Date: March 2nd, 2011 (Wednesday)
Lecturer: Master Zheng-Yan
Subject: Making Great, Selfless Vows to Guide All onto the Bodhisattva Path 反觀自性除心垢
“Are they all your donating members?”
“Almost. This used to be my stall over ten years ago. Right here. Our business couldn’t be better.”
“What did you sell?”
“I killed and sold poultry. I was a professional killer.”
The lady we see is our volunteer, Xiu-ying.
She used to be a butcher who slaughtered and sold poultry in a marketplace.
One day, she saw these words on the cover of our Tzu Chi Monthly:
“Inviting kind-hearted people worldwide to cultivate blessings together.”
“The world of Tzu Chi is created by the love of countless people.”
Inspired, she began collecting donations for Tzu Chi.
Yet, her poultry stand was very profitable, so she couldn’t bear to give it up.
She knew she should stop running such a business, but she just couldn’t let go.
One day, as the stand next to hers slaughtered chickens, she heard the chickens squawking as if they were crying for help.
As the butcher was slaughtering the chickens for customers, I heard a cry for help.
So, I asked my husband to listen.
I said, “Hurry and listen. What is that sound?”
He listened and told me that it sounded like, “Help!”
He then said to me: “Master teaches us not kill. I think we should do other work.”
“When we first started selling vegetarian food, we made only $500 (then US$12.5) a day.”
“So, life was very hard, but I was happy. Because I loved visiting care recipients with Tzu Chi volunteers.”
Ever since then, the couple had stopped selling poultry and began dedicating themselves to Tzu Chi’s work.
But, at this time, misfortune befell.
Her son and daughter both suffered from cancer and passed away one after the other.
“The passing of my son and daughter truly saddened me a lot.”
“But, I couldn’t just live in grief and sorrow.”
“Though dedicating myself to Tzu Chi’s work, I hope my son and daughter will see that I’ve emerged from my grief.”
“I’ll continue to volunteer for Tzu Chi until my very last breath.”
They were able to see past their losses and understand the karmic law of cause and effect.
She realized that life is impermanent, so she must be more diligent.
This is in Taoyuan.
And in Tainan, there was also a butcher who ran a fish stand for 48 years.
However, her children, who are Buddhists, had always tried to persuade her to quit killing and selling fish, as such deeds created bad karma.
But as selling fish was very profitable, she was hesitant to quit.
Despite her children’s advice, she said: “I’ve been doing this for decades. This is how I make money to raise you.”
So, she couldn’t let go.
But in 2003, when the SARS outbreak stuck, her daughter had a fever, which would not go down.
The whole family was afraid that daughter would be quarantined, so they only took her to a small clinic and asked fortunetellers and prayed to folk deities for help, but to no avail.
So, her children seized the opportunity and told her,
“Mom, please don’t sell fish anymore. and put a stop to creating more bad karma. It will be good for your children.”
She finally understood and quit.
Now she is a diligent recycling volunteer.
“Doing business is stressful but recycling isn’t.”
“Back then, I’d worry if the fish didn’t sell out.
“But now, I only have to focus on the work at hand.”
Indeed, everything is a result of karmic affinities.
Having seen their stores, we must be mindful in everything we do.
To be bodhisattvas, we must make great, selfless vows.
During the ceremony of taking refuge in Buddhism, I always explain to everyone that as we take refuge in the Buddha, we must strive to deeply understand the great way of Truth and aspire to enlightenment.
Since we have decided to follow the Buddha’s way, we must have deep faith in the Buddha without doubts.
We must truly awaken our mind of enlightenment so that we won’t limit our love to our family and friends only, but will embrace everyone in the world.
Moreover, we must make great, selfless vows.
Only then can we guide others to walk the path with us.
Take Grandma Bi-xia in Taichung for example.
Her son suffered from epilepsy and often needed an ambulance as he suffered from epileptic seizures frequently. He later died in a car accident.
Although Gradma Bi-xia was very grieved, she was able to quickly adjust her mentality and decided to donate an ambulance to our hospital as she thought of how her son had used an ambulance for numerous times in his life.
“Whenever my son had epileptic seizures, he needed an ambulance.”
“He used it for hundreds of times in ten years.”
“That’s way I thought of donating an ambulance with the benefits I received.”
Apart from that, she also dedicates herself to doing recycling and does the work very happily.
She has set a fine example for her grandson.
Her neighbors and people around her all admire her for being the way she is.
So, she truly is guiding others to walk the path with her.
Everyone, as we make vows to walk the path ourselves, we must also inspire others to do the same.
Don’t I often ask you to recruit more living bodhisattvas for me?
To do that, you must first inspire others’ faith in you before they can walk the Bodhisattva Path with you.
This is what we must work hard to do now.
Living in this world, we can make use of our time to protect the Earth by doing recycling or benefit others in their times of need.
With our time in life, when our mind strays off course, we’ll do selfish things for our own interests, but when we head in the right direction, we can stay on the broad and straight path, which is the Bodhisattva Path.
Yesterday, I saw on the news that every year, around 100,000 people in Japan volunteer to clean up the streets, toilets, etc.
Many people shared that by cleaning, they were able to reflect and look deeply within isn’t that the same as what we do to reflect upon ourselves, look into our minds, and repent deeply?
By cleaning the environment, they are also cleansing their minds.
This is the same as how we encourage everyone to repent and uphold a vegetarian fast now.
When I saw this news about Japan yesterday, I was deeply impressed and I know I am not alone.
This is exactly what I often tell you that you must often look within yourselves and repent constantly.
To repent is to reflect, but it’s not enough to just reflect and repent.
We must practice the Buddha’s teachings in our daily living.
As we go among people to serve others as living bodhisattvas, we’ll be able to gain much joy.
So, we must work hard to cultivate our mind so that we can give rise to joy every day.
Such a joyful heart is the most pure and clean.
(Source: Da Ai TV 人間菩提)