慈濟宗門的人文精神與思想略說（下）2007-05-06 | 何日生
The Spirit and Philosophy of Tzu Chi Movement
The Concise for Dharma Master Cheng Yen’s
Philosophy and Her Inspiration
to the Modern World
Kyoto, Japan Niwano Peace Foundation
Tzu Chi Thought and Western Liberalism
Tzu Chi practices good works as a team, stressing the importance of joining hearts and hands to work together as group, an attitude that is firmly rooted in the spirit of the East. This can provide much inspiration for those who believe in the liberalism and individualism of the West who are faced with empty values and meaninglessness. Tzu Chi members think that the individual can only find liberation as a part of a group. As the Master says, "A drop of water can avoid drying up by jumping into the great waters of the river or the sea."
Tzu Chi members demonstrate the energy produced by collective selflessness. The achievements of group effort have been proven in 61 countries around the world where the Four Missions, which include charity and medical care, have been developed. The energy of an individual’s ability and personality receives greater growth and fulfilment within a group due to selflessness and mutual achievement. Behind a Tzu Chi uniform beats a heart striving for equality, and the symbol of love, prominent on the outside of the uniform, is the most honoured symbol of an altruistic nature.
However, many of the developments of civilization push us away from that vast collective energy. Modern civilization teaches us that the root of man is the self. But the self is an isolated starting point. The Bible says that when Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, they started to understand themselves, they started to differentiate between you and me, and they saw that self and others and all things in the world that are separated. This knowledge is the beginning of the isolated self and the source of original sin.
In the progress of history, we have constantly run in the wrong direction, separating the self from the energy of the whole. When man invented writing, he was separated from the substance of all things. When we developed science, we got away from the religion that made people a coherent whole. When we developed industry, we moved away from the family. When we invented television we broke away from the schools. When we got rid of the simple lifestyle, we also got rid of all the limits imposed by respect for authority.
Have you ever heard that money will set you free? In the end, money has never made anybody truly free in their hearts. Finally, an intelligent man gradually finds an independent set of values, unique skills, and an original personality that belong to him alone. But in the gradual process of becoming an individual, people discover that finally, they have to face a world full of loneliness, confusion, and insecurity all by themselves.
And it doesn't stop there. In today's world, with the emphasis on individualism, people use all kinds of ways to seek escape from the self. In the endless pursuit of desire, they abandon the self in the intense attraction of each other’s bodies and minds, they throw away the self in the intoxication of drink, they escape the self in the confusion of drugs, and they even forget the self in the urgency of hard work.
Even if you say in your propriety, "I don't try to escape myself through these indulgences," but when we open the newspaper or turn on the television, we start to link up with the mass of society. When we pick up a credit card, and make a purchase because of a television commercial that introduced a product, we are no longer a unique self and individual. Everything creates "me" in the confines of the collective. No one can exist in this world as an isolated individual.
And yet there is a paradox. Under the banner of individualism, the greatest value is the realization of the self and freedom, with every effort given to the promotion of owning the self as an independent individual. However, people have used up all kinds of ways to escape the self and this isolated predicament. And after failing in the search for an individual self, modern people try to use a kind of confused, disordered, and frivolous group atmosphere to replace the group pattern of careful order, deliberate values, and harmony between self and group that existed in the past.
Before the Industrial Revolution and the development of rationalism, people were still a part of the mass of society. In the West, a person of the Middle Ages belonged to the church and to the family. In China before the eighteenth century, it must have been hard to imagine such a thing as the individual outside of the family clan. Even a wandering poet like Li Bai had to say, "Let me sing you a song! Let your ears attend!" A man can't drink wine alone, since it's all connected with friends, poetry, and nature. That's why Li Bai said in the end, "And we'll drown away the woes of ten thousand generations!" Notice those woes are drowned away in the company of his friends. When Li Bai feels those woes again, he will still drown them away with his friends. That's because people of those times did not see themselves as individuals. The individual and the group could not be separated.
The Old Testament of the Bible says, "The father eats the sour grapes, and the teeth of the children are set on edge." The actions of the father will influence the children, another way of saying that the individual does not exist since it is part of the family. Western people in the Middle Ages must have found it hard to imagine what a world without God or a society without the church would look like. As the Rabbi said, "Love your neighbour as yourself because all spirits are one. Everyone has a divine spark from the original divinity, and all spirits are naturally rooted in this divinity."
In the East, on a day about 2,400 years ago, an Indian prince named Siddhārtha sat under the bodhi-tree under the starry sky and completely understood the ultimate law of the cosmos. The Buddha woke up to the fact that all things are originally the same substance, and though everything is separated by unknowable causes, everything is still in harmony at the same time.
The ancient wisdom of the East and the West constantly teaches us the lesson of the inseparability and the interdependence of the individual and the group. The psychologist Jung said that for everyone to possess a complete life or to acquire an even greater energy, they ultimately must let their mind be immersed in the collective unconscious.
When a Tzu Chi doctor is on the stage speaking in sign language with volunteers, nurses, or patients, it is a beautiful movement expressing the emotion of life, and we know he is returning back to within the group. That is the beauty of an individual fusing into the greater self.
When a group of Tzu chi members piously prays in a disaster area or an environmental protection zone, we say they are immersed in the joy and piety of the greater self.
When Tzu Chi members put on the complete uniform and go abroad for disaster aid, personally consoling aid recipients, empathizing with their tragedy, and understanding their suffering, we say that this is returning to a magnetic field full of the energy of universal love. That universal love has always been inside the heart. That is a kind of selfless giving, a kind of emptiness. Just like the space inside every pearl can cause the rays of light to shine through, it can connect everyone together, weaving a vast web of love surrounding all sentient beings in the universe.
This is the beauty of the great collective self created and promised by the Master. It is the way of liberation for the individual to move towards freedom and enlightenment.
The freedom of the West is supported by society and a political system. It is an external freedom. But the freedom of Buddhism is rest, and not the freedom that is hindered by desires. Buddhism emphasizes "rest" and rarely uses the word "free" because true freedom comes from the inner mind. Only when the mind is no longer occupied by desires, anxieties, fears, and delusions can man be truly free, and in the words of Buddhism, find liberation. But this freedom, according to Tzu Chi, is found in the love of the group. Love is the core of a person's freedom. No matter how the environment changes, this is how it is in a person's inner mind.
The Master stresses that the peace of the inner mind as well as freedom is due to love. If there is love in the environment, the individual will carry on with peace. The last months of the life of the modern Buddhist thinker, Teacher Yinshun, were spent at Tzu Chi. When he was ill and staying at Tzu Chi Hospital, he awoke each morning with a smile. The Teacher's peaceful stay was partly due to his faithful practice and inner peace, but as the Master stresses, it was also partly due to the environment of love created by the doctors, nurses, and Tzu Chi members in the hospital. This shows the importance the Master places on the creation of an environment which leads to individual freedom. Environment plays a big part if the inner mind is to be at rest, and the creation of "love" in the environment is crucial.
Therefore the Master does not see the cultivation of the inner mind as the only path to reaching inner peace and constant meditation. The key is the rebuilding of the environment and its effect. This is why the Master hopes disciples can go out into the world and work for others, to love others unconditionally, and to help others find peace. After the suffering has been aided, then teach the dharma. First remove the suffering from the environment's body, and then impart the dharma essence, helping others receive the ultimate inner peace and wisdom that leads to the bright ultimate path of inner freedom.
The philosophy of Tzu-Chi and the reflection of Capitalism
Prior to the advent of the scientism, Francis Bacon, a Western philosopher, predicted in the sixteenth century that the infinity in scientific world would have fundamentally changed human beings. In the 17th century, since Newton have discovered the universal gravitation till now, human population have increased within three-hundred years from four hundred millions in 1680 to sixth hundred millions today, in other words, the populace on the Earth has grown sixteen times within one century (Fernand Braudel, 1999). After the scientific flourishing, human being consuming resources has increased ten-thousand times as much as the total consumption before.
The capitalism encouraged people to consuming desperately after they are working so hard to earn as much as possible the money from salary, stock, and financial markets. Development has become a sole value and belief in capital society, but the final ending, instead, makes people drop into an endless cycle of working and consuming. The maximum crisis to threaten human survival is the havoc caused by limitless sabotage on global energy resource, and the capitalism taking the profit and consumption as its basic mode of life has faced a stern challenge.
On Dec. 2006, the World Environmental Organization (WEO) convened a conference at Paris, aiming at global warming weather to produce a conclusion. More than one hundred scientists unanimously assumed that the Earth being overheated is resulted from man-made factors. Human’s excessive consumption and unending expansion of surviving area has caused a serious damage to the Nature, and the carbon dioxide accumulated in the atmosphere also forced the human to face a critical crisis. The ice layer in Greenland rapidly disappeared symbolizes that many low lands on the Earth would be fast submerged by seawater while the flood over New Orleans is no more than a prelude of the movie “The Day After Tomorrow”.
In fact, as Master Cheng-Yen interpreted “Lotus Sutra” (Saddharmapundarika Sutra) in the early year, she said, “The natural disaster begins from human being”. In the conclusion of the World Environmental Protection Organization today, Master’s anxiety and insight appears to have obtained the scientific witness and annotation.
Where the natural disaster comes from? It comes from human’s greed, anger, and infatuation. Evil idea has long existed in human’s heart from time immemorial, but why it becomes so furious today? Undoubtedly, it is the scientific promotion that prompts the expanding human desire able to be satisfied. Human beings can slaughter cattle collectively by high-tech progressive; a lot of pigs are all life locked in the iron cage barely accommodated their bodies, some of them even have no chance to stand up all their life, and the merchandisers use antibiotics to stimulate chickens to rapidly grow, so as to fast become a delicacy in the fried-chicken stores.
Human’s existence should be at the cost of billions of life, yet the consequence of which is the disappearance of forest and the emerging virus such as Ebola and AIDS that enter the throng. Following the cattle growth, the methane is also increasing the greenhouse effect, the enlargement of which makes the weather gradually occur with an intense variation and rapidly threaten all human existence.
Social structure enlarges human’s greedy heart, and the two major structures---Scientism and Capitalism---in modern society accelerate its growth that would ultimately menace to our own living.
催生資本主義的大師——亞當史密斯，在《國富論》裡面最早提到追逐自我利益與公共利益的關係。亞當史密斯認為追求公益其實必須來自私利的極大化，他以一位善於做弓箭之獵人為例，初期這位巧手之獵人做弓箭是為了興趣，他因為善於這項工藝漸漸的被獵人族群欣賞肯定，雖然偶爾他也會作一些弓箭送獵人朋友，獵人朋友答謝他也會回贈一些肉品。漸漸的這一位善於工匠的獵人，發覺他製作弓箭所得到的肉品比自己打獵要來得多並且容易。於是他就專心地變成弓箭製造的工匠，亞當史密斯說，社會的分工就從此開始。(Adam Smith 1789)
Adam Smith, the Master to hasten the delivery of capitalism, mentioned the relationship between self-profit and public welfare in his book, “The Wealth of Nations”. He assumed that seeking the public welfare actually has to originate from the maximum of self-profit. He exemplified the hunter who was good at manufacture of bow and arrow; in the very beginning, this skilful hunter produced it simply for fun, but when his workmanship has been appreciated and affirmed by other hunter groups, he would occasionally present some bow and arrow to his hunter friends, then, those friends would reciprocate him some bush meat. Bit by bit, the hunter discovered that the meat acquired by the bow and arrow he produced was much easier than the meat he hunted, so he became an artisan to produce intently the bow and arrow. Adam Smith said, “This is the onset of the social division of labour” (Adam Smith, 1789).
As a pioneer of capitalism theory, Adam Smith prophesied, “’Division of Labour’ of the capitalism signifies that every one shall do his best, and he will obtain the maximum benefits for himself and the whole society. Seeking to achieve his own profits will benefit the crowd at the same time”. This is the basic viewpoint listed in the book of “The Wealth of Nations” that affects the capitalism structure the most. For the public welfare is resulted from the maximum of private benefits; exercising the private benefit wisely is not only benefiting individuals, but also benefiting the public, but under the environment of capitalism, in fact, the maximum of private benefit is not necessarily producing the public welfare.
Within recent two hundred years, as it is, the maximum of private benefit praised by capitalism did not caused the public welfare as Smith’s prophecy, instead, cause an extreme poverty gap in the world while the ecological environment was unprecedented being sabotaged. According to UN’s statistic, total 2 billion populations on the Earth were living on the brink of poverty, and 70% of the global assets were held in the hands of those who account for 2% of the global populace. We are living in a world where every four seconds a child would die of hunger, which is more unfair than the 18th century world Adam Smith lived, much less the wealth.
Affected by Darwinism---survival of the fittest in natural selection, the capitalism society encourages the competition, and assumes that the competition is to create the best products, and is a system in favour of consumers. The overwhelming capitalism demands us to desperately work over a desperate consumption; people are exhausted in such a sinuate cycle. The science we embraced is to lead us to forsake religious imprisonment, believe ourselves and worship ourselves; hence, accomplishing ourselves becomes a creed for the people nowadays.
As the psychologist Maslow presented the most favourable demonstration for self-pursuit, he assumed that people should first find out the physical safety, mental demand, love requirement, ego fulfilment, and then finally achieve the society fulfilment. To carry out the altruistic action has perpetually been placed after the self-profit. The ego is as same as the advertising board today being highly lifted up, the influence of which is higher than the God, and higher than any form of the religious credo and belief.
Under such a condition, various grotesque pursuits and desires are constantly derived, and people attracted by advertisement in commercial markets put their hard money to satisfy themselves at no allowance; it is not only causing the huge poverty gap and the natural havoc beyond redemption, but also forming an extreme inanition after reification. Melancholy, suicide, and collective corruption unceasingly taint the body of professional capitalists; it is a silent disease and destruction. Although it takes the self-contentment as its objective, the fact is an authentic requirement to strangle ego and destroy its peaceful and quiet appearance.
After the era of post-capitalism and the overdevelopment of scientism, people start introspecting the absurdity and error made by the deity worshiped by modern. Some address their opinions, but not necessarily find out an amendment or a possible outlet for the scientific charm and the capitalism expansion.
Different from the capitalism that emphasizes self-desire’s expansion and contentment, and from the liberalism that accentuates individual right and consciousness, of which has to acquire the maximum protection and development, the Tzu-Chi’s concept emphasizes that the authentic objective of ego is the cleanness existed in heart, the cleanness of which is derived from love and precept. The desire expansion will push people to be ligatured by greed, and confine them to be relieved.
The real Buddhistic spirit, as it is, is to purifying personal inner heart; Buddha wants the individual not to be controlled by sentiment and environment, or besieged by desire. Such an absolute calm is come from self-discipline, so the calm is wider than the freedom, and more profound than anything else. This conception in Tzu-Chi’s world is forged from non-reciprocal giving, then, in the crowd, further to grind your own drawbacks into a diamond just because the throng is not uniform. The individual can get the relieved and unrestrained by love only.
A society or unit without love is no other than a bondage to the individual. Regardless of modern liberalism that advocates the political freedom and protects personal right through legal channel, we are inevitably all getting involved into a frame of the “Confliction and Almighty the Organizational Profits” in the capitalism unit and the vocational field. In the capitalism society, who could be really free? Who could really find the ego’s ultimate value? Who couldn’t be pressed by competition and feel out of breath? At last, take the material consumption as a compensation, the cost of which is just like a mouse pursuing its own tail and never be able to get rid of the destiny of transmigration of the bitter soul.
Ego is not coming from the individual who can shake off the social restriction, but from who may preside over his own mind. Value is not derived from how much money you have or which status you serve, but relied on the love you give. Did Jesus feel free at that Good Friday? His body was nailed, but not His soul. The breadth of freedom consists in the depth of love.
Master Cheng-Yen has little personal leisure activities. She did not go abroad to appreciate the historic monument, scenic spot, famous mountain, and ancient temple. Her daily schedule is serving the people and society from time to time. Is she not free? She always said that on the Tzu-Chi people, she have seen scenery of the best soul. In her lifetime, she never accumulates wealth for her own, but for all living creatures able to receive peace and pleasure. Her life is no other than an everlasting rarity.
The news often reported the legend that someone had accumulated more than hundred million dollars before 30 years of age, but many Tzu-Chi’s volunteers in their young age have started to give their love to the society till now; even they are grey-headed, they still so much concerned about that all beings may leave the bitter, but not about their own peace and pleasure. Shouldn’t their stories be worthy of an affirmation?
Materializing a personal is the biggest damage of capitalism to individual life value. In the event, human becomes a loop to be linked in a machine of the collective capitals, even the personal leisure manner is capitalized, marketized, and collectivized, instead, the person is melted and disappeared in the mechanism of capital market. Every thing is converted into a number or an equivalent tool at the capital market.
How to help the person to depart from the mechanism that not oriented the love as its basis? How to wake up the person from the materialized value mode? Both of that is the most important conception that the Buddhism and Tzu-Chi world can give to the world. This is no other than the spiritual significance that Master Cheng-Yen hopes to take love as managing tool, and take precept as system. In the vocational field or any other grounds, people may use the reciprocal love as a belief, convincing that “Morality is to ask yourself, but not others”. Every thing shall set a good example with your own conduct; if others have wrong doings, we shall take the lead to make it good. Using such conceptions to build a field is the way that individual can obtain his real freedom and dignified path.
In spite of any era, the individual shall not leave the society, and vice versa.
Only the love existed in the organization, could the individual receive the respect and the authentic freedom. If the man in his life can give love---a non-reciprocal love, his life will not be distorted in the materialization, and can authentically find the ultimate and permanent value of life.
These are two major talismans that Master Cheng-Yen teaches her disciples to break away from the restriction of the capital market.
The volunteers, therefore, lay down the work on hand, go to the disaster area, the hospital, or any poor and ill land to guard life and guard love which means to love all beings, either human life, the Nature, high mountain, deep ocean, a stalk of grass, a tree, a flower, a leaf, or even a sheet of paper, a bottle of empty can, all of which is the living creatures, in want of us to cherish and love it. This is the instruction that Master would like to give the Tzu-Chi Volunteers.
To love life and cherish substance, more than hundred thousand Tzu-Chi environmental protecting volunteers are silently serving the land and guarding the Earth resource. They achieve the dream to cherish substances not only by love for all being, but having all beings to love human. These people’s life value cannot be found in capital accumulation and consumption, in self-contentment, but in the contribution of love and altruists.
When people on the earth are running after benefits and self-desirous contentment, the global poverty gap and the human confliction force the earth resource to face havoc. Whether people would continuously extend such a pursuit, or we have to awaken and change the way that human had pursued for 13 centuries.
Master Cheng-Yen’s thinking and Tzu-Chi people’s practices may offer a spiritual outlet for modern soul, which is the love and the restriction, as quoted from the Master, the “Love and Precept”--- to deny self and observe the proprieties.
Tzu Chi’s point of view and reflection on hierarchy
Many of those who joined Tzu Chi have felt its spirit of equality and multi-dynamic atmosphere. It is multi-dynamic in that the proposal and planning of any matter or project is always shared by many people and minds, and never the sole burden of any single department. Whether it’s Tzu chi foundation staff, volunteers, or even members of the public, they can propose new ideas or new ways to achieve a project. Then after collective discussion and consensus building, everyone will help carry out the project collectively to realize a most successful and harmonious outcome. This is the positive force of multi-dynamism, which is significantly different from organizations with clear division of labour or hierarchy.
Media professionals can also be charitable. For example, in 2006, Da Ai TV staffs came up with the programme of donating pencils to help impoverished students in Gui-Zhou, China. Doctors are no exception, either. They may offer their medical service during free clinics or home visits to the poor. They can also become TV programme host or publish books etc. to help promote humanistic values. By this, as described by Sociologist Herbert Marcuse, an individual’s potentials will not be restricted by the hierarchy and division of labour, and become only a single-dimensioned person within the capitalistic society.
The CEOs of all four missions of Tzu Chi: Charity, Medical, Education and Humanitarian culture, all act as a single unit, and will meet every week to understand and also to share the new developments in each other’s missions. They not only listen, but also provide suggestions or even actively participate in some of the projects. This represents the Buddhism mind of non-discrimination. Buddhist disciples should follow the dharma, and do all the good deeds; be able to cease doubts and generate faith, be able to provide a positive state of mind and comfort others. One should not be self-restricted, and one should also have unconditional acceptance toward other’s talent and potentials.
People nowadays are more or less restricted by stereotyping of organisational hierarchy. Over the lifetime, they often do only one profession, only learn certain part of knowledge, socialise with certain group, interested in only certain subjects; and disconnected with all other interrelation of other experience. In Master Cheng Yen’s point of view, one’s life development should be much more than this, and she expects that all Tzu Chi people can step out of this restriction and become a total person.
Introduction of the Concentric Circle Organization
In every part of Tzu Chi, equalitarianism is put in practice; there’s no management. People are organized with precepts, following rules, communicate for common goal; work with different parts but there’s no superiors or subordinates. Everyone treats each other as equals once they put on their uniforms, regardless of what their profession is. For example, a newly joined volunteer who might be a corporate CEO will also listen to a senior volunteer who may be a carpenter in order to efficiently build homes for a Great Love Village.
Mr. Du Jun-Yuan, age 70, is a well-known entrepreneur in the IT industry. He is also the volunteer Chairman for Da-Ai TV. Same as all other volunteers in Kao-Hsiung, he also volunteers to clean the neighbourhood and assumes the regular duties as all other Tzu Chi Faith Corp. volunteers.
Starting 2005, Master Cheng-Yen re-formed the fundamental structure of Tzu Chi into four circular structures, namely Unity, Harmony, Mutual love and Joined effort. One Unity group consisting of senior members and devoted commissioners is established in each major city. Unity groups are responsible for spiritual guidance and project positioning. Harmony groups are designated by region, and are in charge of planning and coordinating projects. Mutual Love groups consist of volunteers from same community, and they are in charge of task allocation and execution. As for Joined effort groups, they are based on one single neighbourhood and are in charge of implementation of completion of projects.
Four circular structures as one, there’s no superior or subordinates. Even members in the Unity group, when they are in their neighbourhood of residence, they will also follow the coordination set by the Joined effort group. This is distinguished from the usual organisation hierarchy levels.
Master Cheng Yen’s ideal organisational structure is one of equally alternating positioned, three-dimensional-concentric circle. This structure can be achieved by each one in the organisation fulfilling their duties, caring for each other, communicating and assisting each other other, then the tasks can be achieved efficiently.
Route to harmony society – Equal and unconditional love
In Buddha’s teaching, there are "five defilements" of the world (the defilement of the trends of the present age; the defilement of being a sentient being; the defilement of mistaken views; the defilement of having a lifetime; the defilement of affliction.) And these 5 defilements seem more apparent in today’s world than ever. Pressure born from population growth is the defilement of being a sentient being. The taking of several billions lives every year in the form of livestock killed, war casualties and disease deaths, which is the defilement of having a lifetime. With the more advanced technology, people become more discriminating and less tolerant, even religions become increasingly splintered, and this is the defilement of mistaken views. With more material wealth, people become more spiritually vacuous, and suicides increase dramatically, which reflects the defilement of affliction. Will this end up being the man-created fate of defilement of the trends of the present age?
Master Cheng-Yen often said “time’s running out!” because seeing all the phenomena of the defilement of the trends of the present age appearing, she feels the urgency in realizing people need to work harder to contribute themselves in today’s world. Thus, she appeals for the movement of “having a broad heart and mind and pure thoughts in living a virtuous life of truth and beauty”. Humans usually worry because of mental attachments, kill because of greed, and suffer because of lack of love. In order to rediscover undefiled interpersonal relationships, the only path is to rediscover our simple and pure state of mind.
Master Cheng-Yen believes that the key to equal and unconditional love is non-confrontational positions in any circumstances. All of the existing confrontations and conflicts can only be solved by responding with love and care.
During the serious anti-Chinese riot in Indonesia in 1998, Master Cheng Yen urged the Tzu Chi members in Indonesia to stay and contribute back to the local society with love instead of flee away. In 2002, Jakarta had the most serious flood. The Angke River which is the most polluted river, also known by the locals as the “black heart” of Jakarta, suffered the worst impact among all areas. Local inhabitants lived in slum shelters along the river for decades surrounded by trash. Inspired by Master Cheng Yen, Tzu chi volunteers in Indonesia began helping residents pump out the flood water, clean up the garbage, conduct sterilization, provide free medical attention, and simultaneously built the Great Love Estate permanent homes for the flood victims.
In one short year, Angke River was finally a clean river again, and flood victims moved into the Great Love Estate homes that they had only dreamed of for several generations and had now finally come true. Indonesians gradually changed their impression towards the Chinese. Then President Megawatti personally visited the Great Love Estate and was deeply moved. The antagonism between Indonesians and the Chinese was finally disappearing. Chinese language teaching was even allowed after 30 plus years of being banned. The local Chinese had finally found their dignity, respect and recognition in the Indonesian society, which cannot be bought with any amount of money. This is the result of using love and care in responses of hatred.
Despite all the religious discord in today’s world, the Nurul Iman Islamic Boarding School in Indonesia started to take after the self-sufficient example of Tzu Chi’s Still Thought Abode, after they were helped by Tzu Chi. They also started to study the teachings in Master Cheng-Yen’s “Jing Si Aphorisms”. There’s even a photo of Master Cheng-Yen in each classroom in this Islamic school, and the 2000 Muslim students also began wearing the Tzu Chi vest to be volunteers.
During the South Asia tsunami disaster, Tzu Chi built a mosque in Ache, a new civilization was born. A civilization that can bring reconciliation between people’s heart. This is also the true and fundamental teaching of religion. This is not only a steadfast belief in the correct teaching of religions, but also for acceptance and care in spite of differences. In that moment, a greater love has already overcome obstacles of the mind, and brought people closer together.
From here we can see, the solution for the defilement of mistaken views is loving care, not debate of points of view.
Tzu Chi is not trying to establish new faction; we are merely experiencing and practicing a new way of human civilization. This is a newly created value after centuries of conflicts, and blending of Eastern and Western cultures. This is a new view base on values both collective and individual; and benefits one self as well as others.
Only by practicing altruism, one can truly realize one’s greatest potential. Individuals can regain what is true freedom through collective effort. It’s only with respect that people can live harmoniously; and one can clarify one’s true self-esteem and achieve a truly equal and just society only when he is grateful.
Most importantly, for everyone who wishes to attain all these values abovementioned, can only do so by putting all the virtues in practice, and to persevere unremittingly.
Written by: Rey-Sheng Her
The Spokesperson and Director of Humanity Development Department
of Tzu Chi Foundation