Tzu Chi Philippines held its final session of Buddha Bathing ceremony on May 15 at the Jing Si Hall in Quezon City. Beneficiaries of the foundation’s medical, charity, and educational assistance attended the event to express their gratitude to the Buddha and to Tzu Chi.
Gratitude highlighted the final session of Tzu Chi Philippines’ celebration of the Buddha’s birthday, Mother’s Day, and Tzu Chi Day on May 14. On the said date, more than 400 beneficiaries of the charitable organization gathered at the Jing Si Hall in Quezon City to take part in the Buddhist ceremony.
Marites Flores wished to thank the heavens and Tzu Chi for every year that her daughter, Samantha Kym, is still able to attend the celebration.
“A few days before this event, my daughter had to be confined again to the hospital. I had no money but Tzu Chi had extended help and that’s why she was able to get treated and join the Buddha Day,” shared Marites Flores, a street vendor.
“I feel better,” assured Marites’ daughter, Samantha Kym. “During the program I prayed for healing.”
Samantha Kym, 12, has been suffering from beta thalassemia major all her life. The blood disorder reduces the production of hemoglobin, or the iron-rich protein that carries oxygen to the cells throughout the body. Samantha’s condition requires regular blood transfusion, otherwise she would experience extreme fatigue, weakness, and shortness of breath that gravely affect her daily routine.
Since 2010, Tzu Chi Foundation has been helping Samantha receive her needed monthly treatment with the provision of Php5,000 cash assistance. The family also receives monthly rice aid.
The residents of Parola Compound, a slum community in Tondo, Manila were also recipients of Tzu Chi’s rice distributions in previous years. In addition, members of Tzu Chi Youth Association regularly visit them to bring simple gifts and to share with them Tzu Chi founder Master Cheng Yen’s teachings.
From the volunteers, Parola residents learned about Tzu Chi’s annual three-in-one celebration. In 2017, a small group of residents attended the event for the first time. This year, more than 40 of them pooled their money together to hire three jeepneys that will transport them to the venue.
“Those who attended the event last year enjoyed it very much and felt peace. They shared their experiences with our neighbors. Right then, more people committed to attend this year,” shared Analiza Trono, 43.
It was also the first time for the students of Tzu Chi’s Livelihood Training Program to join the celebration and they made sure to bring their coin banks, which are now heavy with their loving donations. The gesture is a manifestation of one of the lessons they gained from their months of training: that paying it forward is the best form of showing gratitude.
Computer Troubleshooting student Mercy Regulacion could have used all the money she was able to save to pay off all her debts. Instead, she chose to work even harder, accepting laundry works in her spare time in order to earn extra.
“I learned in Tzu Chi the importance of helping others. They said that if everyone will pool their love together and help one another, it will create a great chain reaction of goodness in our communities,” said Regulacion.