Teachings by Dharma Master Cheng Yen
Translated by Dharma as Water Dev. Dept, Tzu Chi USA
Reverence and faith can be expressed in one word, “love.” Every day, I call on everyone to reverently pray for peace in the world and work to eliminate disasters with mindfulness and love. When everyone can move forward in the right direction with one heart, and this positive energy can remain on the right track, this is the way of reverence.
A religion with right faith requires everyone’s reverence.
Although Tzu Chi volunteers have different religious faiths, in Tzu Chi, we come together with sincere love and move toward a shared direction—the direction of becoming Living Bodhisattvas.
“Bodhisattvas” have the correct realization. With right understanding, we accurately see what is going on and promote Great Love in the world. With hearts of Great Love and reverent thoughts, we can bring peace to the world.
Although natural disasters are frightening, man-made disasters are even more worrying. Damage from natural disasters can be repaired when we rebuild homes. However, if people’s hearts are turbulent and in disharmony, it will be difficult to live a life with peace of mind. Sentient beings suffer tremendously. As human beings, why do some countries suffer from recurring disasters while others are blessed and people live as if in heaven?
The Buddha teaches us that “such is the cause, such is the condition, such is the effect, such is the retribution, and such is the ‘law of karmic cause and effect.’”
Good causes are like good seeds. After sowing good seeds in fertile land, we also need good conditions. Even with water to nourish the earth, we still need sunlight and fresh air. These are all conditions. The most important thing is the seed. One seed can give rise to infinite seeds. A bean seed will not grow into a squash; it will grow many beans. Likewise, with a good seed and good conditions, things will grow properly. When everyone recognizes the power of love and follows the right direction, we can gather our strengths to cultivate a field of blessings together. We sow one seed at a time, and the plant will flourish in an endless cycle.
After three years of the pandemic, more than a thousand “seeds” will be certified this year. In the Certification Ceremony, we come together to bear witness to Tzu Chi’s love. As we grow to understand Tzu Chi more, we recognize the purpose of Tzu Chi is love, and thus, we hope to unite everyone’s Great Love to work together to benefit those who suffer in this world.
During the Certification Ceremony, a group of newly certified volunteers from different countries and of different languages and skin colors walked by in front of me. Many of them had tears in their eyes. Their compassionate hearts resonate with each other. They care for the suffering people in the world and love all sentient beings in the world. When I affix the Tzu Chi badge on their chests, I hope the seeds will enter their hearts. Everyone is a seed full of potential; when they return to their countries, they must earnestly cultivate their seed, grow the seedling in their heart into a big tree, and take on the spirit of Tzu Chi.
Within me, I have countless blessings for every single person, and I hope that each person will not only think, “I am now certified with a Tzu Chi badge pinned on my chest”; I hope each person will plant this seed firmly in their heart. Tzu Chi should be kept in the heart, so that every day, each volunteer has the heart of Tzu Chi and the direction of Tzu Chi in them. Only when we all move in the direction of benefiting sentient beings and bringing peace with love can there truly be blessings in the world.
In the video “Tzu Chi 2022 Year in Review,” we saw the beautiful country of Indonesia. Thinking of the social turmoil in Indonesia thirty years ago, Mr. Eka Tjipta Widjaja1 asked, “What method should be used to make this country stable and peaceful?”
I replied, “Love is the only way. Love can turn people’s lives around, stabilize a country, resolve hatred, and bring peace.” I really admire Mr. Widjaja for humbling himself to lead with love. He took the initiative and led the cleanup of the Angke River. Gathering a group of entrepreneurs and calling on the government, military, and localities to work together, they cleaned the Angke River, known as the “Black Heart of Jakarta.”
Before the Angke River became a garbage dump, it was crystal clear and people could see the bottom of the river.
There have also been human tragedies during which the river turned red with blood. Moments of time accumulate into history; there were many tragedies but also happy times.
People create karma; if negative karma continues to accumulate and cannot be suppressed, it can explode, lead to a crisis, and cause suffering in the world. But if we can continue to spread virtuous Dharma, people’s hearts will move in the direction of goodness. When everyone creates blessings and encourages each other with love, society will become peaceful and stable. A world like this is like heaven.
Heaven and hell can always be seen on earth. I have been reminding everyone that in a blessed community, the most important thing for people is “to remember the past” and never forget the hard work done in the past. Everyone must continue to give with love. We need money and people to continue our efforts. Most importantly, we need the heart and sincerity to give. With sincere hearts and people’s strength, it is not impossible to turn suffering around.
In the past, the Angke River was very dirty, and the surrounding houses were dilapidated; now, there are high-rise buildings, a beautiful environment, and a clear river where people can row dragon boats. As long as someone takes on the work, Tzu Chi volunteers will observe, share, and encourage each other.
Everything in the world follows this principle in the same way. Everything can be achieved through people’s effort, and everything can be accomplished over time.
1 Eka Tjipta Widjaja (1921~2019) was the founder of the Sinar Mas Group of Indonesia and one of the top ten richest people in Indonesia. He was also a philanthropist. Following the widespread flooding of Jakarta in 2002, he was inspired by Tzu Chi and devoted himself to the cleanup of the dirty and smelly environment despite being eighty years old already and despite his family’s and his doctor’s attempt in dissuading him. He also took the lead in donating money and supplies and called on local entrepreneurs to join in to provide aid.
Compiled from the Master’s teachings at the Certification Ceremony of the Tzu Chi International Commissioners and Faith Corps Members on June 23 and 24, 2023