Jing Si Hall Singapore rang with singing voices and clapping as two rows of volunteers warmly welcomed those who had arrived to take part in the sharing session organized for entrepreneurs and their family members keen to become more involved in Tzu Chi activities. Some brought along their filled bamboo banks and happily returned them to Tzu Chi.
That evening on 3 May 2014, the entrepreneurs and their families shared touching Tzu Chi stories amidst chatter and laughter. The prayer hall at level three was arranged with small round tables and chairs. Snacks and tea were placed on each table. Although the decoration was simple, the exciting and wonderful sharing captured the attention of all 250 participants.
Accepting Singapore branch’s invite for the first time, Malaysia entrepreneurs Lin Xiao Shi and Fang You Quan shared details of their spiritual journey during the session. They were inspired to contribute after seeing how Tzu Chi volunteers give of themselves selflessly. They had found their direction and joy in life, and no longer lead a life spent in riches and delusion. Through simple speech, participants felt that both of them were leading by positive example, and are proof of the wisdom in Master Cheng Yen teachings; one is ‘rich’ when one gives; one is ‘noble’ when one sees worth in others and facilitates them in accomplishing good.
Recycling—A Small Action with Big Benefits
Other than spiritual sharing by the Malaysian entrepreneurs, local businessman Zhu Zi Qiang whom participated in the global entrepreneur s’camp in March, also took the opportunity to share his spiritual joy.
Zhu Zi Qiang had heard about Tzu Chi from his friends seven years ago but only gained a deeper understanding of Tzu Chi after taking part in the Taiwan camp. During the camp, he saw the monastics producing ceramic handicrafts, handmade soaps etc. and saw the independence of the monastics who worked to maintain the daily expenses of the Jing Si Abode. On top of that, they also receive visitors and Tzu Chi volunteers who come from all parts of the world. He said, “Previously, I had thought that expenses of the Abode was funded by our money and now I realize this is not so. As a businessman, I feel uneasy that the masters are treating me to my meals.”
“When I was in Taiwan, I saw that the recycling volunteers are very mindful, they take great care to remove the white portion of paper with scissors to sort of the recyclables. I feel so ashamed thinking about how wasteful I was.” Upon his return to Singapore, Zhu Zi Qiang wanted to play his part and prepared chopsticks for workers to use, so as to discourage them from using disposable ones. He expressed that “A small action we do can result in big changes.” Using the above as an example, this small change has reduced the wastage of disposable chopsticks by a few thousand pairs every year.
Zhu Zi Qiang’s son is getting married soon and it is unavoidable that many animals will be killed for the wedding banquet. Having observed vegetarianism for a year, he gained inspiration from the camp and gave his guests a choice of vegetarian or non-vegetarian menu. “If guests chose the vegetarian menu, we can reduce killing; this is a blessing for my child and future daughter-in-law.”
“I feel that Tzu Chi is a very good place for us to contribute. My wife and I have vowed to participate in future international disaster relief efforts.” He also invited everyone to take part in the Global Entrepreneurs’ Camp to be held in October for a different spiritual experience.
Carrying a Crystal Buddha, Creating a Tzu Chi Bond
During the sharing, Zhu Zi Qiang expressed his gratitude to volunteer Wu De Hong, who moved him into joining Tzu Chi by his actions. “Brother Wu was delivering the Crystal Buddha to my office when the lifts broke down. I was very touched when he carried the Crystal Buddha and climbed up eight stories to my office.”
Wu De Hong jokingly said, “It seemed like it was my chance to dispel my negative karma that day. There were three lifts in that building and all were broken. Brother Zhu seemed to be in a rush and I was told that I had to deliver the Crystal Buddha to him personally. Without another word, I carried the Crystal Buddha to the eighth floor.” Brother Wu then took the opportunity to share with Brother Zhu the Tzu Chi’s missions and culture. Zhu Zi Qiang agreed wholeheartedly and shared the wisdom contained in the Jing Si Aphorisms with the management staff. After which, to encourage his employees to become Tzu Chi members, his company decided to match their donations dollar for dollar.”
“I gained immeasurable happiness from helping others, therefore I chose to join Tzu Chi.” At the beginning, to understand Tzu Chi better, Wu De Hong flew to Hualien in Taiwan. After that, he immediately decided to contribute towards helping others. In Tzu Chi, he learnt to be grateful, humble and tolerant. He also eliminated his negative habituations during his years with Tzu Chi.
Giving from One's Own Retirement Fund
During the sharing session, Chief Executive Officer, Low Swee Seh also presented certificates to the honorary board members. First time honorary board member, Tzu Chi commissioner Zuo Jing Feng (Tzu Feng), was joyful beyond words and was grateful for Tzu Chi and Master Cheng Yen for providing her a chance to learn about giving.
As computer chip worker for more than 20 years, Zuo Jing Feng typically worked 12 hours a day, clocking in extra hours on a daily basis. Having retired five years ago, she contributed a portion of her retirement fund and fulfilled her wish to be an honorary board member since becoming a commissioner in 2008.
“My father could give money to help people in need such that he had to walk home as he did not have money left to take public transport.” Zuo Jing Feng was influenced by her father’s charitable attitude since young and his charitable acts left a deep impression in her. In 1999, she was introduced to Tzu Chi by her sister Ci Lian (now known as Master De Ge, living in Jing Si Abode), and helped out in many different areas. Having contributed her help in the area of food preparation over many years, that night was the first time she made sushi with Tzu Chi’s instant rice, building positive affinities with many entrepreneurs.
“Becoming a commissioner is a form of self discipline to uphold the precepts. To become an honorary board member is within my ability and a test of generosity.” Tzu Chi Faith Corps member Qiu Zhi Hao and family attended the networking session and shared his thoughts after receiving his certification. From taking part in Tzu Ching activities during his university days, to becoming a Tzu Chi Faith Corps member to fulfilling his wish to be an honorary board member, he hopes to be able to fulfil his father’s wish for honorary board membership as well
“Tzu Chi is a charitable organization and a place of spiritual cultivation. In Tzu Chi, many people were able to eliminate their bad habits within a span of few years and find new direction in life.” CEO Low Swee Seh also shared that he wished for all entrepreneurs to immediately join in the Great Love mission, contributing joyfully to society and not let life go to waste.
The birth of the honorary board membership started on 16 August 1986, one day before the opening of the Tzu Chi Hospital. To show appreciation for donors who had donated millions of dollars to build the hospital and helped fulfill Tzu Chi’s mission, Master Cheng Yen distributed special honorary letters. The honorary members could be managers of successful businesses or ordinary folks. Currently the requirement to be a permanent honorary member is donation of 1 million Taiwan dollars to Tzu Chi within a span of three years. The donation excludes international disaster relief, emergency relief or charity donations.