In the face of doubt and hate, Tzu Chi volunteers participating in the three-day National Officers Camp are urged to persevere and take the teachings of Master Cheng Yen to heart.
“How were you attracted to Tzu Chi?”
David Liu, Tzu Chi global deputy-CEO, lectured the 200 Tzu Chi volunteers in attendance at the three-day Philippine National Officers Camp on persevering as a volunteer. He shares five key points in being able to do so: making a vow, taking the dharma to heart, being happy in doing volunteer work, being diligent without fail, and having a firm path of cultivation. He also reminds them that he understands how the world can sometimes be cruel to them.
“You ask other people to improve themselves, but the truth is that you have to improve yourself. Eliminate that tendency [of asking others to improve]. In Tzu Chi, we always reflect whether or not we’ve improved already. So we cannot criticize other people,” Liu explained.
The camp’s final day discusses how Tzu Chi volunteers can remain steadfast in fulfilling their missions in today’s turbulent world. Liu and his fellow keynote speakers admit that there are moments when volunteers question whether or not they can continue on the Tzu Chi path. Regardless, through their lectures, they made their collective stance known.
“Persevere amidst a world trying to destroy you. Have the courage of a lion, perseverance of a camel, and the innocence of a child,” said Dharma Master De Chen in her morning talk.
“Don’t think raising funds as just a simple task, Think of it as building self-esteem and inspiring love,” said Wen Surui, a Tzu Chi volunteer in Taoyuan, Taiwan who collects from over 2,000 donors.
A Lotus Sutra Prayer was held at the newly-built Jing Si Hall. Led by the two dharma masters, the prayer immersed the volunteers in a state of spirituality. They also performed walking and sitting meditations.
Near the end of the camp, it’s also in the hall that the participants shared their insights. Alberto Mananay, Jr., a Tzu Chi volunteer from Cebu, shared that maintaining his dedication to Tzu Chi and his family has never been easy. However, listening to the dharma masters and Taiwanese counterparts made it clear on what he could do.
“Because of the teaching of the dharma masters and the dharma, I feel recharged and I felt that I have done enough. Yet, I still have to do more. And when I go back to Cebu, I vow to spread the dharma by learning and applying it to day-to-day life, as well as recruit as many volunteers as I can,” shared Mananay.
As Master Cheng Yen grows older, Tzu Chi volunteer Lilia Zarate from Marikina City sees the need to heed her call of continuing her lifelong mission.
“We have to heed the call of Master Cheng Yen because it’s what we swore as volunteers. We swore to help her in her missions for the sake of people in need,” said Zarate.