Teachings by Dharma Master Cheng Yen
Translated by Dharma as Water Development Department, Tzu Chi USA
The Lunar New Year holiday celebration is a very important Chinese cultural tradition. It is the time when people send off the old year and welcome the new year. For Tzu Chi volunteers, it is the time when everyone usually returns to the Jing Si Abode with a heart of joy. However, this year is different. People returning from abroad are required to quarantine for more than twenty days, which is quite a long time. Thus, people have postponed their trips.
During this year’s celebration, we still needed to observe social distancing at the Abode. Although there was physical distance between people, our relationships, based on the Dharma essence, were still tightly connected, and people remained very close at heart. Our Dharma connections are retained through countless lifetimes, expressed through our common aspirations and vows. Since we attentively and diligently vow to walk on the Bodhisattva Path, we have “awakened love.” Through this pure and selfless great love, we can extend our connections far and wide.
The Buddha Dharma teaches us to earnestly keep our minds pure and to maintain selfless love with others. In this world, each person has a different journey. This is how the world is. I had video conferences with Tzu Chi volunteers in Jordan and Turkey and saw that the local children were adorable. Although their language is different from ours, we pray for the same thing. We pray for the great love that brings peace. Volunteers also sang the song “One Family.” The tune and rhythm were very familiar, and we were able to sing together. Tzu Chi volunteers all over the world are one big family.
The purest and most sincere quality in this world is something we all share; it is love. In the Buddha Dharma, this common concept of love is captured in the word compassion. Protestant and Catholic faiths teach about “benevolence” and “caritas.” Both are based on the concept of love, the most valuable character trait of human beings. Recently, I have often talked about “taking inventory of our lives.” How much love do we have in our lives? Is this love we have received, or love we have given? We should have gratitude and reciprocate the love we have received. We must always be grateful and seek every opportunity to give back.
How do we give back to the world? As humans, we cannot do it alone. It takes a group of committed people to make a difference. If we are able to bless one another, if we are able to connect this world of eight billion people with great love, regardless of our different religions and faiths, we can make the earth into a pure land.
Tzu Chi was established fifty-six years ago. There are many things and people to be grateful for! Every day begins in the first second after midnight. There are 86,400 seconds a day, and I wish for peace in every second. Time passes second by second; we need to create love in every one. If each second is filled with love, then we will truly have a “pure land on earth.” This will also be a great, pure land of bodhisattvas.
At this moment, we are celebrating Lunar New Year together. Dear bodhisattvas, we must constantly make vows. The Buddha Dharma talks about “great vows,” meaning that our vows must be great. Our “vows” must be inseparable from love, and the “power of our vows” is giving with love. We vow to deliver countless sentient beings, eliminate endless afflictions, and attain unsurpassed Buddhahood. When everyone forms great aspirations in their minds, accommodates everything in the world, and gives with great love, the world will be beautiful. I hope that there will be more bodhisattvas. When many good people gather together, the world will be at peace.
Compiled from Master Cheng Yen’s teachings during Jing Si Abode’s Lunar New Year’s eve celebrations on January 31, 2022 and morning volunteer assembly on February 1, 2022