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Thanks to the companionship by fellow dharma brothers and sisters

Someone asked, “Why does Tzu Chi recruit volunteers all year round?

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(Photo by Douglas Lee)  

Someone asked, “Why does Tzu Chi recruit volunteers all year round?

The Master answers:

“It takes a lot of people to carry out rescue and relief missions, only then would there be ample strength to locate and help out each suffering individual. Having more helping hands means having more volunteers with different life experiences. This will build a stronger team to shoulder heavy responsibilities.” “Therefore, everyone should maintain a grateful attitude from the moment they wake up. How should they go about doing that? Firstly, be grateful that our bodies are in good health. Then, be grateful that the teamwork from Tzu Chi volunteers around the world has relieved many in need.”

Master Cheng Yen continued saying earnestly that although Tzu Chi volunteers have been learning while practising Buddhist teachings, habitual biases remain. While volunteers might fully cooperate during relief missions in times of crisis to achieve a common goal, they might not do so at other times. During casual interactions, these committed members remain aware of each other’s differences and perpetually differentiate between friends and foes. As a result, Master Cheng Yen often despairs over this inherent fault in humans.

“Over the years, I have been trying hard to maintain the spirit of teamwork and harmony, to encourage selfless love as a way to care for others. I have always taught others to maintain a grateful attitude because only then can there be mutual understanding. Thereafter, they will learn to accept each other's flaws. People who can accommodate others would find contentment. When people are contented, they will not demand that others accommodate them. Instead, they will take the initiative to be the accommodating ones. If everyone can accommodate each other’s needs in a team and have a common goal, then there would be unified strength. Otherwise, instead of working towards a common goal, each member would head in a different direction which adds a greater burden to the team.”

Achieving greater heights with each other’s efforts

During an international disaster relief mission, a handful of Tzu Chi members had to distribute 2500 tons of rice to the affected households. They also travelled in trucks and unloaded various kinds of heavy relief goods. When the relief mission team returned to Taiwan, Master Cheng Yen asked the volunteers if they were exhausted from the strenuous work. The volunteers replied that moving the heavy goods seemed weightless, as the rice bags left their hands quickly to reach their recipients.

“I reached an epiphany upon hearing that. They leveraged on each other's momentum of work by forming a flow line where each person passed the rice sacks to the next person in a non-stop fashion. While some lifted the rice sacks, some focused on passing them to the next in line and others unloaded them onto the ground. Doing this made them unaware of the heavy weight of the rice sacks. Master Cheng Yen quoted the incident by saying that if Tzu Chi volunteers are able to deliver the relief goods in the harshest condition, they could do anything if they worked as one and put in equal effort. They will then be able to persevere through the bumpiest roads and coldest winters for the victims’ sake. To do so, they had to maintain a grateful attitude.

“When I think about how the cold and the hungry will be clothed and fed after we leave, I am truly grateful to those Tzu Chi volunteers who have accompanied us in our journey. If we can always remember this thought of gratitude, then how abundance would our love be for each other! If everyone maintains this purest form of love for each other, everyone would be basking in happiness every day.”