Take Inventory of Our Lives and Diligently Create Blessings

National Headquarters  |  November 30, 2022

Teachings by Dharma Master Cheng Yen
Translated by Dharma as Water Development Department, Tzu Chi USA

Recently, I have been encouraging everyone to take an inventory of  their lives and look back at what they have done in this lifetime. As I  look back on my own life, I find that my greatest accomplishment— and what I am most grateful for—is having all of you share my  mission, walking the path of Tzu Chi for more than fifty years. Life  fades with every second. As there is so much suffering in this world,  we must give love to the world. By bringing light to everyone’s life,  we can dispel the darkness from this world and bring out our life’s  full potential.  

In the Philippines, we have seen that residents on Bohol Island, and  in Zamboanga and other places, have difficult living situations. On  top of that, the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened the situation. For  example, many visually impaired massage therapists have lost job  opportunities. Local tricycle and jeepney drivers have to beg to make  a living, having lost tourist income. 

Tzu Chi volunteers could not bear to see this, so they gathered the  love of the public to help them. People felt the love of Tzu Chi, and  to express gratitude, some took the initiative to spread the word at  their local stores. They said, “This is Tzu Chi. This organization does  a lot of good deeds.” Even those who had little money were willing  to donate to the bamboo banks. Some even started raising funds or  promoting vegetarianism, following the example of our volunteers. 

I am grateful for the Tzu Chi volunteers in the Philippines. Although  they are few, they are dedicated to helping those in need. Since  last year, they have distributed materials to more than 200,000  households. Although we cannot provide all the help they need, the  recipients can feel the warmth in our volunteers’ hearts, and they  are grateful for the support. Local entrepreneurs have also willingly  gone into remote areas to help others. In this way, they have moved  many others to join them to give with a heart of love. 

Giving is not just the privilege of the rich. Anyone who is willing can  give, and love will never run out. In fact, the more we give, the richer  we become; the more dedicated we are, the more Dharma joy we  feel. If someone says, “My life is difficult. How do I help others?” we  can share the story of how poor people in Myanmar contribute to  their “rice piggy bank” every day and encourage people to “eat until  eighty percent full and save twenty percent to help others.” 

If everyone only focuses on helping others and creating blessings, how  could there be people in poverty? How could people still fight over  things? How could the world not be at peace? If we diligently give our  love, compete for goodness, and stop indulging in material things,  more people will be saved. 

As we take an inventory of our lives, we see that if we have been able  to help others, then we are truly blessed; our lives are truly valuable  and are worthy of praise. However, when only a few people are doing  good, our strength is limited. This is why we must come together and  widely recruit Living Bodhisattvas in this world. We must encourage  them to take action, now and in the future. I hope that everyone will  form aspirations and make vows. What we are hoping for is not about  giving a lot, but that people’s hearts will turn toward goodness. Where  there is goodness, there will be blessings. With blessings, we can  mitigate disasters. 

Let us not worry about how small our good deeds may be. Once  we begin and encourage others to join us, we will accumulate kind  thoughts, resources, and strength; drop by drop, they will converge  into a river that can go on to nourish sentient beings. When goodness  accumulates in society, this energy can protect and bring peace to the  world. 

Compiled from Master Cheng Yen’s teachings during a conversation with Tzu Chi  Philippines on September 24, 2021, charity foundation sharing on September 27, 2021,  and closing ceremony of Tzu Chi missions staff retreat on October 2, 2021. Appears in  Tzu Chi in Japan Issue 170. 

More Master’s Teachings