对慈济充满好奇的联邦众议员

芝加哥分会  | 2021年7月23日
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作者 /马乐
摄影/马乐

慈济芝加哥分会执行长谢济介(左)介绍慈济的四大志业,志工行善的脚步遍及全球。摄影/马乐

六月底,芝加哥静思堂附近发生龙卷风,志工们迅速行动举办多场发放,伊利诺伊州联邦众议员比尔·佛斯特(Bill Foster,Illinois’s 11th Congressional District Representative)在发放现场看到慈济在帮助自己辖区的居民,好奇并想要多了解这个慈善组织,志工也把握因缘介绍慈济。回到办公室后,众议员佛斯特交代秘书,在他前往华府国会山庄开议之前,务必安排一趟行程造访慈济静思堂,来进一步了解无私付出背后的那股力量。7月10日,众议员带着秘书来到了慈济,特意打了中式领带,本来只能停留45分钟的行程,芝加哥志工们以诚以情的招待,让他们停留了近两小时。

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志工再次见到众议员,而这次是在慈济的“家”欢迎他的来访。
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聆听证严法师的开示,让众议员佛斯特内心受到触动。
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志工介绍证严法师的英文出版品。

以下是众议员佛斯特在芝加哥静思堂和所有人的分享:

“龙卷风发生后,我花了好几天的时间勘灾辖区内的龙卷风灾区,当时,看到了你们在帮助无家可归、或者房子遭到严重损毁的龙卷风受灾户,你们助人的身影,让我意识到……‘这是一个很好的组织,我要去更了解他们……’”

“我认为你们是一个非常好的组织,所以要让更多人知道。这也许不符合佛教的作风,但是因为你们真的做得很好,要为此感到骄傲。你们的努力和付出,会吸引更多人加入来做更好的事情。”

“大约15到20年前,我的父亲离世了。我阅读父亲写的论文,想更深入了解他的内心和想法。在文中,父亲讲述他如何离开科学界,进入到公民权利领域……我在想每个人都需要思考的问题:你的生活中有多少部分,是为周遭人群在服务?有些人一生只是在享乐、挣钱;但有些人一生在为他人奉献。生活中大部分的人,都是在这两者之间,这是为什么我很感恩慈济人,因为你们愿意付出生命的一部分,为他人奉献。”

“你们体现移民社群如何回馈美国社会,让国家发展得更好,并且不论宗教与种族,只要有人需要帮助,就会即时伸出援手,具有佛教精神的慈济,是大家的典范。”

“When I saw what you were doing to help the tornado victims, you know, the tornado landed entirely in my district, and so I spent days visiting the area, and one of the places I visited was where you were providing relief and help to some of the families who lost their homes, or were just in a bad situation, and I thought, “Okay, this is a good group, and I want to get to know them better.”

“I thought that your organization is so wonderful, you should advertise more. That is probably not a decor of the Buddhist philosophy, to advertise or self-promote, but you do wonderful things, and you should be proud about bringing new people into your organization, so that they can do good things in their lives as well.”

“After [my father] passed away, about 15 to 20 years ago, when I was reading his papers, of his decision to leave science and to work in civil rights, I started thinking about this fundamental question that everyone has to answer, which is, what fraction of your life do you spend in service to your fellow man. You know, this is a question everyone has to answer. Some people spend their entire lives simply enjoying themselves, making money, and other people spend their entire life trying to help their fellow man. For most people, it is somewhere in between. And so that’s one of the reasons that I want to thank you for all that you do in Tzu Chi Foundation, because you are spending part of your life, as you are living your life, in service to your fellow man. And it’s a quite answering this question, but in a very good way, and I want to thank you all.”

“It’s a perfect example of the culture of an immigrant community contributing to the United States and making it a stronger country. Including aid to people, no matter what religion, no matter what ethnicity, if someone needs help, you give that help to them, and so the Buddhist spirit that is demonstrated by your group has really shown how immigration makes us stronger as a country. “

众议员佛斯特非常高兴,在自己的辖区内有这样的移民组织,一直默默地做着助人的事,回去后还特意寄来电邮叮咛,以后如果需要任何协助,一定要告知。

这次由于龙卷风因缘促成良好合作关系,又为今后在社区服务打下坚实基础。

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缘起于龙卷风赈灾,伊利诺伊州联邦11选区众议员佛斯特(中)7月10日特地前往芝加哥慈济分会,深入了解慈济。
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诚挚的交流,期待一同为社区做更多服务。

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