20210929廣度眾生弘誓願Rebuilding Schools,Rebuilding Hope
Seeing our Tzu Chi teachers, I’m reminded of how we helped to rebuild 50 schools in central Taiwan in the aftermath of the 921 Earthquake. At the time, although I was not sure whether we had funds for the reconstruction projects, I knew that educational disruption would have a serious impact on students. So, we took on the projects quickly.
There was a long list of schools that needed to be rebuilt quickly, so I ticked one school after another on the list. Standing behind me, Si Xi and Jing Xian said: “Master, the schools you’ve ticked are all large.” I turned around and replied: “There are so many schools. We should choose the large ones and shoulder more work.”
Children’s education cannot wait. No matter if the schools were in a village or a city and no matter their size, they all needed to be rebuilt quickly. To help the students continue their studies as soon as possible, we began to carry out the projects. Information was then released and architects were recruited quickly. As many architects would propose their plans for rebuilding the schools, I stayed in Taichung for some time.
I was not good at reading blueprints and couldn’t image how large the school buildings would be upon completion. I’m very grateful that all the architects provided architectural models as I’d requested, so I could move the models to suggest where and how the school building could be positioned. The architects were all very mindful and made alterations again and again.
When I visited central Taiwan, from after I could see the schools we’d helped rebuild. They were still very beautiful. As the walls had all been rendered with pebbledash, the buildings didn’t look old although they were not new.
Also, back then, I required that the eaves be large enough and I’d check if this requirement had been met. In case the walls might become stained with dirt after years of rain, I kept saying: “We must protect the walls from rain in order to keep the buildings clean.” This was how we helped rebuild schools in the aftermath of the 921 Earthquake.
We’ve helped rebuild a lot of schools in Taiwan. Our top requirement is that the buildings must be very sturdy and can withstand any earthquakes and storms so we don’t have to worry about natural disasters. As education must continue forever, I hope the school buildings can always remain sturdy.
Since Tzu Chi was founded with scarce resources, I’ve been grateful that our Tzu Chi members have been giving me great support and have helped build many wonderful and sturdy buildings by serving very sincerely with each step they take. The hospitals, the schools, and the houses we’ve built for disaster survivors can all remain sturdy from many generations to come.
Yet, will these sturdy buildings become annihilated one day too? All matter undergoes formation, continuation, deterioration, and annihilation. So, we must be more mindful and find ways to make buildings more sturdy. Recently, I’ve seen on international news how natural disasters have been occurring, destroying many things. Such is life’s impermanence.
Instead of being deluded, we must tap into our wisdom and awaken, so we can give of ourselves to benefit humanity and the world. I’ve made a great vow to work for Buddhism and all living beings. Now, I’m advanced in age and I dare to say that I’ve lived out my vow. With that, I am at ease and have no regrets. This is what I’d like to share with you all.
By seizing time to head towards the direction we’ve chosen, we’ll surely live out our vows and have no regrets in this life. This is how we can walk the Bodhisattva Path. We must make great vows to walk the Bodhisattva Path life after life. I do not aspire to be liberated from the cycle of rebirth. My only wish is to come this world again, for only then can I work to deliver all living beings.
For the pandemic this time, the only way to ease it is for everyone to be vigilant and sincerely pious. This pandemic is teaching us a crucial lesson, which provides a remedy for the crisis. What is the remedy? Going vegetarian and cultivating all-embracing love. What is all-embracing love? Loving and protecting all animals. If we do not eat animals, they will not be killed. Let us love all animals and live with them in harmony.