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New Year cleanup – a spiritual cultivation for volunteers

February 13, 2018 | Jamaica Digo

Ma. Teresa Miña, 42, is all smiles as she cleans the chairs. Amid the daunting task of cleaning up a place as big as the Jing Si Hall, Tzu Chi volunteers remain in good spirits and are grateful for the opportunity to cultivate blessings. 【Photo by Jamaica Digo】

Story Highlights

  • Chinese and Filipino Tzu Chi volunteers numbering to 26 gather on February 13 to clean the Jing Si Hall in Quezon City in preparation for the Chinese New Year.

  • More than upholding a tradition, the cleanup of the Tzu Chi Philippines headquarters is a reminder for every volunteer to also keep their hearts free from afflictions.

On February 13, Tzu Chi volunteers gathered to clean up the Jing Si Hall in Quezon City. This is in preparation for the Chinese New Year, which falls on February 16 this year.

It has been a tradition among the Chinese to clean their homes before the Lunar calendar turns a new leaf. They believe that this will drive away bad luck while ushering in a fresh start.

Tzu Chi volunteer Carmen Sy practices the custom at home, but cleaning up the Jing Si Hall is extra special. For Sy, it goes beyond superstition or tradition. Instead, it is a lesson on cultivating wisdom.

“If we want to clean a very messy place it will take much effort, but when you clean it every day, just like cleaning our hearts – just like having spiritual cultivation – we will make the place cleaner and cleaner until it becomes a Pure Land. That is what we want to achieve,” says Sy.

Of the 26 Tzu Chi volunteers present during the activity, more than half are Filipinos who do not celebrate the Chinese New Year. Nor do they observe the various traditions associated with it. However, these volunteers came in the name of serving.

Ma. Teresa Miña, 42, a resident of Barangay Pasong Tamo, finished her household chores the previous day to join the cleanup. As they sweep the floors, wipe the dust off the walls, windows, and every furniture and corner of the Jing Si Hall, Tzu Chi volunteers maintain a positive disposition, singing and laughing with each other.

“All of us are happy when there’s an activity like this. Although it is messy, at least we are able to make an effort to help the foundation,” shares Miña.

At 66 years old, Florentina Ponce is the oldest among the volunteers. Despite this, she was eager to help and mindful in cleaning. In fact, this has been her third year to join in the annual activity.

To her, as the spiritual home of every Tzu Chi volunteer in the Philippines the Jing Si Hall deserves to be treated with reverence and gratitude.

“It’s just like cleaning our own house. How we would clean our home is how we do the same here. The Jing Si Hall is where Tzu Chi volunteers gather for meetings. Everything we’ve learned, we’ve learned it from here,” she underscores.

  • Although they do not observe the Chinese New Year, Filipino Tzu Chi volunteers have made it a yearly tradition to join in cleaning the Jing Si Hall just before the Lunar calendar turns a new leaf. 【Photo by Jamaica Digo】

  • Tzu Chi volunteers clean every corner of the Jing Si Hall. 【Photo by Jamaica Digo】

  • Tzu Chi volunteers are mindful to leave the glass doors impeccably neat. 【Photo by Jamaica Digo】

  • With Chinese New Year only a few days away, Tzu Chi volunteers mobilize to clean up the Jing Si Hall. 【Photo by Jamaica Digo】

  • Tzu Chi volunteer Carmen Sy believes the New Year cleanup is also a chance to remind every volunteer to cleanse their hearts. 【Photo by Jamaica Digo】

  • Walls and banisters are dusted. 【Photo by Jamaica Digo】

  • A Tzu Chi volunteer ensures the Buddha’s altar inside the Jing Si Hall is spotless. 【Photo by Jamaica Digo】

  • Fresh flowers are placed in the Buddha’s altar, brightening up the place. 【Photo by Jamaica Digo】

  • A Tzu Chi volunteer stands on a chair to ensure every surface is reached. 【Photo by Jamaica Digo】

  • The volunteers make sure the comfort rooms are also tidy. 【Photo by Jamaica Digo】