As the Philippines’ first Water Repentance Text stage adaptation draws closer, Tzu Chi volunteers start inviting more people to join in the performance.
On August 26, the volunteers invited friends, family, and acquaintances to a tea party at Crowne Plaza Hotel in Ortigas Center, Quezon City. After a vegetarian snack, the 120 guests learned about Tzu Chi’s advocacies and its planned stage adaptation for February 2020 at the Mall of Asia Arena. The goal is to urge as many people as possible to join the performance and repent for their transgressions.
“By letting [the people] join the Water Repentance [adaptation], we can allow them to make small changes in their lives. And hopefully, they can make a difference in this country and the world,” explained Tzu Chi volunteer Peggy Sy, the emcee for the event.
For years, Tzu Chi has adapted the Water Repentance Text for stage in various countries. The text itself was written by Dharma Master Wu Da, a revered monk during the Tang Dynasty. Having earned the admiration of the emperor, he was endowed an agarwood throne to sit on. Self-importance arose from the monk, and he bumped his knee on the chair, causing a sore which developed into a human face on his knee.
Recalling the words of a fellow monk whom he had helped in his younger days, Master Wu Da traveled to western Sichuan to seek relief with his guidance. He soon learned that the sore was a result of karmic retribution, stemming from a Han Dynasty official who had a fellow official killed out of political motives. The sore was the slain official taking his revenge on his killer, who in this lifetime became Master Wu Da himself. Thus Master Wu Da wrote the Water Repentance Text as his own repentance while explaining the law of karma to generations of Buddhist practitioners.
Explaining the essence of the text also involves showing the guests Tzu Chi’s accomplishments in the Philippines over 25 years. Among them is the major rehabilitation of Tacloban City in the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan). With disasters becoming stronger and more frequent, Sy states, there’s a growing need for people to repent for their sins.
“The Water Repentance performance is an opportunity for people to repent, so more people should join it,” said Sharon Tan, the over-all coordinator for this adaptation.