Donors from Barangay Tatalon numbering to 1,299 gathered at the Jing Si Hall in Quezon City on January 28 for a Year End Blessing ceremony.
Every year, Tzu Chi holds a series of Year End Blessings before the Chinese New Year. These events serve as Tzu Chi’s founder Dharma Master Cheng Yen’s way of thanking donors for putting their love into action through monetary and recyclable donations as well as a chance to look back on Tzu Chi’s charitable works in the year that was.
Seeing how Tzu Chi spent her donations to help calamity victims recover, assist poor patients receive treatment, and send underprivileged students to school, Aurora Siosen vows to continue donating as long as she lives.
“I look up to Master Cheng Yen. I always remember her teachings every day before I go to sleep and every morning when I wake up. That is why I am really happy to know that Master Cheng Yen appreciates us. Although she is far away from us, she sees what we do and she makes sure we feel her love for us,’ says Siosen.
The most awaited part of the ceremony is the distribution of ang paos, or red packets. These ang paos were produced from the royalties of Master Cheng Yen’s books. Inside each are four verses from the Buddhist teachings: to always be compassionate, soft-spoken and kind, humble, and to give selflessly.
“We can say that the ang pao is just a piece of paper with beautiful designs but what makes it special are the teachings it contains. I will not just treasure this ang pao, but will also keep in my heart the teachings written inside,” says Vienvenido Ato.
Tzu Chi volunteer Lugena Macaraeg bows as she hands the ang paos to the attendees. “Actually, my back hurts but the Dharma Master says, we must always practice humility when we give,” she says. “The smiles of the attendees are so genuine. They are really happy to receive the ang paos from Master Cheng Yen.”
In addition to giving monetary donations, Victoria Cutamora, a volunteer for seven years, has been joining disaster relief missions and promoting care for the planet through recycling in various communities.
“We encourage people to help by giving their recyclables. Their donations will help save the environment and at the same time generate funds for Tzu Chi’s charity programs,” she says.
As calamities and poverty continue to bring suffering to people every year, Tzu Chi volunteer Chieh Fang Uy, who hosted the ceremony, encouraged the attendees to be mindful and exercise their love, closely following this year’s theme: “Unite in Great Love toward a world of kindness. Pave the path at each step to protect the Earth.”
“Let us help those in suffering in any way we can. Master Cheng Yen said showing our compassion and love for others is a blessing – and that blessing is what will make our world a peaceful place to live in.”
To learn more how you can help Tzu Chi help others, visit http://tzuchi.org.ph/how-to-help/donation/
Tzu Chi volunteer Chieh Fang Uy hosts the ceremony. She says the seeds of love that Tzu Chi has planted in the hearts of Barangay Tatalon residents almost nine years ago are now bearing fruit as the latter have become donors and volunteers of Tzu Chi. 【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】
Tzu Chi Philippines Deputy CEO Alfredo Li shares the unity and harmony he had witnessed among the residents of Tzu Chi Great Love City in Barangay Liloan, Ormoc after Tropical Storm Urduja struck them in December. Seeing the determination of the villagers to help their fellowmen, even after they have been through several calamities themselves, makes Li proud. 【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】
Vienvenido Ato admires the resilience and the kindness of the Great Love City villagers in Barangay Liloan, Ormoc. 【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】
Tzu Chi Philippines Deputy CEO Alfredo Li talks about the generosity and purity of the children he met in Ormoc. The children had donated their money to Tzu Chi Foundation, which leaves a beautiful lesson for everyone: that if a child can give, then adults can as well. 【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】
Year End Blessing attendees watch the Tzu Chi Philippines’ Great Treasury Sutra for 2017. The video, which sums up Tzu Chi’s works in the Philippines for the year, gives the donors a glimpse of where their donations went. 【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】
With a respectful bow, Tzu Chi volunteer Lugena Macaraeg hands the ang paos to the attendees. She noticed that everyone smiles after receiving the ang paos. 【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】
Apart from the ang pao, each Year End Blessings attendee receives a souvenir from Tzu Chi Foundation. 【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】
Tzu Chi volunteer Chieh Fang Uy explains to the attendees the verses inside each ang pao, or red packet. The verses remind everyone to always be compassionate, soft-spoken and kind, humble, and to give selflessly. Uy hopes that the attendees will treasure not only the ang pao itself but also the values it promotes. 【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】
The attendees are happy to receive their ang paos,or red packets. While some have been collecting Master Cheng Yen’s ang paos every year, others received theirs for the first time. 【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】
After receiving their ang pao and souvenir, the attendees watch a recorded video message of Master Cheng Yen. The Master thanks the donors for allowing Tzu Chi to carry out its missions through their donations. 【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】
Before the ceremony ends, attendees offer a prayer for their personal wishes, for everyone’s safety, and for everyone’s heart to be filled with kindness. 【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】
Victoria Cutamora prays for strength so she can continue volunteering for Tzu Chi Foundation.【Photo by Chloe Dela Cruz】