對慈濟充滿好奇的聯邦眾議員

芝加哥分會  | 2021年7月23日
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作者 /馬樂
攝影/馬樂

慈濟芝加哥分會執行長謝濟介(左)介紹慈濟的四大志業,志工行善的腳步遍及全球。

六月底,芝加哥靜思堂附近發生龍捲風,志工們迅速行動舉辦多場發放,伊利諾州聯邦眾議員比爾·佛斯特(Bill Foster,Illinois’s 11th Congressional District Representative)在發放現場看到慈濟在幫助自己轄區的居民,好奇而想要多了解這個慈善組織,志工也把握因緣介紹慈濟。回到辦公室後,眾議員佛斯特交代秘書,在他前往華府國會山莊開議之前,務必安排一趟行程造訪慈濟靜思堂,來進一步了解無私付出背後的那股力量。7月10日,眾議員帶著秘書來到了慈濟,特意打了中式領帶,本來只能停留45分鐘的行程,芝加哥志工們以誠以情的招待讓他們停留了近兩小時。

TzuchiUSA-congressman visit-chicago_0003_20210710_Congressman Visit_YM_馬樂_2
志工再次見到眾議員,而這次是在慈濟的「家」歡迎他的來訪。
援助芝加哥龍捲風受災家庭
TzuchiUSA-congressman visit-chicago_0004_20210710_Congressman Visit_YM_馬樂_6
聆聽證嚴法師的開示,讓眾議員佛斯特內心受到觸動。
TzuchiUSA-congressman visit-chicago_0005_20210710_Congressman Visit_YM_馬樂_5
志工介紹證嚴法師的英文出版品。

以下是眾議員佛斯特在芝加哥靜思堂和所有人的分享:

「龍捲風發生後,我花了好幾天的時間勘災轄區內的龍捲風災區,當時,看到了你們在幫助無家可歸、或者房子遭到嚴重損毀的龍捲風受災戶,你們助人的身影,讓我意識到……『這是一個很好的組織,我要去更了解他們』……。」

「我認為你們是一個非常好的組織,所以要讓更多人知道,這也許不符合佛教的作風,但是因為你們真的做得很好,要為此感到驕傲,你們的努力和付出,會吸引更多人加入來做更好的事情。」

「大約15到20年前,我的父親離世了。我閱讀父親寫的論文,想更深入的了解他的內心和想法。在文中,父親講述他如何離開科學界,進入到公民權利領域……我在想每個人都需要思考的問題——你的生活中有多少的部分是為週遭人群在服務?有些人一生只是在享樂、掙錢;但有些人一生在為他人奉獻。生活中大部分的人,都是在這兩者之間,這是為什麼我很感恩慈濟人,因為你們願意付出生命的一部分,為他人奉獻。」

「你們體現移民社群如何回饋美國社會,讓國家發展得更好,並且不論宗教與種族,只要有人需要幫助,就會即時伸出援手,具有佛教精神的慈濟,是大家的典範。」

“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. “

眾議員佛斯特非常高興在自己的轄區內有這樣的移民組織,一直默默地做著助人的事,回去後還特意寄來電郵叮嚀,以後如果需要任何協助,一定要告知。

這次由於龍捲風因緣促成良好合作關係,又為今後在社區服務打下堅實基礎。

援助芝加哥龍捲風受災家庭
TzuchiUSA-congressman visit-chicago_0002_20210710_Congressman Visit_YM_馬樂_10
緣起於龍捲風賑災,伊利諾州聯邦11選區眾議員佛斯特(中)7月10日特地前往芝加哥慈濟分會,深入了解慈濟。
TzuchiUSA-congressman visit-chicago_0001_20210710_Congressman Visit_YM_馬樂_8
誠摯的交流,期待一同為社區做更多服務。

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