The world of Tzu Chi June 2020 (Vol.123)

01 TZU CHI 123 By Dharma Master Cheng Yen Translated by Goh Hwe Yong aster’s Teaching Let us pray for peace and commit to vegetarianism to express our spiritual piety, in addition to curbing our greed and desires to facilitate the harmonious co-existence of all beings on Earth. Cultivate compassion and kindness for the benefit of humanity. L ately, the Covid-19 pandemic seems to be the dominant topic on everyone’s mind. The contagion has spread rampantly to more than 180 countries and regions, akin to a broken string of beads rolling in all directions. In addition to evoking widespread apprehension and fear, the pandemic has also compounded the hardship of the suffering. In the world we live in, illnesses, epidemics and disasters are not the only causes of suffering; poverty is another contributing factor. The poor in Honduras cried tears of gratitude upon receiving provisions of rice delivered from Taiwan by Tzu Chi. Essential supplies in the country have been hoarded by the affluent and commodity prices have increased, leaving the destitute who are unable to afford the goods in the lurch. For these desperate communities, the rice supplies from Tzu Chi are truly a lifeline. Poverty, unemployment and famine potentially lead to social unrest. Tzu Chi volunteers in the Philippines started distributing food rations in late March, but the nationwide lockdown enforced by the local government had complicated their efforts in procuring supplies and other logistical issues. Under the lockdown ruling, senior citizens above the age of 60 are prohibited from leaving their homes in order to protect them from the risk of infection. Yet, most of the volunteers experienced in conducting distribution sessions are within this age range. Despite the restrictions, the seasoned volunteers were determined to help those in need and provide them with material and moral support. These volunteers relentlessly contacted their acquaintances and sought their assistance in sourcing for supplies and manpower, besides applying for permits to venture outside, in order to distribute essential supplies to an estimated 80,000 households. I am deeply moved by the volunteers’ deeds, yet at the same time, I feel for these disciples of mine, who have demonstrated fortitude in challenging circumstances by shouldering the responsibility of ensuring an adequate supply of material provisions and human resources. When I asked them whether the task of distributing substantial amounts of rice was tiring, they replied in the affirmative, but not without reassuring me with their conviction in the notion that personal concerns are inconsequential in comparison to the urgent needs of the larger community. Hence, they were willing to forgo their rest for the sake of the impoverished. Social distancing regulations were adhered to at the distribution site. The locals stood in line in an orderly manner, keeping a safe distance between each other. Every household received rice supplies enough to last them for a month. I admire the volunteers for their compassion and the beneficiaries for their self-discipline. Sincere Prayers and Vegetarianism for the Benefit of Humanity