Date: October 13th, 2010 (Wednesday)
Lecturer: Master Zheng-Yan
Subject: Seizing Every Moment to Pass on Tzu Chi's Dharma and Spirit 預見法脈傳承
I often share with everyone about the need to make the most of time and space to serve and learn from the people around us.
Indeed, the time that we have is very limited.
Every day, there is not a moment that I am not racing with time.
As time flies by quickly, I must sprint along with it in everything I do so that I can make the best use of time and space to help and learn from people that I come across.
I would like to tell everyone that the reason we cross paths here in Tzu Chi is because of the karmic affinities we share.
And because of this, we are able to carry out Tzu Chi’s missions together.
However, the time will inevitably come, when we have to part with one another because, sooner or later, life will come to an end.
I’d like to share with everyone a story that I heard almost 50 years ago.
When I was cultivating in my small wooden hut, an elderly lady shared this story with me.
During her younger days while she was in China, her family was very prominent and wealthy.
One time, an elderly member in her family said to her son,
“Son, we must always be grateful to our ancestors for leaving so much wealth behind for us. Now, it is time for me to pass on, everything of this family to you as the day will come when I pass away. After I pass away, what meritorious work will you do in my name?”
In response, her son said: “Mom, tell me your wish, and I will do as you say.”
She said, “After I pass away, I will not be able to see what you do for me. So, I want you to do the things that you’d do for me after my passing.”
Her son said, “But you are still alive. How can I do these things for you now?”
She replied, “Just presume that I’ve passed away today and please do three things for me”
“First, I want you to give out food to the poor. As it is winter now, if you can give out congee and rice to the poor every day for 49 days, I will be very touched and grateful. I will be very touched and grateful.”
“Next, I want you to invite Dharma masters to recite sutras for me to listen to and have them expound Dharma for you. I wish to hear the chanting of the sutras and I want you to hear the Dharma.”
“Lastly, I hope that you can buy my coffin for me today. When I pass away one day, just place me in the coffin, and bury me at our family graveyard without having to bother many people. This is all I want. These are the things that you’d spend money to do for me after I die, but I want you to do it now so that I can see.”
Being a filial child, her son said: “Mom, since this is what you have requested, I am more than willing to do as you say.”
So, starting from that day, he began doing all these things for his mother.
This is to do meritorious work for someone who is still alive.
He began buying rice and giving charitably to those in need.
For 49 days, all the impoverished people in their village were able to receive warm meals every day, three times a day.
They were also able to bring rice home every day.
Such charitable giving is indeed most meritorious.
And by inviting Dharma masters to come, her children had leaned to respect the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha.
(三寶: 佛 法 僧)
Although I heard this story more than 40 years ago, I still haven’t forgotten it.
It still often makes me think: “Yes, that’s the way it should be. Why do we have to keep all our wealth and only donate it after we die? Why not just do it now ourselves when we are still alive? Wouldn’t that be most realistic and practical?”
So, having learned this principle, I want to be able to see how everyone in Tzu Chi is working to pass on Tzu Chi’s dharma and spirit and make it widespread because after I pass away, I will no longer be able to see what happens.
So, since I cannot see the work you do after my passing, I hope to see how you’ll take it upon yourselves now and work to pass on Tzu Chi’s Four Missions as well as Tzu Chi’s dharma and spirit.
Passing on Tzu Chi’s dharma and spirit and spreading the path of Tzu Chi is not just something we say.
It is the true spirit and ideals of Tzu Chi.
For more than 40 years now, Tzu Chi has been taking each step forwa5rd steadfastly without letting a single moment slip by emptily.
We do so because we know that over time, a lot can be achieved, be it our careers, education, or charity work.
Especially for us Buddhist practitioners, advancing along this path of spiritual cultivation is also only possible over time.
This is why we must maintain the spirit and be very focused and single-minded as we take each step forward steadfastly.
In fact, that is how, 44 years later, Tzu Chi has been able to establish and achieve so much in its Four Missions.
So, today, I want to say “Thank you” to you all.
I see that our doctors and all other staff at our Four Missions are truly taking upon themselves the work of passing on Tzu Chi’s dharma and spirit and promoting the path of Tzu Chi.
This is what staff at our Four Missions have worked hard to do, and I’ve witnessed it all.
No matter which mission you are working for, it is my hope that everyone can make vows to pass on Tzu Chi’s dharma and spirit to more people.
When you go back to work, I hope you can tell take the seed of Tzu Chi’s dharma and spirit with you and work hard to nurture the seed in your heart so that it can give rise to more seeds and be passed on to more people.
This is how one seed can give rise to innumerable seeds. (一生無量)
It is my hope that every one of you can take Tzu Chi’s missions as your own and take Tzu Chi’s dharma and spirit into your hearts.
To pass on Tzu Chi’s dharma and spirit, we must first learn and take it into our heart.
Only then can our wisdom grow.
When our wisdom grows, naturally, our heart will also broaden.
When we have big heart, we’ll deem everything that is happening to our world as our duty.
This is only a matter of course.
So, I have faith that every one of you will work hard to spread Tzu Chi’s dharma and spirit so that more people can learn about it and then walk on this path steadfastly.
For that, I have no worries.
(Source: Da Ai TV 人間菩提)