"With the many crises facing our world today, awakening love cannot wait."—Dharma Master Cheng Yen
In the aftermath of the Japan earthquake, Tzu Chi's volunteers in Japan as well as staff and volunteers from Taiwan have formed a relief team to personally deliver aid to those affected. At the same time, Dharma Master Cheng Yen has asked Tzu Chi volunteers worldwide to launch a fundraising campaign. The road ahead for Japan's disaster recovery is very long; the donations will make it possible for Tzu Chi to help. While deeply grateful for every contribution, large and small, the Master says that what she cherishes most is the heart behind it. For as important as funding is, her greatest wish is that the spirit of love can be awakened in the heart of each and every person around the world.
Besides an outpouring of love in reaction to the disaster, the Master hopes this love can be a lasting spirit which will deeply inform people's perspectives and actions. "Decades ago, someone asked me to use one phrase to describe the problem in our society. 'Lack of love,' I had replied. Indeed, love is missing from people's hearts; there is little love for our fellow human beings, for other living creatures, and for our planet. That is why, while so many are suffering poverty and deprivation, we live wastefully. Instead of respecting the lives of other living creatures, we kill them to eat—not because we need their meat to survive but simply because we like the taste. And lack of love for our Mother Earth is the reason we do so much harm to the environment, boring through mountains to create new routes which shorten travel time often only by ten or fifteen minutes."
All of this highlights how our focus has become wholly centered on our own wants and desires. Yet, have these brought us happiness? In fact, the Master points out that it is our mind of seeking and always wanting more that causes us suffering. If we can instead give out of a sense of empathy and compassion, and give with only the wish to help, seeking nothing in return, we can touch true joy and happiness. This is an inner joy like no other.
At this time, those suffering from disaster truly need our prayers, our care, and our giving. But the Master furthermore hopes that we can learn from this disaster and realize how interconnected we on this planet are. If, with this recognition, we can take care in our actions to do what contributes to the greater good instead of the opposite, the impact will be tremendous.
There is a Chinese saying, "One good deed can dispel a thousand disasters." But the Master stresses that this is not one good deed from one person alone. This 'one good deed' means one good deed from many people, innumerable people. Collectively, the impact of our good actions will be extremely powerful.
This is why at this time, the Master is earnestly calling upon everyone to spread the message of love—to inspire people not only to help the disaster-stricken, but to awaken their love, so that they can live each day with utmost sincerity and vigilance, and do good always, every day. Doing good can mean reaching out to help people in need by contributing our time or money; avoiding meat and eating vegetarian; and being environmentally-conscious in our actions, such as by not using disposables and by conserving resources. These are but a few examples. If we live in a spirit of love for others instead of being focused on our wants and desires, we will find that there is so much good we can do.
As long as we genuinely have the desire to help, and our intentions are selfless, we will discover many ways we can give. In Buddhism, giving is not limited to the giving of material wealth or goods. One can give Dharma, and also help people become liberated from fear through the gift of "non-fear". The Master reminds everyone that so long as we have a heart of love, our giving will naturally be unlimited, the good we can do, boundless. The key lies in the heart and in carrying through with action.
"With love, we can help protect our planet. With love, we can protect the lives of other living creatures. With love, we can cherish our fellow human beings and build a society of peace and harmony. When love fills the hearts of people everywhere, our world will become a truly blessed place. This is not unachievable, for with our love, we can inspire the love in others, creating a cycle of love. So let us work hard toward this together."—Dharma Master Cheng Yen
Written by the Jing Si Abode English Editorial Team
Based on Dharma Master Cheng Yen's conversations in Chinese