Being Joyful and Willing

National Headquarters  |  May 30, 2023

Teachings by Dharma Master Cheng Yen
Translated by Dharma as Water Dev. Dept, Tzu Chi USA

Bodhisattvas arise because of suffering sentient beings; without  suffering sentient beings, there can be no Bodhisattvas. How do we  relieve sentient beings from suffering? We must seize the time. We  must seize good causes and conditions and work with people to do  good deeds together. Although we need to put in a lot of effort and  hard work, we are joyful and willing to do it. When we are willing, we  feel the sweet joy in our hearts. We work willingly and happily accept  the results. 

For example, we had built a hospital in Sanyi, and doctors are willingly  safeguarding the residents in that area. When the care recipients cannot  come to the hospital, Superintendent Yeh will go to their homes and  do home visits. This is the kind of doctor that I would want. He does  the things I want to do, which is to safeguard the health of the local  people. He knows what I want to do and makes me feel reassured, so  I am very grateful. Everyone can learn from him. 

As aspiring Living Bodhisattvas, Tzu Chi volunteers put teachings into  practice and help those who are impoverished and suffering. In order to  help care recipients repair or rebuild their houses, we need to carefully  assess the situation. Safety comes first, so aside from having the  courage, we also need a plan. We cannot just think, “I cannot bear to  see this! We must hurry!” without properly and thoroughly examining  the situation. Secondly, we must follow the laws and regulations.  Although we may have good intentions, the work we do must follow  the law. For example, we cannot start construction in places where  it is illegal to do so. In the past, we have seen instances where care  recipients’ houses were built illegally. If they lived there peacefully, no  one would interfere. However, if we applied for permits to renovate  them, the houses could be confiscated. Thus, there are many factors  that we must consider. 

For elderly living in such places, we can advise them to live in a long term care facility or senior home. Even if it costs money, we will help  them live there. In this way, they will be at ease and will have someone  to take care of them. Having love in our hearts is not enough; we must  also exercise wisdom. Only by helping them to feel secure in their  physical needs can we truly be at peace in our hearts. 

Tzu Chi volunteers will go to people who have no easy way to access  care or services, visiting elderly people who are living alone or those  with physical challenges, to learn about their illnesses and suffering.  When we visit their families, we also form good affinities with their  neighbors on their behalf. We have to let them know that though we  are not related to the family, we are a group of people who help this  family with love and care. When we clean and tidy up the environment,  some neighbors might say, “Why do you care?” This is an opportunity  to share with them. 

Aside from acts of love, we also need to educate with wisdom. We  hope that the neighbors, since they are close-by, will look after and  show more care for the family in need. This is more important than  the care we can occasionally provide, coming from somewhere further  away. 

Having heard everyone’s sharings, I feel at ease. I saw how volunteers  collect unused assistive devices, then repair, clean, and disinfect them  to make them look like new, and then deliver them to those in need.  This, in particular, is truly praiseworthy! 

Tzu Chi volunteers always help others quietly and sincerely, without  seeking recognition. Not only does everyone think of doing good deeds,  but they also put their thoughts into action. I hope the volunteers will  continue to share more about this. 

Whether in the mountains or in rural areas, we can see Faith Corps  members who are not afraid of hardship. We saw a few of them working  together to carry a heavy bed up the hills or up several floors. Seeing  how the bed was so heavy and how it was very difficult to make turns  on the stairs with it, I truly felt for them. I also worried that if people  from above were unable to hold it, the people below would be unable  to support its weight. 

Faith Corps members gather together out of compassion and sincerity  to give their selfless love and overcome many obstacles. The most  difficult things to overcome are all from the mind. The work they do is  truly arduous, and it is not just a short-term commitment of one month  or one year. Without firm resolve, it would be difficult to continue this  work. This is to say nothing of the fact that many Bodhisattvas in the  Faith Corps members have been doing such work for decades. They  uphold their aspirations without retreating and are always diligent. 

Recently, I have often been talking about “the value of life.” Time passes  by silently, and everyone truly cherishes every second. Volunteers do  not let life pass in vain, and they have all created great blessed affinities  in this world. We must actualize the Buddha’s spirit and ideas and  elevate the value of our lives. 

The Buddha taught us about loving-kindness, compassion, joy, and  equanimity. Great loving-kindness, great compassion, great joy, and  great equanimity are not just words for us to recite when we do group  study together. We must realize these in our actions, so that we can  say that we have practiced these and gained realizations. We must  continue to work diligently to do the right things, and continue to  elevate the value of our own lives. 

To maintain our health, our bodies must keep on moving, but we also  need to gauge and know our limits. We have all grown older, so as  Dharma relatives, everyone must closely care for each other. When  there is heavy lifting to be done, we must make sure that we know  our limits and take care of ourselves. This enables us to develop the  strength to benefit sentient beings. When we do everything mindfully  and sincerely, we bring forth the greatest harmony and peace in this  world.

Compiled from Master Cheng Yen’s teachings from the conversation with volunteers  from the Northern, Central, and Southern regions of Taiwan in March, 2023

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