Over its lifetime, Tzu Chi Foundation has been spreading love in a world hard beset by conflicting interests. Its founder, Dharma Master Cheng Yen, always speaks of the power of love to end conflict of any scale and mend bonds broken as a result. However, such a task hasn’t always been exclusive to Tzu Chi. Its efforts only bear fruit when the people they inspire take it upon themselves to do the same thing.
In two Year-end Blessing Ceremonies at Jing Si Hall on February 4, there were such people.
Among over a thousand long-term beneficiaries attending the morning ceremony, 59-year-old Linda Robles takes notes of the words of Tzu Chi volunteers. She shares important quotes on social media for friends and family to appreciate.
“Tzu Chi’s teachings are wonderful, and they’re all about doing good deeds. They value humanity above all else, always caring for their beneficiaries,” says Linda.
The foundation has done a great deal for her mother, 81-year-old Thelma, bedridden and suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder. Linda herself has her own woes, losing half of her left leg to cancer. With the ceremony also coinciding with the monthly Charity Day, Aida received medicine for her mother apart from her ang pao.
The event also marks Amie Vargas’s last day as a beneficiary. Without waiting for Tzu Chi volunteers to inform her, she proceeds to the social service office to turn over her beneficiary ID. But this won’t mark her last day with Tzu Chi.
“Even though I’m no longer a long-term beneficiary, I hope that they allow my son and I to visit once in a while. I even want my son to attend the Jing Si Time For Kids program, if possible,” says Vargas, whose cancer around her neck has vanished.
The foundation shouldered the cost of her final chemotherapy session, the previous ones subsidized by government services.
With the surrender of her ID, Vargas hopes that her slot benefits someone else.
Love in art form
The morning ceremony also featured the works of 21 students of San Juan Elementary School in San Juan City. Using Japanese paper, the youths crafted a slew of objects ranging from simple cards to houses. The school’s principal, Nonita Sajo, organized the exhibit as a way to express gratitude for Tzu Chi’s continued support of the students’ families.
“The love Tzu Chi shared to our students reciprocates around the school. The teachers share the love in Tzu Chi’s deeds such as love for the environment and love for others,” says Sajo.
The school is an important venue for Tzu Chi’s relief activities in the San Juan area, most especially the gymnasium at the back. For years, thousands of families have received love and care in the place.
In the afternoon Year-end Blessing Ceremony, donors and beneficiaries from Barangays Pasong Tamo and Old Balara were treated to a special guest. At the invitation of Tzu Chi volunteers, Filipino artist Gino Padilla performed his renditions of the Tzu Chi song “Love in the World” and the Tzu Chi prayer at the end. Hearing about Tzu Chi’s mission of spreading love, Padilla says he wants to do the same through song.
“By giving off your time, you give up something that cannot be bought with money. That’s your spirit, love, and the willingness to help other people,” he remarks.
Master Cheng Yen reiterates that everyone should take every opportunity to do good deeds, especially that one’s time in the world is limited. Spreading love isn’t just limited to the youth but also the youth at heart. A retired nutritionist, Rosebilla Mamaril spends her time volunteering for local organizations in Quezon City. She knows she won’t be able to carry her fame and fortune with her when the time comes.
“We don’t live forever in this world. What matters in the end is not our title, our position, our wealth, or our fame, but our relationship with God and our fellowmen,” says Mamaril.
#HelpTzuChiHelpOthers. Regardless of age, gender, religion, or career, anyone with a heart can spread love to others. To know more how, visit the page at http://tzuchi.org.ph/how-to-help/donation/.
Over 1,000 long-term beneficiaries trooped to Jing Si Hall on the morning of February 4 for the simultaneous Year-end Blessing Ceremony and Charity Day events. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】
Linda Robles jots down important words from the sharing of Tzu Chi volunteers. Note her missing left leg, a result of cancer that nearly took her life. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】
Students of San Juan Elementary School showcase their artworks using Japanese paper. The school held an art contest as a way to show its gratitude to the foundation for supporting the students’ families. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】
The audience follows the lead of Tzu Chi volunteers from Barangay Old Balara during the Tzu Chi song “Great Love Progressing Through the Ages.” 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】
Linda Robles shows her ang pao, which contains a commemorative coin, a random Jing Si aphorism, and three grains of rice (not pictured). 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】
The medications are for Linda’s mother, Thelma, who’s suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】
Tzu Chi volunteer Lugenia Macaraeg (right) accepts Amie Vargas’s beneficiary ID, ending the latter’s time as a beneficiary. But this doesn’t mean that Vargas’s time with Tzu Chi is ending, as she still wants to get involved in Tzu Chi’s activities such as recycling. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】
Vargas flashes her expression of gratitude before going home in Barangay Apolonio Samson, Quezon City with her share of rice. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】
Tzu Chi volunteers Spencer Sze (left) and Marie Frances Masirag (right) preside over the afternoon Year-end Blessing Ceremony. The celebration is attended by donors and volunteers from Barangays Old Balara and Pasong Tamo, Quezon City, as well as guests from San Juan City. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】
Tzu Chi volunteers lead the audience in dancing to the tune of “Gong Xi Ni Ya,” a Chinese New Year theme. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】
Singing “Love in the World,” veteran artist Gino Padilla adds his twist to the Tzu Chi song as he performs during the event. He graced the event at the invitation of Tzu Chi volunteers. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】
San Juan Elementary School principal Nonita Sajo attends the event with a delegation of teachers as gratitude for Tzu Chi’s continued support in their community. Sajo organized the art contest for the students that displayed their works earlier. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】
Rosebilla Mamaril accepts her ang pao. A retired nutritionist, she now spends her life volunteering for local organizations in Quezon City. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】
Tzu Chi volunteers conclude the event’s final number with this graceful display to the tune of another Tzu Chi song. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】
Under the light of their candles, the attendees silently pray for peace of mind, a harmonious society, and a disaster-free world. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】