Photo by Hus Cheng Tsai-fang
At this very moment, different people are doing different things. Some are caring for people in need and benefiting their community. Others are acting in a way that creates problems. This all takes place in the same second---each person uses that same second differently. The consequences of these actions, however, are also very different, and they have different impacts on our communities, society, and planet.
When many people have a heart of goodness and a mentality of helping others, the world can become a wonderful spring-like place, with all things thriving and growing abundantly.
Each person with an altruistic heart is like a drop of dew. When many droplets of dew settle on the land, the soil draws moisture and is amply nourished. When all things growing on the land flourish, Nature flourishes. But just as every drop of dew accumulates, when there are many people whose hearts are not upright, it likewise has a powerful impact.
Even though this might not be something we think we can see happening, the consequences are already affecting us. Look, for example, at how the climate has changed as a result of human activities. This has not only brought about extreme weather such as hurricanes and typhoons, but also the disasters which are occurring around the world, often at the same time. There are major earthquakes, powerful hurricanes and typhoons, devastating floods, and fires that ravage vast tracts of forest.
These disasters result from the cumulative impact of the actions of each one of us on the planet, at every moment. In our daily lives, there are many choices we can make which will either protect the environment or bring harm to it. Small as these choices and actions may seem, our planet feels their effects greatly.
How do we make these choices? It seems it is really a matter of state of mind---whether our mind is governed by our wants or is one of peace and contentment. This state of mind determines the direction of our actions. Each action has its consequences, and given the cumulative effect of each and every action, the consequences become far-reaching.
Most of us, however, seldom notice this. Our minds are caught up in the moment's feeling of pleasure when a want is satisfied. But, if we look farther down the road, what kind of path are our actions paving?
In the Buddhist sutras, Shakyamuni Buddha speaks of bodhisattvas (Sanskrit for "awakened beings"), people who are described as "awakened" because of their insights into life's truths. Two of these insights are that life is impermanent and our world is fragile. Bodhisattvas encourage people to look deeply into such truths and discover the ever-changing nature of all phenomena. If people can observe and understand this, their mindset will begin to change. Awakening this goodness within people is one of the ways the bodhisattvas fulfill their great vow of devotion to the world.
Emulating the awakened beings, Tzu Chi volunteers strive to wake up to life's truths as well as awaken the goodness in others' hearts. In their acts of charity, such as the disaster relief mission to quake-devastated Haiti, the volunteers not only give aid but share with people the spirit of love and giving. They do this because they understand that when people's hearts are full of goodness and they take actions motivated by goodness, they can change the world around them. Their society will become more peaceful and harmonious; and the resulting care for and protection of the wider environment will enable Nature to return to her balance and order. The planet will be a safer place to live.
At every moment, every single person's effort makes a difference—just as dewdrops, tiny and seldom noticed, combine to nourish and revitalize our Earth.
Compiled into English by the Jing Si Abode English Editorial Team