The world of Tzu Chi Augusts 2021 (Vol.136)

02 2021 • 08 The pandemic is affecting countries worldwide and everyone is at risk, regardless of race or skin colour. Hence, we must all be vigilant and take strict precautionary measures to protect ourselves, while giving our best to help others. This wave of the pandemic has hit India like a tsunami. The total number of confirmed cases has now surpassed 20 million. We must feel for them and race against time to extend prompt assistance, so that they can get through the crisis. Since 2020, Tzu Chi has been collaborating withMissionaries of Charity, The Camillians, and other organizations in India to distribute relief supplies to the local poor and needy. Now that the pandemic has deteriorated, a group of priests from The Camillians has braved the risk of infection to help in the hospitals. Their hearts are filled with benevolence, love and courage. India is in dire need of help from the rest of the world. Hence, I have reminded Tzu Chi staff that this is an emergency and we must render help proactively and swiftly. However, due to international border controls, we can only rely on locals to send our aid and care, as it is not feasible to dispatch relief supplies and manpower to the country at this moment. In addition to aid in-kind, we must also express our sincere piety by observing vegetarianism. We must not only cherish our lives, but also the lives of all living beings. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations estimated that more than 220 million animals are slaughtered for food daily. By not eating meat, we are liberating lives. If everyone can go vegetarian, we can save more than 220 million lives daily, and this is equivalent to more than 2,000 lives per second. This expression of utmost sincere piety will generate boundless merits. At this time when many are suffering from the pandemic, we must not think that it does not concern us. Instead, we must be awakened and realize that we have this pure innate Buddha nature, that is clouded by minute to intangible greed, anger and ignorance, leading to endless desires. The negative karma that we have collectively created will then snowball and cause widespread suffering in the world. We cannot stop the spread of the coronavirus. What we can do now is to curb our desires for meat, stop killing animals, and nurture our wisdom and empathy. So long as everyone is willing to lead by example and pass on the message, we can influence tens of thousands of people by word of mouth. When everyone observes vegetarianism with a heart of sincere piety, it is then not difficult for us to create immeasurable merits, as well as allow all living beings to coexist and live peacefully, abiding by the laws of Nature. Akin to a ship navigating through rough waters, let us not panic but instead remain calm. With everyone in unison and abiding to rules and precepts, we will be able to emerge safe and well. Each day, Tzu Chi volunteers globally will collectively offer prayers simultaneously. Besides sending well wishes to one another, those who are safe and well should also vow to nurture a good heart and do good deeds. With the blessings sown by everyone, we can then form a “protective layer”, and hopefully, keep the pandemic at bay soon. aster’s Teaching * Compiled from a collection of speeches delivered by Master Cheng Yen from May 3 to 17, 2021.