Tzu Chi volunteers present the blue plastic sheets to Haiti earthquake survivors with love and respect. During the rainy season, plastic sheets can be used as temporary shelter and keep them from the wet. (Photo provided by Tzu Chi Foundation)
The New Year is a time for new beginnings, a time when people ring in the New Year with celebrations, parties, and fireworks. On New Year's Eve, many gather in the streets to watch firework shows, but when the celebration ends, nothing is left except a sea of garbage. This is because people's hearts and minds, like the streets, are no longer clean. It seems people lose themselves in the pursuit of fun and excitement, never thinking of what problems their actions create for the environment or for others.
We were all born with a pure and clean heart, a heart which is like a clear, bright mirror. As we go through life, however, dust begins to accumulate on this mirror. When our inner mirror is covered with dust, we cannot see clearly. It is like the convex mirror at an intersection—when clean, we can clearly see if other cars are coming from different directions, but when the mirror is clouded over, we cannot tell what may be coming.
That is why we need to clean our inner mirror. If we clean it diligently, we will discover that we have the same pure nature as the Buddha. What is keeping us from our true nature is our unwholesome habits, such as our self-centered desires and our seeking of pleasure and comfort.
How do we begin to clean our inner mirror? By doing good and helping others with a genuine heart of love. That is why I am very happy to see that many Tzu Chi staff members made use of their New Year holiday to help lay interlocking pavers for the new roads at the housing community Tzu Chi is building for survivors of Typhoon Morakot. Instead of seeking leisure, these staff dedicated their labor so that the housing complex could be completed quickly and disaster survivors could have a home to move into for the Chinese New Year. Their care and love were expressed through action.
In giving of themselves joyfully with hearts full of love, these staff were in fact also purifying their own hearts. The spirit of selfless love and giving is like water that can clean our inner mirror and nourish us spiritually. At the same time, it creates a lot of good for others. When our hearts are clean and pure, our world also becomes more beautiful and good.
At the start of this new year, let us aspire to clean our inner mirror and do good. This is what creates hope and promise for our world.
From Dharma Master Cheng Yen's Talks
Compiled into English by the Jing Si Abode English Editorial Team
Life Wisdom: 02/21/2010 Being a Bodhisattva on Holidays and Every Day