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The Path to Buddhahood Begins with the Bodhisattva Path

The path to Buddhahood begins with the Bodhisattva path. This path requires tremendous effort and hard work from many people. Hence, not only must we not give up halfway, but the practice should also be passed down from generation to generation.

(Photo source: Pexels)

On 5 December, I started my second Year-End Blessing event trip. Along the way towards the north, I was delighted to hear everyone's "Dharma" sharing. I heard how everyone is forming good affinities with Dharma fellows, seeking and listening to Buddha Dharma, becoming inspired by what they heard, and even keen to spread the Dharma to benefit others. I often say that "spreading Dharma to benefit all sentient beings" does not mean preaching the sutra or Dharma, but benefiting oneself and others, cherishing one's life, and, more importantly, inspiring more people to move towards the Bodhisattva path by speaking kind words and doing good deeds together.

From 9th to 11th of December, there were five sessions of Wondrous Lotus Sutra Musical Adaptation at the Kaohsiung Arena, participated by more than 70,000 people both locally and from abroad. On 10 December, I made a special trip from Taipei to Kaohsiung, and I was shocked to see how the professional team conducted the sutra adaption on stage and how the team off the stage adapted to the changes so quickly as they worked harmoniously. A neat and beautiful group formation was presented in just a matter of seconds. Through everyone's movements, I could tell that they must have gone through many rounds of vigorous training. Hence, I could feel everyone's sincerity.

Both the U Theatre and Tang Mei Yun Taiwanese Opera Company immersed themselves in the Dharma such that the audiences could hear, feel and see Buddha Dharma in the human world. On top of that, the performances also presented Tzu Chi's chronicle of events for the past fifty years on the stage. Although the presentation about Tzu Chi was touched on lightly, just like a dragonfly skimming the water's surface, they managed to convey the messages well. For each and every one who participated in the sutra adaption, not only had they fulfilled their Dharma tasks in their neighbourhood areas, but they have also contributed in various communities. Nearly 10,000 people gathered for this sutra adaption, and there were several elderly volunteers as well. Everyone, regardless of age and background, united as one to put up a very fast-paced performance. No one was dispensable, because the group formation could not be formed if one was missing. Having such a scenario was never easy, but they did it! To each and everyone, I want to say thank you!

The beauty of Tzu Chi lies in the harmonious cooperation between people. They integrate Buddhism into humanistic culture. If not everyone were pious and shared the same aspirations, achieving such beauty, kindness, and a truly humanistic education would have been impossible.

The essence of the Lotus Sutra is the Sutra of Infinite Meaning, which is the path to Buddhahood and enlightenment. The starting point of the path to Buddhahood is the Bodhisattva path, which is the most authentic path that Tzu Chi is determined to take. For more than fifty years, we have paved this path of Bodhisattva in the human world with sincerity, strength and actions. Everything that we do, we always do it with our utmost steadfastness and sincerity in our hearts. From the beginning until now, we have never given up halfway in whatever we do. Some Tzu Chi volunteers started this journey in their middle age, and now that they have reached their old age, they still have not given up. Instead, they continue to contribute to the society and pass on this spirit of altruism to the future generations.

Tzu Chi volunteers put their thoughts into action and take every step forward steadily and swiftly from the moment they make a vow. The Tzu Chi it is today the result of everyone doing their best. I have often been saying in the past that we must continue to work diligently to do the right things without asking for anything in return or without having any worries. At this moment, everyone should take inventory of our lives and elevate it by taking stock of how many good things we have accomplished in this lifetime!

It is extremely rare to be born a human; hence, life is precious. We should be grateful to have received good guidance that led us to the path of Buddhahood through Buddha’s teachings and to have found the correct wisdom and direction in life. We must never stop learning. We must know clearly what we should do and want to do, then do it correctly and diligently and speak conscientiously. Everyone should cherish every second of their life and make full use of the time to cultivate and grow their wisdom.

Take an inventory of our lives and reflect on it. If we have done something wrong, we must correct the wrongdoings. If we are engaged in a conflict with other sentient beings, we should immediately repent and resolve the matters as soon as possible so that we do not carry these negative karmic causes with us when we leave this world. If we are wrong, just apologise. Do not be calculative or bear any grudges so that we will not plant the seeds of resentment in our hearts. If possible, we should even form good affinities with each other. This is called spiritual cultivation. If you are already walking on the path of Bodhisattva, you must practise what you have learned from the Buddha’s teachings and always remember to repay kindness instead of holding on to past grudges. For those who have resentment in their hearts, do get rid of it. For those who have received help and love, always remember to repay the kindness. 

Life can be difficult sometimes, because having ups and downs in life is inevitable. When adversity is present, we must stay vigilant, behave prudently, and avoid resentment toward other sentient beings and slackness toward ourselves. We must also make use of the pure Buddha nature that we intrinsically possess to inspire kind affinities. Having the compassion to help the world is not just about eradicating tangible or visible suffering. Some people live without deprivation but still suffer from dissatisfaction, which is difficult to eradicate. Whilst we want to own the world, we only have two hands, so how will we “own” it? The hand scratches the sky without a trace; we can’t own anything in this world because everything is impermanent, so there is nothing to be worried and calculative about. We must seize the opportunity and not be fussy. When we are being difficult to others, this will lead us to suffering. Hence, we must take the time in our current life to form positive karmic affinities with other sentient beings. When we do the right thing, we will feel the true Dharma joy. 

Tzu Chi is like the Tripitaka in the human world, and this sutra is created by people from all walks of life. It is impossible for one person to pave the way as it requires the combination of efforts from many people. To pave such an extensive path and be able to go far on it, it must be passed down from generation to generation. I hope everyone can take Buddha’s teachings to heart and put the teachings into practice to transform other sentient beings. Just like a ship of compassion sailing in the vast sea, delivering all sentient beings from torment and aspiring more people to cultivate blessings and wisdom and move in the correct direction together. May everyone be mindful!


(Translated by Michelle Lim Cheng Wai)