Sow Good Seeds and Cultivate Fields of Blessing

National Headquarters  |  April 30, 2024

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

Our present life comes from past causes. In this life, we have affinities  with each other thanks to Tzu Chi. We share the same resolve and  come together in one place. These “conditions” bring us together.  Everyone has been doing Tzu Chi’s work, and so am I. Had I not done  it, I would not have been able to meet all of you, as all of you came  because of Tzu Chi. 

This may sound easy, but the conditions are deep. There must  have been a past for the present to exist, and the present is for the  future. When I was 29, I started Tzu Chi by asking people to save fifty  Taiwanese cents per day, and now, Tzu Chi has been established for  almost sixty years. 

Looking at the international community, every time I hear about a  disaster somewhere, my heart always worries: Are they safe? Next,  Bodhisattvas get ready to take action and assess the situation. How  can we distribute aid and provide relief? Will it be an emergency relief  effort or will it require medium-term care? Or is long-term assistance  needed to help disaster victims settle? This is what Tzu Chi has been  doing to this day. 

You have diligently safeguarded me to this day and never thought of  letting go. I will never be able to let go of my responsibilities, not just in  this lifetime, but in future lifetimes as well. I am always preparing ways  to take on responsibilities in the next life. 

Tzu Chi’s essence is taking responsibility and giving our all. Tzu Chi  volunteers in each country do not just say, “It is enough to just do good  deeds.” I say, “I want to carry out Tzu Chi’s work until my last breath.”  I hope all Tzu Chi volunteers share the same vow and would not say, “I  have done this for this many years. Now is the time to let go.” Tzu Chi  Bodhisattvas pass on the torch, but they never let go; they continue to  accompany newcomers and pass the torch on for generations. 

Tzu Chi is established in this era. I am here and you are here, so there is  no such thing as “Tzu Chi belongs to Master.” I cannot physically make  it to the United States. I am grateful for the causes and conditions of  the first thought, the first seed, and the first “farmer” who cultivated  this field of blessings in the US. From the founding days of Tzu Chi in  the US, seeds were sown in the field of our eighth consciousness, as  that is where our memories are kept. 

Together we cultivate the field of blessings that is Tzu Chi in the US, and  we pass this field down from generation to generation. If we expand  it a little more and bring in more farmers, the field will yield seeds of  blessings every season and every year. We can harvest and sow seeds  of blessings year after year. The seeds that are harvested, apart from  the portion preserved for future cultivation, become nourishment for  our wisdom life. 

We must cultivate the field of the mind, the field of blessings of our  mind. Aside from sowing seeds, we must eliminate weeds. The weeds  in the field of the mind are afflictions and discursive thoughts. Tzu Chi  volunteers are like farmers who cultivate the great field of blessings in  the world. 

By sowing good seeds in the ground, diligent farmers cultivate the  land and provide us with nourishing food. Without proper care, seeds  will quickly be covered by weeds and cannot grow. Then, when we  try to grasp what is in the fields, all we catch with our hands will be  weeds, which may even cut our hands. However, by taking good care  of a seed with dedication and effort, the seed can grow into a bountiful  rice crop, giving rise to infinite seeds. 

What I find most joyful is that each family passes down kindness  from generation to generation and also spreads the virtuous Dharma  outward. Like a farmer harvesting rice, we keep some grains as seeds.  If there is an abundant harvest, the surplus can be sold to others.  Similarly, only when we have a wealth of Dharma in us can we spread  the Dharma to the world and cultivate the field of blessings on Earth. 

We are all very wise and know that in the current situation, there is  no other way but to go vegetarian. It is the best way to love all beings  and to set animals free. We should call on everyone to sincerely adopt  a vegetarian diet out of love. If everyone does so, we can reduce  the taking of animal lives. Observing a vegetarian diet and fostering  compassion promotes a cycle of kindness. This is the greatest virtuous  Dharma. 

Vegetarianism expresses kindness both inwardly and outwardly. With  the power of love, Tzu Chi volunteers devote themselves to the world.  The mission of medicine cares for people’s health. The mission of  education fosters talent for society and creates hope for humanity.  I believe everything we do and every step we take benefits sentient  beings, and every second in the future is filled with hope. Please  earnestly seize the opportunity to create blessings, do good deeds,  and cultivate blessings and wisdom together. 

Compiled from Master Cheng Yen’s teachings during a conversation at the Consensus  Conference for Tzu Chi USA volunteers on March 7, 2024 

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