Lecturer: Master Zheng-Yan
Subject: Inspiring More Living Bodhisattvas (藍天菩薩救苦難)
(Tzu Chi volunteers)
Yesterday, we distributed aid to 561 families and 164 volunteers came to help. We hope to take the opportunity to inspire more people to give and we pray for a world free of disasters.
You’ve distributed aid to over 10,000 families. It must have been very hard work for all of you. Yet, you didn’t rest at all. I thought that you would take a break after Thanksgiving, but you didn’t and keep carrying on with the work. It’s truly very moving.
It’s been nearly a month and you still hang on. You’re truly admirable. Only bodhisattvas can do this. I am truly very grateful to you.
This time, Superstorm Sandy brought savere devastation to the U.S. Northeast. So, I have a video conference with our U.S. volunteers every day.
One day, Mr. Su, our volunteer from Long Island, shared that when he saw people at the aid distributions, he was deeply affected. When Tzu Chi volunteers arrived at the distribution site long before the scheduled distribution time, there were already people waiting in a long line. When our volunteers saw such a big group of people queuing for the aid before dawn, their hearts went out to them.
After lining up for a long time and receiving aid from us, a man started crying. He said that it was truly unbelievable that our volunteers gave out aid supplies in such a respectful way by holding supplies with both hands and bowing deeply to aid recipients. That’s why those who receive aid from us were moved to tears.
This time, during the Thanksgiving holidays, many of our volunteers from other of the U.S., such as Boston, Dallas, etc., travelled to New York to help. It is truly very moving to see. Our volunteers used their holidays and even tool time off from work to help with the relief work.
So, our volunteers in New York are very grateful. They’ve been working tirelessly for over 20 days. It is truly hard work. But with what they’ve done, many local people as well as those from other religious groups (have come to know Tzu Chi). They now know that we are a Buddhist group and our volunteers paid for their own expenses, used their own holidays, and even took leave from work. They did so of their own accord without being asked. This is how they seize time to so good.
So, people were all very grateful. And, at each aid distribution, our volunteers will share with people how Tzu Chi started in Taiwan with 30 housewives each saving NT 50 cents a day to help the needy. So, many people were moved and inspired. They even asked us for the coin banks as they also wanted to learn from us and save a little in a coin bank each day to help those in need.
So, we’ve given out over 30,000 coin banks to the over 10.000 families that have come to receive aid from us. This is how we inspire love in people, and many locals are now following our practice of saving a little every day to help others.
That day, before I left Hualien, our U.S. volunteers were asking me about our mid- and long-term aid for Sandy survivors.
I told them that, if a house was on lease and the owner didn’t actually live there, then the owner has not been affected that much (and won’t need our aid). This is because the owner’s life has not been affected although his house was destroyed. It is the tenants who are affected. The house they tented was gone. They have no place to live. What are they going to do? These are the people we should help.
We should help those whose lives have been affected, not those whose houses have been destroyed. And, if those who have receive our emergency aid but still have great difficulty (standing on their own feet), we should include them in our mid-term aid program. We should also plan for a long-term aid program. This is what we should try our best to do.
I also heard that the media in the U.S. have been reporting on our relief work. So, many people called us to inquire our aid. Having asked about every caller’s condition, our volunteers would then visit them to survey their needs.
In fact, this is a very good opportunity to inspire more people to give. So, I advised our volunteers to divide themselves into smaller groups, and each group should be assigned with one or two senior volunteers and a few people who are not familiar with Tzu Chi so that the seasoned volunteers can guide the new ones along the way. If they can do so, I’m sure they’ll be able to inspire more people to serve as living bodhisattvas. This is how we can inspire people in our community to give and purify their hearts and minds.
I don’t wish to build a huge physical cultivation ground. What I want is the inner cultivation ground in everyone’s hearts that is intangible and cannot be measured as it is boundless. If all of us can have such a cultivation ground within, when everyone comes together, become together, wouldn’t the whole universe become a cultivation ground for all? An inner cultivation ground is different from a physical cultivation ground. So, we must safeguard it well. To do that, we need to look after our hearts. Only when everyone’s heart is well cared for can we bring purity and harmony to society.
I’m very grateful to see how our younger volunteers are supporting the elderly ones. Although the younger volunteers are eager to give, they should also respect the elderly ones and accept their advice. This is how we should show respect to the elderly here in Tzu Chi.
See how one of our elderly volunteer suffers from a stroke (but still continues to do Tzu Chi’s work) and how another volunteer helped to drive her to collect donations so people can continue to give to help others. See how she serves single-mindedly without giving up. All of us should truly look up to her. Seeing how everyone has a passion for Tzu Chi that never wanes and how everyone works to pass on. Tzu Chi’s spirit to more people, I’m very happy and comforted.
Thank you, everyone. Now is the time for us to work harder to purify people’s minds and inspire more people to give.
(Source: Da Ai TV 人間菩提)