volunteers, we’re truly fortunate to learn Dharma, especially the right Dharma of Bodhisattvas. Not only have we learned it, but persistently and consistently, we have been walking on the Bodhisattva Path every day. Every inch of this path has been paved mindfully, and it has been paved inch by inch, and been connected through each individual second.
Let us cherish the present time even more, because time passes by like so. People who are diligent every day attend morning and evening services; in evening service, there is a verse: As time passes, our life also diminishes.
Everyday I deal with matters and affairs, and interact with people; and by the time it is for me to go to my bedroom, I often say, “Oh, this day is over and there is one less day in my life.” Every day, I remind myself, there’s one less day, and another day less. Still, everyday, we ought to know clearly where our life came from.
Recently, I like to talk about doing our best in being filial. Indeed, our body was given by our parents, our body was given only to us-- no matter how many siblings a person has, he is still his own individual. So, we are to truly cherish our bodies and make our lives useful every day, so they would be worth remembering. Besides, we have been learning Dharma, and the Dharma changed our lives into wisdom-lives.
As time goes by in our lives this time, what can we leave behind? If we have neither encountered the Dharma, nor done things to benefit people, our days will just pass by and we will feel pointless about them.
But now, we listen to Dharma talks and what we do every day is connected to us, because we give of ourselves to serve people. Before joining Tzu Chi, people we tended to interact with were usually our family only. With our family, there seemed to be never ending worries and afflictions; we worried about our children and grandchildren, for they had yet to get married.
After they got married, there were even more things for us to worry about. Our hearts were full of worries and afflictions. However and whatever we did could never please us and make us feel content. This is truly bothersome.
(But,) when we do Tzu Chi work, our family networks are expanded. Now (volunteers we interact with and their families are connected with us. Such is our big Dharma family. I’d like to encourage everyone, do remember to interact with and care for our fellow volunteers. We must give our power of love and be diligent in cultivating ourselves. We must interact with one another in unity and harmony with love and concerted efforts.
If possible, the elderly volunteers should seize time to do Tzu Chi work. For volunteers who cannot attend activities, we should give them our love and care more. Now, we give our care to our fellow volunteers, in the future, there will be another group of volunteers giving us love and care. We all will be surrounded by our fellow volunteers and have a lot of them companying us like our children and relatives, because we are in this big (Tzu Chi) family.
Such life is a truly meaningful life which is never lonely, for we are surrounded by living bodhisattvas. Therefore, we must truly cherish (this affinity). I often talk about respect and love; we must respect one another and love one another. Such is the value of life we have by joining Tzu Chi. Apart from this, we have company.
We have been doing Tzu Chi’s work since we were young and by the time we are old, there’ll be even younger volunteers who company us to keep on doing Tzu Chi work continuously. As long as we form a strong bond with our Dharma family and keep the cycle of goodness going, we will not get disconnected from the Bodhisattva Path. We will bring with us our memory and habits of walking the Bodhisattva Path to our future lives.
Our affinities will reconnect us (with those on the path) and we’ll never be separated. Those people are our Dharma family. This is love for our Dharma family. This love is also called enlightened love. A person with enlightened love is called a bodhisattva. The love of a bodhisattva is eternal.
Everyone, do not stop doing Tzu Chi’s activities and just stay at home. If you can move about, you should come out and take part in activities. We should cherish our lives and use our bodies to repay the kindness of our parents and living beings, and form affinities with our Dharma family. We need to keep our relationship with our Dharma family going. Then, we won’t be afraid of being lonely.
Take me for example, I’m very grateful that I am truly blessed in this life to encounter so many disciples. This is the result of us having formed good affinities over countless past lifetimes.
All in all, time keeps on passing. Every day, I’ve been telling volunteers what to do. Every day we have a clear memory of what we’ve done in our life. We are very clear on what we are doing today. I do not need to write a will because I’ve been telling our volunteers what to do every day.
My disciples all know my spirit and directions and how to continue the Jing Si Dharma lineage and Tzu Chi path. We’ve already established our own school of Buddhism, and we have the Jing Si Dharma lineage. We are very clear that the Tzu Chi path is about walking the Bodhisattva Path. What about our Dharma lineage? We are to go amongst people and spread Dharma into this world. So, I hope everyone can be clear on this.