This year’s Auspicious Month celebration at the Jing Si Hall urges people to turn away from superstitious customs such as making offerings of carnivorous food and burning of paper money. Instead, they should pray together for lasting peace in the world, as well as cultivate good blessings.
As Chinese families celebrate the onset of the seventh lunar month, Dharma Master Cheng Yen urges them to do so not through superstitious customs but by cultivating good karma.
An estimated 300 guests attended Tzu Chi’s Auspicious Month celebration on August 11 at Jing Si (Still Thoughts) Hall, Quezon City. Before the start of the program, the guests were treated to a vegetarian lunch buffet as part of the celebration. The prevention of killing animals for food was one of the highlights as an animated story was shown to the guests during the program.
In the story, a monk in India wonders how his late mother is doing. Through deep meditation, he arrives at the Hungry Ghost Realm where he sees his mother with a bloated belly. She told her son that she had accumulated negative karma in her life by killing many animals for food. The monk’s powers weren’t enough to deliver his mother from suffering, so he cultivated good affinity in the living world by doing good deeds. Through the collective prayer of his fellow monks and followers, all the souls in the realm were saved.
Sacrificial offerings, Master Cheng Yen iterated, have no place in modern society as it involves killing. She instead encourages people to take this opportunity to do good deeds, one of which involves showing filial piety.
Originally from mainland China, Tzu Chi volunteer Levy Yao and her mother Juana were separated when Levy came to the Philippines with her aunt 40 years ago. She and her mother were reunited in time for the Auspicious Month and she had the opportunity to honor her with a simple tea ceremony to show her respect to her mother.
“It’s important for us to show love and respect to our parents while they’re still alive. Let’s make it a habit, not just for this Auspicious Month,” said Yao.
“We’ll all reach the end of our lives. If we don’t show our love to them, it may be too late,” Yao added.
Many of the guests took the opportunity to learn more about Tzu Chi and its doctrine of helping others unconditionally. Noraiza Dimapanat, who is from Marawi, is part of a civil volunteer team tasked with helping in the rehabilitation of Marawi following the siege two years ago.
“We attended this gathering to know more about the foundation. Upon watching their videos, we learned a great deal about them,” Dimapanat remarked.
Near the end of the program, Tzu Chi volunteers put a short demo of their performance for the upcoming Water Repentance Text adaptation. They invited guests to come and perform with them on February 2020 at the Mall of Asia Arena.